Research and development for industry: Advanced ... - CSIR

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Research and development for industry: Advanced ... - CSIR

| |14Laser additive manufacturing24Semi-solid metal castingLASER18heavy commercial vehicles40Microcantilevers46UPTAKE26Forging aheadINFOSCOPEAerospace and automotive• Aerospace Industry Support Initiative: Providing industrywith skills and scope to soar...................................................................6• Focus on supply chains and logistics for the aerospace industry....................8• Reducing the development costs of unmanned aerial vehicles....................10• A strong, new hybrid material that is also lightweight...............................11• Laser additive manufacturing: Building South Africa’s futureone layer at a time..............................................................................12• Cutting-edge laser technology gives SA manufacturing the edge.................14• An advanced future for heavy commercial vehicles...................................18• Trailers designed and manufactured locally for Smart Trucks.......................20• Performance of tyres, heavy-vehicles and roads to be improvedthrough stress-in-motion technology.......................................................22• Shifting boundaries in semi-solid metal casting.............................................24Towards a new Titanium sector• Forging ahead to a titanium metal industry............................................. 26• Piloting a titanium metal production process............................................ 2826• The birth of additive manufacturing in South Africa: Building blockfor a titanium metal industry................................................................. 30• Producing titanium castings: A new opportunity....................................... 32• Titanium powder metallurgy: A cost-effective technologycrucial for establishing a titanium industry............................................... 34Pharmaceutical and chemical sectors• ‘Green ways’ to up the survival rate of probiotics..................................... 36• Using biologics to transform the drug marketplace.................................... 38• Microcantilevers: A future beyond silicon................................................. 40Defence sector• The rocket science of laser welding........................................................ 42• From drawing to tangible reality: The artful scienceof direct manufacturing........................................................................ 44• CSIR laser technology uptake to see a new range of lasersfor international optics producer............................................................. 46463642Enabling technologies withapplication across many sectors• Massive economic growth potential to be unlockedby Biocomposites Centre of Competence........................................................ 48• CSIR facilities geared to support the Biocomposites Centre of Competence.......... 50• Using locally available resources to produce nanocomposites............................. 52• Micromanufacturing: The factories of the future.............................................. 54• A novel, six-degree-of-freedom robot arm design............................................. 56• Particle manufacture for industrial applications– better control through microfluidics............................................................ 58• Future challenges see industry finding its wayto high performance computing.................................................................... 60• CSIR hosts the Multinational Companies Cooperation office.............................. 61• A risk and control framework for cloud computing and virtualisation................... 62• Advanced photonics manufacturing facilityto ensure new laser-based products............................................................... 64• Water tank leaks at Koeberg Power Station sealed with new laser process...................65• Probing industrial diamonds with light........................................................... 66• Developing a robotics strategy for South Africa............................................... 68Commercialisation successesand opportunities• Seeing what is invisible to the naked eye...................................................... 70• From polymer technology to cosmetic products............................................... 72• Increased food and beverage shelf-life: A local hero inventedthrough polymer technology........................................................................ 73Specialised technical servicesand support to industry• From tensile tests to fracture mechanics: Mechanical testing laboratoryleads the way............................................................................................ 74• NFTN now a brand name in the foundry industry............................................. 76• Technology assistance programme has lasting impact on foundries..................... 78• Resource efficiency and cleaner production for advanced manufacturing.............. 80• Seeing South Africa through a manufacturing LENS......................................... 82• Laser-based manufacturing support programme for SMMEs............................... 84• CSIR lasers solve backlog challenges at Tappo..........................................................85487074MECHANICAL TESTING LABORATORY74industrial diamonds66SEEING WHAT IS INVISIBLE70TAP’s lasting impact78ROBOTICS STRATEGY FOR SA68through a manufacturing LENS82


infoscopeNews snippets from around the CSIR| 4 |CSIR and Nestlé announce research partnershipThe CSIR recently signed aground-breaking researchpartnership with Nestlé.The partnership is aimed atcontributing to research anddevelopment work based onindigenous South Africanbiodiversity to evaluate thepotential for nutraceutical andfunctional foods with provenhealth benefits.CSIR CEO, Dr Sibusiso Sibisi,said: “The joint venture willThe antenna gain:Power saving and longer lifefor autonomous smart systemsCSIR researchers haveidentified a new concept, basedon the use of ultra-low-powerarray antennas, which canpotentially reduce the powerconsumption used for radiofrequency (RF) transmission inwireless sensor network devicesby an order of magnitude. Thisoffers a much longer life for thesesystems. Initial estimations arepromising: 0.36 milliwatt (mW)measured consumption perarray element, and support ofgive CSIR scientistsaccess to internationaltechnologies in the field ofnutraceuticals – functionalfoods with demonstratedhealth benefits. It will alsoenhance our capacity inbetter understanding ofindustry development cyclesand requirements for thecommercialisation of suchproducts. In addition, this willadd value to our indigenousresources through exposureThe prototype reconfigurable array30 mW of RF power. The teamsees a possibility to reduce theconsumption even further,while substantially reducingthe antenna’s size and weight,and is set to measure thepower savings directly in theupcoming months.– Biffy van RooyenEnquiries:Dr Albert Lyskoalysko@csir.co.zato modern technologiesin developing new foodbasedproducts.”“New products developedthrough this collaborationwill be manufactured inSouth Africa in compliancewith internationalstandards, leading todevelopment of new skillsand ultimately creation ofnew jobs in the biosciencesindustry,” Sibisi concluded.Innovation incamouflage nowprotects againstpredators, pests– and the sunThe CSIRhasdevelopedcamouflagenetting thatnot only helpsa person orobject ‘blendin with thescenery’, butalso features insect-repellentproperties as well as UVprotection. The net fabric wasselected so that the product islightweight for easy storage andtransportation. The camouflagecan be customised further todeal with summer or winterlandscapes.Enquiries:Dave Roosdroos@csir.co.zaCSIR conductsresearchon energyefficiencyand thermalcomfortCSIR researchers willuse temperatures recorded andmonitored in a demonstrationhouse built on the CSIR campusby BASF, and use a simulationmodel to calculate the energyrequirements for heating andcooling the house. The CSIRwill measure energy efficiencyand simulate thermal comfortinside the building by usingdata collected from a weatherstation installed on the CSIRsite. The project is of particularinterest as it is one of the mosthighly insulated houses thatone could reasonably buildin South Africa. The researchresults will show the thermalperformance delivered by theinsulation in the house underSouth African conditions andprovide a best-case scenario forenergy efficiency in the localresidential sector.CSIR project leader Llewellyn van Wykand Dr Dieter Kovar, MD of BASF Holdings SAat the BASF demonstration househanding-over ceremonySpecialised equipment at industry’s disposalLaser micromachining for precision engineeringExcimer lasermachining systemsare ideally suited formicromachining applicationsin industry. This includesapplication areas such as wirestripping, hole drilling, and thinfilmpatterning, used for medicalapplications, semi-conductorsand ink jet printing. Thesesystems can machine in mostmaterials, including polymer,glass, metals and ceramics.The CSIR’s mechatronics andmicromanufacturing grouphas a Resonetics excimer lasermicromachining station withan average power of 80 W ata wavelength of 248 nm, and45 W at 193 nm, making it anAs part of the CSIR’sinvestment in researchequipment, the organisationpurchased a PSV-400-M2-20high-frequency scanningvibrometer system from Polytec.The vibration measurementmakes use of a non-contactlaser-Doppler technique, witha relatively large stand-offdistance possible. It is capable ofmeasuring tiny displacementssmaller than a nanometre athigh frequency.The scanning system automatesthe process of performingvibration measurementssequentially over a grid ofpoints and then combine themto form an image of surfacedeformations. Generally,for scanning vibrationideal tool for the applicationsmentioned here.The system is currentlyhoused at the CSIR NationalLaser Centre to enablethe use of the system inconjunction with other lasermicromachining systems.If you are interested in usingthis equipment, pleasecontact Louis Fourie atlfourie@csir.co.za.The top photograph shows a human hair withthe letters MSM machined into it. This showsthe capabilities of the system, right, in termsof machining accuracy and size. The bottomleft image shows a 60 µm transformer wirefrom which the polymer isolation coatinghas been selectively removed to expose thecore material.Forming an image of surface deformationsmeasurements, a repeatableinput excitation is required.The system is ideal forexperimental modal analysis,but has many other applicationsin industry. The system iscurrently being used to supportthe development of piezoelectricactuators and motors as wellas ultrasonic transducers forguided wave ultrasound in rails.If you are interested in usingthis equipment, pleasecontact Dr Philip Loveday atploveday@csir.co.za.Green Mamba control board for high performanceGreen Mamba is a highperformanceembedded controlboard developed by the CSIR.The board is based on ATMEL’sAVR ® 32 which gives it highperformance at low powerconsumption. It runs theFreeRTOS real-time embeddedoperating system.The Green Mamba CPU boardis part of a stackable system ofexpansion boards through astandardised stacking connector.The CPU board (top of every stack)has a large number of features,which include Ethernet, USB,micro-SD card, LCD display,4 serial ports, 8 digital inputs,8 digital outputs, 8 analoginputs, etc. Additional boards areavailable as standard expansionsfor the architecture. These includeboards with communication(GSM, Bluetooth ® , GPS, etc.),motor control, battery monitor/charging, high-speed analogto-digitalcapture, etc.Anyone interested in usingthis technology or obtainingfull features, can contactPeter Bosscha atpbosscha@csir.co.za.| 5 |


AEROSPACE AND AUTOMOTIVEThe Aerospace IndustrySupport Initiative:Providing industry with skills and scope to soarMarié Botha,AISI programmemanagerSouth Africa has a vibrant aerospace sector – the largest on the continent – and oneknown for quality research and manufacturing, as well as extremely high testing andevaluation standards. A hotbed of technological innovation, the sector is also knownfor creating scope and opportunities for skills development and the stimulation ofsmaller businesses – building blocks to a healthy South African economy.A key contributing factorto this robust aerospace industry isthe active and tangible collaborationbetween government, industry,the scientific community andinternational aerospace and spaceplayers. The Aerospace IndustrySupport Initiative (AISI) is oneexample of a government-fundedmechanism which exists to supportthe local South African aerospaceindustry. Established by the SouthAfrican Department of Trade andIndustry (the dti), the AISI becameoperational in 2005 and is managedand hosted by the CSIR.The express aim of the AISI is to seeto the health of the local aerospaceindustry and its positioning as anactive and valued player in theglobal aerospace industry. TheAISI places specific emphasis onsupplier development, industrydevelopment and technologysupport, and creating a platformfor industry collaboration.The AISI operates sixprogrammes, namely:• New industry developmentand technology support• Supplier development• Industry and impact studies• Space regulation and humancapital development• Sector strategic supportinitiatives programme• Coordination, promotionand awareness.Marié Botha, programmemanager of the AISI says thatthe approach is to facilitateThe role of the AISI as an industry support mechanism is to:• Increase the contribution of small enterprises to the economy• Significantly enhance Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment• Raise the levels of direct investment overall, as well as in defined priority sectors• Increase market access opportunities for, and export of, South African goods and services• Contribute towards building skills and technology platforms• Improve the local industry’s competitiveness• Ensure that new technologies are taken up by industry through an active process of innovation.the creation of linkages andstrategic partnerships within thelocal aerospace sector; as wellas with global stakeholders, toacquire skills and technologies.These alliances allow for theimprovement of existingtechnologies; and simultaneouslymastering the production andprocess technologies needed tobuild new sustainable platforms.This requires a change in theparadigm from the traditional,static client-contractor-typerelationship to one where theclient becomes a close partner.Botha says that new industrydevelopment and technologysupport projects undertakenin collaboration with localindustry include projects suchas the development of fibremetal laminates for aerospaceapplications, where titanium andcarbon fibre-based materialswith high impact resistance aredeveloped, suitable for unmannedaerial systems (UAS) andsatellite applications (see articleon page 11). In another project,the development of a stiffnesstailoredUAS wing is in progress,with the aim of developing amethodology for the structuraldesign of wings based on thestiffness (deflection and rotation)requirements obtained during theoptimal aerodynamic design, andthe application of that design to aUAS wing (see article on page 10).A laser shock peening (hardening)initiative with the goal ofestablishing laser shock peeninginfrastructure in South Africaaims to ensure the uptake of thistechnology by the aerospace andrelated industries.specifically configured toaddress the needs of the SouthAfrican aerospace industryand research and developmentcommunity (see article onpage 12).The AISI also assists a localaerospace original equipmentmanufacturer (OEM) witha project to transfer airlinegalley design, certification andmanufacturing capability totwo local small, medium andmicro enterprises. This is asa result of the manufacturerwithdrawing from the galleysupply business, but notwanting the capability andknow-how to be lost to thelocal industry (see overleaf).Another project builds oncapability already created tomanufacture thermoplasticframe clips for the Airbus A350,and involves the developmentand optimisation of formingand tooling methodology formulti-shaped parts, the highspeed dimensional inspectionof parts; a high-speed nondestructivetesting inspectionsystem, and the creation of asemi-automated edge-sealingsystem.Lastly, the AISI supportsthe development ofdeep-drawn presstechnology for theAirbus A350.This projectcomprisestwo activitiesnamely, thepressingof largetubular parts, and theautomation of pressing parts;and documenting effectiveprocess control, procedures andprocess documentation. TheAISI ensures that technologyfilters down to lower tiersuppliers, by ensuring thatSouth African OEMs involvedin AISI-funded projects enlist atleast one local SMME industrypartner. Process and supplychain optimisation, whenimplementing these projects,is undertaken through theAISI’s supplier developmentprogramme.Botha says that the AISIbenefits from access to CSIRscientists in the fields ofaerospace, Earth observation,laser technology, metals,materials and manufacturing,as well as facilities such aswind tunnels. In turn, theCSIR has improved itsability to direct itsmultidisciplinary competencesat those nodes in the SouthAfrican aerospace industrythat require technologicalintervention.The CSIR has a track recordof establishing and hostinginitiatives and programmesthat contribute to economicdevelopment. Past examplesinclude the establishmentand hosting of the SouthAfrican National Space Agency,the Automotive IndustryDevelopment Centre, theNational Cleaner ProductionCentre, and the NationalFoundry Technology Network.Enquiries:Marié Bothambotha1@csir.co.za| 6 |Furthermore, the AISI supportedthe acquisition of state-ofthe-artlaser-based additivemanufacturing infrastructure,which will ensure South Africa’sfuture competitiveness in theaerospace industry. The OptomecLENS 850-MR 7 system is| 7 |


AEROSPACE AND AUTOMOTIVE| 12 |Laser additive manufacturing:Building SA’s future one layer at a timeThe CSIR is developing a suite of unique laser additive manufacturing systems and processes that will place South Africaat the forefront of this technology, with tremendous potential benefits for the local manufacturing industry.Compared to conventionalmanufacturing technologies whichare often subtractive (materials areremoved via cutting or milling),additive manufacturing relieson various energy depositiontechnologies to fuse materialsinto three-dimensional functionalparts; materials are joined to makeobjects, one layer at a time. Laseradditive manufacturing (LAM)allows for this to be done usinglasers.This emerging manufacturingtechnology lends itselfto the development ofcomponents from uniqueceramic, alloy and light metalmaterials. It will be key inthe beneficiation of SouthAfrica’s titanium resources– around which efforts arebeing accelerated to establisha titanium industryandaffords the local aerospaceindustry a significantcompetitive advantage overinternational competitors.This innovative technologywill be used for the productionof unique finished goodsfor the aerospace, defence,automotive (in areas such asmotor racing) and medicalindustries. It is against thisbackdrop that the CSIR hascreated a programmefocusing specifically onadditive manufacturing.The goal of the additivemanufacturing programmeis to promote andadvance the knowledge,capabilities, and economicopportunities in this fieldfor the benefit of localindustries. To achievethis objective, the CSIRwill focus its resources onsupporting three maininitiatives in additivemanufacturing.Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Derek Hanekom, third right, recently officiated at the launch of a new additive manufacturing facility at the CSIR. Also present were, fromleft, Dr Paul Potgieter, group managing director: Aerosud; Dr Federico Sciammarella, manager of laser materials processing, CSIR; Dr Ndumiso Cingo, manager of the CSIR National LaserCentre; Dr Sibusiso Sibisi, chief executive officer, CSIR; and Dr Hoffie Maree, group executive: operations, CSIR.Laser metal depositionadditive manufacturing(current state-of-the-arttechnology)During 2012, the CSIRwill establish an additivemanufacturing workgroup,focusing on laser-engineerednet-shaping (LENS) technology,with academia, industry andrelevant government agencies.“LENS technology uses a highpowerlaser (500 W to 4 kW)to fuse powdered metals intofully dense, three-dimensionalstructures,” says Dr FedericoSciammarella, manager of lasermaterials processes at the CSIR.“The LENS three-dimensionalsystem uses the geometricinformation contained in acomputer-aided design solidmodel to automatically drive theLENS process as it builds up acomponent, layer by layer,” henotes.Additional software and closedloopprocess controls ensurethe geometric and mechanicalintegrity of the completed part.The goal is to identify criticalcomponents and industries,in addition to the identifiedtarget markets in aerospaceand biomedics, that can benefitfrom either manufacturing orrefurbishment/repair usingLENS technology. The CSIRwill be a key link and driverin coordinating and forgingpartnerships of potential users.High-speed, large-areaselective laser melting(cutting-edge technologydevelopment)In a second project, called‘Aeroswift’, the CSIR hasteamed up with Aerosud, anestablished leader in the SouthAfrican aviation industry.The main goal of this projectis to establish a functionalfirst-generation, high-speed,large-area selective lasermelting system that will becapable of building aerospacecomponents with dimensionswithin a range of 2 m by0.5 m. Such a system iscurrently not availablecommercially and thereforewill have a niche marketwith high impact, as thereare a variety of aerospacecomponents that fall withinthese dimensions. Creatingthis technology in South Africain collaboration with theTitanium Industry Initiativewill contribute to South Africaincreasingly becoming a keyplayer in the aerospace sector.Major aerospace companieshave indicated that they arepaying close attention tothe success of this project,with 2016 targeted for a fullyoperational system, capableof producing its first parts.This would be a tremendousboost to the manufacturingsector in South Africa andwould allow companies likeAerosud to expand theirproduct range. It would alsosee South Africa cover thefull value chain from a rawproduct (titanium powder)to high-value components.Ultra-high-speed laseradditive manufacturing(next-generation, radicaldesign technologydevelopment)For the third project, called‘Umuvi’, the long-termobjective is to create futuregeneration high-speed,large-area, laser additivemanufacturing systems,to stay ahead of the trendworldwide and capture futurerevenue streams by meetingResearchers and engineers from the CSIR National Laser Centre and Aerosud have teamedup for project Aeroswift. They are working to create a functional first-generation, highspeed,large-area selective laser melting system that will be capable of building aerospacecomponents with dimensions within a range of 2 m by 0.5 m.future demands for moreefficient and higher productivitysystems.“The underpinning technologyfor all these projects is laserenabledadditive manufacturingand our LENS system will setthe tone for the Aeroswift andUmuvi projects. The systemenables immediate entry intothe refurbishment market,where worn-out parts orcomponents are repaired, andthe working life or performanceof the component becomeseven better, compared tothe original part,” saysSciammarella. “If we succeedin showing the value of thistechnology, projects Aeroswiftand Umuvi will be welcomedby industry,” he adds.“Successful completion of theseinitiatives will see the creationof a knowledge base andcapacity that will enable SouthAfrica to generate sustainablewealth and future opportunitiesin additive manufacturing,”concludes Sciammarella.Also read the article onpage 84.Enquiries:Dr Federico Sciammarellafsciammarella@csir.co.zaumuviUmuvi is an IsiZulu wordfor wasp: A winged insectthat has a narrow waistand a sting. It constructsa nest from wood pulp ormud, pictured above (usingthe principles of additivemanufacturing, left).| 13|


