Driving Innovation for tomorrow

Selina Rapulane 12 November 2021

From left: Mr Moeketsi Montshitsi- Public Relations Coordinator; Ms Selina Rapulane- Public Relations Officer; Dr Speech Nelana- Director Research, and Acting Operations Manager TTI

The Vaal University of Technology’s Technology Transfer and Innovation (VUT TTI) is pleased to have been a part of this year’s 22nd Annual International Rapid Product Development Association of South Africa (RAPDASA) Conference, hosted both online and in person, at the International Convention Centre, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in Pretoria, from 3-5 November 2021.

The theme of the conference was digital Manufacturing: Industrializing Africa, which was a call to everyone in advanced digital manufacturing industry to accelerate Africa’s inclusive economic growth, increase the competitiveness of its economies, and improve the livelihoods of its people.

This year’ RAPDASA conference was joined by the 14th Robotics and Mechatronics (RobMech) and the 32nd Pattern Recognition Association of South Africa (PRASA) conferences, resulting in the conference being titled Rapid Product Development Association of South Africa- Robotics and Mechatronics- Pattern Recognition Association of South Africa.

“I’m excited about the new possibilities when we bring together our gurus in Additive Manufacturing, Robotics, Mechatronics, Pattern Recognition and Artificial Intelligence. Collaboration, across disciplines, is one of the essential tools we need to adopt when carving our future. Our conference theme for the year is about us taking charge of our own future in a world where the pace of innovation is increasing. This is only possible by taking hands and innovating together”, a message by Mr Marius Vermeulen: Chairperson of the RAPDASA 2021 Conference.

Not only was the conference celebrating its present and future endeavors, it was also admiring the work it has done for the past two decades. One unique significance about the whole setup was the place where it was hosted. It gave both a reflection and pride regarding the inspiration and innovative journey the conference has achieved.

“The first RAPDASA international conference was held here at the CSIR in November 2000, and today, we are celebrating our 22nd annual conference. Being back here, where we started, allows a glance into history to see how the world around us has been changing and adapting over two decades”, said Mr Marius Vermeulen.

As with the other companies and organisation who want to see RAPDASA growing stronger year by year, VUT TTI played a huge role in the manifestation of the event, by being a silver sponsor, as well as exhibiting its science and innovation, with staff members who are in the space of additive Manufacturing, attending the conference to present their expertise and also gain exposure on how the world is evolving and changing lives through manufacturing.

From VUT, two staff members presented at the conference. Mr David Mauchline: Specialist Additive Manufacturing presented under the theme: Technologies and services available at the Vaal University of Technology, whereas Mr Francois Du Rand: Lab Technician presented his paper on Risk based classification of powder bed defects. Additionally, he assisted with the proceedings of the conference by being a track director for product development.

“It is always fascinating and fulfilling to be in the presence of individuals who want to succeed in the world of science and innovation. I have seen a lot of presentations in this conference and I am taken. People have outdone themselves and I am happy that VUT TTI has been a part of this beautiful innovative journey”, said Mr David Mauchline.

Mr Zacharia Moalahi: HoD Idea 2 Product Lab and Mr Moeketsi Montshitsi: Public Relation Coordinator at VUT TTI were attending to the exhibition side, where they provided a platform to promote VUT TTI services, as well as meeting existing and potential customers.

The conference offered opportunities for participants from industry, research and development institutions, academia and government, to connect and collaborate to grow the next generation of advanced manufacturing enterprises across the continent.

The conference was preceded by a pre-conference seminar, which was hosted on Tuesday, 02 November , 2021.