News


Additive manufacturing developments powered by RAPDASA

1 November 2019 News

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&160;250 in 1991, to approximately 5&160;700 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:

Locked down but not knocked out
25 March 2020, ExecuKit , News
As a business, we are facing extremely hard times with the current worldwide pandemic and isolation. We are all maintaining social distancing and must learn how to do business with an enforced lockdown ...

Read more...
From the editor’s desk: A new era – after mourning comes rebuilding
29 April 2020, Technews Publishing , News
When I sit down to write these columns once a month, even if the topic I decide to write about is not all sunshine and roses, I always try and look for a silver lining. I’m simply not able to do that ...

Read more...
Personality profile: Chris Viveiros
29 April 2020, Otto Wireless , News
The operations director of Otto Wireless Solutions shares his background, experience, advice and thoughts on the future.

Read more...
Locked down but not knocked out
29 April 2020, ExecuKit , News
We as a company salute the component suppliers who have supported us and are there to assist during this time even if the requests we pose are not always realistic.

Read more...
Electronics industry tackling the coronavirus
29 April 2020 , News
2020 has been a crazy year already. From Australian bushfires to climate emergencies to US trade tariffs, the start of the decade hasn’t been very positive. Not only this, within the last few months there ...

Read more...
SqwidNet becomes first Sigfox-accredited lab in southern hemisphere
29 April 2020, iSERT , News
iSERT (Safety, EMC, RF, Testing), a leader in the provision of turnkey testing solutions for EMC, RF and safety testing, has collaborated with SqwidNet, the only licenced Sigfox operator in South Africa, ...

Read more...
Clearing the Static: ESD cleaning and hygiene products
29 April 2020, Altico Static Control Solutions , News
In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Actum Group would like to remind electronics manufacturers of our range of antistatic cleaning agents, cleanroom materials and PPE.       Cleanroom garments and ...

Read more...
Jemstech continuing its growth path
29 April 2020, Jemstech , News
Since its inception in 2005 and especially during the past five years, Jemstech has grown from a medium-sized electronic manufacturing services (EMS) provider into one of the major players for electronics ...

Read more...
Company profile: Phoenix Contact
29 April 2020, Phoenix Contact , News
Phoenix Contact was founded in 1923 in Essen, Germany, by Hugo Knümann. It entered the South African market in 1969 through a local distributor, and was later established as a wholly owned subsidiary ...

Read more...
In memoriam: Vivienne Caroline Dorrington - 19 June 1958 – 21 April 2020
29 April 2020, Technews Publishing , News
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of our CEO, Vivienne Dorrington, after a long and brave battle with cancer. Like her father, Ray Beaumont, who founded Technews Publishing in 1985, ...

Read more...