AEROSPACE AND AUTOMOTIVEParts cut or hardened using laser technology.With laser cladding, wornparts are refurbished.Currently, many companiesdispose of worn parts.“This is where we fit in,”says Pretorius. “We repairthe worn-out parts for thatparticular client and by doingthat we save the companythe cost of buying newcomponents, which oftenhave to be sourced fromabroad.”“We offer a specialised, highlytechnical service to companies,where we repair samples forthem to test and evaluate.If these tests are successful,we start with production,”Pretorius remarks.With the technologies that theycurrently have, adds Pretorius,they can repair componentswhereby the working life orperformance of these parts oftenoutclasses the original part.For instance, where a part issusceptible to corrosion, lasercladding technology can enhancethe part to be corrosion-resistant,in addition to repairing it.With all these lasers, the CSIRis able to repair parts in lessthan a day. Outlining the costadvantage, Pretorius says a newpart could cost for example,R15 000, compared to a laserrefurbishedpart, ready to fit backinto production, for R2 000.Laser welding“Laser welding’s advantageis that a smaller heat-affectedzone with deep penetrationis achieved,” notes Pretorius.“This limits distortion ofcomponents.”This is arguably the mostaccurate technique in welding.The CSIR’s experts weld gears,rocket motors, and injectionmoulding tools. They weldedon the joysticks of the RooivalkAttack Helicopter.The CSIR hopes to receivefunding that will see its laserexperts conduct feasibilitystudies to boost South Africa’sfledgling small, medium andmicro enterprises (SMMEs).“We have already done somework for a number of SMMEs,”says Pretorius.Laser-enabled manufacturing hasalso been boosted by the arrivalof the laser-engineered netshapingsystem recently acquiredby the CSIR. “This is a hugedevelopment for our industry, aswe can now build componentsfrom a computer-aided designdrawing,” concludes Pretorius.– Mzimasi GcukumanaEnquiries:Hansie Pretoriushpretorius@csir.co.zaLaser technologyat the desert beast’s serviceThe CSIR successfully repaired camshaft-bearing seats inan aluminium cylinder head, for the Toyota Auris S2000 rally carsparticipating in the SA National Rally Championship.The cylinder heads were damaged during an event last year, andare now again race-ready to tackle the 2012 championship. Therepair involved cladding of two halves of a cylindrical seat whichwere then bolted together and re-bored to final dimensions andsurface finish.The Aurises are stable mates of the Toyota Hilux bakkies whichcompeted in the 10 000 km Dakar Rally in Argentina, Chile andPeru earlier in the year, pictured below. The Toyota Hilux bakkiefinished third in the 2012 Dakar Rally.Toyota South Africa also requested assistance from the CSIR tocombat excessive wear observed on a forming tool used in themanufacture of bumpers. The organisation conducted experimentsaimed at performance enhancement of these forming tools. Thetools are meant to last for 15 years but at the present rate of wear,are set to fail prematurely. Sample material was supplied by Toyotawhich was successfully hardened.CSIR enables Hallspeedto recoup damagedcomponentsIn the past, damaged parts were mostly thrown away,says Hallspeed technical specialist, William Haddad.Hallspeed is Toyota’s motorsport arm.Outright disposal of worn-out parts is now something of thepast. The company now repairs and refurbishes damagedparts by employing CSIR laser technology; restoring them totheir former glory while saving the company money.Haddad is in constant liaison with his counterpartsat the CSIR, who are also currently working onoff-road (Dakar) parts.“In all of this, laser technology was the best option comparedto traditional cladding,” notes Haddad. “Together with theCSIR, I believe we will continue to find good solutions to ourtechnical problems going forward,” he concludes.– Mzimasi Gckumana| 16 || 17 |


AEROSPACE AND AUTOMOTIVEFilipe PereiraAn advanced future forheavy commercial vehiclesAdvanced manufacturing processes in various formats will be shaping the future of heavycommercial vehicles and hopefully, along with it, a more sustainable future.| 18 |Along with the demandfor more goods and services goesthe demand for more transport.There is no question that boththese needs will be increasingquite rapidly in the immediatefuture. But our current supplyof fossil fuel energy, which ispresently the lifeblood of thetransport, and specifically theheavy commercial vehicleindustry, is not sustainable overthe long term. Sixty percent ofthe almost three billion tons ofcrude oil that is used annually isin the transport sector.Climate change pressure isanother factor that is pushing thetransport industry to implementchanges. World opinion isconverging towards a reductionof CO 2emissions, and targets arebeing set to reduce emissions by50% by 2020. Every year, thetransport sector emits around5 700 million tons of CO 2.The release of these enormousquantities of CO 2has beena strong motivator for theintroduction of alternative fuelsfor vehicles, and low regulatedemissions are steadily beingenforced.Advanced control systemsThe heavy commercial vehicleindustry, in attempting tochange and help ensure a moresustainable future, is turningto advanced manufacturingprocesses and technologies.Among others, advancedcontrol systems are beingconsidered and are steadilybeing used in order to beable to monitor and controlthe lean efficiency of internalcombustion engines (both thosein use and those still underdevelopment) to meet the morestringent requirements of lowemission heavy vehicles. Theseare especially relevant wherethe mix of alternative fuelsand hybrid powertrains areintroduced.Future control systems willdepend on and requiresophisticated sensors andmicro-actuators for theirinput signals and fast outputcontrol responses. Here, twoCSIR research competences,namely, mechatronics andmicromanufacturing, as well assensor science and technology,are well positioned to contributeto these current and futurerequirements.Alternative fuelsSeveral more sustainable andgreen processes and technologiesto produce alternative fuelsalso fall under the advancedmanufacturing umbrella. Someof the fuels currently beingconsidered include ethanol,methanol, diesel (conventional andsynthetic), rapeseed methyl ester,dimethylether, methane (which isproduced in nature) and hydrogen.Within the CSIR, researchers inenergy and processes as well asmetals and metal processes areworking on lithium ion (Li ion)batteries and hydrogen fuel cells.The Li ion battery is consideredthe most viable power storagealternative in any serious attemptaimed at the introduction of hybridpower transmission solutionscurrently under considerationand development for heavycommercial vehicles.Another alternative to consideris to reduce or even cut out theindustry’s dependence on fuelcompletely. Hybrid powertrainsare being envisaged where batterypacks, combined with electricmotors, will be used for shorttrips. For longer trips, systemsfor regenerative brake powerand the continuous charging ofbatteries are being investigated.Advanced manufacturingfeatures as a critical componentof the development of thesetechnologies.Lighter vehiclesLooking at advanced waysto power heavy commercialvehicles is only one side ofthe coin. Another area thatcan be significantly improvedupon is the actual weight ofthe vehicles. Weight reductionin order to attain improvedfuel efficiency is being soughtthrough the replacement ofthe materials that automotiveparts are manufactured from.Biocomposite materials, madefrom natural products, can bothbe strong and lightweight. Theyare viable replacements for manyautomotive parts, especially inthe interior of the vehicles. CSIRresearch on fibres and textiles, aswell as polymers and compositesare capable of respondingto these future demands, ifrequired.It is anticipated that, in the nottoo-distantfuture, heavy vehicleswill experience a tenfold increasein the use of aluminium castingsto replace parts currently beingmade of steel. This will havea significant impact on theweight of the vehicles andtherefore their fuel efficiency.The CSIR, through its researchin semi-solid metal castingand its patented rheocastingtechnology, already has theproven technology base to assistindustry with this conversion.Go localOne should keep in mindthat most of South Africa’sheavy vehicles are importedor assembled by the bignamemanufacturers (originalequipment manufacturers, orOEMs). For them to expand theirmarket share, it could be wiseto use South Africa’s emergingmarket with its local engineering,sourcing, production and salesexpertise.For South Africa to be able tobenefit from future advancedmanufacturing solutions forheavy vehicles, it is imperativethat all stakeholders, includinggovernment, research andeducation institutions, supportlocal industry in their endeavoursto capitalise on the needs of theOEMs as well as develop ourlocal OEMs to grow with thedomestic and global markets.– Filipe PereiraEnquiries:Filipe Pereirampereira@csir.co.za| 19 |


AEROSPACE AND AUTOMOTIVETrailersdesigned andmanufacturedlocally forSmart TrucksA CSIR and industry partnership in action: JohanHagg from the trailer manufacturing company Afrit,Arie de Lange from fleet operator Unitrans, and CSIRresearcher Christopher de Saxe.Truck trailers manufactured accordingto performance-based standards.CSIR expert Paul Nordengen who chairs the Smart Trucks Review Panel.A heavy vehicle that conforms to the requirementsas set out in the ‘Smart Truck’ research programme.Heavy vehicle designers can now use innovative solutions and the latest technology to meet required performance standardswith improved safety outcomes and productivity, while resulting in the more effective use of local road infrastructure.The performance-basedstandards (PBS) approach,adapted for local conditions andrecommended by the CSIR forheavy vehicles, has been takenup by various companies as partof the ‘Smart Trucks’ researchprogramme. The trailers ofSmart Trucks, which conformto PBS, are being manufacturedlocally, according to preapprovedspecifications and routes.“Proposed Smart Trucks haveto undergo a comprehensiveapproval process and meetregulatory requirements beforethe trailers are manufactured,”notes local PBS expert,Paul Nordengen of the CSIR.non-directional manoeuvresin which standards such as tailswing, low-speed swept path,static rollover threshold, rearwardamplification, yaw damping andhigh-speed transient off-trackingare assessed.“Principle approval is alsorequired from the provincialdepartments and nationalDepartment of Transport,according to the Abnormal Loadprocess. The final assessmentreports together with the finalvehicle design and proposedroutes must then be submittedto the Smart Trucks ReviewPanel for approval,” explainsNordengen, who chairs thereview panel.DesignRequired vehicle design features include:• ABS/EBS braking systems• Retarders/intarders• Side marker lights (truck tractor – ‘horse’ and trailer)• Abnormal load signs on the front and back of the vehicle• A vehicle management system for monitoring the driver’s performance,including speeding, harsh braking or acceleration and vehicle location.Fleet operatorstractor, from existing suppliersaccording to the loads our truckshave to be able to pull. Ourtrailer design and manufacturingpartner is Afrit,” says Arie deThe risk is thus reducedin terms of the number ofaccidents occurring, whileaccident levels are also downdue to all our vehicles on theroad having to comply withsafety standards as set outin the PBS. The Smart Truckdefinitely leads to increasedproductivity. We can, forexample, move more tons ofcargo per kilometre with thesetrucks,” notes De Lange.A reduction in emissions perton of cargo transported isanother positive spin-off.“The CSIR also undertakesroad wear analyses of ourtrucks to inform us whichkinds of tyres cause the leastdamage of the roads weare permitted to use,”he comments.a good ‘match’ between avehicle and the subset ofthe road network it will use,ensuring protection of the roadinfrastructure and adherence toacceptable safety standards.“We receive operational data ofthe Smart Trucks on a monthlybasis to monitor compliance,and to evaluate the benefits ofthe PBS research programmedemonstration projects,” notesNordengen.Trailer manufacturing“In collaboration with theclient, we design the PBStrailers within the length andheight specified and accordingto the needs of the client, inthis case Unitrans,” says JohanHagg, sales executive of trailermanufacturer Afrit.start of the initial paperworkto getting the go-ahead forproduction in the factory,usually takes up to three years,”Hagg notes.“Logistics service providershave expressed a growing needfor Smart Trucks as they realisethey will need fewer vehicleswith the longer trailers,” hesays. The longest truck-trailercombination to have been builtat Afrit was 43 m, for use in themining sector.Human capital developmentChristopher de Saxe of theCSIR conducts research withinNordengen’s group on thepossibilities of PBS for carcarriertrucks. As part of itshuman capital developmentdrive, the CSIR enablesDe Saxe to complete his MScassessments of proposed carcarrierdesigns,” says De Saxe.Initial analyses of low-speedmanoeuvrability have shownthat a large percentage of theexisting South African fleet failsto meet the requirements of the‘tail swing’ standard.Tail swing is the amount bywhich the rearmost outer cornerof a vehicle or trailer swingsoutwards during a low-speedturn.“To date, two car-carrierdesigns have undergonedetailed assessments and havebeen modified to address thetail swing problem. The designmodifications have resulted inimprovements in other safetycriticalaspects of the vehicles.This is a good example of PBSat work in improving overallvehicle safety,” concludesDe Saxe.Smart Truck demonstrationprojects are being used in theforestry and mining sectors,The concept design of awith a number of otherThe fleets of participatingSmart Truck must indicate Only once the final operationalLange, Unitrans technical| 20 |projects in the design phaseoperators of Smart Trucks“It is a very thorough, and thus in engineering through a– Hilda van Rooyen | 21 |key dimensions, axle unitapproval is received, may themanager for agriculture andrepresenting various industryare accredited through the long, process to get approval for studentship at the University ofmasses and the tyre sizes. applicant proceed to buy vehiclemining services.sectors.Road Transport Management manufacturing a Smart Truck the Witwatersrand (Wits).Enquiries:The design standards for the components and manufacture the“Unitrans decided to go theSystem self-regulationtrailer. This is to ensure that allPaul Nordengentrailers include high- andtrailer according to the approved “As a fleet operator, Unitrans Smart Truck route as it cutsprogramme. The PBSsafety requirements and PBS “Wits and the CSIR have beenpnordengen@csir.co.zalow-speed directional anddesign and specifications.chooses the horse, or truck down on the number of vehicles.approach thus allows forspecifications are met. From the contracted to perform PBS


AEROSPACE AND AUTOMOTIVE| 22 |Performance of tyres, heavy vehiclesand roads to be improved throughstress-in-motion technologyManufacturers of tyres androad-surfacing materials canimprove the performance oftheir products when usingdesign recommendationsfollowing CSIR research anddevelopment (R&D) onthe actual contact stressesbetween tyres and the roadsurface.The CSIR, in collaborationwith industry and academia,has developed unique stressin-motion(SIM) technologyand devices to measure andquantify the effects of the multidimensionalstress on bothtyres and roads. The stresses orforces, resulting from the contactbetween a moving tyre of a heavyvehicle and the road it travelson, are telling in terms of theperformance of both the tyre andthe road.“The SIM device was developedmainly for the measurementof slow-moving, full-scalepneumatic truck tyres at a speedof approximately 5 km/h.Our SIM measurementsprovide rational descriptionsof multi-dimensional tyre androad contact stresses in thevertical, lateral and longitudinaldirections that can be used fortyre and road design, testing andevaluation,” explains Dr Morrisde Beer from the CSIR.Measurement options includedynamic, moving measurementsof single and twin-tyre, or fullvehicle configurations, varyingpneumatic and solid rubber andtyre sizes relating to optimaldesignedwidth and associateddiameters.“Our research using SIMtechnology has proved thatsignificant unequal load sharingis experienced between theindividual tyres and also theaxles of heavy vehicles. Thisleads to uneven deformationof the tyres as well as the roadsurface. These results disproveprevious assumptions in tyre androad design that equal weightis shared between the varioustyres and axle groups for a givenheavy vehicle,” De Beer notes.In February 2012, he presentedthese and other findings at the14th annual Tyre EXPO andConference in Cologne, Germany.“The vehicle, suspension, tyreand road surface should beviewed holistically. That is whytyre, vehicle and road engineersshould have a closer workingrelationship, something that isnot the norm in our industry.This view is shared by my peersin the UK, the USA, Germanyand China,” adds De Beer.Typically, a pneumatic rubbertyre consists of the tread withsidewalls and bead bundles,cap plies, steel belts, body pliesand an inner liner. Inflationpressures of tyres increasewith temperature over runningtime and, in addition, there isnot always a constant uniformcontact stress of circular shapebetween different tyres andthe surface of the road. Thesedepend heavily on the tyredesign, tyre loading and itsinflation pressure.South Africa has a totalroad network of some750 000 km, which includesfreeways and national roads,main, secondary and tertiaryprovincial roads. Of the ruralnetwork, about 20 to 30% is‘paved’, be it with ‘black top’or asphalt all-weather roadsurfacinglayers. The impactof tyre–road contact stresseshas a direct effect on thedeterioration of tyres, vehiclesuspension systems and roads.In a CSIR study commissionedby the South African NationalRoads Agency Ltd, a selectionof real-time heavy vehicletraffic was diverted over aquad SIM system at a speedof 5 km/h. The test serieslasted for a period of six weeks,testing a total of close to 3 000heavy vehicles that represent aunique data set of tyres.The CSIR’s Dr Morris de Beer has played a key rolein the stress-in-motion (SIM) technology.PLA T E 8The typical vertical tyre-road contact stresses of a four-axle vehicle (top), and from aset of dual truck tyres (bottom) as measured with the SIM system.“Traditionally, tyre and roaddesigners assume that the verticalcontact stress between the tyre androad is equal to the tyre inflationpressure, and that it is distributedevenly on a circular area. Severalstudies have shown an increasein the inflation pressure of thetyres of heavy vehicles, with datashowing an increase of 30 to 70%in average inflation pressure over aperiod of 30 years,” says De Beer.Another CSIR study, commissionedby the Gauteng Department ofTransport and Public Works,showed an increase in averageinflation pressure when the tyrewas cold, from 633 kPa in 1974 to733 kPa in 1995. Current inflationpressures are approaching anaverage of 800 kPa, and typically900 kPa on steering axle tyres,with maximum pressuresexceeding 1 100 kPa.The SIM equipment of theCSIR was used to evaluate andfootprint tyres for special landminedetonation trailers as well as lowpressure(flotation) tyres. Thesetests provided critical informationfor the improvement of tyre designfor Protected Mobility, a division ofDCD (Pty) Ltd that manufacturesand supplies this equipmentinternationally.“During the 1990s the so-called‘super single’ wide-base tyreswere evaluated for clients,including some in the USA (thestates of Texas and California)and The Netherlands,” De Beerexplains.The CSIR research results can beused to improve the design andperformance of tyres, truck andtrailer suspension design andthe performance of constructionmaterials, and the methodologyof road construction. “The CSIRhas built up expertise on tyre androad interactions with more than57 000 truck tyre measurements.In future, our advanced R&Dusing SIM will potentially allowfor high-resolution road contactstress measurements suchas from passenger car tyres,requiring a holistic approach withdue cognisance of global trends,”concludes De Beer.– Hilda van RooyenEnquiries:Dr Morris de Beermbeer@csir.co.zaThe total South African tyre market comprises about 250 000 tonsof new tyres annually, of which more than 60% is produced locally.Four local tyre manufacturing companies have a proven track recordand South Africa has an active retread industry, specifically in theheavy vehicle tyre sector. This is according to the South African TyreManufacturers Conference and the South African Tyre Recycling ProcessCompany. The latter is a non-profit organisation established by producers(manufacturers, importers and retreaders) in the tyre and motorindustries for them to take up their producer responsibility in terms ofthe Waste Tyre Regulation, 2009.| 23 |


