The Vaal University of Technology Advanced Manufacturing Precinct (VUT AMP) functions as a service bureau supporting local industry, entrepreneurs, as well as providing research support to local and international researchers. The AMP consists of several competencies such as:
- Industrial design – support offered include research, ideation, concept development from 2D renditions to physical 3D modelling and modelling using 3D CAD software.
- Additive Manufacturing (AM) – The additive manufacturing department consists of one of the largest compliment of polymer and sand 3D printing and Additive Manufacturing printers in South Africa. Services offered include design for AM, file fixing and repairs and AM printing services.
- The Engineering Manufacturing Unit (EMU) – EMU is equipped with CNC milling machines, CNC lathe and other conventional engineering machines and equipment. These include metal fabrication equipment for sheet metal, welding and other.
- Robotic Milling – performs multi axial machining of large organic, free form and symmetrical items. Artefacts, prototypes and tooling are commonly produced in this unit.
- Centre of Footwear Entrepreneurship (CoFE) – aims to build and improve capacity in the manufacturing of footwear and leather goods through skills development and product design.
- Energy Optimization Unit (EOU) – The EOU service offering includes energy auditing, energy modelling and energy optimisation awareness and training.
The Technology Station focuses on assisting students, small and medium size enterprises & manufacturers in attaining their maximum potential, enabling them to contribute to economic growth, job creation and skills development in South Africa. To achieve this, we provide solution-orientated expert and training services in composites and metals-based products through technology transfer.
TS OFFERS THE FOLLOWING SERVICES:
Industrial design I Testing & analysis I Product & process improvement I Prototyping I Training & technology demonstration
The Idea To Product Laboratory (I2P Lab) is an initiative within the Technology Transfer Initiative (TTI) department that offers skills development training in product development, making use of 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) and 3D printing. This training is offered to individuals, community groups, youth centres, school learners, students as well entrepreneurs from all works of life. The training offers participants access to entry level 3D printing technology and encompass the equipment usage and maintenance.
The lab also offers technology intervention and empowerment within communities in the forms of outreach programmes, excursions to showcase the 3D printing technologies on various platforms such as university open days, exhibitions, shows, on and off-campus training.
I2P Lab Training
The I2P Lab Basic 3D Design and 3D Printing Training is an upskilling within the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) ambit. This training offers skills development and training in areas of product development in the form of basic 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD), part modelling, as well as 3D printing
The I2P Lab and the training provided within it enable grassroots inventions by providing a platform where communities can have access to advanced tools that can help people make products to address local needs.
I2P Lab training activities includes, amongst others;
- Training, short course and skills development in product development by making use of 3D design software and 3D printing technology
- Technology Demonstrations
- Information on 4IR and how 3D printing fits
- Project development, from conception to final printed product
- Manufacturing processes using 3D Printing technology
- Mentoring and transfer of skills and technology
The training also empowers trainees to think outside the box, locally conceptualize, define, develop and design their own solutions to problems as well as offer new ways of thinking about addressing their own local problems. The training also serves as a bridge to the digital divide by making available and accessible Computer Aided Design and manufacturing.
I2P Lab Project Currently Underway: The Bellus3D Mask Fitter Frame
The Vaal University of Technology Southern Gauteng Science and Technology Park (VUTSGSTP)’s Idea2Product (I2P) Lab is in collaboration with Maker Station in Woodstock, Cape Town, and 3D Printing Store, to produce facemask fitter frames for staff members at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, by making use of additive manufacturing (AM) technology, this being done to help minimise risks of contracting the virus by particularly those in the forefront of the fight against the spread COVID-19.
The Bellus3D Mask Fitter Frame
This collaboration was formed after Maker station approached VUT, requesting assistance with the manufacturing of Bellus3D Mask Fitter frames and the Idea to Product Laboratory (I2P Lab) is producing these frames making use of printers in the lab using ABS material sponsored by 3D Printing Store, this material donated to I2P lab through the office of its CEO, Mr Paul Cronje. These frames are personalised to the contour of a person’s face to improve the peripheral seal of surgical, KN95 or other masks. Using Additive Manufacturing (AM) is the preferred way of manufacturing for this project, as each frame is customised.
The aim is to print for all 1 500 staff members at the hospital and to date three sets of files (batches), comprising of a total of 288 3D CAD stl files, have been received and printed by the I2P lab.
The Centre of Footwear Entrepreneurship focuses on innovation, skills development and technology transfer. Our mission is to build and improve capacity in the manufacturing and related value chain of the footwear, leather and leather goods sectors in South Africa – and strengthen skills development and product development through design.
CoFE OFFERS THE FOLLOWING SERVICES:
Shared Resource Facilities I Information Systems I Bench-marking I Technology Demonstration I Footwear Materials Testing I Footwear Design Component Development I Incubation
The Energy Optimisation Unit provides access to professional services that offer optimal hybrid energy solutions tailored to YOUR (energy) needs. Alternative energy involves the development of systems utilising photovoltaic, fuel cell and fermentation technology, including those generating both electricity and heat. Water management entails the development of sustainable systems to ensure water supply and quality, as well as preserving the waste and contamination of available water resources.
EOU OFFERS THE FOLLOWING SERVICES:
Alternative methods of energy production for industrial and domestic uses I Management of water resources.