In imitation of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, where the first Fabrication Laboratory was established, Wageningen has its own FabLab now too. The workshop for new technology is housed in Plus Ultra II, next-door to the Starthub for innovative student companies. It has a 3D printer, a laser cutter, a foil cutter, and a milling cutter. And they are all computer-guided, says Marcel van Dijk, one of 20 volunteers who keep the FabLab (a foundation) going.
The FabLab primarily supports young Wageningen startups. The 3D printer has just made several bee containers for the company InsectSense. Other things made here include Reshore’s prototype for a floating breakwater, and apparatus for FarmVent and Livestock Robotics.
But the FabLab is also open to researchers and companies from outside WUR, says Van Dijk. The dairy giant FrieslandCampina recently asked to use the FabLab.
The FabLab primarily supports young Wageningen startups with new technology
The company is also working with the Bioprocess Engineering chair group to find out how WUR can recycle its plastic waste. One of the questions is which plastics go into the rubbish bin, and whether you might be able to use them in the 3D printer.
Is Van Dijk looking for more volunteers? ‘That is tricky at the moment with the coronavirus rules, but people who enjoy working with machinery and making things together with others are always welcome.’
There are about 100 companies on campus. We introduce them to you in Resource. This time, meet FabLab in Plus Ultra II.