SUNConferences, RAPDASA 2014

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THE USE OF AM TO SUPPORT STRATEGIES FOR REGIONAL INNOVATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Deon Johan De Beer

Last modified: 2014-10-15

Abstract


The proposed paper and presentation will focus on the use of Additive Manufacturing (AM) platforms to develop an innovation support strategy for the Vaal Region, following an industry cluster approach. As part of the impact review, several successful industrial development case studies and the related outcomes, based on the use of AM technologies to create cluster-focused innovation support platforms will be discussed. Importantly, the early results also indicate that the local /regional approached taken, are equally applicable towards establishing national support strategies / platforms. In addition, both the impact on the host institution, as well as the region will form part of the review (following Porter’s theses). Of special importance, is the way in which the activities also created a foundation to develop a rural science and technology park development strategy, which may have significant impact on the future of sciencepark development strategies for developing economies. Interestingly, the results also show that whilst incubation and new venture creation are  important aspects of successful local and regional economic development strategies and obvious areas where the use of AM can play a significant role, it is as important to find support strategies for existing / conventional industries to maintain job opportunities and as such, help to “save” existing industries. The paper will also discuss the impact of AM on last-mentioned, as part of an industry renewal strategy to refocus existing industries on competitive product development with the aim to counter expensive (and often inferior) imports,whilst in parallel, using AM platforms to improve on efficiency, cleaner production and waste minimisation. In addition, the contribution made to AM development in SA by using a focused, industry supported cluster approach, will be highlighted.



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