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Turkish ambassador launches digital fabrication laboratory at Wits

- Wits University

Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) and Wits University launch FabLab.

Wits University in partnership with TIKA launched a digital fabrication lab  (FabLab) in the School of Electrical and Information Engineering under the directorship of Professor Turgay Celik. The digital fabrication lab is designed to inspire Wits researchers and students to turn ideas into real products using a range of advanced digital manufacturing technology and knowledge. It is envisaged that access to the lab will accelerate innovation.

Ribbon cutting

The launch was attended by Turkish Ambassador Ms. Ayşegül Kandas and country representatives, Wits leaders, academics, as well as students.

In her speech Ambassador Kandas welcomed the collaboration between Wits University, TIKA and Turkey, noting that Wits is the first institution of higher learning that she has visited since coming into office. She said she is keen to see more partnerships between the University and institutions of learning in Turkey.

Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, Vice-Chancellor and Principal at Wits University emphasised the importance of creating an enabling environment adding that, “the work coming from the lab will go a long way in inspiring innovation on campus, as well as building Wits’ relationship with Turkish institutions.”

The lab called the Cezeri lab is kitted with the latest digital technologies ranging from 3D printers, scanners, laser cutting machines to CNC routers, desktop lathes, bench drills, computers, digital microscopes, robotic training sets, and various mechanical-electronic equipment.

Prior to the opening, 10 Wits students and staff members participated in and completed a training programme organised by TIKA. The training covered equipment use in order to ensure optimum results and machine longevity.

Tau Mmanchidi, training beneficiary and Technician Computronics at the School believes that “the establishment of the fabrication laboratory on the campus is a good opportunity for students and staff to present their ideas”. Mmanchidi hopes that students and staff can commercials their products tested and produced at the lab.

The lab is inspired and named after Ismail Al-Jazari a polymath: a scholar, inventor, mechanical engineer, artisan, artist as well as mathematician. Al-Jazari has been described as the "father of robotics" and modern-day engineering. Cezeri is the Turkish spelling and pronunciation of Al-Jazari.