Manufacturing

Research Group Members:

Dimitri Dimitrov
STC-LAM Researcher & Emeritas Professor
Research Groups:
RPD/IAT
Manufacturing

Theuns Dirkse van Schalkwyk
Senior Lecturer
Research Groups:
Manufacturing

Stephen Matope
Senior Lecturer
Research Groups:
Manufacturing

Tiaan Oosthuizen
Associate Professor
HEAD of STC-LAM

Research Groups:
STC-LAM
Manufacturing

André van der Merwe
Associate Professor
Research Groups:
Manufacturing

The range of advanced machines in the Rapid Product Development Laboratory (RPDLab) in the Department of Industrial Engineering can be utilised in the fields of reverse engineering, computer-aided design, quality control and rapid product development. This well-equipped Laboratory places it in an excellent position to make a giant contribution towards the tooling industry in South Africa.

The RPDLab already works closely with the tooling industry to expand skills and expertise and to improve competitiveness of manufacturers in especially the small, medium and micro industries. This is done by presenting workshops, industry days and short courses, as well as carrying out research and providing services to industry.

In 2004 the Toolmaking Association of South Africa (TASA) was established as a representative body for the South African tool, die and mould making industry. TASA was the big impetus behind the creation of a national programme aimed at strengthening the above-mentioned industry in South Africa. This is in line with the focus that the National Development Plan places on manufacturing in industry.

On order to expand expertise in the tooling industry, TASA provided a mandate to the National Tooling Initiative (NTIP), a non-profit initiative, to develop short courses for training and to establish centres where training can be presented. The excellent machinery and expertise in the RPDLab makes this facility ideally suited to be set up and operated as such a centre. Therefore, the RPDLab has become involved in the NTIP programme and is currently being organised and equipped to train artisans and toolmakers for industry. Future prospects include the presentation of two two-year programmes comprising tailored modules for the training of Master Artisans and Masters in Tooling.

The RPDLab has several partners, the two most important probably being the Institute for Advanced Tooling (IAT) and Fraunhofer IWU. The Institute for Advanced Tooling (Western Cape) is housed in the RPDLab and also contributes towards the acceleration and expansion of research and development in the tooling industry. Cooperation between industry and the RPDLab and its partners is excellent. This cooperation implies, firstly, that the RPDLab and its partners do not compete with industry, but that they specifically support industry with design, manufacturing and research. Secondly, the RPDLab provides industry access to its expensive machinery, which the small, medium and micro industries cannot afford to acquire.

Dr Tiaan Oosthuizen heads the research group in the RPDLab. The cutting-edge machinery in the RPDLab comprises a Hermle C40 5 Axis Milling Centre, an M2 Laser Cusing Machine, a DMG Mori 3 Axis CNC Milling Machine, an Agies Charmilles CUT20 P EDM Wire and an Agies SPU EDM Spark.

1. Technological and Experimental Base

2. Third Stream Funds

1. Knowledge Generation

2. Human Capital Development

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