An Institution of the Rhine-Waal University (HSRW)
Welcome to the Green FabLab!
We the members of the Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences who are actively contributing to the Green FabLab would like to discuss the challenges of global change with you and develop possible guidance to handle it.
Digital manufacturing for energy and environmental technology: the Green FabLab at Rhein-Waal University of Applied Sciences
To integrate digital future technologies in the schools of the Lower Rhine region and at the same time to contribute to the securing of young talent for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) – which is the goal of the Green FabLab. To this end, Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences has taken up a concept of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Fabrication Laboratory, or short FabLab.
What happens in a FabLab?
The term refers to an open high-tech workshop in which a wide variety of objects, sensors or machines can be manufactured by computer-controlled machines. This counter-trend to traditional consumerism is also known as the Maker Movement. For maker activities, FabLabs worldwide provide a variety of digital as well as conventional tools: in the workshops, printing, cutting and crafting is done with 3D printers, laser cutters, CNC milling machines (Fig. 1) and cutting plotters – but also with drills, soldering irons and sewing machines. FabLabs aim to give people free access to industrial production knowledge and production technology. And not only in industrialized nations, but also in developing and emerging countries. In this way, FabLabs make a contribution worldwide to increasing educational equity.
Making is the new digital do-it-yourself (DIY), so to speak. As a didactic concept, it focuses on the development of team skills and solution-oriented project work as well as on the development of interdisciplinary strategies of learning by publishing and discussing the projects in relevant expert forums via the Internet. This approach not only awakens interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (so-called STEM subjects) and builds competencies, but also specifically promotes inventiveness and innovation development (Fig. 2).
Stimuli for schools
With the Green FabLab and its sister institution FabLab Kamp-Lintfort, two student labs have been created with the support of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which aim to integrate the opportunities of digital change into school education in a sustainable way. Since 2015, the FabLab Kamp-Lintfort has been offering workshops that help students from grade 8 on to learn robotics, electrical engineering, computer-aided design (CAD), 3D printing and computer science (Fig. 3). Sustainability aspects and social commitment become visible in projects in which, for example, solutions for and with people with disabilities are developed or research is conducted on biomaterials. At the same time, the workshops at the Green FabLab will provide the additional benefit of a cost-effective expansion of the school infrastructure. For instance, advanced students can be helped to build their own 3D printer (Fig. 4) or precision milling machine.
We offer internships for German and international students with funding in the framework of IAESTE or ERASMUS.
Further information over our partners can be found here.
For more information and/or applications, contact us!