TOWARDS A NEW TITANIUM SECTORForging aheadto a titanium metal industryOver the past decade, there has been a growingrealisation in South Africa that the country had anindustrial opportunity to add much more value to its vastresources of titanium-bearing minerals. Cost-effectivelocal production of titanium metal and the conversionof titanium alloys into products, offer the potential of avibrant new South African industry sector.In 1999, a foresight study,commissioned by the thenDepartment of Arts, Culture,Science and Technology,recommended governmentsupport for research anddevelopment (R&D) on titaniumand titanium oxide productionfrom local raw materials.Following the publication in2002 of the Department ofTrade and Industry’s IntegratedManufacturing Strategy andthe Department of Science andTechnology (DST)’s NationalR&D Strategy, the AdvancedManufacturing TechnologyStrategy was developed asthe implementation strategy,and accepted in 2003 by theSouth African government.The Advanced Metals Initiativewas established in 2005, withthe Light Metals DevelopmentNetwork (LMDN), led by theCSIR, as one of its focus areas.The LMDN has since focused ontitanium and aluminium.Soon the national supportfor R&D on titanium grew,particularly due to significantopportunities in the aerospacesector, such as Boeing’s interestin South Africa as a potentialfuture supplier of titaniumalloys.Given its strong position withregard to the mining of thetitanium bearing minerals,ilmenite and rutile, and thegrowing markets for titanium,South Africa has an opportunityto develop a metal industry. Keyto this is a technology, developedby CSIR researchers, for extractingthe pure titanium from themineral more cost-effectively thanthe current commercial process fortitanium production. A feasibilitystudy, commissioned by the DSTand published in 2008 providedsufficient confidence for a nationaltitanium industry strategy to belaunched.PrimarymetalproductionCSIRAs the vehicle to establish thetechnology building blocks ofsuch an industry, the TitaniumCentre of Competence (TiCoC), ledby the CSIR, was conceptualised.The mission of the TiCoC is todevelop and commercialisethe technology building blocksneeded for a new South Africantitanium metal industry. Anumber of national R&Dplatforms have been alignedto support the technologydevelopment. The CSIR, variousuniversities, science councils, R&Dinstitutions and private companiesare collaborating in developing theSA TiIndustrySupplier developmentIndustrialisation and commercialisationTechnology developmentPowderconsolidationCSIROil & GasMarineHigh-speedadditivemanufacturingNationalLaserCentreAerospaceMedicalInvestmentcastingCSIRChemicalAutomotiveHighperformancemachiningStellenboschUniversityPhysical metallurgy and characterisationDesign, simulation and modellingFrictionweldingNelsonMandelaMetropolitanUniversitySheetformingCSIRtechnology building blocks andR&D platforms, as indicated inthe TiCoC diagram.South Africa is poised tobecome a player of note in theinternational titanium arena.Significant progress has beenmade over the past six yearswith the development of thetechnology building blocksfor the future South Africantitanium industry. Seriouscommitment to realisingthe vision of a local titaniumindustry by 2020 is beingdemonstrated by the SouthAfrican government and theR&D community.– Dr Willie du PreezEnquiries:Dr Willie du Preezwdupreez@csir.co.zaDr Willie du Preez, CSIR metals and metals processesmanager and convener of the Titanium Centre ofCompetenceSouth Africa is currently the world’s second largestproducer of raw titanium minerals after Australia, yet thecountry has a very limited market position in the productionof TiO 2pigment and no position downstream in the valuechain for the production of primary titanium metal, millproducts (large basic shapes such as plate, bar, tube, etc.)or finished components.Laboratories and R&D facilitiesR&D PlatformsTitanium Centre of Competence:Developing and commercialising technology building blocksfor the South African titanium industry| 26 || 27 |


TOWARDS A NEW TITANIUM SECTORPiloting atitanium metalproductionprocessTitanium powder produced with a CSIR process. Examples of products madewith the powder are also displayed: The part in the very front through additivemanufacturing and the other two through powder metallurgy processes.advantage to the envisaged localtitanium metal industry. Thisprocess is being developed by theCSIR in a stage-wise manner tomanage the inherent scale-uprisks, and it has now reachedthe stage where the design,construction and operation ofa small pilot plant have beenapproved by the DST and the CSIR.The pilot plant has a nominaldesign capacity of producing2 kg/h of titanium powdercontinuously. Construction andcommissioning of the plant are tobe completed by 31 March 2013.Test campaigns to gain scaleupinformation regarding theprocess, and to produce sufficientproduct for evaluation by potentialcustomers, are planned followingsuccessful commissioningof the plant.Similar to the CSIR, a numberof organisations worldwideare busy scaling up theirown variations of processesto produce titanium metalpowder. Problems with theprocess include the veryhigh heat of reaction, thevery fast rate of reaction, theaggressive and hazardousnature of the chemicalsinvolved, and the tendency ofthe titanium product to formlumps that block the reactorinlets and outlets.In the CSIR’s process, therate of TiCl 4reaction isslowed down by executingthe process in a molten saltmedium that allows bettercontrol of the titaniumparticle morphology thanother process variations.In parallel to the technical work, acommercialisation task team withrepresentation from industrialand financial concerns has beenformed to plan and manage workto ultimately realise commercialimplementation of the strategy.South Africa’s entire titaniumbeneficiation strategy dependslargely on the success of thispilot plant and its furthercommercialisation. Being ableto produce titanium powder ata much lower cost than presentimports will make this light metalan economically viable option,from which many industries canbe created and sustained.– Dawie van VuurenEnquiries:Dr Dawie van Vuurendvvuuren@csir.co.zaDr Dawie van Vuuren heads up the CSIR’spiloting of titanium metal production.To date, no organisation in the world has been able to produce titanium powder directly in a continuous manneron a commercial scale from titanium tetrachloride (TiCl 4– the usual precursor used for titanium metal production).The CSIR has developed a process that can do just this, and will be setting up a pilot plant in the near future.| 28|Following Australia,South Africa is endowed withthe second largest (about 16%)of titanium-bearing reservesin the world. In South Africa,the mineral is mined and thenconcentrated to form slag.This is exported as a relativelylow-value commodity, meetingabout 20% of the world’scurrent raw material demand fortitanium dioxide pigment, andtitanium metal production.“The national benefits thatwould arise from a worldscale,low-cost titanium metalplant are considerable.”The potential to add more valueto the raw material throughthe establishment of titaniumpigment and/or metal industrieshad been identified in a numberof South African governmentstudies (dating back more than15 years) and featured in anumber of national strategies.Why SA needs a titaniummetal producing plantThe national benefits thatwould arise from a world-scale(20 000 tons per annum), lowcost(about US$20/kg milledproducts at 50% of the currentprice) titanium metal plant areconsiderable, with the mostimportant being:• Revenue of about US$400million per annum from themilled product plant alone canbe forecast. Revenue couldincrease to almost US$1 000million per annum once adownstream industry for theproduction of semi-finishedproducts has been fullydeveloped.• Establishing an industry willlead to many downstreammanufacturing enterprises thatwould not be possible withoutsuch a local industry.• There is potential for the creationof about 1 500 permanent jobsonce the downstream industryhas been developed to a pointwhere semi-finished productsare produced. This numbercould increase with more finalproducts.• These industries wouldpotentially create opportunitiesfor the establishment of smalland medium enterprises andcomplement Black EconomicEmpowerment.• Support industries could bedeveloped that will further assistwith the expansion of the SouthAfrican economy through jobcreation and revenue generation.• A large part of South Africa’sannual importation of about800 tons of titanium invarious forms (sponge, scrap,ferrotitanium, etc.) can bereplaced, saving aboutUS$5 million per annumin foreign exchange.In order to realise the opportunityto establish a titanium metalindustry in South Africa, a focusedprogramme to achieve such anobjective was formulated in 2007by the Department of Science andTechnology (DST) together withthe CSIR and the research anddevelopment community.A novel process to producetitanium metal powderA key element of the programmeis the development of a novelprocess to produce titanium metalpowder that will give a competitive| 29 |


TOWARDS A NEW TITANIUM SECTORGuests viewed the various laser facilities at the launch of the additive manufacturing platform at the CSIR National Laser Centre. Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Derek Hanekom said that the launch wasa milestone for the attainment of the objectives of two key initiatives of the Department of Science and Technology namely, the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Strategy and the Advanced Metals Initiative.The manufacturingtechnology called additivemanufacturing has almosttaken on a life of its own. It isactively being used by partmanufacturingindustries inSouth Africa, and the CSIR incollaboration with Aerosud isdeveloping technology thatwill push it into the sphere ofmanufacturing large titaniumparts. Along with the localmanufacture of titanium powder,this technology is one of thebuilding blocks in establishinga titanium metal industry inSouth Africa.South Africa’s additivemanufacturing story began inthe early 1990s when there wereonly three rapid prototypingmachines in the country.Dr Willie du Preez, who headsup the CSIR’s metals and metalsprocesses area, recalls that two ofthese machines belonged to theCSIR, and one was owned by aprivate company.“The CSIR played a leading rolein introducing the technology toAlso read article on page 12.industry,” he reveals. “We bought– Petro Lowies| 30 |a large stereo-lithographyDu Preez continues: “In more Over the last year or so Vaal| 31 |The CSIR’s Dr Willie du Preez holdingthe first titanium test part producedthrough additive manufacturing atCentral University of Technology.The birthof additivemanufacturingin South Africa:Building block for atitanium metal industryAdditive manufacturing used to be called rapid prototyping and, in the early 1990s, there were only three rapid prototypingmachines in the country. These machines could only manufacture plastic or resin-type prototype parts. Today, there are 434additive manufacturing machines in South Africa and at least two of them are capable of manufacturing parts made from titanium.machine in 1996 that couldproduce parts in a polymericresin. Soon after this, thetechnology started to use metalpowders mixed with the resinto manufacture parts. Rapidprototyping technology wasalso an offering of the NationalProduct Development Centre thatwas hosted on the CSIR’s Pretoriacampus,” he says.Two years prior to the purchase ofthat machine, Prof Deon de Beerfrom (what is now known as)Central University of Technology(CUT), spent his sabbatical at theCSIR and was introduced to rapidprototyping. “He became a truechampion for this technology,”says Du Preez. “When hewent back to CUT he startedup a department that focusedspecifically on rapid prototyping.This soon resulted in a nationalCentre for Rapid Prototyping andManufacturing at CUT.”From the beginning, there hasalways been close collaborationbetween CUT and the CSIR inthis field. They worked togetherto promote the technologyamong industry players. Thetechnology also evolved to movefrom metal polymer mixes toonly metals.recent years the technology hasmoved from being a prototypingtool to a manufacturing tool.Internationally, the namechanged along with it. Rapidprototyping became additivemanufacturing.”In 2007, CUT commissionedone of the very first additivemanufacturing machines inthe world, capable of producingparts in titanium. In the biggerpicture of the Titanium Centreof Competence, a network ofresearchers, industry playersand government departmentsaim to establish a titaniumindustry in South Africa, andthis has become one of thebuilding blocks for a fullyfledged titanium industry.“The CSIR collaboratesclosely with CUT on thecharacterisation of the titaniumparts that it manufactures,”says Du Preez. He explains:“Characterisation involvesevaluating whether themetal of the part complieswith the right standards andspecifications. It is a crucialstep should one want to qualifyyour manufactured parts for theaerospace or medical implantindustries.”University of Technology(VUT), again under theleadership of Prof De Beer,also started to collaborateon the characterisation oftitanium metal in the additivemanufacturing of titaniumparts.Says Du Preez: “Since theearly 2000s, industry startedto take up the technology andat last count at the end of2011, there were 434 additivemanufacturing machines inthe country. Their capabilitiesare mostly in plastics and somemetal part manufacturing, buttwo of them can produce intitanium. The CSIR, togetherwith Aerosud, CUT andVUT, are moving ahead withintroducing titanium additivemanufacturing as a leadingfuture technology.”He adds that both CUT andVUT are playing a vital rolein the training of students forthe additive manufacturingindustry. “It’s anotheressential cog in the processof establishing a viableindustry for the technologyand, especially, titanium.”Enquiries:Dr Willie du Preezwdupreez@csir.co.za


TOWARDS A NEW TITANIUM SECTOR| 32 |Producing titanium castings:A new South African opportunityThe few companies around the world that produce titanium castings using an investment casting process keep their cards closeto their chests. For this reason South Africa had to develop its own process, while ensuring that it is both cost-effective andcommercially viable.CSIR technical assistant Sam Papo removing casting moulds from the wax melting oven.The CSIR’s investment casting team. From left are Sam Papo, Nonjababuiliso Mazibuko,Pierre Rossouw, Peter Malesa and William Tefu.A wax mould of an aircraft part. A face coat as well as a refractory stucco, followed by layers ofback-up refractory coats, will cover the final wax assembly. It will be dried completely before thewax can be removed from the formed shell, into which titanium will be cast.The investment castingof titanium is one of thetechnology building blocksthat South Africa needs in itsstrategy to develop an entiretitanium value chain for a newindustry sector. With investmentcasting, it is possible to castparts with intricate shapes andthin walls into a near-net shape,meaning that the parts will notneed expensive and difficultmachining after the castingprocess.“Because of the metal’s highlyreactive nature, the investmentcasting of titanium is a greatdeal more intricate than theusual investment castingprocess,” says Pierre Rossouw,principal technologist withthe CSIR’s metals and metalsprocesses group. “Also, very littlehas been published about theprocess, as the companies thatare able to do it prefer to keepthis as proprietary information.”Rossouw’s job is to see if CSIRproducedtitanium powder canbe used in a casting processfor industrial components. TheCSIR’s goal with the investmentcasting of titanium is not onlyto do castings, but to optimiseevery step in the process sothat the technology, equipmentand everything needed for theprocess, can be successfullytransferred to industry.The team started byidentifying and thenmastering each of four criticaltechnologies needed for theprocess. The first was theface coat, the first layer ofthe investment mould thatreduces the reaction betweenthe titanium and the mouldmaterial during the castingprocess. There is always anoxygen-rich reaction layerafter casting, referred to as analpha case. The second stageinvolved the development ofintricate melting techniques.This was followed by thechemical milling process toremove the alpha case thatformed due to the limitedreaction with the face coatduring casting. Lastly, atechnique called HIPing(Hot Isostatic Pressing) hadto be mastered, which closesand fuses any internal microporositythe cast componentmight have.The market for titanium lies mainly with aerospace, medical,oil and gas, power generation, high-end automotive, sportand jewellery industries. The demand for it is growing rapidly,both internationally and locally.Rossouw explains that eachof these techniques had to beoptimised, with cost savingsfor industry always top ofmind. He also had to look atthe mechanical properties ofthe castings, where especiallyfracture toughness and fatigueresistance proved to be themost important requirement forclients.While the CSIR has nowdeveloped the capacity tocommercially cast titaniumparts, the organisation is stillcontinuing with research andthe transfer of the technology.The overall goal is to maintain adevelopment base for the futurethat can support industry withnew techniques and problemsolving.“We plan to be running withthe process commercially by2015, but we are not sure inwhich format this will be,” saysRossouw. “We might be settingup a completely different plant,use the existing one with anindustrial partner or look atother ways to implement it.Either way, the plan includesall the infrastructure, humanresources development and thetechnology of the process.”Pierre Rossouw,principal technologistat the CSIR, believesthat the investmentcasting of titaniumrepresents a wonderfulopportunity for thelocal manufacturingindustry.Apart from perfecting andoptimising the investmentcasting process for titanium,the CSIR is also working withthe Department of Scienceand Technology on a three tofour-year plan that includesa market evaluation; thetechnology’s industrialisation;a plan for human resourcesrequirements and training;and a commercially viablebusiness plan for itscommercialisation.“I believe that the investmentcasting of titanium representsa wonderful opportunityfor the local manufacturingindustry,” concludes Rossouw.“The industry will have accessto locally produced materialsand techniques that previouslyhad to be imported at a veryhigh premium. We havealready had some interest init, and we are working withthe international aerospaceindustry to ensure that wemeet its rigorous standards.”– Petro LowiesEnquiries:Pierre Rossouwprossouw@csir.co.zaAbout titanium• Titanium never occurs in nature as a metal.It is found in mineral form and to get to metal,the mineral must first become titanium oxide ortitanium dioxide, after which it can be convertedinto titanium ore and finally into metal.• The complex process of converting titanium oreinto metal has only been commercially viable fora little more than 50 years.• The use of titanium has since then expanded byan average of 8% per year.• The largest deposits of ilmenite sands and rulite(from which titanium is derived) are found inAustralia, South Africa and Canada.• Despite its abundant deposits, South Africa doesnot have a titanium industry.• Titanium is stronger than steel but 45% lighter.• Titanium is 30% more elastic than steel.• Titanium has an extremely high melting pointof 1 660 ˚C and is cast at temperaturesof 1 750 - 1 800 ˚C.• Titanium is a very reactive metal.It spontaneously forms a hard, protective oxidefilm when it comes into contact with oxygenat elevated temperatures. This necessitates allthermal processes to be done under a very goodvacuum or protected gas (in the case of lowertemperature operations).• When the process of investment casting is usedto manufacture parts from titanium, less of thevaluable titanium alloy is wasted. This is becauseinvestment casting produces parts in a near-netshape that requires very little and often nomachining thereafter. Investment casting is alsosuitable for the production of parts that haveextremely intricate shapes and/or thin walls.| 33 |


