EC leads high-tech manufacturing push

31 July 2018 | Web Article Number: ME201810992

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NATIONAL awards officially recognising innovation and excellence in advanced manufacturing will be made for the first time in South Africa during November.

The National Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Awards is hosted under the auspices of the DTI and co-funded by the national Composites Cluster with a wide scope including the key drivers of the 4th industrial revolution.

All companies operating in the advanced manufacturing field, including 3D printing, robotics, automation, Artificial Intelligence (AI), laser cutting and etching, CNC machining, software, big data, IOT and composites will be eligible for national recognition.

EC leads high-tech manufacturing push
Composites Cluster MD, Andy Radford

Companies or organisations may make submissions in six categories including: Scholarly impact in advanced manufacturing, Industry advancement in advanced manufacturing, Export proficiency, Contribution to Import replacement, Composites Innovation and Most promising “start- up or newcomer”.

Composites Cluster MD, Andy Radford, formerly an industrialist at the CSIR, before the Composites Cluster was established with the support of the South African government, said the awards would play a key role in advancing the country's advanced manufacturing agenda.

"As we push to consolidate and develop our manufacturing strategy, it is essential that as a collective, government and private sector stakeholders identify, promote and reward innovation in the advanced manufacturing and composites industry."

Radford said the awards, which would be made annually at the African Advanced Manufacturing and Composites Show (with the inaugural event set to take place from November 7-9) would also "aim to showcase South Africa’s capabilities and popularise Advanced Manufacturing in industry and to learners".

The National Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Awards will take place as part of the African Advanced Manufacturing and Composites Show at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth from November 7-9 and will include an exhibition, conferences and factory tours.

Organisers say several international delegations have already confirmed, including leading advanced manufacturing companies from France and Germany, while a focused campaign will draw dominant advanced manufacturers from Africa.

"While manufacturing remains an essential part of South Africa's economy - contributing around 19% of GDP, our efforts towards Advanced Manufacturing in South Africa are highly fragmented, but we do have significant pockets of excellence,'' Radford said.

"The African Advanced Manufacturing and Composites Show will not only bring all the key role-players and technology partners together towards a common vision, it would also inspire emerging engineers."

"Three-dimensional printing, lasers, automation and artificial intelligence are exciting tools to encourage a new generation of engineers and scientists but we need to expose them and industry to these technologies and there is no time to waste.”

The show will be accessible to both trade and public visitors. For more information visit

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