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Fast, iterative fabrication as a way to test new concepts quickly is essential to effective prototyping. At FAB’LAB 58 – Sébastien Carlier takes the lead for everything fabrication related.




Why FAB’LAB 58?

The human side of Poclain’s company culture and the local history is what lured Sébastien Carlier to send in a spontaneous application in early 2019, “I wanted to be a part of a company where I’m not just treated like a number. I wanted to be part of something bigger. Poclain has a lot of history, and is really well known where I live.”


Timing was optimal, because coming from the CETIM* with over 12 years of experience working with pressure equipment in a number of different industries, an educational background in industrial product and mechanical system design, and a taste for innovation, Sébastien was a perfect fit for the new FAB’LAB 58 team. “I wanted to concentrate more on developing my competencies in product design and conception using newer tech like 3D printing. Poclain offered me an opportunity to focus more closely on those areas.”

Fabrication – integrating new ideas

From concept fabrication to 3D printing and modeling, researching and developing innovative fabrication methods is Sébastien’s “super power”.  Sébastien shares, “One of our big projects is to see how we [Poclain] can accelerate and have a faster fabrication time. It’s my job to research new technologies, and keep up to date on advancements with traditional machining tech such as CNC.”


This year, Sébastien’s focus is on supporting Poclain’s design office. His research is helping determine what types of fabrication or machining would make sense to integrate vertically into the prototyping processes to speed up product development; “I have a couple of hot topics that I’m working on right now – the first one is exploring how we can capitalize on plastic injection molding, second is 3D plastic and metallic printing.”


Additive manufacturing technologies along with plastic injection molding provide a range of material hardnesses to work with. They help to reduce the amount of time needed to produce a prototype. Sébastien is exploring ideas around accelerating testing processes with these technologies – moving from static 3D printed pieces to integrated 3D pieces that move. These different degrees of intricately printed pieces help the team to understand and evaluate the mechanisms that they are developing – reducing the time, effort and cost associated with traditional machining.


For Sébastien – 3D printing is a real passion. “I use 3D printing at home too! I bought my first one over four years ago.” Sébastien talks about using his 3D printer for home projects, “When I first moved in to my house, I needed a place to hang up the showerhead. Instead of buying something, I 3D printed the hook.” Sébastien goes on, “I do many things like that: making toys for my children, printing things for friends and family. Another example was for the broken hinge joint on my father’s refrigerator. Instead of buying a new one, I printed one.”

FAB’LAB 58 culture from the inside

Skills and qualifications aside, it takes a special type of personality to be a part of FAB’LAB 58. According to Sébastien, “The team is 50% DIY and 50% exploration. If we see something new, we can’t wait to share it. The fab lab doesn’t feel like work. It’s more like meeting up with likeminded people motivated by the same things.”


The team’s enthusiasm to jump in on any hands-on project is proof of their innate ingenuity and curiosity. Sébastien shares,


“When the new 3D printers came in, we put them together as a team. We were all waiting for them. We kept asking Julien [Viard – FAB’LAB 58 Manager] when they were coming. When they finally got here, we all joined in to build them together. It wasn’t just fun, it helped us learn how they work. Now if we have an issue we will be able to troubleshoot it ourselves.”

A link to the environment

Researching ways to reduce a product’s environmental impact is another theme at FAB’LAB 58. As an environmentally conscious apiculturist and agriculture enthusiast, Sébastien is happy to make the link between the things he is passionate about and his work,


“What I’m doing here fits with who I am. The fact that we work with agriculture hits home with me. At the beginning of the pandemic, I worked on a farm near my house. When I said I work for Poclain, that meant something. That was a matter of pride for me. Poclain and Agriculture go hand in hand. It’s our roots. Developing cleaner products that meet farmers’ needs is part of the game for me.”


This is where the lines between career and passion blur for Sébastien. “We are looking at the environmental impact of a motor and there are some big things moving. We can’t ignore this issue – professionally or personally.”

The ingredients for innovation

FAB’LAB 58 is above all a place for innovation. Everyone’s understanding of what it means to innovate is a little different. For Sébastien the best ingredients are “one part crazy and one part ideas, and you never know, it just might work. We aren’t inventors– we are innovators. We want to make our products better. The root invention is already there, but it’s exciting to think of where we can go with it.”


*The Technical Centre for Mechanical Industry, established in France in 1965 in order to improve companies’ competitiveness through mechanical engineering, transfer of innovations and advanced manufacturing solutions.


Want to collaborate? Contact Renaud Saboly, Innovation Transformation Manager or  Julien Viard, Fab’Lab 58 Manager