New Laboratory for Advanced Manufacturing and existing Institute for Advanced Tooling will fall under the umbrella of the STC.
Stellenbosch University’s Mechanical & Industrial Engineering Department has launched a new technology centre that will have an emphasis on industrial relevance, while incorporating a base for manufacturing engineering research. The facility will be housed at the Stellenbosch University campus in the Western Cape and will focus on identification, acquisition, mastering, multiplication and transfer of advanced technologies to industry through training, demonstration, and dissemination of the acquired and accumulated knowledge via short courses, conferences, seminars, workshops and limited services to local industry in South Africa.
The rationale behind the launch of the Stellenbosch Technology Centre (STC) is to bring industry closer to a state-of-the-art technology base for manufacturing engineering research, while offering the centre as an attractive and reliable partner for collaborative projects on a national and international level.
The STC will incorporate the Institute for Advanced Tooling (IAT), an initiative that was developed between the Department of Science and Technology and Stellenbosch University 10 years ago. The IAT’s main purpose was to grow young engineers and researchers, facilitate assistance to SMMEs, create employment opportunities and in turn, stimulate economic growth and the development of manufacturing companies involved in moulds and dies and special tooling, as well as skills development and technology transfer into the tooling industry.
The IAT has since been incorporated into the TIA’s Technology Stations Programme and has, over the years, developed state-of-the-art capacity and infrastructure for advanced manufacturing research, training, demonstration and technology transfer to industry.
The new Laboratory for Advanced Manufacturing (LAM) symbolises the research component and academic relevance of the facilities:
State-of-the-art technology base for manufacturing engineering research
Attractive and reliable partner for collaborative projects on a national and international level
Incorporating the Institute for Advanced Tooling into an integrated research domain
The evolution of the IAT and its transformation into these modern research facilities became possible through the longstanding support and core funding contributions from the following partners and organisations:
- The Technology Innovation Agency (TIA)
- The National Tooling Initiative Programme (NTIP)
The IAT is funded by TIA and administered by Stellenbosch University and its Industrial Engineering Department.
The STC is equipped with a state-of-the-art 5-axis Hermle HSC milling centre, a 3-axis Deckel-Maho milling centre, two EDM machines, one for spark eroding and one for wire cutting, a Concept laser selective laser melting machine for 3D printing of metal components, measuring and reverse engineering equipment, as well as various software systems for modelling and engineering analysis.
The Stellenbosch University and its Industrial Engineering Department maintains a number of in-house laboratories, including:
- Rapid Product Development Laboratory, which is now amalgamated into the STC
- Two laboratories with advanced computer and CAD facilities
- The Centre for Advanced Manufacturing (SENROB)
- Machining Laboratory
- Micro-manufacturing Laboratory
- Metrology (reverse engineering) Laboratory
“This has been a long walk to research maturity and industrial relevance,” said Prof Dimitri Dimitrov IAT Project Mentor during the inauguration of the STC at the end of January 2016.
“The 4th Industrial Revolution will enable the development of new business models, products and services, and is driving significant changes in many industry sectors globally. It is characterised by the rapid individualisation and hybridisation of products and services, and integration of customers and business partners into the business processes of companies. This revolution is enabled through high levels of digitisation and networking, and the emerging Internet of Things.”
“Companies, governments, and academia worldwide are facing new challenges to develop the appropriate regulatory frameworks, infrastructure, skills, and business approaches to respond to the new opportunities and challenges presented by this transformation.”
For further details, contact the Stellenbosch Technology Centre staff: Mike Saxer on TEL: 021 808 4567, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Nicholas Goniwe on TEL: 021 808 4132 email: email@example.com, Dr Tiaan Oosthuizen on TEL: 021 808 9531 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Original article from Casting SA, published by BA Crawford Specialised Publications (Pty) Ltd