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NWU Engineering encourages entrepreneurship in communities through I2P Lab

The Faculty of Engineering on the North-West University’s (NWU’s) Potchefstroom campus recently added an Idea2Product (I2P) Lab to its technology arsenal.

The I2P Lab is a national initiative funded by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). It was born from the DSI’s FabLab concept, but where the FabLab was mainly aimed at staff and students, the I2P Lab focuses on community engagement and making 3D printing, scanning and related technology accessible to everyone.

Typical equipment one would find in such a lab include a 3D printer and scanner, a laser cutter, a computer numerical control (CNC) machine, hand tools and an electronic station.

Adri Benadé from the School of Mechanical Engineering says the main aim of the lab is to empower staff, students and especially community members by teaching them more about 3D printing and related technologies, and giving them access to technology and expertise at an affordable price, which will accelerate innovation and economic development.

“Anyone with an idea is welcome to visit the lab to create a prototype of a final product,” says Benadé.

“We are focusing especially on struggling communities, and by using this lab, people from rural areas can now develop products to sell within their own and neighbouring communities.

“This could lead to an increase in new ideas, new products and new mini economies that would lead to improving economic conditions in underdeveloped regions,” she adds.

According to Benadé, some equipment will also be placed at a special needs school in Potchefstroom to assist with skills development.

To find out more, please contact Benadé at 018 299 1335 or send an e-mail to [email protected].

Contact person: Adri Benade
Contact details: [email protected]

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