February 26, 2024

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Digital fabrication facility provides learning opportunities

Photo Credit: Swinburne University of Technology

ProtoLAB, the new digital fabrication facility of Swinburne University of Technology, has formally opened recently.

According to a recent press release, the expanded state-of-the-art workshop space is home to industrial robots for large scale architectural design prototyping.

About ProtoLAB

The ProtoLAB design features a glass façade, allowing natural light into all corners of the workspace.

Prototyping, digital fabrication, design and making in progress can easily be observed as the façade generates interest and creates a spectacle at the northern end of Swinburne’s Hawthorn campus.

People are often staring in and checking out what the students are creating.

Children press their faces against the glass, mesmerised, watching something being machined out of a block of foam – as if to appear by magic.

Additionally, the lab has a new high-speed 3D Printer that allows students to print complex geometry without needing to remove support material.

The Lab also boasts of the following technologies:

  1. A new Okuma CNC turn mill
  2. Seven laser cutters
  3. A Biesse CNC router
  4. A Multicam router
  5. Two KUKA collaborative robots designed to work with humans and
  6. A new larger KUKA KR120 robot, which is in constant use.

The KUKA KR120 runs on a 7.9 metre linear track, and reaches out to 3 metres. It has a sync table at one end and a horizontal positioner along one side for multi-axis machining.

Students learn about different technologies

Computer programs, and the students tethered to them are getting smarter. They are utilising parametric software to control not only a model’s shape but also the robot or machine attached.

By using data and analytics they work out what is required, reducing waste material and improving user experience.

Generative design and parametric design are not new ways of working, but easier ways of producing designs and communicating to the machines are progressively being discovered.

By teaching the full potential of Industry 4.0 machines, the students are enabled to translate these capabilities back into their designs with a deeper technical knowledge and understanding.

Providing different kinds of support

The ProtoLAB supports students in design, engineering and architecture and meets the needs of academic research, testing and industry partnered work.

In research, it supports conversations with research partners. There is an available space and large-scale robotics to undertake prototyping, fabrication and assembly at architectural scale.

A ‘soft prototyping lab’ integrates with design studios.

As ideas developed in the studios mature and upscale, they are translated to the main workshop space to use the large-scale robot to fabricate at full scale.

In doing so, they embrace the added risks and complexities that the ideas entail.

The ProtoLAB provides the luxury of space. Multiple classes and research activities occur simultaneously. Time consuming fabrication activities continue alongside student teaching.

In design, access to a top-quality workshop is a major attractor for both students and researchers for testing and developing ideas.

The quality of the workshop and expertise of staff are critical and regular access invaluable.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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