21 September 2014
By Craig Hingston
IT’S called the ENVIZAGE:LAB and it is the first of its kind to be established in Australia.
The new technology lab is the brain child of Hills engineer Dr Michael Myers OAM who is passionate about making leading edge technology available to business and the education sector.
The first ENVIZAGE:LAB features a wide range of state of the art 3D design and manufacturing equipment which are specifically designed to operate safely in a business office-workshop or classroom environment: multi-axis Denford lathes, machining centres, routers, GCC laser cutters, vinyl cutters, Makerbot 3D printers, a digitising scanner as well as manufacturing software.
“For Australia to continue to be a nation of innovators it is vital that understand the technology being used by the rest of the world,” said My Myers.
“Especially in the area of 3D design to manufacture. Big business can afford this technology and all too often small and medium businesses miss out. This is why I have taken the time to source the best products from around the world, which are priced for small business, and bring them together in one place.”
“At the same time we need to attract young people to the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Often these are perceived as ‘dry’ subjects and students don’t take the time to discover the amazing technology attached to these disciplines.
“I have been involved with in-class technology programs across the nation for over 15 years from primary to high school age. When you give them access to real-world technology they become motivated, use their imagination, become problem solvers and these subjects come alive.”
Dr Myers says the ENVIZAGE:LAB is both a physical and online resource. The techno-lab is located at Castle Hill where business owners, product designers, engineers, teachers and students can see the equipment in action and the same equipment is available via the website www.envizage.com.au
“The ENVIZAGE:LAB is a centre of collaborative technology. A demonstration to industry and educators of what equipment is available, how it operates and the outcomes they can expect from it.”
Dr Myers says knowing about this equipment and using it will help companies to become more competitive on the local and world stage. New ideas can be turned into finished products faster and with much less development cost.
“I want to give as many people as possible the opportunity to understand the connection between conceiving an idea, developing it as a three dimensional object in design software and then manufacturing it via a range of methods and materials – be it using a desktop 3D printer or machining it from plastic, wood or metal with a multi-axis router or machine centre, or by etching it from a block of material with a laser scanner.
“The result will be that we keep raising the bar here in Australia and remain a nation of incredibly talented innovators.”
Dr Myers says he plans to establish other ENVIZAGE:LAB’s across the country. This will involve upgrading the current university/TAFE college/school-based technology hubs which he has helped establish to support schools participating in the F1 in Schools program.
Dr Myers is responsible for bringing the international F1 in Schools Technology Challenge to Australia in the late 90s and he used this as a platform to usher in real-world engineering and manufacturing equipment into classrooms.
To date more than 300,000 students have accessed to this equipment. Australian schools compete against more than 30 other countries and for the past three years in a row Australian students have been judged the smartest in the world.
Dr Myers is inviting Hills-based businesses and schools to visit his new ENVIZAGE:LAB and see it the technology in operation.