By: Selina Rapulane- 15 March 2023

Ms Pako Magagane and Mr Godfrey Nwanekah (green T-shirt) with staff members from Tulprochem

From 27 February to 3 March 2023, the Vaal University of Technology (VUT)’s Idea 2 Product Lab (I2P) trained five individuals from Tulprochem on Additive Manufacturing/3D printing – a method of creating a three-dimensional object layer-by-layer using a computer created design. Tulprochem is a black owned multidisciplinary engineering, environmental & technology company that was established in 2016.

The training was offered by Mr Godfrey Nwanekah: Lab Technician and Ms Pako Magagane: I2P Trainer and the trainees were taken through a series of what 3D printing is and how they can apply it in their everyday lives.

The training empowered the trainees to think outside the box, locally conceptualize, define, develop, and design their own solutions to problems as well as offer new ways of thinking about addressing their own local problems. The training served as a bridge to the digital divide by making available and accessible Computer Aided Design and manufacturing.

“I believe this skill the trainees received will surely benefit them and their company to an extent, as it has enabled them to become more knowledgeable and develop new competencies that will surely make them more versatile in their roles at their workplace”, commented Mr Nwanekah.

The I2P Lab Basic 3D Design and 3D Printing Training is an upskilling within the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) ambit. This training offers skills development and training in areas of product development in the form of basic 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD), part modelling, as well as 3D printing.

The I2P Lab and the training provided within it enable grassroots inventions by providing a platform where communities can have access to advanced tools that can help people make products to address local needs.

Among others, I2P Lab training activities includes:

  • Training, short course and skills development in product development by making use of 3D design software and 3D printing technology
  • Technology Demonstrations
  • Information on 4IR and how 3D printing fits
  • Project development, from conception to final printed product
  • Manufacturing processes using 3D Printing technology
  • Mentoring and transfer of skills and technology

The lab also offers technology intervention and empowerment within communities in the forms of outreach programmes, excursions to showcase the 3D printing technologies on various platforms such as university open days, exhibitions, shows, on and off-campus training.