Hackathon ‘Innovating Together’, Tunisian-German Cooperation

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The New Production Institute is leading a week-long hackathon at the beginning of March to solve industry-related problems in the OpenLab Tunis at the CETTEX technical center in Tunis, Tunisia. During the week from March 4 to March 8, 2024, several teams from the industry-related technical centers will work on the conception and implementation of their ideas and solutions for problems that have been selected in exchange with industrial companies. On Friday, March 8, the hackathon will conclude with a pitch event to present the resulting prototypes to an extended audience as part of a soft opening ceremony at OpenLab Tunis, which will be attended by the Tunisian Ministry of Industry and the GIZ Tunisia as well as the General Directions of the technical centers.

The hackathon will promote cooperation and the exchange of knowledge between the participating industry-related technical centers. At the same time, the work in an open laboratory for manufacturing technologies will be tested in a practical way using various case studies and the prototyping process will be traced from a problem or a challenge via initial ideas and possible solutions to a tangible prototype and implemented in the individual hackathon teams using the knowledge acquired in the workshops.

The participants are not left to their own, but are actively advised and supported by the project manager Dr. Juan Manuel Grados Luyando (NPI) and a team of technical assistants from our partner InMachines Ingrassia GmbH in collaboration with the local open source hardware specialist Fab 619. Each hackathon day also begins with short morning lectures by the project team members involved in order to provide theoretical guidance for the learning processes and link them to the subsequent practical implementation.

The OpenLab Tunis, which was set up as part of the ‘Digital4jobs’ project funded by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in coordination with the Tunisian Ministry of Industry and our implementation partner Ingrassia Machines GmbH, serves as a production laboratory for the physical implementation of the developed concepts in prototypes. The machines, 3D printers, CNC machines and laser cutter ready for use in the OpenLab Tunis for the development of prototypes were built by participants from the technical centers of Tunisia in several open source hardware building workshops, so that the participants could understand the functioning of the machines and their components.

The aim was to enable the partners to use, maintain, develop, modify and repair the open source machines themselves in the future. The workshops were organized by the project management of the Helmut Schmidt University/University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg, Germany, and carried out by the open source hardware specialist InMachines Ingrassia GmbH in cooperation with Fab619, an open source hardware specialist in Tunisia. The project is funded by GIZ.

The New Production Institute of the Helmut Schmidt University / Bundeswehr University has set up the OpenLab Tunis as an open laboratory for digital manufacturing to promote the innovation strategy of local value creation with digital manufacturing tools on the way to Industry 4.0 in Tunisia. This activity is part of the national initiative “Towards an Industry 4.0 Tunisia” of the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Energy, supported by the special initiative “Decent Work for a Just Transition” – Invest for Jobs of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by the Digital Transformation Program of GIZ Tunisia in partnership with experts from Helmut Schmidt University.