SA tooling and Manufacturing tackle revival challenge

South Africa’s tooling and manufacturing sectors are aggressively tackling skills challenges, and modernising and growing their operations, with a view to taking on global manufacturing giants.

AfriMold, is the 4th annual manufacturing trade fair and conference for the design, precision engineering & machining, automotive component, tooling, tool making, production and application development sectors, and is taking place 4 – 6 June at the NASREC Expo Centre in Johannesburg.

Speaking ahead of this year’s AfriMold manufacturing trade fair from 4 – 6 June at the NASREC Expo Centre in Johannesburg, key industry players said South Africa’s manufacturing sector is experiencing a new spirit of revival, on the back of an aggressively modernising and growing tooling sector.

Dirk van Dyk, CEO of the National Tooling Initiative Programme, and representative of the Tooling Association of South Africa (TASA), noted that statistics released by ISTMA (International Specialized Tooling and Machining Association at the recent World Tooling Conference in Toronto, Canada, indicate that up to 50% of any manufactured component’s cost competiveness is governed by Tooling. However, the local TDM sector only provides approximately 20% of the local manufacturing sector’s tooling requirements. “The opportunity is there for the local TDM sector to increase this percentage significantly,” he said.

“There are more than 500 local Tool, Die and Mould manufacturing companies involved in local support of the manufacturing value chain ranging from 1st to 4th tier suppliers. The local tooling sector is gearing up for growth, presenting a positive outlook for manufacturing, and with it – job creation.”

Skills development is a key component of the tooling and manufacturing industry’s growth plans, says industry heads.

Van Dyk said the TDM Powered Pilot project, which started in 2010 as part of the turnaround strategy for the distressed tooling industry, has entered its 4th year of piloting with 408 students on Level II and Level III of the Apprenticeship Programme at 12 FET institutions in the country.

The National Skills Fund has allocated funding to Instimbi through the dti to fund another apprenticeship programme with 650 students at 12 FET institutions in the country.  It is envisaged that these students should be placed by May 2013.

In addition, enterprise development is reaching companies country wide through benchmarking exercises (based on international best practice and comparison to peers) to guide local Tool, Die and Mould manufacturing companies towards increased competiveness. Intervention projects are launched to aid companies on this journey.  A new round of benchmarking will start with 30 companies in April 2013.

Coenraad Bezuidenhout, Executive Director of Manufacturing Circle, says the Manufacturing Circle is launching two important initiatives to support government’s local procurement initiative and set an important example to the private sector, and to broaden its membership. The organisation plans to rapidly increase the approximately 200 000 manufacturing jobs that the Circle membership gives direct representation to today, and to include many more smaller and medium-sized manufacturers in the Manufacturing Circle. On 16 May, the Manufacturing Circle will launch its 2013 Q1 Manufacturing Circle Quarterly Survey on manufacturing business conditions, with a new component that will provide an indicator of the measure to which manufacturers procure locally, as well as the degree to which government’s local procurement impacts on manufacturers.

Meanwhile, the automotive sector, seen as a potentially promising growth area for local manufacturing, is seeking greater engagement with local organisations.

Roger Pitot, Executive Director of the National Association of Automotive Components and Allied Manufacturers (NAACAM) says: “We must double vehicle production volumes to over a million, and we must significantly increase local content from the present dismal 35%.”

Pitot says NAACAM members employ almost 50,000 people with a turnover last year of R57 billion. The total automotive sector, including vehicle assemblers, employs over 100,000 in manufacturing and 200,000 in sales and service operations.

“Unfortunately, the automotive trade deficit has been growing and reached an all-time high of R49 billion in 2012, mainly due to a record 72% of all cars sold in South Africa being imported. Exports in 2012 at R87 billion almost recovered to the record achieved in 2008, but the outlook for the future depends largely on the global economic situation, particularly in Europe, our biggest market.  The local auto industry has to compete globally, therefore our focus is on improving our competitiveness through efficiencies and cost reductions.”

Pitot adds: “Areas of uncompetitiveness include certain materials such as steel, wages, logistics and, increasingly, electricity. So opportunities lie in improving our efficiencies and our technological capabilities. These include manufacture of higher-level tooling, more local R&D and developing capabilities to produce the lighter and greener components that will form part of vehicles in future.”

The challenges and potential growth areas for design, precision engineering & machining, automotive component, tooling, tool making, production and application development sectors will come under the spotlight at the 4th annual AfriMold conference and trade fair. The event, a partner of the highly successful EuroMold trade fair, is endorsed by major industry bodies, as well as by the Department of Trade and Industry.

Ron MacLarty, Managing Director of AfriMold, says: “AfriMold 2013 will continue to innovate and push boundaries for the manufacturing industries’ continued growth and improved competitiveness as we strive for collaboration and cohesion on the home front.”

Bob Bond, Chairman of the Plastics Institute of South Africa (PISA) Northern Branch and AfriMold Conference Convenor, says the event’s theme, ‘Enabling For Tomorrow with a focus on precision engineering and tooling as a key enabler for the South African manufacturing sector, was chosen in light of the renewed drive for competitiveness.

Among the issues to be addressed at the conference are:

· What the SA Automotive sector expects from the local tooling industry

· Industrial Design: The Competitive Edge for Tooling and Manufacture

· Solutions for super profitable tool rooms

· How to fund equipment with IDC money

· Initiatives to boost Toolmaking Enterprises Development.

The AfriMold Trade Fair and Conference will also include the PISA/ AfriMold Student Design Presentations and PISA Member Awards.

For more information about AfriMold, visit or contact Terri Bernstein at Tel: +27 83 635 3539 or


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