TOWARDS A NEW TITANIUM SECTORPerfecting processes: The CSIR’s powder metallurgies group.Titanium powder metallurgy:A cost-effective technology crucial forestablishing a titanium industryThe powder metallurgy processgenerally consists of four basic steps:Powder manufacture, powder blending,compacting and sintering.Dr Hilda ChikwandaManufacturing componentswith powder metallurgytechniques is one of thecrucial technologies forestablishing a viabletitanium metal industry inSouth Africa. At the CSIR,researchers are perfectingthese processes specificallywith this industry in mind.Powder metallurgy is theThe market is very diverse: Fromprocess of blending fine powderedaerospace, military and marinemetals, pressing them into aapplications to off-shore drillingdesired shape (compacting), andrigs, medical implants, chemicalthen heating the compressedplants, sports equipment,material in a controlledFormula One racing, jewellery,atmosphere to bond the metalarchitectural cladding and art.With the starting stock for the production of net-shapeparticles (sintering). Components– Petro Lowiescomponents by the pre-alloyed approach, the small grainscan be made to final dimensionscompetitive titanium industry inEnquiries:(powder metallurgy particles) already contain the desired| 34 | or very close to these with little With CSIR researchers now| 35|South Africa,” says Chikwanda.alloy components.or no subsequent machiningoperations required. Using metalpowders to produce parts usingthis technique is not uncommon.But doing so using titaniummakes everything much morecomplex.“This is because titanium is veryreactive, and minimising itspick-up of oxygen and carbonis crucial to avoid degrading themechanical properties of thefinal part,” says Jeff Benson, CSIRresearcher. He goes on to explainthat the extremely high cost ofobtaining titanium powder hasalso limited its use, and that thishas prevented an industry fromforming in South Africa.In support, Dr Hilda Chikwanda,research group leader of thepowder metallurgy technologiesgroup, says that even thoughtitanium and titanium alloyshave become the preferredmaterials for many chemical,energy, surgical and aerospaceapplications, the high cost oftitanium components has limitedits use.having developed an alternative,more cost-effective way toproduce titanium powder fromSouth Africa’s own abundantresources (see article page 28),the final cost of titaniumcomponents will be significantlyreduced.“This means that we can usepowder metallurgy techniquesto make mill products (largebasic shapes such as slabs,plates and tubes) as well asfinal components, and so avoidthe conventional and energyconsumingsteps of re-meltingand casting from solid metal,”says Benson.The CSIR’s powder metallurgytechnologies team already has theability and the facilities to producesmall titanium componentsusing press and sintering aswell as injection mouldingtechniques. Now the team plansto expand into the developmentof technologies to make largershapes, such as mill products.“This will be an essentialbuilding block for establishing a“Titanium and titanium alloys arepopular because of their uniquecombinations of low density,good mechanical properties,excellent corrosion resistance andbiocompatibility.”Benson is positive that the localmarket for the manufacturingof titanium products willexpand considerably onceit can be demonstrated thatcomponents can, in fact, beproduced at significantly lowerprices than is currently the case.“Titanium is the metal of choicefor a multitude of engineeringapplications. At its currentpricing, however, it is just tooexpensive for more general use,”he states.Dr Hilda Chikwandahchikwanda@csir.co.zaJeff Bensonjbenson@csir.co.zaThe two approaches oftitanium powder metallurgyTitanium powder metallurgy is generally divided into twoapproaches, the elemental approach and the pre-alloyedapproach.With the elemental approach, the small grains of titanium(commonly called ‘sponge fines’), are used as a startingstock. Alloy additions, normally in the form of a powderedmaster alloy, are added to these fines, so that the desiredbulk chemistry is achieved. The blended mixture is thencompacted cold to a desired density. This operation canbe carried out either isostatically or with a relativelysimple mechanical press. The compact is then sintered toincrease the density and to homogenise the chemistry.Consolidation of both the pre-alloyed powder and theelemental powder may be accomplished using variousprocedures known in powder metallurgy.


PHARMACEUTICAL AND CHEMICAL SECTORS| 36 |The powder containedin these capsules andtablets is probioticsthat were microencapsulatedusinga supercriticalCO 2process.‘Green’ ways toup the survival rate of probioticsA study 1 found that the survival rate of probiotics in, for instance, probiotic supplements,is generally extremely low. These micro-organisms simply cannot withstand the storage process.Is there a way to help them survive and to do so in an environmentally friendly way?Active pharmaceuticalingredients (APIs) such asprobiotics are, in general, verysensitive to high temperaturesand solvents. Conventionalmicro-encapsulation methodsare therefore unsuitable touse for APIs, as they typicallyrequire high temperaturesand/or solvents during theencapsulation process.“One would encapsulate an APIto protect it against elementssuch as moisture or light in itsenvironment; from gastric acidsthat can destroy it and also toallow for its controlled delivery inthe intestines,” explains Dr PhilipLabuschagne, a researcher at theCSIR’s encapsulation and deliveryresearch group.Labuschagne has been workingon a way to safely encapsulatesensitive actives, particularlyprobiotics, using a new ‘green’processing method. This methodentails the use of supercriticalcarbon dioxide (CO 2) as a processmedium.“The supercritical CO 2processoccurs at mild temperatures(not more than 40 ˚C) and isnon-toxic. In addition, unlikeconventional solvents, the CO 2canbe completely removed simply bydepressurisation so that the endproductcontains no traces of it,”explains Labuschagne.He used this process to developa polymer matrix that is basedon inter-polymer complexation– a process that mixes twocomplementary polymers withdistinct properties in order toobtain a polymer matrix withunique characteristics. Forinstance, the inter-polymercomplex developed byThe study found that:… only five out of ninecommercial probiotic products inSouth Africa contain sufficientlevels of organisms to haveprobiotic potential. One of the mainreasons for this is the sensitivenature of these micro-organisms toheat, light and moisture.Probiotics are livemicro-organisms (in most cases,bacteria) that are similar tobeneficial micro-organisms foundin the human gut. They are alsocalled ‘friendly bacteria’ or ‘goodbacteria’. Probiotics are availableto consumers mainly in the formof dietary supplements and foods.An example ofinter-polymer complexation:The most common interpolymercomplex is between polyacrylicacid and polyvinylpyrrolidone.They are both hydrophilic(attracts water), but oncecomplexed they becomehydrophobic (repels water).Microencapsulation,in materials science,is the coating ofmicroscopic particleswith another material.Labuschagne is pH responsive,which means that it willprotect the probiotic fromgastric acid attacks and ensureits release in the more alkalinepH-environment of the largeintestine. In addition, it protectsthe probiotics from moistureand oxygen during storage.The end-product is a powderwith particle sizes of between50 and 500 microns (microparticles).Any probiotic straincan be encapsulated usingthis technology, and it can alsobe used for other APIs – evenvitamins and possibly vaccines.“We have already proved thatthis encapsulation methodshows significant improvementin the shelf life of probiotics, aswell as greater protection fromgastric acids and improvedrelease in the intestines,”says Labuschagne. “Thistechnology has been patentedand the results published.”Micro-encapsulation usingsupercritical CO 2holdsimmense promise for theentire API manufacturingindustry. The project wasoriginally funded by a coinvestmentfrom the IndustrialDevelopment Corporation,and a company called Ellipsoidwas created through which thecommercialisation will takeplace.1 An evaluation of nine probioticsavailable in South Africa, August2003, E Elliott, K Teversham– Petro LowiesEnquiries:Dr Philip Labuschagneplabusch@csir.co.zaDr Philip Labuschagne adds the raw materialsto the supercritical CO 2reactor to preparemicro-encapsulated probiotics.| 37 |


PHARMACEUTICAL AND CHEMICAL SECTORS| 38 |Dr Stoyan StoychevThe CSIR is currently buildingcapacity for large-scalerecombinant production ofbiopharmaceuticals. At present,there are a number of suchproducts at various stages in thedevelopment pipeline, includingtherapeutic peptides such asExenatide (diabetes treatment),Enfurvitide and Griffithsin (HIVinhibitors) as well as anti-rabiesmonoclonal antibodies (mAbs).Production of biologicsBiopharmaceuticals areconventionally produced insterile fermentation facilitiesusing mammalian cellcultures. A drawback of suchsystems is that they have aUsing biologics totransform the drugmarketplaceBiologic products now provide important therapeutic options for a range of serious clinical conditions.Therapeutic biologics such as genetically engineered recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies representa large portion of newly-approved therapies for conditions such as chronic inflammatory diseases and cancer.limited production capacity,and setting up such facilitiesrequires a huge capitalinvestment. Biologics mayalso be produced by usingrecombinant micro-organismsor plants engineered to expressa particular therapeutic peptide,protein, monoclonal antibodyas well as vaccine sub-unit.The pharmaceutical industryis now being transformed dueto the emergence of biologics(biopharmaceuticals) whichoffer many advantages overconventional small-moleculedrugs. These include higherefficacy, reduced side effects,and the potential to curedisease, compared to treatingsymptoms.The size and complexity ofbiologics, in comparison tosmall-molecule drugs, havebrought a unique set ofchallenges to manufacturers.Therapeutic peptides,proteins and mAbs have tobe scrutinised at primary aswell as higher-order (native)conformation. Close attentionmust also be paid to anymodifications induced bythe recombinant expressionsystem. In addition, productand process-related substancesand impurities can affect boththe structure and functioningof biologics. Hence, it is criticalto be able to detect dimidiated,isomerised, oxidised forms,or protein aggregates as wellas host cell protein, DNA andculture components introducedduring cloning, production andpurification.In-depth characterisationof biologicsUnder these circumstances,manufacturers have to ensurethat their products undergorigorous characterisation tofacilitate transition throughdiscovery into development,eventual commercialisation,and their ultimate intendedtherapeutic use. Achievingthis goal is dependent on theavailability of appropriateanalytical tools to provide anarray of chemical and physicalinformation. Hence, a rangeof approaches has beendeveloped, optimised andsuccessfully implementedin-house for in-depthcharacterisation of biologics witha focus on meeting regulatoryand commercial specifications inorder to shorten time-to-marketas well as lower risk duringproduct development stages.The identity of recombinantlyexpressed peptides, proteinsand mAbs is scrutinisedusing a combination ofproteolytic digestion followedby multi-dimensional liquidchromatography peptidefractionation, directly coupledto tandem mass spectrometry.This workflow yields highresolutionpeptide sequencingdata that not only permit indepthcharacterisation of primarystructure, but also allow directdetection of post-translationalmodifications product as wellas process-related impurities.In addition, in-house developedmicrospheres (ReSyn TM ) arebeing used to manufactureimmobilised protease microreactorsfor fast and efficientprotein digestion that yieldshigh coverage primarystructure data.Cutting-edge ultrahigh-pressureliquidchromatography systemsProduct purity is monitoredusing electrophoresisas as wellas chromatography-basedtechniques, with separationbased on a range of molecularproperties such as size, charge,as well as hydrophobicity. Theuse of cutting-edge, ultra-highpressureliquid chromatographysystems in combination withcolumns packed with smaller,sub 2 μm size particles, allowsfor more efficient as well as faster separation of moleculesof interest.Since native structure dictatesfunction, the understanding ofstructure and its interplay withfunction is essential for developingeffective, safe, and cost-effectiveprotein biopharmaceuticals.The native conformation of largerpeptides, proteins and mAbsis examined on a global scaleusing circular dichroism, whichmonitors changes in secondarystructure, and fluorescencespectroscopy to monitor thetertiary and quaternary structurallevels of complex biologics. Futureefforts will also centre on thedevelopment and implementationof cutting-edge techniquesfor in-depth characterisationof native conformation on alocal scale. This will furthersupplement existing capabilitiesby allowing site-specificand detailed conformationalcharacterisation, that would beuseful throughout all stages ofprotein drug development, fromoptimisation of target binding andreceptor interaction(s) in research,to formulation, stability andcomparability studies in processdevelopment, where informationon changes in conformation couldplay an important role in thedevelopment and optimisationof complex biologics.In order to demonstrate thatmethods are appropriate for usein drug developmentprogrammes, substantial timeand resources are required. Inthe year ahead, our focus willbe on method qualification andvalidation so that the assayscurrently being used are deemedcompliant with internationalexpectations, and mostimportantly, that the analyticaldata derived from these methodsretain their full scientific value.– Dr Stoyan StoychevEnquiries:Dr Stoyan Stoychevsstoychev@csir.co.zaWhat are biologics?A biologic is a prophylactic, an in vivo diagnostic or atherapeutic substance that:• Is produced only by a living system, but is not simply ametabolite;• Is stated to contain a single substance that has documentedbiological activity or activities;• Has a relatively large molecular weight with a high structuralcomplexity compared with biologically active substancesthat can be made by chemical synthesis; is inherentlyheterogeneous in the molecular species present, and has animpurity profile that depends critically upon the processesused to make and test each batch; and• Has activity that is often very sensitive to physical conditions(i.e. temperature, shear forces, phase) and enzymatic action.| 39 |


DEFENCE SECTORSudesh Budram, a technical draftsman atthe CSIR, was instrumental in establishinga 3D-printing, rapid-prototyping and directmanufacturing capability.12Data from 2D sketches are used as input to create a 3D model.3A model is built from a high-performance composite powder, after which post-processing commences.4Removal of powder allows for final preparation of the model.The 3D model is inspected after the post-processing phase.| 44 |From drawing to tangible reality:The artful science of direct manufacturingCSIR clients can now benefit from a specialist capability that allows one to take a design, capture and simulate it digitally,and produce an actual, tangible object in hand. Previously known as rapid prototyping, direct manufacturing has changed themanner, and speed, by which a design can be turned into a physical prototype or model.Chris Serfontein headsthe CSIR’s technology forspecial operations group. Histeam focuses on technologysolutions to address the uniquerequirements of the SpecialOperations cadres in the SouthAfrican National Defence Force.In this field, rapidly created,custom and efficiently workingsolutions are critical. Accordingto Serfontein, the challenge hasalways been the time and costto produce the prototypes andproducts that can be providedto the client: “To date, manualand numerical-controlledmanufacture has been theoptions available to us,” hesays. “Direct manufacturingtechnology is now consideredmature and cost-effectiveenough to be procured as anextension to our capability.”Direct manufacture comprises:The stereolithographyapparatus (SLA) where alaser sets a layer of wax orphotosensitive material ina bath; three-dimensionalprinting (3DP), which usesinjection technology to createa thermo plastic structure;and selective laser sintering(SLS) that uses a laser to fusepowder (nylon, polycarbonate,polymer and metal).None of these, however, canbe used for colour terrainmodels. The CSIR thereforeprocured a 3D printer thatuses colour ink jet technology.Serfontein says that theprinter works like the normalprinter that one would useto print a photograph, exceptthat it does not print one layerper sheet of paper. “It printslayer upon layer, using amaterial that builds up on theprevious layer of material,” hesays, adding, “Each layer is a‘picture’ that slices throughthe object.”A frequent use of thisprinting capability is for thefinal production of 3D terrainproducts, based on the inputdata from CSIR geographicalinformation systems experts,clearly showing all aspectsof a terrain, as well as anyspecific information requiredby the client, in colour.The input into the 3DPhas to be created eitherin computer-aided design(CAD) software, or by usinga 3D scanner to capture alldimensions of a particularobject or shape.“CAD has for many yearsbeen able to turn thedesigner’s dream into acomputer model. This hasaided the design processsignificantly, but directmanufacture now givesthe designer the ability toproduce a complex modelquickly and affordably,”Serfontein says. This alsoenhances the advancedmechanical engineeringcapability, especially whencomplex mechanicalengineering solutions arerequired. The technologythus has obvious benefitsin terms of time-saving.It also reduces materialwaste associated withconventional forms ofmanufacture; lowersenergy use; and allows forthe design of unusual andmore organic shapes andforms.The designer can usedirect manufacturing toproduce the following:Scaled models of actualstructures, terrains, areas,prototypes of parts, actualitems (if a small volume isrequired and the material isacceptable); and as a highproductionvolume inputto investment casting (forpatterns), injection moulds(for hard tooling), sandmoulds, and soft tooling(for cores).Plans for the future are toexpand collaboration in thisfield and make the expertiseand facilities availablemore widely. Serfonteinsays that the CSIR is alsoworking closely with CentralUniversity of Technology(CUT), StellenboschUniversity and SoSolid inCape Town to build a nationalrapid prototyping and directmanufacturing capability.“CUT has shown interest incollaborating with the CSIRin rapid manufactureresearch, and sharingknowledge and capability,”he says, adding that CUT hasan extensive capability ofSLA, 3DP and SLS.“We want to create ashared direct manufacturecapability and service,including training with ournational partners,” Serfonteinconcludes.The capability is not restrictedto research and developmentefforts. It can be used byanyone who needs a designturned into an actual objectas a prototype, scale modelor test version. The teamcan, for example, createnovel shapes for artistic use,ceramic design and modelsfor architects or sculptors.Enquiries:Chris Serfonteincserfontein@csir.co.za| 45 |


DEFENCE SECTORCSIR experimentation in generatingbeams of exceptional brightness.World’s biggestoptics maker fixesits sights on CSIR lasersLaser partnership: From left, Dawie Mulder, project manager at Carl Zeiss, Dr Ndumiso Cingo, CSIRNational Laser Centre manager, Kobus Viljoen, managing director of Carl Zeiss and Prof AndrewForbes, CSIR chief scientist pictured after the signing of a year agreement at Carl Zeiss offices.| 46 |CSIR laser technology uptaketo see a new range of lasers forinternational optics producerThe CSIR recently signedan agreement with one ofthe largest optics producersin the world, Carl Zeiss,to customise a CSIRdevelopedlaser conceptfor a range of its lasers.According to CSIR chiefscientist and project leader,Prof Andrew Forbes, histeam and engineers from thePretoria-based company willattempt to incorporate theCSIR-designed and developedlaser resonator conceptinto their system. “Wehope to exceed the opticalperformance specificationswithout any fundamentalchanges to the systemdesign,” says Forbes. “It isworth noting that this workstarted in the laboratory as aproject funded through theCSIR’s parliamentary grant,resulted in published workin top journals and severalawards for the studentsinvolved as well as invitedlectures, and is now finding itsway into industry.”Forbes adds: “It is alwayspleasing when an idea eventuallymakes it to a technology thatis being taken up, especially byworld-leading specialists.” Thetechnology makes it possiblefor almost any laser to operatein a ‘high-brightness’ mode,resulting in more efficient lasersused in, for example, longrangecommunication systems,and in the military for targetdesignation.The collaboration between the twoorganisations is funded by CarlZeiss. The production plant for thelasers under development is locatedat Carl Zeiss’ facilities at Centurion,South Africa.“Such transfer of technology isnecessary for South Africa to growits knowledge-based economy,”says Forbes.The technology may also be usedto make lasers smaller and lessexpensive, by exploiting the extraefficiency to make the supportsystems work a little less.Managing directorof Carl Zeiss OptronicsSouth Africa, Kobus Viljoen,appreciates the relationshipthat his organisation enjoyswith the CSIR. He says thatthis healthy relationship spansmore than three decadesand took on varying forms oftechnology collaboration overthe years. This liaison hasbeen further strengthened bythe Department of Scienceand Technology’s strategyon photonics, the PhotonicsInitiative of South Africa(PISA).Viljoen’s comments followthe signing of a one-yearagreement between the twoorganisations. The agreementsees Carl Zeiss taking up alaser technology that wasdesigned and developed bythe CSIR mathematical opticsgroup. Carl Zeiss will use theapplication in its range ofoptical products.The conceptWith lasers one generally hasto choose between havinglots of energy and having a‘nice’ laser beam. A qualitythat incorporates both theseparameters is the so-called‘brightness’ of a laser: Highbrightness means good laserbeam quality and high energy.This is difficult to achievebecause good beams tend tocome at the expense of energy,while high-energy beams arehighly distorted and difficult touse in practical applications. Sois it possible to have the best ofboth worlds?Carl Zeiss Optronics designs,develops and producesstate-of-the-art optronicinstruments for militaryand civilian applications.Under the new Carl Zeissmanagement, revealsViljoen, the organisation isinvesting significantlyin new technologies.“We invest 10% of ourrevenue back into researchand development (R&D),”he notes.He adds, “We’ve reacheda stage where industrydefines the technology thatit wants. We will be usingthis technology in our nextgenerationproducts, suchas laser rangefinders andlaser designators – used inmissile guidance. We haveidentified an applicationarea where we neededtechnology and research,and the CSIR was able toprovide that.”A high-brightness laser explainedThe researchThe CSIR has for several yearsinvested in developing coreexpertise in shaping light withdiffractive optical elements;optics that have feature sizesdown to the micrometre scale,and sometimes to the nanometrescale.The idea is that given a laserbeam of a particular intensityprofile (i.e. how the energycarried by the laser is distributedin space), it is possible to reshapethe profile of this laser beam byredistributing the energy.If this is done correctly, then inprinciple any laser beam shapeHe says that this milestone is thetangible result of the PISA initiative.Dawie Mulder, project manager atCarl Zeiss, adds that the objectiveis to develop lasers that can beused in military applications. “Ourfocus is very much on productdevelopment – sometimes atthe expense of new technologydevelopment. Marrying the twois not an easy task,” says Mulder,“but successfully doing so can reallyhelp separate your products fromthe rest.”can be achieved. Thegroup worked on achievingthis same result, butinside a laser, so that thediffractive optical elementsare the mirrors of the laser.The idea was that if themirrors were correctlycalculated and thenfabricated, the laser itselfwould select the best beamfor maximum brightness.The shape of the laserbeam bouncing aroundinside the laser was chosento extract as much energyas possible from the laser,but in a ‘good’ shape.– Prof Andrew ForbesMulder elaborates, “TheCSIR is the single bestpool of knowledge in lasertechnology. It is a hugeadvantage for us to be ableto improve our products’performance and efficiencybased on the CSIR’s R&D.”– Mzimasi GcukumanaEnquiries:Prof Andrew Forbesaforbes1@csir.co.zaA Gaussian beam (top) for good beam qualityand a flat-top beam (bottom) for high energy.The CSIR produces a laser that combines both.| 47 |


