Thales Alenia Space has established a new FabLab (fabrication laboratory) at their plant in Charleroi, Belgium. This approach reflects the company’s ongoing digital transformation to anticipate disruptive advances in the space industry.
Following the company’s first FabLabs in Toulouse, Cannes and Rome, this latest addition is tasked with stimulating innovation and supporting the Charleroi plant’s push to spur sustainable growth in Belgium. Open to all Thales Alenia Space employees, the FabLab is an idea incubator that fosters creativity by providing access to rapid prototyping tools, both hardware and software. Above all, it’s a forum that facilitates discussions and the sharing of ideas to complement the current industrial organization.
Charleroi’s FabLab is organized in different zones: brainstorming, mechanical and electronic fabrication, 3D printing and digital design. All of these activities, whether professional or even personal (provided the participant complies with sharing and transparency requirements), involve taking ideas through the prototyping, experimental, test, simulation and fabrication phases.
The expected deliverables from the FabLab approach include the development of new technologies, concept validation for all new solutions and the real-world assessment of applications and user needs to learn lessons and address system-level requirements. At the same time, FabLabs are designed to stimulate and strengthen teamwork by cementing ties between employees during their free time. It’s an excellent way of thoroughly irrigating the company with expertise concerning the digital transformation and new technologies.
Working hand in hand with Thales Alenia Space’s Innovation Cluster, FabLabs are open to collaboration with universities, research centers and small businesses. They will also nurture the development of innovative solutions, research programs and training. With the commissioning of its fourth FabLab, Thales Alenia Space continues its ongoing transformation to keep pace with the evolving New Space environment.
“The creation of this new space – open to all – encourages experimentation, sharing knowledge and applying it to creativity and innovation,” said Ina Maller, General Director of Thales Alenia Space in Belgium. “With the opening of this FabLab in Belgium, I’m delighted to give all of our employees, whether in R&D, production or other departments, the opportunity to pursue innovative professional or personal projects.”