Manufacturing 4.0: A strategic plan for a critical industry sector

By April 13, 2021 No Comments

manufacturing equipmentThe Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) recently issued a much-anticipated Manufacturing 4.0 plan, which states that Iowa manufacturers must pursue advanced manufacturing products and processes that incorporate cutting-edge, innovative technologies. 

This report stresses that to remain competitive in the global economy, Iowa manufacturers must implement industry 4.0 principles and practices. These include internet-connected devices, additive manufacturing, advanced robotics, augmented reality and cybersecurity. Digital technologies may not replace jobs, but they will transform how work is performed – how products are designed, fabricated, used and serviced. 

Iowa’s ability to compete globally, according to the report, will depend on how successfully manufacturers transition to new operating modelsSmall-to-medium sized manufacturers will face mounting pressure from the larger manufacturers they supply. 

This plan outlines five strategic priorities: 

  1. Adopting and Utilizing Manufacturing 4.0 Technology 
  2. Enabling Infrastructure of Digital Technologies 
  3. Improving Supply Chain Linkages 
  4. Accelerating Manufacturing Startups and Scale-ups 
  5. Ensuring an Effectively Trained Workforce 

 Each section suggests specific actionto achieve success. The plan concludes with a Call-to-Action to leaders from both the public and private sectors to rally together in a coordinated and focused vision. 

Alliant Energy and Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) created theDigital Manufacturing Lab Powered by Alliant Energy to help businesses evaluate problems and find opportunities using manufacturing 4.0 technology. The lab brings students and faculty from a variety of backgrounds to help companies solve problems and stimulate innovative ideas. CIRAS can help industry test new technology such as cobots, 3-D scanning and other technology and train staff how to use it. Iowa manufacturers are encouraged to tap into this valuable resource. To learn more, visit