The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) MIMAROPA is set to open an innovation laboratory or “Innolab” to step up Palawan’s creative industry.
InnoLab is a prototyping facility that will allow local souvenir producers and manufacturers access to computer-based technologies that design and fabricate competitive products.
In a press release provided by DOST-MIMAROPA to Palawan News on August 5, it said that InnoLab currently houses computer-numerical-controlled (CNC) milling machine, which is used for “engraving, facing, drilling, and cutting metals, wood, plastic, and other hard materials”.
The facility will be managed by one of Palawan’s largest universities, the Western Philippines University (WPU) so that “local designers, hobbyists, engineers, researchers, and students” can access it.
Palawan’s high demand for souvenirs
Palawan being one of the best islands in the world is known for catering tourists who incite higher demand for Palaweño souvenirs.
“Unfortunately, the locals could have enjoyed but, unfortunately, not every product that can be bought on the island is locally made. Foreign products dominate the Palawan souvenir scene since buying these products in wholesale is relatively cheaper and easier than producing local products,” DOST in the province said in a statement.
According to its statement, the high cost of production is rooted from the lack of necessary facilities that can assist the local manufacturers in product design, development, and streamlining of product process.
It also indicated that the Pearl and Souvenir Shops Association of Puerto Princesa City and Palawan (PASSAPPP) told them that executing design ideas is time-consuming and without a guarantee of proper execution as sketching to prototype conversion are done manually.
DOST-MIMAROPA has partnered with WPU to establish this laboratory as an “avenue” for Palawan souvenir manufacturers to complete globally through latest technologies.
Technologies inside the facility will help them in “designing and creating prototype and scale models, utilizing local materials and mass-production of products”.
“With this in place, it will also ensure the marketability of the souvenir products by supporting short-run production for market validation. For effective operation and management, the assigned InnoLab’s manager and other stakeholders learned best practices from operational laboratories in other provinces and the importance of proper networking and linkages with existing and future innovators in Palawan,” DOST in the region also said in a statement.
Equipment were already installed in the InnoLab on July 24 to 27, 2019.
As part of the launching preparations, DOST-MIMAROPA personnel and WPU staff underwent technology training with a 3D-technology-provider, the Omnifab, Inc.
“The Palawan InnoLab is expected to operate as soon as possible,” DOST in the region said in a statement.