ENABLING TECHNOLOGIESNatural fibres such as flax (pictured here) are being used in biocomposites.CSIR facilities geared to supportthe Biocomposites Centreof Competence“The processes involved in thepilot production line includefibre blending and opening;carding and cross lappingfor web formation; needlepunching;hydro-entanglement;foam impregnation; hot airbonding; the curing and dryingprocess; and hot calendaringand winding,” he explains.“The pilot plant facility isalso supplemented by acomprehensive range of testinginstruments to characterisenonwoven materials for a varietyof properties.”These instruments can test for airand water permeability; filtrationefficiency, dynamic contact angle;surface tension; pore size andits distribution; water-vapourpermeability; universal tensiletesting with attachments forpull-out force and punctureresistance measurement;hydraulic transmissivity; aswell as abrasion and peeling. Inaddition, digital image processingand microscopy analysis are alsodone.Composites and biopolymers“Composites are prepared usingnatural fibres such as flax, hemp,kenaf and agave; thermoplasticand thermoset resins; as well asbiopolymers such as soy protein,polylactic acid and polyfurfurylalcohol,” Anandjiwalacontinues. “The mechanical,thermal, thermo-mechanicaland fire-retardant propertiesof fibre-reinforced compositesare optimised for application inthe automotive and aerospaceindustries.”These two sectors are keen toincreasingly use composites in themany parts needed in aircraft andcars, but materials used have tobe strong as well as heat and fireresistant.Developing new biopolymersand resins is an importantactivity in the development ofbiocomposites. For this, theCSIR’s fully integrated compositeprocessing facility includes a2 700 kN compression mouldinghydraulic press, vacuum-assistedresin transfer moulding, twinscrewextruder and an injectionmouldingmachine.The composites laboratory housesstate-of-the-art equipment formeasuring the mechanical andthermal properties of composites.A weathering chamber wasrecently installed to studythe influence of temperature,humidity and sunlight oncomposite materials, which arecrucial for components that areused in outdoor environments.Fire testing laboratoryAnandjiwala says that the facilityalso supports fire-retardancyClient and partnershipsAirbusBombardierVolkswagenExpericoWoolworths and suppliersDe Gama, Frame, Brits TextilesUniversity of DelawareBIRNIDCSustainable Fibre SolutionsThe House of Hemp andHemporiumtesting. “The fire testinglaboratory is being upgradedwith the purchase of a rate-ofheat-releaseapparatus and asmoke density chamber.”According to Anandjiwala, plansare afoot to seek approval forthe fire testing laboratory fromthe Civil Aviation Authority. Thiswill allow the CSIR to undertakefire testing according to FederalAviation Administrationstandards. It will be the onlyfacility of its kind on the Africancontinent.Not just researchApart from research anddevelopment, this centre is alsocharacterised by elements ofindustry seeking assistance withInitiativesInterior panels for airplanesInterior panels for train carriagesParcel trayPackagingCharacterisasionNatural fibre compositesBiopolymers for housingInternational BiocompositesNetworkSisal fibre productionKenaf processingEstablishment of hemp industryBiocomposites for constructionChemcityindustryTable: Examples of high-profile clients/partners and research initiativesproblem-solving, quality control,and guidance on maintainingecological standards. In addition,the centre conducts hands-ontraining sessions for universitystudents and the industry.Anandjiwala concludes: “TheCSIR’s world-class researchersand well-equipped laboratories inPort Elizabeth have a valuable roleto play in growing South Africa’snatural fibre-reinforced compositesindustry, in close partnershipwith role players from academia,government and industry.”– Kelly-Anne MatthewsEnquiries:Dr Rajesh Anandjiwalaranandi@csir.co.za| 50 |Over the past few years, the CSIR has madea significant investment into fibres andbiocomposite research and infrastructure atits Port Elizabeth campus. The Department ofScience and Technology (DST) has investedapproximately R10.8 million in new equipmentto complement this research. With the hub of thecountry’s newly created Biocomposites Centre ofCompetence situated in Port Elizabeth, the CSIR isideally positioned to provide optimum support.The majority of researchdone at the CSIR’s facilities in PortElizabeth focuses on nonwovenproducts and the more traditionalfibre processing route. Fibremodification (where chemicalsand techniques are applied tofibres to change their properties)also remains a strong focus,with continued support given toindustry on fibres and textiles.Research production areaThis 4 300 m 2 facility includesextensive infrastructure forprocessing and analysing naturalfibres and natural fibre-basedcomposites along the whole valuechain, from fibre extraction andprocessing, through intermediateproducts such as nonwovens, to finalnatural-fibre composite products andcomponents. It is, essentially,a complete pilot production line.According to principal researcherDr Rajesh Anandjiwala, the CSIR’sworld-class nonwoven platformoffers a unique, custom-madecombination of several technologiesfor the production of a wide rangeof nonwoven fabrics and otherrelated products.Developing natural fibre-based composites for industrial applicationsCurrent research programmes focus on the development of natural fibre compositesfor various industrial applications. An interesting product that has been developedis a natural fibre-reinforced sandwich panel for aircraft interiors. For the first time,natural fibre-based panels for aerospace applications have been developed using anenvironmentally benign flame-retardant treatment to comply with flame, smoke andtoxicity (FST) requirements. The major advantages of these panels include beinglightweight (leading to energy savings), environmentally friendly, fully degradableand sustainable. They are, therefore, truly ‘green’. Other advantages includeimplementation of REACH (registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction ofchemicals) guidelines and alignment with the European Union’s Clean Sky Initiative.A natural fibre-reinforced compositeis shown after fire testing.| 51 |


ENABLING TECHNOLOGIESUsing locally available resourcesto produce nanocompositesSome materials have special properties when made in parts smaller than about 100 nm (nanometre). Nanoscience is the studyand discovery of these new properties, and nanotechnology is their use in special products and applications. Prof Suprakas SinhaRay, a world-renowned expert in nanocomposites, leads the Department of Science and Technology/CSIR National Centre forNano-Structured Materials. The centre researches the production of nanocomposites and nanoparticles as well as their application.| 52 |Sinha Ray explains,“Nanocomposites are consideredan advanced material andtheir application presently liesmainly with the automotiveand aerospace sectors.”However, Dr Manfred Scriba,project leader of the industryfocusednanocompositesproject, cautions, “Industrymust seriously consider thesematerials for other applicationsin packaging, cosmetics andplastic products in general.In South Africa, polymernanocomposites are not fullyutilised and our industry runsthe risk of falling behind.”Researchers at the NationalCentre for Nano-StructuredMaterials develop processesto produce nanoparticlesand nanostructures with theintention of putting theseinto polymers (better known12 3as plastics) to change theirmechanical and thermalproperties. Polymers can bemade stronger, more stable athigher temperature or biodegradable.The use of mineralswith useful nanostructures,such as clays, is also beinginvestigated.What are nanocomposites?Polymers are carbon-basedmolecular chains. By themselves,they are quite soft. To improvestrength, minerals and fibrescan be added as filler. Oncemixed, the polymer ‘sticks’to the filler particles to gaincomposite strength.In microcomposites, theinterfacial surface area for this‘sticking’ is relatively small.Thus, for a strong plastic, 20%or more of its weight must beThree examples of local clay (1,2,3) with modified clay (4) , granulated polymers (5),and compounded pellets (6)465filler. This has implications forcost, weight, and often theimprovement in mechanicalproperties is not significant.In nanocomposites theimprovements are significant.The interfacial surface areabetween the polymer and thenanoparticles is much bigger.In nanoclays, for instance,due to similar sizes, a singlepolymer can find itself betweentwo nanoparticles. This highstrengtheningphenomenonis called intercalation and thisnanoeffect is what makesit a true nanotechnology.Just 1% filler creates a plasticmany times stronger than amicrocomposite. It is also moreflexible and can withstandhigher temperatures.Local clay makes adifferenceScriba’s team of nanocompositeresearchers has a singular task:To assess the suitability of localclays to be chemically modifiedand used as nanoparticles fornanocomposites.He explains, “Southern Africahas an abundance of readilyavailable, reasonably pricedclay. We source clay fromMozambique, Namibia and,of course, South Africa.”Clay comes in a range ofcolours ranging from dirtywhite to fudge-brown, withthe colour being an indicationof purity; the colour indicatesthe presence of iron and otherimpurities. “The purer theclay, the more desirable it isfor the production of polymernanocomposites,” says Scriba.While some deposits, suchas the one found in Namibia,yield clays of high purity, thevolume may be limited or moreexploration is required.One of the project members,Dr Jayita Bandyopadhyay,explains, “Clays are part ofthe Phyllosilicates family ofminerals which were formedmillions of years ago, often bythe compaction and weatheringof volcanic ash. The mineralconsists of 1 nm thick silicatewhich is usually up to onemicrometre wide, stuck togetherlike a deck of playing cards.”The trick for producing a propernanocomposite is to developchemical processes that modifythe space between the layersso that they come apart anddisperse evenly in the polymerduring the nanocompositeformation.While high-quality clays foundin the US, Europe and Asiahave been used extensivelyHow big is a nanometre (nm)?1 nanometre = 1/1 000 000 000 metre; the width of astrand of human hair is 100 micrometres (1/1 000 metre)Researchers Dr Sreejarani Pillai, Boitumelo Motshabi, and Dr Jayita Bandyopadhyay in the nanocomposite labin nanocomposites, these areexpensive to import, whichlimits their use. The CSIRproject collects and evaluatesthe different clays found insouthern Africa to investigatetheir chemical modification andsuitability for nanocomposites.“As part of the project, we alsodecorate the clays with silvernanoparticles,” says Dr SreejaraniPillay, another project member.The well-known antimicrobialproperties of silver together withthe clay properties, make thesenanocomposites highly soughtafter for inclusion in packagingmaterial.Once the modified nanoparticleshave been evaluated (usinginstruments such as scanningand transmission electronmicroscopes, X-ray powderdiffraction and thermogravimetricanalysis), the final stage of theprocess commences.Dr Joseph Hato, who is responsiblefor the compounding, explainsthat in order to produce thepolymer nanocomposites, themodified clay and granulatedpolymers are fed into acompounder/extruder whichmelts and mixes the twomaterials. The final productis formed into pelletsthe size of grains of rice.These are, in turn, testedto assess the efficiencyof the nanoparticlesand nanostructures inthe polymer. Desirableimprovements might bea higher crystallisationtemperature or bettermechanical properties.Scriba confirms this, adding“Our innovation lies in themodification of the claysas well as understandingand optimising theirincorporation in the polymermatrix.”The way forwardBeneficiation of South Africanminerals for use in advancedmaterials creates a strong valuechain. Early indications are thatnanocomposites produced withlocal clay show potential.Scriba looks forward to workingwith industry to exploit theapplications of nanocomposites,“We are keen to develop ourtechnologies to meet the futuredemand of our partners in industry.”– Biffy van RooyenEnquiries:Dr Manfred Scribamrscriba@csir.co.za| 53 |


ENABLING TECHNOLOGIESMicromanufacturing:The factories of the futureThe CSIR’s Jerry Chen undertaking waferpreparation using the soft lithography process.South Africa needs to invest in high-tech technologies to sustain economic growth in the mediumto long term. Investing in micromanufacturing technologies might just be the perfect way to start.| 54 |South Africa’smanufacturing sector makesthe second largest contributionto South Africa’s Gross DomesticProduct, contributing morethan 50% of exports andemploying about 1.7 millionpeople.Government knows thateconomic growth will not besustainable on the back ofraw material-driven exportsonly, and that it is imperativeto continue developing adiversified, export-orientatedmanufacturing base. We arecompeting with Asia wherelow-cost manufacturing is theorder of the day. This meansthat we need to move intohigher value-added activitiessuch as product research anddevelopment (R&D), design,high-end manufacturing,and product integration.Consequently, there has alreadybeen a marked increase inthe introduction of high-endmanufacturing and producttooling equipment in SouthAfrica.Importance of high-techindustriesIn 2005, South Africadeveloped and implementedthe Advanced ManufacturingTechnology Strategy. Thisstrategy highlighted thetrend that distinguishesmanufactured goods of differenttechnology intensities. Researchby Prof Sanjaya Lall of OxfordUniversity showed that overthe period 1985 to 1998, hightechnologyintensity industriesin developing countries grewat over 20%, with electronicitems dominating this category.Medium and low-technologyintensity industries in thesesame countries grew bybetween 10% and 15%, whileresource-based industriesgrew at just over 5%.The trend in South Africa isno different. Clearly, hightechnologymanufacturingindustries offer the greatestadvantage for growth, whichraises the question of what isrequired for South Africa tobecome competitive in theseareas.It is clear from the evidence,as well as other studies, thatSouth Africa needs to investin high-tech technologies tosustain economic growth inthe medium to long term.A very good example isSouth Korea, which decidedin 1995 to focus on automotiveand consumer electronics.Fifteen years later, we are allfamiliar with Samsung andLG Electronic products. Oneof the key technologies SouthAfrica should focus on duringthe next 10 to 15 years is micromanufacturing.Micromanufacturing –the factories of the future?Micromanufacturing isthe fabrication of smallintegrated devices or systemsthat combine electrical andmechanical components.These components range insize from the sub-micrometre(or sub-micron) level to themillimetre level, and there canbe any number, from a few tomillions, in a particular system.Micromanufacturing extendsthe fabrication techniquesdeveloped for the integratedcircuit industry, to addmechanical elements such asbeams, gears, diaphragms,and springs to devices.Micromanufacturingtechnologies will have aprofound impact on futuretechnology developmentsin practically all sectors ofindustrial activity, fromconsumer products to morecomplex and new applications.It makes use of a broad varietyof materials, componentsand basic technologiesand provides functionalityand intelligence to highlyminiaturised systems, whichcan perform unprecedentedtasks, or add new capabilitiesand performances to traditionalequipment, machines andmaterials.These technologies have furtherbeen labelled as a disruptiveMicromanufacturing technologieswill have a profound impact onfuture technology developmentsin practically all sectors ofindustrial activity, from consumerproducts to more complex andnew applications.It has also been labelled adisruptive technology that willhave a profound impact in thesocietal and social economicarena, providing affordablesolutions to the developing world,in terms of health care andpoint-of-service delivery.Researchers in the micromanufacturinglaboratorytechnology that will havea profound impact in thesocietal and social economicarena, providing affordablesolutions to the developingworld, in terms of health careand point-of-service delivery.It further has real economicvalue due to its crosscuttingnature and could beapplied in any industry orapplication.Examples of micromanufacturingproductsinclude inkjet printercartridges, accelerometers,miniature robots, micro-engines, locks, inertialsensors, microtransmissions,micro-mirrors, microactuators,optical scanners,fluid pumps, transducers, andchemical pressure and flowsensors.New applications areemerging as the existingtechnology is applied tothe miniaturisation andintegration of conventionaldevices. These systems cansense, control and activatemechanical processes on themicro scale, and functionindividually or in arrays togenerate effects on the macroscale. Micromanufacturingtechnology allows one todevelop and manufacture agreat range of devices, whichindividually performs simpletasks, but in combinationcan accomplish complicatedfunctions.It is critical for South Africato think about the future ofmanufacturing and start toinvest today in R&D to securea competitive advantage in20 years’ time. Realisingthis, the CSIR has started toinvest in micromanufacturingresearch (since 2008), aswell as establishing the firstmicromanufacturing researchgroup in South Africa withvery strong internationalties. The CSIR would like tocollaborate with other researchgroups and organisationsin South Africa, as well asindustry players interested inthe development of micromanufacturingproducts.– Riaan CoetzeeEnquiries:Riaan Coetzeercoetzee@csir.co.za| 55 |


