New center will oil Iowa's manufacturing wheel

posted on Thursday, January 9, 2014 in Blog

A new manufacturing center will open in the Cedar Valley next year and provide a space for everybody — from the largest manufacturers to the individual tinkerer — to build products.
Although some say the timeline for the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Center is a bit aggressive, project leaders say a mid-2014 debut will happen.
“I have been an entrepreneur long enough to know that timing is everything,” said Mark Kittrell, president of the Iowa Innovation Corp. “There is a national priority to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. We need to make things in the U.S. if we are going to grow.”
The facility in Waterloo will model itself after TechShop, which has opened a handful of open-access shops across the country.
The center's stated goal is “to provide members with every conceivable tool and machine that they would need to build, hack, fix or create just about any kind of project.” These tools include 3-D printers, sewing machines, floor jacks and welding equipment. Members would pay a fee to use the tools.
The project is part of the state's effort to expand advanced manufacturing and innovation, considered critical components to job and economic growth. Manufacturing is Iowa's largest industry, valued at $27.6 billion.
The project will set up shop in a building at Cedar Valley TechWorks, which is already expecting the arrival of a John Deere museum and an eco-friendly hotel.

12/20/2013 | Marco Santana | The Des Moines Register
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