Extension News

Extension Assistance to Industry Increases Productivity, Competitiveness

2 men with machinery in factory


This article is from the ISU Extension 2005 Annual Report.


Extension’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) provides Iowa’s more than 5,000 manufacturers with educational seminars and individualized technical and business assistance in engineering, management practices, procurement and quality management to increase productivity and competitiveness.


  • The biodiesel industry is growing rapidly, and Iowa has the potential to produce significant amounts of the fuel. That’s why CIRAS is helping agricultural producers, investor groups, research institutions and stakeholders assess the situation and position Iowa at the forefront of this emerging industry.
  • CIRAS engineers assisted Cummins Great Plains, Des Moines, in rearranging racks to free up floor space for an additional engine upfit line. The new rack arrangement allowed the company to increase the number of engines processed per month. Changes made to the plant yielded $100,000 in savings.
  • Co-Line Welding Inc. in Sully was approaching the busy season for a product it produces for another business. CIRAS worked with the company to improve the productivity of the work cells by using constraint management methods and revising the local and global measurements used. As a result, Co-Line reported a $700,000 increase in sales with no additional operating expenses and a decrease in inventory of $200,000. The company also saved $270,000 by reducing costs and avoiding unnecessary investment.
  • Gerdau Ameristeel’s steel mill in Wilton received the Steel Manufacturers Association 2005 Recycler of the Year award for manufacturing improvements that resulted in $1.7 million in savings for the company and significant contributions to the environment. CIRAS received assistance on the project from the Iowa Energy Center and the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • CIRAS and the ISU Department of Economics partnered with the Economic Development Administration to conduct a regional economic study on manufacturing in five southeast Iowa counties: Louisa, Muscatine, Des Moines, Henry and Lee. As a result, the Southeast Iowa Regional Economic Development Consortium intends to develop a marketing plan, create an entrepreneur program and work to expand opportunities for existing companies.


See ISU Extension’s 2005 Annual Report for more examples of how ISU Extension is advancing Iowa’s economic vitality and improving quality of life. Learn more about the Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS).



Contacts :

Laura Sternweis, Continuing Education and Communication Services, (515) 294-0775, lsternwe@iastate.edu