The UNI Metal Casting Center (MCC) is a growing resource for the UNI community and beyond, serving students, the Cedar Valley community and the manufacturing industry at large. The MCC has grown so much, its operations have expanded into two different locations—a mini foundry focused on metal casting, located on campus in UNI’s Industrial Technology Center, and the location housed on the TechWorks Campus, which focuses more on additive manufacturing and producing molds for metal casting.
Together, the two MCC locations offer UNI students a variety of tools and training to prepare them for work in the industry. Students get hands-on experience and work closely with a variety of community partners to help develop new technologies that often become industry standard. It’s no wonder the MCC was just awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
“We’ve been expanding, growing, adding more students, adding more professional staff to mentor those students and making a bigger impact in the industry,” said Jerry Thiel, director of the MCC. “This funding gives us a unique opportunity … to bring a level of attention, technology development and support for the technology that we haven’t seen before.”
More specifically, the grant will help expand the MCC’s 3-D printing. The MCC had already set a record for having the largest 3-D sand printer in the continent when it obtained the six-ton ExOne S-Max Sand Printer in 2014. This grant will allow the MCC to further upgrade equipment, giving students the chance to work with new materials and develop technologies to help innovate the industry.