ENABLING TECHNOLOGIESAhmed Shaik with a scaled modelof one design concept, which hasall motors at a fixed location.A novel,six-degree-of-freedomrobot arm design| 56 |The CSIR is combining twomethods of robot design tooffer a solution that couldsubstantially reduce robots’power consumption, whilethey perform the same tasks.The trouble with commonrobotic arms is that their designfixes large motors and gear boxesto their movable axes. This makesthe arms heavy, and the heavierthe object, the more energy isrequired to move it. Engineers atthe CSIR are hard at work solvingthis problem by using a hybridrobot design that they say couldbe more energy efficient, resultingin cost savings over the lifespan ofthe robot.Robotic arm architectureRobotic arms can be programmedto accomplish a wide variety oftasks within their workspace.Some of the uses of robotic armsinclude component assembly;welding; cutting and spraypainting.A central design feature incommonly used robotic arms isthat their motors and gearboxesare located at, or close to, thespecific joint they control.Robots designed in thismanner are called SerialKinematic Machines (SKMs).Though simple and mature,serial architecture has a majordrawback. It significantlyincreases the inertia in roboticarms. Increased inertia alsoaffects accuracy by contributingto dynamic vibration problems.To solve the problem commonto SKMs, parallel architecturewas developed. In most ParallelKinematic Machines (PKMs),all the motors and gear boxeshave a fixed arrangement andposition in space. A numberof arms and links are coupledin parallel from the motorsand gear boxes to the graspingmechanism or tool at the end,forming closed kinematicchains. As such, the motors andgearboxes remain stationaryrelative to the movement of therobotic arm. However, parallelarchitectures are not withoutproblems, the most significantbeing the sizeable machinefootprint in comparison to theuseable workspace.The best of both worldsThe solution lies in using ahybrid design to combine thestrengths of both architectures,says Ahmed Shaik, an engineerat the CSIR’s mechatronics andmicromanufacturing group.A hybrid design allows for anoptimised workspace-to-footprintratioequivalent to that of a serialrobot. It also has a machinemoving-massand agility closer tothat of a parallel robot.“The design that we are workingon is unique, consisting ofpatented mechanisms that enablea full range of six degrees offreedom. The design centres onthe concept of fixing the heavydutymotors in one locationand transferring actuation to aspecific axis located elsewherevia a unique concentric gearingmechanism and other sets ofgears and light-weight connectedlinkages,” explains Shaik.“Actuation transfer from the basegearingsystem can be realisedeither with rigid links, toothedbelts or chains. It would have totransfer torque along multipleconfigurations of the robotarms’ main proximal and distallinks to the respective wristmechanism as efficiently aspossible,” he adds.An energy saver for industryShaik states that their HybridKinematics Machine (HKM)design could have a significantimpact on power consumptionin industry, “This particulardesign reduces the total movingmass of the robotic arm.”“If this HKM were to replacethe popular SKM, having thesame lifespan and performingthe same tasks, it should bemore energy efficient and resultin substantial cost saving forindustry over the long term,”he adds.– Bandile SikwaneEnquiries:Ahmed Shaikashaik@csir.co.za| 57 |


ENABLING TECHNOLOGIESParticle manufacture for industrialapplications – better controlthrough microfluidicsOne of the newest research outflows of the miniaturisation revolution is the useof controllably produced microdroplets. When this technology is perfected, it willrepresent a technological leap in the quest for biological and chemical applications.| 58 |The microfluidic device used to manufacture the particles.Self-immobilised enzymes manufacturedthrough droplet microfuidics.Microfluidics researcher Mesuli Mbanjwa separatesmanufactured microparticles from oil using a centrifuge.“Microfluidicmicrodroplets aremanufactured such that theyare controlled in both theirphysical size and structure,”explains Kevin Land, principaltechnologist and projectleader for microfluidics at theCSIR. “They are produced bymeans of microfluidics which,in simple terms, describesthe study and developmentof systems that manipulate,process and control smallvolumes of fluids.”Simplified further, amicrofluidic device has aminute channel through whichtwo immiscible fluids aresqueezed. One of the fluidsthen breaks up, through aprocess called flow focusing,into tiny (nanolitre or picolitrevolumes) droplets.But why are scientistsinterested in making thesedroplets? Basically, each ofthe droplets has the potentialto be a micro-reactor – thecentral concept is to carry outentire experiments in smalldroplets, allowing for isolationof the reactions – making theexperiment controllable to adegree not previously achievable.Droplets-on-demandThe droplet microfluidics can alsobe used to create monodisperseparticles (particles of similar size)and gels, which are beneficial formany health-related diagnostic,drug encapsulation and industrialproduction applications. Onespecific application is selfimmobilisedenzymes (used asbiocatalysts that can modify orspeed up chemical and biologicalreactions).Says Land: “Free enzymes, usedas biocatalysts, are very difficultto recover and re-use. Selfimmobilisedenzymes, however,can be used and then recovered.This makes them more costeffectiveand environmentallyfriendly.”Land’s team of researchers hasbeen focusing on microfluidicsfor the past two years. Theseself-immobilised enzymes areone of the projects that flowedfrom their work on producingdroplets that can be controlled.The work seeks to improvethe method of making theself-immobilised enzymes byusing droplet microfluidics.“One advantage of usingmicrofluidics to producethese controlled droplets isthat it allows for the preciseintroduction and mixing ofreagents. This means thereaction times are faster andthe droplets that will becomeparticles can be manufacturedmuch more controllably thanwith conventional batchsystems,” he says.A platform to supportparticle manufacturing“We now have an easy-to-useand reliable system and soliddroplet platform that can beused to tailor an applicationaccording to the needs of anyindustrial partner,” states Land.“These include the right peopleas well as facilities such aslaboratories for experimentaland characterisation needsand a clean room. I believethat we are the only facilityin the country that uses thismethod to produce controlleddroplets or particles. The factthat it is adaptable to anyapplication also makes it anattractive option to consider.”He concludes: “I echo thesentiments of Heubner et al,who came to the followingconclusion in a 2008 article:The ability to reproduciblygenerate, process andanalyse isolated droplets ofvarying composition and athigh frequencies defines acolossal leap in technologyfor large-scale biologicalexperimentation.Even though such droplettechnologies are in theirearly years, the power isconvincing.”– Petro LowiesEnquiries:Kevin Landkland@csir.co.za| 59 |


ENABLING TECHNOLOGIESThe CSIR’s Denan Kuni,Kobus Roux and Kagiso Mnisi of the MNCC Office.| 60 |Future challenges see industry finding itsway to high performance computingSouth Africa’s Centre forHigh Performance Computing(CHPC) now has over 500users from across the scienceand engineering domains.Traditional users of the centrehave been higher educationinstitutions and researchcouncils. However, evermountingpressures on industryto grow their business and tobecome more competitive,have led a number ofcompanies to the CHPC.The CSIR’s strategy for theadvanced manufacturingindustry seeks to achievesignificant impact through thedevelopment and transfer ofmanufacturing technologies thatimprove the competitivenessof existing South Africanindustry while also creating newmanufacturing opportunities.CHPC industry partners suchas Sasol, Hatch and others areusing the facility to conductcomputationally intensiveresearch that seeks to advancetheir products and increase theircompetitive edge. They haveaccess to the facilities withoutlong-term commitment, whichtranslates to cost-effective access.Some of the functionality andservices that South Africanindustry has access to, include:• Cluster usage resources• Training on cluster platformsand related services• Storage resources• Backup and archiving solutions• Technical support and services.There are three ways in whichindustry can access CHPCfacilities. The first is throughComputer Processing Unit (CPU)rental on a cost-recovery basis.This option is specifically designedfor industry with establishedresearch and development (R&D)functions. The second optionis for industry without an R&Dfunction, where the CHPC canprovide consultancy on simulationand expertise. The third option isa combination of CPU rental andconsultancy.To improve service to industry,the CHPC 2011 national meetingestablished an Industrial AdvisoryCouncil. The council, made up ofCHPC users from industry, meetstwice annually and is a platformfor South African companies toprovide advice on CHPC policy,strategy and implementation asthese pertains to industry. It isa forum to identify and discusscompetitive issues around HPCadoption, use, and more generallyindustrial computing for design,manufacturing, and services thatare important to the South Africaneconomy.“The nature of the researchobjectives of CHPC’s newer usersfrom industry falls into the prioritythemes identified by the CSIRin its strategies for advancedmanufacturing, for exampleadvanced production andprocesses, knowledge-intensivemanufacturing and smart productsand systems. This makes the CHPCa partner for development that isgeared towards developing strategicpartnerships with key industry roleplayerswho are eager to exploreand adopt new technologies,” saysDr Happy Sithole, CHPC director.Enquiries:Dr Happy Sitholehsithole@csir.co.zaDr Happy Sithole, CHPC director, left, and Giullio Capuzzimati, Industrial Minerals Director,Hatch, signing the service level agreement between the CHPC and Hatch. Hatch is aninternational company with services in mining, energy, infrastructure and technologies.Within the context ofthe National Research andDevelopment Strategy (NRDS),the DST leads the developmentand implementation ofthe national ICT research,development and innovation(RDI) strategy. Its goal is tocreate an enabling environmentin South Africa for ICT RDI toflourish to the benefit of differentsectors, and ultimately to helpthe growth of the South Africaneconomy.The CSIR’s MNCC office providesthe vehicle for collaborationwith relevant stakeholders andassists in the formulation andmanagement of joint initiatives.Overall, it forms part of a newdrive by the DST to partner withthe private sector in furtheringSouth Africa’s ICT RDI objectives,which support priorities suchas enterprise development andadvanced manufacturing.This new drive is informed bythe DST’s ICT ImplementationRoadmap. The activities in theICT RDI programme will be basedon six thematic clusters namely,broadband infrastructure andservices, ICT for development,sustainability and environment,industry applications (includingadvanced manufacturing), grandscience, and the service economy.CSIR hosts the MultinationalCompanies Cooperation officeHarnessing the power of private-public ICT partnershipsThe CSIR has been appointed by the Department of Science and Technology (DST)to host the Multinational Companies Cooperation (MNCC) office. Its primary role is toassist the DST in structuring, guiding and monitoring engagements with multinationalsin the information and communications technology (ICT) sector.Operating within a frameworkIn 2011, the ICT RDI roadmapconfirmed the importanceof effective collaborativepartnerships between sciencecouncils, higher educationinstitutions, government and theprivate sector, in enabling ICT andthe knowledge economy.The DST’s MNCC frameworkprovides a structured, streamlinedand effective process for fosteringpartnerships with multinationalICT companies. The CSIR’sKobus Roux who heads theMNCC office, explains, “At theCSIR Meraka Institute, we havethe technological and scientificknow-how and the interest toassist in realising benefits for allpartners through the MNCC’sactivities. The framework is aplatform for the development ofmutually beneficial programmesand projects for both the DSTand government on one hand,and the concerned MNC on theother hand. By solidifying andimplementing DST partnershipswith MNCs, we envisageimportant outcomes such ashuman capital development,and development of new localintellectual property (IP).”The partnership with SAPResearch Internet Applicationand Services Africa, hasbeen productive in terms ofpostgraduate students: Over thepast five years the collaborationhas seen the enrolment of 16undergraduate interns andpostgraduate students, notably14 Master’s and 17 PhDs. Sevendegrees have been completed.These includes six Master’s andone PhD. The work has alsoresulted in the development ofa new South African mobiletechnology that will be exploitedglobally.The partnership with Microsofthosted the national finals of theImagine Cup, a competition toencourage young talent to developICT solutions for relevant localchallenges, in domains as diverseas manufacturing and health.The Centre for High PerformanceComputing and climate scientistsat the CSIR are collaborating withMicrosoft’s Cambridge facilitieson climate change modelling.The CSIR Meraka Institute is alsodeveloping, with Microsoft, newmodels for the use of ICTs in smalland rural enterprise development.Through the collaboration withNokia, mobile learning for mathsand the Open Innovation AfricaSummit (OIAS) have beenimplemented; the collaborationis also aiming to bring a numberof programmes to South Africa,including the Universal Accessto Mobile Technologies andServices Programme, andthe Research AmbassadorsProgramme. In another relatedactivity, Laurens Cloete,Executive Director: CSIR MerakaInstitute, joined a group of invitedSouth African participants at aroundtable in February 2012 withNokia CEO, Stephen Elop, heldat Vodaworld in Midrand. Thediscussion topic was the SouthAfrican mobile applications andservices ecosystem.Over the course of 2012, the DSTand the CSIR plan to partnerwith other ICT MNCs such asIBM, Cisco and others, as well asestablishing and growing a localindustry partnerships frameworkaimed at strengthening theNRDS and the ICT RDI objectives.“The MNCC is poised to fulfil itsmandate as an implementationagency for the DST and standsready to support industrythrough private-public ICTpartnerships,” concludes Roux.– Biffy van RooyenEnquiries:Kobus Rouxkroux@csir.co.za| 61 |


ENABLING TECHNOLOGIESA risk and control frameworkfor cloud computing and virtualisationThe evolution of manufacturing has given rise to computer-aided manufacturing, reconfigurable manufacturing systems andtechnology-intensive manufacturing. This in turn requires that new options for computing capability are investigated.Organisations have toadapt quickly to changes toretain a competitive advantageand meet targets. Reduced costs,scalability, flexibility, capacityutilisation, higher efficiencies,and mobility can be achievedthrough technologies such as cloudcomputing and virtualisation.To assist organisations withcompliance and governancerelating to these technologies,the CSIR’s Enterprise KnowledgeEngineering and Managementgroup has developed a risk andcontrol framework for cloudcomputing and virtualisation,named the Cloud-V Framework.Cloud-V FrameworkCloud computing andvirtualisation have gained clearacceptance in the informationtechnology (IT) industry, withstrong indications of a significantfuture. Yet threats fromcentralised and shared resourcesnow exceed the adoption of thesetechnologies. Why is this so?The reality is that althoughvirtualisation allows users toaccess power beyond their ownphysical IT environment; thisis associated with many risks.Within the cloud environment,data are no longer under thecontrol of management, anduncontrolled or unforeseenrisks and threats can lead to acompany’s information beingcompromised.The Cloud-V Frameworkprovides a governancestructure and guidelinesfor the identification andassessment of cloudcomputing and virtualisationrisks, and controls to mitigatethe identified risks. It wasdeveloped by MarianaCarroll, a CSIR PhD student.Professors Paula Kotzé andAlta van der Merwe areCarroll’s PhD supervisors.The Cloud-V Frameworkprovides guidance todetermine an organisation’sreadiness for the deploymentof assets into the cloud.It also offers a detailedset of methods to guidethe understanding andidentification of risks andcontrols to maximise thevalue of cloud computingand virtualisation. Guidelinesto assist in protecting andsafeguarding applications anddata, and meeting regulatoryrequirements pertainingto the cloud and virtualenvironments, are included.The risk and controlframework aims to servea diverse audience basedon their distinct needs,including businessleaders, management,and informationsystems professionals;those charged with ITgovernance and providingcloud computing andvirtualisation services;and IT assurance andcompliance auditors orconsultants.– Mariana Carroll, Prof Paula Kotzéand Prof Alta van der MerweEnquiries:Prof Paula Kotzépkotze1@csir.co.zaThe Cloud-V Framework was recently used in anassessment of access and authentication to a largeenterprise resource planning application runningin a private/community cloud at a prominentinternational beverage company where the cloudand virtualised environment is provided by amajor IT company.Feedback from the Line of Business manager included:“The cloud assessment is a must-have for anyorganisation considering a cloud-based solution ofany kind. The value derived from the assessment givesclear guidance around the potential pitfalls and hasbroadened our thinking around cloud. My hope is thatthis assessment becomes an industry standard for allorganisations to measure their cloud readiness against.”What is cloudcomputing?Cloud computing is the deliveryof computing as a servicerather than a product. Sharedresources, software andinformation are provided tocomputers and other deviceswith access via a web browser ora desktop or mobile application,as a metered service over anetwork (typically the Internet).Cloud users do not need to knowthe location and other details ofthe computing infrastructure.| 62 |Consider the risk impact throughout the entire processCloud readiness assessmentStrategyIdentification and valuationArchitecture and technologyGovernance and compliancePeople and changesBusiness caseCloud-V FrameworkCloud and virtualisation risk and control assessmentUnderstanding of thecloud and/or virtualenvironment(s)Identify controlsAssess controlsCONTROL IDENTIFICATION& VALUATIONESTABLISH CONTEXTREPORTINGMONITORING&REVIEWINGDefine scope andobjectivesIdentify risksAssessrisksRISK IDENTIFICATION& VALUATIONProf Paula Kotzé (back) and Mariana CarrollCloud computing is a model forenabling convenient, on-demandnetwork access to a sharedpool of configurable computerresources that can be rapidlyprovisioned and released withminimal management effort orservice provider interaction.The market for cloud technologyand integrated services iscurrently transforming from thehype cycle to testing, piloting,and implementation by largerenterprises. Given the potentialfor significant cost savings,smaller and medium-sizedorganisations are alsobecoming early adoptersof this technology.| 63 |


ENABLING TECHNOLOGIESCSIR experts in laser sources Kwanele Nyangaza, left, andGary King assembling a state-of-the-art solid-state laser.Water tank leaks atKoeberg Power Stationsealed with new laser process| 64 |Advanced photonicsmanufacturing facilityto ensure new laser-based productsThe CSIR is set to establish an advanced photonics manufacturing facility to bridge the gap between laboratory demonstratorsand commercial products. This will allow the transfer of laser technology in the form of advanced photonics products to theSouth African and international industries, says Dr Daniel Esser, project manager and laser sources research group leader.The CSIR is keen tocollaborate with existing andnew industrial partners todevelop niche products thatcould provide South Africanindustry with a competitiveadvantage.“One of the cornerstones of thestrategy is to build and supportprogrammes that will stimulategrowth in this importanttechnology sector,” explainsHardus Greyling of the CSIR.“The establishment of such afacility will therefore directlysupport the photonics strategyby creating an environmentwhere technological innovationcan be transferred in astructured way to industrialpartners.”Esser adds: “This will be awell-equipped facility, with themindset of advanced productdevelopment, in contrast to aresearch lab.”He says that the goal of the facilitysupports the CSIR’s strategyaround advanced manufacturingand smart product development.The CSIR is known fordemonstrating state-of-the-artlaser technologies. “Our focusnow is to develop these lasers toa state which can be adopted byindustry,” says Esser. “Researchersin this area have already identifiedniche application areas madepossible through the uniqueproperties and wavelengths of ourlaser technology.“The unique propositionresulting from our technologyis rugged mountingtechniques, thermalmanagement, and in-depthknowledge of solid-state lasersystems,” he says. “This is whathas put our laser technologydemonstrators at the leadingedgeof innovation.”The CSIR holds more thanfive world records relating togroundbreaking discoveries inlaser sources, made in recentyears. “These lasers can beused for a number of tasks,including medical applications,due to their uniquewavelength,” explains Esser.These world records wererecognised by the internationalcommunity in the formof published papers andinternational invited talks.“More importantly however,we have produced technologydemonstrators for each of thenew concepts which havebeen acknowledged by localstakeholders,” says Esser.“The next step is to take thesetechnology demonstratorsto advanced products. Todo this, we need to put inplace an advanced photonicsmanufacturing facility.”– Mzimasi GcukumanaEnquiries:Dr Daniel Esserdesser@csir.co.zaFollowing the successful demonstrationof a world-first laser-cladding processtwo years ago, the CSIR and Eskomwelding engineers recently testedthis technology during a scheduledmaintenance operation at KoebergPower Station, Cape Town.The provisionally patented laserbeam-welding and leak-sealing technologywas developed for Eskom in collaborationwith Eskom welding engineers. Thetechnology provides significant support inthe maintenance of South Africa’s powerstations, particularly in sealing and repairingleaking water vessels without having todrain them before conducting the repairwork.During 2011, CSIR laser engineers HermanRossouw and Corney van Rooyen aswell as Eskom welding engineer PhilipDoubell repaired a unit water storage tankin a drained condition during a scheduledmaintenance outage. This feat was eclipsedin February 2012 when the same teamsealed cracks on another tank – fullycharged with water, and the unit on fullgenerating mode. “The idea was to performthe work without impacting on Koeberg’spower generation capacity,” says theCSIR’s Herman Burger.According to Eskom’s engineeringprogrammes manager, Anton Kotze,the maintenance work was successfullycompleted by the CSIR in collaborationwith Eskom’s research, technology anddevelopment team with the required leaksealing and overlays being applied in eightareas on the refuelling water storage tank.“This is probably the first time that laserbasedrefurbishment technology wasused for leak sealing in the nuclear powerindustry,” says Burger.“We would like to express our appreciationfor the efforts made by CSIR engineers –Herman Rossouw and Corney van Rooyen– and their work ethic, professionalismand positive attitude,” says Kotze.Previously, the 18 m high stainlesssteel tank with its 15 m diameter wasrefurbished using arc-welding processes.“These caused undesirable effects suchas thermal distortion. The very low heatinput associated with the CSIR’s laserprocess eliminates these problems andin addition enables Eskom to use localsuppliers to conduct refurbishmentactivities of this nature,” explains Burger.He says that the success of therefurbishment work – during a scheduledmaintenance downtime – is a tellingexample of the strategic importanceof laser technology for industry. “In anenvironment with stringent requirementson quality and turnaround time, wesuccessfully performed work that has notbeen done in South Africa before,” notesBurger.Eskom’s nuclear spokesperson, Tony Stott,commented on the excellent, safe andinnovative approach used in conductingthis refurbishment work. “The success ofthe project is attributed to the continueddedication of the CSIR and the soundpartnership with Eskom,” states Stott.– Mzimasi GcukumanaEnquiries:Herman Burgerhburger@csir.co.zaThe water storage tank at Koeberg that has been repaired with anew laser process, while in use.The process as seen up close.| 65 |


