The Bicol State College of Applied Sciences and Technology (BISCAST) has launched last November 17, 2017 its Manufacturing and Fabrication Laboratory (ManFabLab).
President Richard Cordial led the launching of ManFabLab as one of the highlights on the institution’s celebration of 5th Charter Anniversary.
The ManFabLab is currently in its second phase which focuses mainly on building preparation including the procurement and installation of all the equipment as well as the training of its core personnel.
It is envisioned that ManFabLab will establish a digital manufacturing laboratory (FabLab) in BISCAST and to create impact especially in fostering linkages with other FABLABS in the Philippines and abroad. ManFabLab is also expected to support the technology-driven product development innovation of BISCAST and to align its research and development agenda with the current trends in manufacturing technology.
The Story Behind ManfabLab
The concept started when DOST Regional Director Thomas Brinas brought the idea of fabrication and laboratory with President Cordial. The two mutually agreed that it would be beneficial not only to the institution but also to the community. Being one of the proponents and mind of BISCAST ManFabLab, DOST agreed to fund the project aside from the fund to be contributed by the institution.
To realize BISCAST ManFabLab, DOST sponsored the benchmarking at Bohol Island State University (BISU), the first FabLab in the Philippines. The benchmarking was attended by DOST officials, members of the Board of Directors, and BISCAST officials wherein they were able to see the setup of BISU FabLab which was established in 2014. BISU’s FabLab is also attached to DOST.
Meanwhile, VP for Academic Affairs Marlo Dela Cruz was assigned to create a concept paper necessary for the realization of BISCAST ManFabLab.
It was indeed a long journey before the institution could finally come up with a laboratory that is essential in developing the skills of ASTEANs. Several researches and studies backed its main purpose to emphasize the significance of supporting product development, production and manufacturing, integrative teaching as well as tour and visit.
In September 20, 2016, a memorandum of agreement was signed between BISCAST and the DOST. After a month, the transfer of fund was already approved.
BISCAST completely restructured the facility last December 2017 wherein a total of Php. 2,468,336.06 from the institution’s fund was utilized.
What ManFabLab offers
ManFabLab seeks to improve the competitive edge of the manufacturing industry sectors of Bicol Region and long term viability of the industry by providing necessary tools and equipment for the development of ideas into marketable products.
The ManFabLab will also serve as the training laboratory for students and help Technology-Based Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the entire Bicol region (and even neighboring regions), to develop the new breed of designers who can transform ideas into quality products.
This is the reason why BISCAST is eager to acquire state-of-the-art design, prototyping, and processing equipment such as CNC milling machine, ICT equipment, printers essential in product development, product design, fabrication, utility model development, and manufacture of innovation systems.
As of now, the ManFabLab has the Embroidery Machine with Digitizing Software which costs Php. 945,000.00 and was funded by BISCAST. This positions ManFabLab as one of the most advanced embroidery and digital fabrication laboratories in the country.
Equipment funded by the DOST were also delivered and installed including the 3D Printer worth Php. 242,316.00, Gantry-Based CNC Router worth Php. 2,300,000.00, Print and Cut Machine with PC (Metallic Digital Printer) worth Php. 1,200,000.00 and Small CNC Milling machine with PC which costs Php. 825,000.00.
Furthermore, the institution is waiting for the Laser Cutter and Engraver with Blower and Air Assist, both to be delivered by the Hinoki Global Concepts Inc.
Dela Cruz shared that the procurement process took them around a year since those equipment are considered “special” and are from different supplier. Hence, it required them to be keen on the specifications.
Aside from providing incubation laboratory where designers and innovators can do proof concept, Dela Cruz is optimistic that the ManFabLab can make BISCAST the center part of the global network of databases and digital fabrication laboratory.
Also, what makes BISCAST’s ManFabLab different from other FabLabs in the country is that it has a simulation room which helps in the concept design formulation.
Management Board and Project Operations Team
The ManFabLab has its own management board as part of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) wherein BISCAST President Cordial sits as the Chairman and DOST 5 Regional Director Tomas B. Briñas as co-chairman.
They are expected to provide direction and guidance in the implementation of the Bicol ManFabLab; secure and provide funding and resources to implement said laboratory, and to decide and resolve issues and concerns that may arise along project implementation.
Meanwhile, two personnel from College of Engineering and Architecture (CEA) including VPAA Dela Cruz, two personnel from Provincial Science and Technology Center and one representative from DOST 5 Project Management Unit are part of the project operations team.
The members of Project Operations Team are tasked to recommend to the management board all the tangible milestones, resource requirements and responsible units or groups for the efficient project implementation. It is also essential that they resolve operational issues and concerns, risks and challenges that may arise; perform monitoring and evaluation on a quarterly project and to oversee the business development and overall progress of the BISCAST ManFabLab.