SUNConferences, RAPDASA 2014

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IMPLEMENTING THE SOUTH AFRICAN ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY ROADMAP – THE ROLE OF AN ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING CENTRE OF COMPETENCE
Willie Bouwer du Preez, Deon de Beer

Last modified: 2014-11-02

Abstract


Following on a resolution of the Annual General Meeting of RAPDASA in 2012 expressing the need for a national Additive Manufacturing Roadmap, the South African Department of Science and Technology commissioned the development of a South African Additive Manufacturing Technology Roadmap in the second half of 2013. Such a technology development route was intended to guide South African players in identifying economic opportunities, addressing technology gaps, focusing development programmes and informing investment decisions that would eventually enable local companies and industry sectors to become global leaders in selected areas of additive manufacturing. With this technology roadmap available, the challenge remains for South Africa to decide on the most efficient implementation approach towards ensuring maximum impact in the shortest possible time. This paper introduces the concept of a national Additive Manufacturing Centre of Competence as primary implementation vehicle for the South African Additive Manufacturing Technology Roadmap. The support of the current leading players in additive manufacturing in the country for such a centre of competence is shared and their key roles are indicated. A summary of the investments that the leading players have already made in the focus areas of the Additive Manufacturing Centre of Competence over the past two decades is given as confirmation of their commitment towards the advancement of the additive manufacturing technology. An exposition is given of how the Additive Manufacturing Centre of Competence could indeed become the primary initiative for achieving the agreed national goals on additive manufacturing. Consequently, this leads to the conclusion that investment by public and private institutions in an Additive Manufacturing Centre of Competence would be the next step towards ensuring South Africa’s continued progress in the field.