A simple act on May 4th, 1776 of machining a cylinder for a steam engine was the beginning of precision and quality manufacturing and the catalyst that introduced the 1st industrial revolution, or should we say, Industry 1.0.
At the heart of our industry today is the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 and we are pleased that there is now a national strategy to embrace it.
The Intsimbi Future Production Technologies Initiative (IFPTI) has been developed with the principals that address the 4th Industrial Revolution and encompasses initiatives that will align us with advanced, developed economies.
It is the manufacturers’ function to produce good quality, low cost, affordable products. The future of manufacturing lies in our ability to adapt to the fast changing world and, we need association on the following very important pillars namely, Interaction, Specialised Knowledge, Compliance and Representivity. Now, we have to add a 5th, Inclusivity.
This is why, during last year’s Machine Tools Africa exhibition, hosted by the MTMA, the modern era of artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics played a significant role. Task reducing technologies (AI) are at the forefront in our industry and what was seen as disruptive technology, is now an industry norm with Industry 4.0 being the current trend of automation and data exchange between manufacturing stages and technologies that significantly improve productivity.
At the Machine Tool Merchants Association our members are up to the challenge of facing the increasing demands on the resources of companies. We believe that machine tools are the backbone of all our industries. Now, there are also new technologies that enhance the ability of a machine tool that was designed primarily to do subtractive machining, namely additive manufacturing.
While the manufacturing sector, if funded correctly, could become South Africa’s powerhouse we, at the MTMA, are ready to accept the challenge backed by our suppliers’ vast knowledge and experience in manufacturing, this would undoubtedly boost and develop South Africa’s economic position worldwide.
As we reach the fourth quarter of 2018, it seems we are already significantly down on any growth targets set last year, the knockon effect to the economy, particularly in terms of employment, is devastating. As an association we need to and are facing these many new challenges but the real unknown is certainly the government’s ability to tackle the issues preventing growth in our economy.