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TXRX Labs Named Partner and Operator of The Ion Prototyping Lab

by Ion

The Ion, a 266,000 square-foot innovation hub, today announced TXRX Labs, a Houston-based non-profit ideation, innovation, and training provider, will serve as the operator of The Ion Prototyping Lab. Officially named The Ion Prototyping Lab (IPL) powered by TXRX, the IPL is an innovation center that will allow startups and entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and industries access to equipment and technical support. Officially open today, it is the only space of this type in Houston that provides physical innovation capabilities in a collaborative and centralized hub open to the public.

TXRX’s services at the IPL will provide the Houston community with support, equipment, and hands-on training to jumpstart the activity of entrepreneurs, corporations, and researchers, such as scaling ideas or developing a physical model of a product. TXRX’s workforce development training and classes will focus on makers, equipment operation, and CAD/CAM. TXRX also offers ideation services, which include coaching, consulting, and prototyping to address startups’ challenges. Technical support and engineering resources will be provided through a staff of ideation, engineering, and fabrication experts.

Current programming guided by TXRX includes:

● Hands-on training classes in critical digital and manual skills such as SolidWorks, Mastercam, soldering, and embedded development.

● A Lunch and Learn event series that touches on emerging technologies like additive manufacturing, generative design, and IoT development.

● An internship program connecting startups and entrepreneurs with emerging engineering talent from Houston’s many universities.

“The Houston community’s growing need for these services has led to our growth from a small community organization to a partnership with Houston’s leading center for innovation, The Ion,” said Roland von Kurnatowski, President of TXRX Labs. “With our presence at The Ion and in its Prototyping Lab, we are able to join together innovative ideas and technology to create a social and collaborative space to support tomorrow’s entrepreneurs’ needs and challenges. You think it, we make it.”

The IPL’s 6,500 square-foot space was designed by the Houston office of global architecture and design firm Gensler, and is the largest open corporate and startup-aligned prototyping space in Houston. The IPL’s equipment and engineering resources are provided by TXRX and The Ion, which includes prototyping and small-batch manufacturing tools, such as laser cutters, CNC mills and lathes, electronics assembly equipment, and 3D printers. The space also has onsite access to engineers and advanced technicians in industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, software engineering, additive manufacturing, welding, machining, and laser cutting.

“As part of Gensler’s contributions to the development of The Ion, we strategically designed the Prototyping Lab to function as a dedicated space for innovators and entrepreneurs to collaborate,” said Vincent Flickinger, Senior Associate and Design Director of Gensler Houston. “The Ion Prototyping Lab is equipped with tools for prototyping robotics and other energy-focused innovations and cultivates an entirely new way of doing business in a reimagined, historic building and with one of Houston’s fastest-growing innovators, TXRX. We look forward to introducing the IPL’s offerings to the public.”

“With every step forward, with each new partner added and ongoing input from the community, we are solidifying Houston’s position as the epicenter for innovation and technology,’ said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “There is a growing need for these services among Houston’s startup community. Having ideas is one thing. Being able to execute them is far more difficult, especially if you are a small organization without the financial resources of big corporations and research labs. With The Ion Prototyping Lab powered by TXRX, we are breaking down the barriers that too often prevent entrepreneurs from taking their discoveries from the drawing board to reality.’

“This is another big step forward in realizing the vision for The Ion. The addition of The Ion Prototyping Lab to the Ion District will further drive highly productive collaborations between entrepreneurs, corporations, academics, and the greater Houston community,” said David Leebron, President of Rice University. “We’re thrilled to be opening the IPL in The Ion as these collaborations will not only strengthen Houston’s economic resiliency and competitiveness but attract and retain innovative talent, companies, and institutions.”

With a low-cost membership, participants will be able to access the IPL. For individuals who may need financial assistance, the IPL also provides grant opportunities. Before using the space and its equipment, participants will need to complete a safety and skills training course. Open hours for the IPL are from 9 am to 5 pm CST.

About the Ion

Ion: Where ideas go to grow. Located in Ion District, the namesake building is the transformative centerpiece of Houston’s innovation corridor. Designed to bring our city’s entrepreneurial, corporate, and academic communities into collaborative spaces and programs, the sunlit structure of steel and glass is a home for advancing diverse knowledge, teams, technologies, and products that propel our world forward. From Fortune 500s seeking flexible office space to first-time startups looking for the funding to design a prototype, the Ion provides wide-reaching space and support to connect every What if with What now?—welcoming individuals and teams of all kinds to a place to build a better way.

About TXRX Labs: Established in 2008, TXRX Labs is a non-profit innovation and job training provider for the greater Houston area. Housed in the East End District, TXRX offers engineering and fabrication services along with job training programs for in-demand careers, along with courses in and access to its rapid prototyping labs, woodshop, machine shop, electronics lab, and a wide variety of other tools for the public. Its goal is to make Houston the 21st-century manufacturing Hub of the United States to ensure a vibrant and equitable economy for all Houstonians.

About Gensler: Gensler is a global architecture, design, and planning firm with 49 locations across Asia, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, and the Americas. Founded in 1965, the firm serves more than 3,500 active clients in virtually every industry. Gensler designers strive to make the places people live, work, and play more inspiring, more resilient, and more impactful.