ENABLING TECHNOLOGIESProbing industrial diamonds with lightIndustrial diamonds are used in drill bits on oilrigs, where, due to friction, they become veryhot and sometimes start to lose efficacy.The CSIR has developed an in-house technique for the heating, and subsequent temperature measurement of industrialdiamonds. This technique, which is non-invasive and uses only light for both the heating and measurement, is now used incollaboration with our industrial partner to improve the efficacy of their diamond drilling tools.measure experiment in ourlaser laboratory, we wouldfocus a high-power laser ontoa sample we wish to study,delivering several hundredswatts of average power in asmall spot of less than 1 mm indiameter. As the sample heatsup, so the temperature risesuntil a steady state is reached;that is, when the energybeing delivered by the laser,matches the energy lost to thesurroundings. At any stage inthis process we can measurethe spectrum of light emittedfrom the sample, so that wecan monitor the temperaturerise as a function of time acrossthe whole sample. Thus laserlight causes the temperature torise, and blackbody light allowsus to monitor the process; anall-optical temperature controlexperiment, with no physicalcontact with the sample. Sucha technique can be applied toalmost any sample, and has theadvantage that the sample canbe far away, since the light itselfcarries the information back tothe detector.We have used our knowledgeof laser beams and opticsto design novel laser beamshaping optics to changethe shape of the light on thesample, by using speciallyin-house-designed optics thatare based on diffraction oflight rather than conventionalreflection and refraction. Theseelements have microstructureson the surface to create speciallaser beams. This, togetherwith creative ways to holdthe sample, has allowed usto mimic various boundaryconditions in the problem –how the sample is heated,how it dissipates the heat, andultimately what the precisethermal gradient looks like onthe sample. This control is whatmakes the in-house-designedsystem unique.Industrial diamondapplicationTogether with Element 6,leading supplier of high-qualityindustrial diamond materials,we have used this tool toinvestigate thermally induceddamage in an industrialdiamond. The industrialdiamond we are studying isused extensively in drills bits formining, where, due to friction,the diamond becomes very hot.In some cases the diamondstarts to lose efficacy. But why?The motivation for the studywas to answer the simplequestion: Can thermal stressalone (ignoring mechanicalstress) result in physical orchemical changes to thediamond? Our experimentaltechnique allowed us to tacklethis problem in a mannerthat could not be done before:We were able to localise theeffects, by laser-heating a smallarea, and study the heatingunder constant temperatureand temperature gradientconditions. The results haveshown that thermal stress doesindeed alter the properties ofthe diamond, and this can be ofa chemical and physical nature.The findings are being usedby Element 6 to improve theproduction of the diamonds bypre-testing new designs againstthe thermally induced changes.Together with Element 6, weare considering a new projectto explain, and then mitigateagainst, the mechanism thatleads to this damage. It is hopedthat better insight will lead tobetter industrial products.– Prof Andrew Forbes and Bathusile MasinaEnquiries:Prof Andrew Forbesaforbes1@csir.co.zaPictured top is an industrial diamond ingood condition, while the two images belowshow extreme forms of deterioration afterlaser heating.Back to basicswith this when you look at a study, if the spectrum itselffire: The hottest part of the flame can be measured. The goodAround 100 years ago,One can extend the use ofis at the centre and is blue in news is that the spectrumphysicists discovered the naturelight from measuring thecolour, while the ‘cooler’ part of can be measured. We haveof blackbodies: Objects thattemperature to actually creatingthe flame is farther away from constructed an optical systemexhibit the particular trait thatthe heating in the first place.the colour of the light theythe centre and is orange/red in to do just this, but in a mannerIf laser light is focused ontoemit is dependent only on thecolour. So the old saying ‘red hot’ that is spatially resolved. Thisan absorbing object, then thetemperature of the body, and should actually be ‘blue hot’! means we can measure the absorbed light will heat thenot on its shape or size. In fact, This spectrum of light emitted as temperature of each part of the object. The advantage of laserthe hotter the object, the shorter a function of wavelength (colour) object very accurately. In our heating over conventional oven| 66 | the wavelength of the light that is called the blackbody spectrum, home-built system, we can heating is that lasers allow| 67 |is emitted from it. This simplefact can be used to study thetemperature of an object, byobserving the colours of light itgives off. You are most familiarand since it is determinedonly by the temperature of theobject, it can be used to extractvery accurate temperaturemeasurements of objects undermeasure the temperature ofthe surface of a sample withone degree accuracy and witha spatial resolution of just a fewmicrometres.All-optical controlvery intense fields to be createdin very localised spots on theobject, down to just a fewmicrometers in size. In a typicallaser heating and temperatureZoomed-in images of an industrial diamond surface after moderate laser heating, showing micro-cracks and other physical changes.


ENABLING TECHNOLOGIESDeveloping a| 68 |robotics strategyfor South AfricaThe PackBot robot, used in proof ofconcept of a mine safety platform.The Department of Science andTechnology has approachedthe CSIR to facilitate thedevelopment of a research,development and innovation(RDI) strategy for roboticsin South Africa (RoboticsStrategy of South Africa orROSSA). The draft strategy isnow in the finalisation stage,and the strategy is expectedto be implemented in the2012/2013 financial year.CSIR students working on a mobile roboticplatform used for experimental verification.CSIR researcher Natasha Govender working ona Barret arm during experimental testing ofhuman-machine interface.The current situationalanalysis of robotics researchactivities within the NationalSystem of Innovation revealedthat robotics research efforts inSouth Africa are fragmented,and lack socioeconomic impact.This is caused mainly by thedifferent research groups indifferent departments from thesame institutions undertakingfragmented robotics researchand a lack of a unified roboticsstrategy at different institutions.The aim of ROSSA is to provide aunified strategy at both nationaland institutional levels, and tomaximise synergy between theexisting research activities inrobotics, so as to maximise thesocioeconomic impact of roboticsresearch efforts in South Africa.The draft strategy was developedfollowing an extensiveconsultative process whichincluded technology endusers,technology developers,the broader South Africancommunity, government, andthe international robotics society.It was also informed by ananalysis of the robotics valuechain.A value-chain analysis alsorevealed that in order forrobotics to create socioeconomicimpact, robotics research mustbe informed by both domainknowledge and roboticsexpertise. This is the majorreason why current roboticsendeavours do not result invisible socioeconomic benefitsfor South Africa. One of the keysuccess factors of ROSSA shouldbe to bridge the gap betweenfundamental research andapplied research in robotics.The following main focusapplication areas of roboticsresearch for South Africa wereidentified as mining, flexiblemanufacturing, medical andhealth care. Other importantfocus application areas aremarine/underwater robotics,defence and security robotics,and agricultural robotics.The mechanisms ofimplementing the roboticsstrategy are still to be confirmed.One of the suggestions is toform clusters based on the focusapplication area, whereby anorganisation with considerableresearch activity in a specificfocus area becomes a leaderof a cluster. For example, theCSIR could lead the miningrobotics cluster that includes theuniversities of the Witwatersrand(Wits), Johannesburg (UJ) andPretoria (UP); Nelson MandelaMetropolitan University(NMMU) could lead the flexiblemanufacturing cluster thatincludes the University ofKwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), TshwaneUniversity of Technology (TUT),the CSIR and North-WestUniversity (NWU); and theUniversity of Cape Town (UCT)could lead the health roboticscluster that includes TUT, Witsand UKZN. Each cluster willthen have a strong industrypartner. For example, a partnerfor mining robotics can be theChamber of Mines, and so on.The proposed strategic focusareas for the implementation ofROSSA are:• Human capitaldevelopment: The objectiveis to create capacity andcapability in terms of humancapital focusing on thedevelopment of scientists,engineers and technicians inthe robotics area.• Directed and focusedresearch: The objective isto create a competitive edgefor South Africa in focusareas such as mining androbotics manufacturing andfundamental research inareas such as perception,navigation, kinematics anddynamics modelling.• Innovation: The objective isto conduct focused researchthat will lead to technologydiffusion and transfer toindustry. ROSSA’s researchareas shall be determinedpredominantly by technologypull.• Public understanding ofrobotics: The objective of thisprogramme will be to shareinformation about the role ofrobotics in the preservationof jobs and the creation ofglobal competitiveness.It is proposed that ROSSAbe implemented throughthe creation of the NationalRobotics Centre, with amandate of coordinating all thenational initiatives in robotics,and developing research anddevelopment capacity andcapability in accordance withROSSA.– Nkgatho TlaleEnquiries:Dr Nkgatho Tlalentlale@csir.co.zaRiaan Coetzeercoetzee@csir.co.za| 69 |


Commercialisation successes and opportunitiesSeeing what is invisible to the naked eye| 70 |The CoroCAM,here held byUViRCO marketingmanager, RiaanRossouw, isdesigned to visuallydisplay the coronadischarges fromdefects on highvoltageelectricalinstallations.Visually displaying the corona discharge around a defective, high-voltageelectrical installation is a problem that researchers at the CSIR have longsince overcome – of that the worldwide success of its CoroCAM designs areproof. The CoroCAM range of products was licensed to UViRCO Technologies,a CSIR spin-out, staffed by ex-CSIR personnel, in 2008.Power utilitiesworldwide are experiencingpressure to manage their availablepower efficiently. Preventativemaintenance can reduceblackouts and power loss on highvoltageequipment, which resultsin minimising power losses.Under high load on transmissionand distribution infrastructure,localised hot spots limit capacityand can cause black-outs dueto failure. Power-loss causescan be minimised throughinspection to verify that linesare installed as designed. It is forthese inspections that the CSIRdevelopedCoroCAM has becomeirreplaceable.The first CoroCAM was anultraviolet (UV) imaging camerathat could detect and displaythe UV discharges that indicatehigh-voltage equipmentproblems – discharges that arenot normally possible to spotwith the naked eye as they fallbelow the range of visible lightthat humans can detect. Thiscamera could only spot theresulting corona at night andthe request soon came for adevice that could do exactly thesame thing, but during the day.Four models followed, with theCoroCAM 504 being the currentand very popular version withthe ability to detect faults duringnight and day. According to RiaanRossouw, UViRCO’s marketingmanager, more than 150 units ofthe CoroCAM 504 have been soldinternationally, the majority ofwhich have gone to China, Russiaand the USA.“However, while the CoroCAMcan visually show powerutilities and large industrialusers of electricity where coronadischarge creating equipmentfaults are located, it cannot showthem the severity of the problem.This still requires a humanoperator,” says Rossouw.UViRCO is about to release theCoroCAM 6D, the latest additionto the CoroCAM family.The CoroCAM 6D was developedin-house by UViRCO andintroduces a number of newfeatures which the marketdemanded, that is, on-boardrecording and a simplified userinterface.The CoroCAM 6D leveragedoptimised electronics andmechanical design to effect areduction in production cost.The technology behindCoroCAMWhen looking at an object suchas a high-voltage electrical wirethrough the UV detecting camera,the incoming light is split intotwo pathways. One path passesthe visible light through to astandard video camera whichrecords the images of the objectbeing inspected in order to createa background image. The secondpath takes its light through a240-280 nm wavelength solarblindfilter to a camera which issensitive to UV light.The UV image is overlaid onthe background image toprovide a final picture whichshows the location of UVcorona discharges on theobject being inspected.Other developmentsApart from the CoroCAM,the CSIR, which now acts asresearch and development(R&D) partner for UViRCO, alsodeveloped a product calledMultiCAM. This camera candetect both UV and infrared(IR) wavelengths and visuallydisplay these images for theeasy identification of highvoltageequipment problems.Jeremy Wallis, competencearea manager for the sensorscience and technology groupat the CSIR, says that byadding the IR ability to theUV function, the MultiCAMcan show differences intemperature as well as faultsthat radiate a corona. “Havingboth the thermal and coronaimage allows the operator toeliminate possible causes ofa problem and get to the realproblem (and solution) faster.”With the MultiCAM, an IRdimension as well as thenormal visible spectrum canbe recorded at the same timeas the UV spectrum. The UVimage can be overlaid on topof either the IR or backgroundimage, showing a final imagewith temperature differencesas well as coronas on theobject being inspected.This camera too has beentransferred to UViRCO andthe CSIR is currently applyingfor funding to develop a fullyradiometric MultiCAM.– Petro LowiesThe CoroCAM being used at a substation in Russia.This image, produced by the CoroCAM,shows a typical UV discharge overlaid on abackground image.An image taken with the CoroCAM111, the best night vision camera.It shows the corona where a cablehas been damaged.The CoroCAM along with an FLIR productmounted inside a gimbal that is attachedto a helicopter. Some power utilities findsuch a gimbal mounting handy especiallywhen inspecting remote cable lines. Thisallows them to inspect thousands of km ofcable in a much shorter time than wouldhave been possible if done manually.about...Corona – Corona discharge is an unwantedside-effect of high-voltage electrical installations. It is aphenomenon that results from the ionising of air due toa high electric field. The high electric field gradients formaround geometric sharp points such as loose cables, cracksor badly designed equipment.| 71 |


Commercialisation successes and opportunities| 72 |From polymertechnologyto cosmetic productsA polymer gel that originated in the CSIR’s polymersand composites research laboratorieswas reinvented to become ahighly successful internationalcosmetic product.The product,called Eyeslices,is commercially available internationally.Eyeslices is an innovative, cryogel eye pad, which slowlyreleases active ingredients to the skin to combat a widerange of eye irritations. It reduces the appearance of redeyes, dark circles under eyes, tired eyes, wrinkles and puffyeyes within minutes of use.It started when CSIR researchers with expertise in polymersinvented a water-soluble polymer gel that functionedas a dermal delivery system – in other words, a gel-likesubstance that could be liquefied and solidified to absorband emit ingredients to the skin.In 2000, entrepreneur Kerryne Neufeldt, licensed thistechnology from the CSIR and built up a company (i-SlicesInnovations (Pty) Ltd) around it. By the end of 2006, thecompany had stocked the product in over 100 salons andspas in South Africa. The product is now exported to severalcountries, including Mexico, Australia, the United ArabEmirates and the USA.The company has received numerous awards for thisinnovative product, including a Technology Top 100 awardin 2007 and a SABS Design Institute Award in 2004. In2011, the company won the Technology Top 100 award forsustainability.The product continues to capture market share, with directresponse television campaigns marketing the product (underdifferent brands) set to start in the USA in the near future.– Petro LowiesEnquiries:Eyeslices website: www.eyeslices.comPolymers are materials made of repeating strings of molecularstructures. Although the term ‘polymer’ is sometimes taken to referto plastics, it actually encompasses a large class of compoundscomprising both natural and synthetic materials with a wide varietyof properties.Inter-polymer complexation is a process where two polymers withcomplementary functional groups join together to form a new productthat has properties different from that of the original two polymers.An example is a material with stimuli responsiveness, that is,it responds to changes in its environment such as temperature or pH.Increased food and beverageshelf-life – A local hero inventedthrough polymer technologyHaving food orbeverages stayfresher and lastlonger on the shelfis one ideal thateveryone in thefood and beverageindustries shouldinvest in. The CSIRinvented a way forthis ideal to becomea reality, withproven success.During the normalcourse of the research processat the CSIR’s encapsulation anddelivery research group, newpolymer systems with specialproperties are created. It was thespecial nature of these newlycreated polymer systems that ledresearcher Dr Philip Labuschagneand his team to discover new usesfor it. What they found was a veryhandy new technology specificallygeared towards the food andbeverages industries.Their invention, which is nowpatented, is an oxygen barriertechnology. It has the potential toconsiderably lengthen the shelflifeof food and beverages storedin plastic containers.Labuschagne explains howthe invention happened: “Weregularly use a process calledinter-polymer complexation inour drug delivery research. Theresult is a polymeric product withunique properties – one of whichis that the polymer has a highdensity (or a close-knit polymernetwork formed by hydrogenbonds). This property led usto investigate its effect on thepermeability of gasses.”Not letting oxygen throughHis group did several trialson various inter-polymercomplexation systems until asystem was found that reducesoxygen permeability by a factorof about 20 (for polyester-basedplastics) and by a factor of around150 (for polyolefin-based plastics).“The consequence is that youcan increase the shelf-life of anyoxygen-sensitive beverage inplastic containers by up to 150times,” he says.“Another advantage of thistechnology is that it is a polymersolution that can easily beapplied to a plastic surface, suchas a beverage container, using asimple dip-coating process. Thepolymers used are also suitable forpharmaceutical use, thus they arecompletely non-toxic,” he says.Beverages that are typicallysensitive to oxygen are beer orciders, juices and any tomatobasedproducts. Traditionallythese products are stored inglass containers to ensuresufficient shelf-life. However,with this barrier technology, newopportunities for plastic packagingare possible. Plastic packagingis desirable because it reducesthe enormous cost (and carbonemissions) resulting from thetransport of heavy materials, suchas glass.An external coatingLabuschagne continues: “Thecoating is applied on the outside ofthe container using a dip-coatingprocess. Because it has somedegree of moisture susceptibility,a second protective UV-curableovercoat is applied over the barriercoating. Both these layers haveachieved approval for use asexternal coating on food containersby the American Food and DrugAdministration.”Cost-wise, the barrier technologycompares favourably to otherbarrier technologies, but issuperior to them in certainaspects. For example, metaloxidecoatings are expensive andsuffer from brittleness; oxygenscavenger technology has alimited life span; and multi-layertechnology is not only prone todelamination, but also difficult torecycle. “The containers can alsobe produced locally which can leadto considerable cost savings,” saysLabuschagne.With local inventions such asthis barrier technology, it is justa matter of time before we willbe able to buy fruit juices thatcan stay in the fridge for at leasta month. Or beer sold in plasticrecyclable bottles rather than glass.“The food processing sector is thecountry’s largest manufacturingsector in employment terms withsome 160 000 employees. SouthAfrica has a competitive advantagein a number of fruit and beveragesub-sectors which, if fullyexploited, could place it amongthe top 10 export producers inhigh-value agricultural products.I believe that the oxygen barriertechnology has the potential toimprove the competitivenessof this sector,” concludesLabuschagne.– Petro LowiesEnquiries:Dr Philip Labuschagneplabusch@csir.co.za| 73 |


