News & events


Additive manufacturing developments powered by RAPDASA

1 October 2019 News & events

Over the past two decades, South Africa has seen significant advancements in Additive Manufacturing (AM), otherwise known as 3D printing. As a key player in enabling and developing the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) in the country, RAPDASA (Rapid Product Development Association of South Africa) is recognised as a showcase for the AM sector in South Africa, owing to its continued involvement and innovative growth in the industry.

RAPDASA held its 20th annual international conference in Bloemfontein on 6 – 8 November 2019. Through embracing the complete product development value chain, the organisation is utilising localisation of resources and products. Focused also on solving real-world problems, RAPDASA has been part of AM technology development across all facets of the industry.

AM technology has been active in South Africa for 21 years, with a steady market growth from a single 3D system SLA 250 in 1991, to approximately 5700 machines in 2018. Commenting on the role of AM during the 4IR is one of RAPDASA’s founding members, Prof. Willie du Preez: “Additive manufacturing is one of the key technologies in the fourth industrial revolution, which has impacted on industry role players like ourselves, research institutions, and also suppliers of the technology, all contributing towards establishing this technology firmly in the industry”.

The advantages of 3D printing have proved immensely beneficial to industry in South Africa through the localisation of resources, products, and the ability to develop and build machinery. RAPDASA has become a lead player in AM worldwide through its years of active and continuous involvement in the 3D printing world.

Established to create a community representing all facets of the AM sector, RAPDASA is also focused on solving real-world problems. Prof. Deon de Beer, a RAPDASA founding member, explains that South Africa is now at the stage where “new machines can be built to create success in developing our local materials and substituting imports”. This benefits the development of the entire value chain, starting from concept, to design and prototype development.

In addition, Prof. De Beer states that RAPDASA’s next step is to “make the South African community the gateway into Africa to also upgrade industry in neighbouring countries.” Through current projects with the University of Botswana and the Botswana Institute of technology, RAPDASA is transferring knowledge of developing customised implants and planning models to improve quality of life for all, Prof. de Beer explains.

South Africa had a late start with Rapid Prototyping (RP), with the first system installed in 1991. Up until 1994, only three systems were available in the country. With RAPDASA well established on the global map, “South Africa’s position and adoption of technology among organisations, academics, researchers, and government, has rapidly accelerated,” states Dr. Terry Wohlers, a RAPDASA founding member.

Compared to international development of 3D printing technology over the last 20 years, Dr. Wohlers has this to say: “Some of the first applications of the technology were seen at the Centre For Rapid Prototyping And Manufacturing at CUT (Central University of Technology), which has been, for a very long time, on par and even exceeding the status of many companies in the US.”

With all the development of AM technology locally as well as globally, the future of RAPDASA is “industry-focussed, aligning with industry steered research and training towards valorisation,” claims current RAPDASA chairperson, Prof. André van der Merwe.

Machines and processes are now able to produce multiples of custom products, with skilled engineers who can understand the intricacies of AM design completely. RAPDASA’s involvement during the 4IR has catapulted the development and utilisation of 3D printing technology, which has come to not only benefit South Africa, but neighbouring countries as well. The association has been instrumental in creating awareness of the potential of AM in solving real-world problems to make changes and improvements to benefit everyone.

For more information visit https://site.rapdasa.org




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

BI leverages synergies across Hudaco Group
First Quarter 2020 , News & events
Being part of the broader Hudaco Group allows Bearings International (BI) to leverage synergies across a broad range of companies, meaning it can offer a complete product basket at its extensive branch ...

Read more...
IIoT, Industrie 4.0 or 4IR?
First Quarter 2020, Technews Publishing , News & events
We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten: Bill Gates

Read more...
Nidec extends warranty on Commander drives
First Quarter 2020, Nidec Industrial Automation Southern Africa , News & events
Control Techniques has launched a free, five-year warranty for its Commander range of general-purpose drives. Anyone who purchases a drive from the Commander range will now be able to register to extend ...

Read more...
Stone-Stamcor boosts Cape Town operation
First Quarter 2020, Stone Stamcor , News & events
In order to enhance its service to its Western and Eastern Cape customers, Stone-Stamcor has embarked on a business improvement project for its Cape Town branch. The new location of the branch will make ...

Read more...
Local finishing for switchgear
First Quarter 2020, Schneider Electric South Africa , News & events
Schneider Electric South Africa has announced that its PIX Easy Air Insulated Switchgear, previously 100% manufactured internationally, will now have a 68% local finishing process, reducing the customer ...

Read more...
Training rigs for Coca-Cola bottler
First Quarter 2020 , News & events
The first on-site Bosch Rexroth pneumatic training rigs have been installed in Africa. The rigs were supplied to Nairobi Bottlers, the base for Coca-Cola Beverages Africa Kenya, by Bosch Rexroth Kenya, ...

Read more...
Lubrication Engineers partners with Umuzi Engineers
First Quarter 2020 , News & events
Lubrication Engineers (LE) has partnered with Umuzi Engineers to tap the potential in new markets. Colin Ford, managing director at LE South Africa, says that Umuzi Engineers will operate as an independent ...

Read more...
Sasol award for Actom Turbo Machines
First Quarter 2020 , News & events
Petrochemical giant Sasol has recognised Actom Turbo Machines with one of its top 2019 awards for exceptional service in repair, refurbishment and ongoing maintenance. Actom Turbo Machines is the only ...

Read more...
Hytec Hydraulics Botswana opens service centre
First Quarter 2020 , News & events
Hytec Hydraulics Botswana recently officially opened its service centre in Gaborone. Tillmann Olsen, CEO for Bosch Rexroth South Africa, said the company is the largest manufacturer and supplier of hydraulic, ...

Read more...
Consolidation of tooling companies
First Quarter 2020 , News & events
INDUSTRI Tools & Equipment has recently been launched as part of the Engineering Solutions Group (ESG) of Invicta Holdings. Through the consolidation of six independent tooling companies – Man-Dirk, Tool ...

Read more...