SPECIALISED TECHNICAL SERVICES AND SUPPORT TO INDUSTRY| 74 |The composite material usedfor the Meerkat precursorof the Square KilometreArray radio telescope (artistimpression top) undergoingtensile testing at the CSIR.From tensiletests to fracturemechanics:Mechanical testinglaboratory leadsthe wayThe CSIR’s mechanicaltesting laboratory is a uniqueSouth African facility. Notonly can this facility provideindustry and researcherswith both static and dynamicmechanical testing, but it isindependent and conforms tointernational standards.Before a new product canbe manufactured it is essentialto know the properties of thematerials to be used. This includesboth physical and mechanicalproperties.“The CSIR’s mechanical testinglaboratory was established toprovide support to researchers inthe evaluation of materials,” saysDr Sagren Govender, researchgroup leader of the advancedcasting technologies group at theCSIR. “While this is still the case,we have also opened our facilitiesto industry and have donesome interesting work for manyindustrial partners over the years.”The laboratory is a nationalfacility that has a number ofmechanical tests for metalsaccredited to the ISO/IEC17025:2005 quality managementstandard used for test procedures,such as high-temperature androom-temperature tensile tests,Chris McDuling, technical manager at the CSIR mechanical testing laboratory duringthe testing of an aerospace componenthigh-cycle fatigue testing and straincontrolled,low-cycle fatigue testing.It is also accredited according tothe PRO 0430 aerospace standard.All other tests are performed incompliance with the ISO 9001 qualitymanagement system.“All of these accreditations playeda role in the laboratory being anapproved facility to Airbus, GeneralElectric and Safran. In order toensure the highest standards areachieved, the laboratory takes part inan international proficiency testingprogramme administrated by EXOVAin France,” explains Chris McDuling,technical manager of the CSIRmechanical testing laboratory.The CSIR mechanical testinglaboratory did tests to qualifythe materials used for thedishes of the South AfricanMeerKAT precursor of the SquareKilometre Array radio telescope.Over a number of years, the range oftest equipment has been expandedconsiderably and procedures fortesting composite materials have beendeveloped. An example of recent workin this area is tests done to qualify thematerials used for the dishes of theSouth African MeerKAT precursor forthe Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radiotelescope.South Africa’s bid to host the SKAtelescope includes a locally developedtechnology with which to manufacturethe antennae reflectors on the dishes.The CSIR’s mechanical testing laboratorywas tasked to determine whether thematerials to be used would last theexpected 20 years. Since a newmanufacturing process was used forthe dishes, new test methods had to bedeveloped for the material qualificationprocess for the SKA.Says McDuling: “Industry benefits fromthis mechanical testing facility by meansof static strength and fatigue testingfor the aerospace, power generation,engineering and civil industries.Mechanical properties of turbine bladematerials for the aerospace industryand power plants can be determinedat this facility. We have also developedadvanced testing techniques for highcyclefatigue testing of reinforcing steelfor the construction industry.”In addition, biomedical implantdevices are also tested at the facilityin accordance with ASTM standards.A number of the devices testedat the facility received approvalfrom the American Food and DrugAdministration, which testifies to thelaboratory’s quality standards.Some of the laboratory’s current clientsinclude Eskom, Sasol, Scaw, EliteSurgical and MegChem.– Petro LowiesEnquiries:Chris McDulingcmcdul@csir.co.zaDr Sagren Govendersgovender@csir.co.zaShear testing of material for South Africa’sSKA project (material qualification tests)Fatigue testing of a titanium vertebraeplate used for biomedial implantsMECHANICAL PROPERTIES OF MATERIALSFor structural components, mechanical properties arevitally important, especially for components where safetyis critical. Mechanical properties give an indication of howmaterials perform when subjected to stress and strain andare a function of the materials used and the manufacturingtechniques employed to produce a product or component.High-temperature tensile testing of turbine-blade material| 75 |


SPECIALISED TECHNICAL SERVICES AND SUPPORT TO INDUSTRYThis picture, supplied by the NFTN, was taken atScaw Metals Group during normal operations.NFTN now a brand namein the foundry industryThe challenges identified were:• Environment regulations;• Rapidly rising energy cost;• Access to skills developmentand training;• Pricing and reduction of scrapmaterial;• Technology uptake by industry;• Sophistication of marketsegregation; and• Access to capital.Actors from all spheres of theeconomy such as industry,academia, technical institutionsand government have joined toform working groups aroundthese challenges, with the aimof improving the overall healthof the sector.The South African foundrysector has pockets of excellence;foundries that are tenderingagainst highly competitive1foundries globally andwinning these tenders.The NFTN believes that thesefoundries have a role to playwithin the sector.The NFTN now uses thesame concept withinits support initiatives tofoundries by focusing oneither a regional or marketspecificapproach. In doingso, all forms of support canbe tailor-made for the needsof the region or sub-sector.The first move betweenthe NFTN and foundriesis to conduct a baselineassessment. This assessmentidentifies possible areasof improvement for thefoundry’s internal operation.It should be acknowledgedthat the initiative aims toequip foundries with themeans of identifying theneed for improvement of theirinternal operations, and alsoof their external relations.This includes both inter-firmrelationship building andinteracting with supportinginstitutions, especially intraining and technology.Through this process the NFTNaims to assist the associationsto be more actively involved inindustry. The role of the statein enhancing competitivenessand creating locationaladvantages should be takeninto consideration whenlooking at the South Africanfoundry industry as a whole.The NFTN sees itself as the oilthat keeps the engine running;The health of a sector can onlybe improved if all the actors areplaying their parts.– Adrie El MohamadiReferences1. Meyer-Stamer, J. 1998, Clustering,Systemic Competitiveness andCommodity Chains: ShapingCompetitive Advantage at the LocalLevel in Santa Catarina /Brazil.Enquiries:Adrie El Mohamadiaelmohamadi@csir.co.za| 76 |Adrie El Mohamadi, thecoordinator of the NFTN, with oneof the network’s latest products:A guideline for foundries on howto reduce their energy usageand increase their efficiency.The office of the NFTN is basedat the CSIR, with administrativeoperations governed bya Memorandum ofAgreement betweenthe dti andthe CSIR.It is now close to four yearssince the inception of theNational Foundry TechnologyNetwork (NFTN). The vision stillremains to increase the globalcompetitiveness of the SouthAfrican foundry industry throughthe provision of appropriateservices, in order to reduceimport leakage, increaselocal production, and increaseinvestment in the sector. Sincethe inception of the networkthere has been substantialprogress in all the relevant areas.At the root of efforts to improvethe competitiveness of the foundry sectoris the concept of systemic competitiveness.This concept tries to “capture both thepolitical and the economic determinantsof successful industrial development” 1 .It refers to a pattern where state andsocietal actors are deliberately creatingthe conditions for successful industrialdevelopment as systemic competitiveness.The concept distinguishes betweenfour levels: The micro-level of the firmand inter-firm networks; the mesolevelof specific policies and institutions;the macro-level of generic economicconditions; and the meta-level of slowvariables like socio-cultural structures,the basic order and orientation of theeconomy, and the capacity of societalactors to formulate strategies. With thismodel in mind, all levels of actors withinthe foundry sector in South Africa weremobilised to identify key challengescausing the industry to be less competitive.Workers at the Johannesburg-basedfoundry Wahl Industries, a foundry thatspecialises in gravity and tilt casting.Image supplied by the NFTN.| 77 |


SPECIALISED TECHNICAL SERVICES AND SUPPORT TO INDUSTRYTechnology assistance programmehas lasting impact on foundriesThermal image, taken at one of the participating foundries,shows areas of heat loss on an aluminium casting furnace.| 78 |To assist South African foundry companies to participate in Eskom and Transnet’s competitive supplier developmentprogrammes, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) created a Technology Assistance Package (TAP) programme.The CSIR was extensively involved in the execution thereof.The two state-ownedenterprises, Eskom andTransnet, have embarked onextensive multi-billion Randinfrastructure-expansionprogrammes. In the interestsof developing and growing theeconomy, the South Africangovernment has developedthe Competitive SupplierDevelopment Programme, alocalisation initiative aimed atsourcing more of the technology,manufacturing, and expertiserequired for these programmeslocally.The TAPs for the foundry industrywere aimed at addressing thetechnology gaps in individualcompanies that must beovercome to better positionthem as competitive bidders forfuture infrastructure expansionprogrammes.During a benchmarking exercisedone in 2009 by the UnitedNations Industrial DevelopmentOrganization (UNIDO) andspecialist service providers,28 foundries were identified fortechnology assistance from theTAP programme. Eventually,23 of these participated. TheCSIR and Mintek were contractedby the DST as technology partnersto execute the two highest prioritytechnology areas; the CSIR tosupport the industry on ‘Leanand Clean Manufacturing’, andMintek, on ‘Scrap Reduction’.Identifying needs andimplementing solutions“The TAP took place in twophases,” explains Duncan Hope,project manager at the CSIR’smetals and metals processesgroup. “For the first phase, acollaborative approach wasfollowed and a team made up ofthe CSIR, DST, National FoundryTechnology Network (NFTN) andMintek specialists visited thefoundries. We identified specifictechnology needs, over andabove those identified during thebenchmarking exercises.It was also a valuablerepositioning exercise and thestart of longer-term relationshipswith these companies.”The second phase involved theimplementation of technologysolutions for the needs identifiedduring phase one. The exercisespanned 18 months.“We assisted them with a rangeof interventions, from casting,process simulation and modellingand the installation of shotmonitoring systems on highpressure,die-casting machines,to developing sand foundrycomponent costing software;developing a simple meltquality tester for the aluminiumfoundries, and fine-tuning a CSIRdevelopedintegrated productionmonitoring system (SmartFactory)to suit their needs,” says Hope.“There were also interventionsthat involved assistance withgetting their waste foundry sanddeclassified as hazardous waste.”A survey to measure resultsA year after the start of thesupport to the industry, the DSTrequested that an independentsurvey be conducted to assessevidence of the impact of theintervention and the currentstate of the programme. Thissurvey, conducted by the NFTNand the South African Institute ofFoundrymen, also provided theDST with a recommendation onwhether the programme shouldcontinue, and in what format.All 23 of the foundries respondedpositively to the continuationof the TAP programme andnine of these foundries wereable to report improved processefficiency and productivity asa benefit derived from it. Thesurvey concluded that the TAPprogramme was a valuableexercise that achieved muchmore than was expected. Itimproved the relations betweenpublic and private sector andincreased the capacity of thosefoundries which made the most of theopportunity offered to them.In addition, the survey concludedthat it was crucial to realise thatthis was only the beginning of avery important initiative; that if themomentum was lost, much morethan only the beginning of improvedproductivity, quality and efficiencywithin the foundries supportedwould be lost.“The programme hassucceeded in stimulatingfoundry decisionmakersto worktowards improvedproductivity andcompetitivenessfor localisationand exports,”says Hope.– Petro LowiesEnquiries:Duncan Hopedhope@csir.co.zaDuncan HopeJohn Bryson, Director of KEWFoundries, on participating inthe TAP programme 1 :“KEW Foundries is proud to be a part ofthis (TAP) programme. Besides the financialimplications, the pooling of technology andexpertise is something that has been lackingwithin the foundry industry in South Africafor as long as I can remember.“Since the launch of the programme, thecompany has managed to address variousshort-term challenges relating to the castingof larger diameter solid sheave wheels,thereby minimising the necessity for thesmaller half-rim assemblies, which willultimately reduce machining times andassociated costs.“As part of the Technology LocalisationProgramme, KEW Foundries is supplyingcastings, material for testing, technicalspecifications, foundry process knowledge,as well as other technical input and time. Weare also highlighting the positive nature ofthis initiative and encouraging participationby more and more industry members.”1 From a KEW Foundries media release, January 2012| 79 |


SPECIALISED TECHNICAL SERVICES AND SUPPORT TO INDUSTRY| 80 |A demonstration of how an infrared imaging camera can beused to detect heat leakage and hot spots in energy-intensivesystems. Energy remains a critical resource for South Africaand an industrial energy-efficiency project was introduced in2010 in a drive to improve energy usage practices.Resource efficiency and cleanerproduction for advanced manufacturingWith current trends in global economic growth as well as population growth, environmental degradation is on the increase withboth waste and pollutants being released faster than the Earth can absorb them, and natural resources being consumed fasterthan they can be restored. New innovative patterns have emerged to reduce environmental stress and the National CleanerProduction Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA), through its resource efficiency and cleaner production (RECP) assessment process,recommends clean production technology as a cost-saving option, in addition to other low-cost, no-cost options.The target is to drasticallyreduce the environmentalfootprint and increase thecompetitiveness of industry by‘doing more for less’.Advanced manufacturinginvolves, among other things,the introduction of new ormore efficient technologies,as well as the generation andmanagement of knowledge.RECP is one of the very latestmethodologies aimed atimproving productivity andoptimising plant operations.It focuses on improvingresource and energy efficiencyby introducing more efficienttechnologies and enablingsolutions along the value chain,thus supporting long-termsustainability in terms of globalcompetitiveness, ecology andemployment.The NCPC-SA is a key industrialsustainability programme ofthe Department of Trade andIndustry (the dti). Hosted by theCSIR, it utilises RECP to addressthe country’s critical need toincrease global competitiveness,while reducing resource andenergy inefficiency and theenvironmental impact ofindustrial activities. In-plantassessments are undertakenat participating companies toidentify areas for efficiencyimprovement in terms of energy,water and raw material usage.“The activities of the NCPC-SAare aimed at strengtheningmarket access for South Africa’sindustry, fostering networksand transferring RECPtechnologies and services;contributing to the sustainabilityof industry value chains, anddelivering measurableeconomic, environmental andsocial impacts,” explainsNCPC-SA Director NdivhuhoRaphulu. A total of 162 cleanerproduction assessments wereundertaken between 2009and 2011, yielding potentialsavings of approximatelyR78 million. Besides thefinancial, environmentaland technical benefits, amore consistent productoutput quality was alsoachieved, while the workingenvironment in participatingplants improved substantially.The services of the NCPC-SAare fully subsidised at thisstage, and are made availableto participating companiesat little or no cost, to enableindustry to proactively complywith competitiveness andefficiency policy, as well asregulatory frameworks andstandards before these becomelegislated.The centre currently focuses oneight priority sectors identifiedin government’s IndustrialPolicy Action Plan for 2010to 2013 (IPAP2) as key to jobcreation, economic growthand market competitiveness:Agro-processing; automotives;chemicals, plastic fabrication,cosmetics and pharmaceuticals;fibres, textiles and clothing;pulp and paper; hospitality andtourism; and metals, and capitaland transport equipment. It alsoaddresses the green industriessector, which includes wasterecycling/remanufacturing andcommercial buildings.Energy efficiencyEnergy remains a criticalresource for the country. Theindustrial energy-efficiencyimprovement project wasintroduced in 2010 to contributeto the sustainable transformationof energy usage practices inSouth African industries, andenhance national energy security,while promoting job creationand reducing carbon dioxideemissions. The project seeksto actively involve a numberof key industries identified fortheir potential to bring aboutsignificant reductions in theoverall energy consumption ofthe country. The first seven of anenvisaged 25 leading mediumto large companies are currentlypioneering the implementationof energy management systemswithin their operations as ameans of increasing profitability.A further participationoption involves becoming ademonstration plant where themeasurable and verifiable impactof recommended energy systemsoptimisation interventions maybe showcased. The focus is onenergy-intensive systems such assteam, compressed air, pumps,motors, process heating and fans.The project is a collaborativeinitiative between the dti andthe Department of Energy, theSwiss Secretariat for EconomicAffairs and the United KingdomDepartment for InternationalDevelopment. The UnitedNations Industrial DevelopmentOrganization (UNIDO) is theimplementing agent.Small, medium and microenterprises (SMMEs) in themanufacturing sector alsobenefit from the project throughsubsidised energy audits aimedat raising awareness of thebenefits of energy-efficiencypractices.Capacity buildingThe availability of suitablyskilled human resources isessential to the implementationand sustainability of RECPmethodologies and techniquesin industry. To address thisneed, the centre facilitatesthe presentation of trainingworkshops by internationallyacknowledged expertsfor representatives of theenvironmental goods andservices sector, as well as fromindustry and governmentinstitutions. RECP trainingworkshops are presented acrossthe country at least once ayear, while more than 1 000consultants and representativesof companies and governmenthave undergone variouslevels of training in the areasof energy managementsystems and energy systemsoptimisation since August 2010.The NCPC-SA also runs asustainable entrepreneurshipprogramme involving theplacement of postgraduatestudents in companies. Thesecompanies benefit fromthe availability of trainedand dedicated resources inaddressing specific competitivegaps and/or environmentalconstraints, while students gainvaluable cleaner-productionexperience in the workplace.During the past year, thecentre introduced a cleantechnology acceleratorprogramme for SMMEs andentrepreneurs to leverage newand innovative technologies,with particular emphasis onenergy efficiency, renewableenergy and green buildings.The objective is to stimulategreen entrepreneurship, createmore jobs, and contributeto the sustainability of neweco-efficient enterprises. Thefirst round of winners wasannounced at a gala event inDurban during COP17.Barriers to implementationFinancial considerations andthe local availability of relevanttechnologies are key barrierspreventing full implementationof RECP recommendations,“Greener productionmethodologies andtechnologies have a directand positive impact on thebottom line of a company.”– Ndivhuho Raphulu, Director: NCPC-SAwhich is required to maximisethe cost-savings benefitsof RECP. To address this,government is finalising asuite of incentive schemes,which companies that adoptcleaner production as atool to improve efficiencyand competitiveness canapply for. This includes a taxrebate, a scheme to supportthe implementation ofenergy-efficiency measures,and the soon-to-beannouncedmanufacturingcompetitiveness enhancementprogramme (MECP) of the dti.Enquiries:Petro de Wetpdewet@csir.co.zaCapacity building is a key focus of the industrial energy-efficiency project. Training workshopson energy management systems and energy systems optimisation – ranging from pumps to fansystems – are presented by international experts at advanced user and expert level. Pictured isthe first South African group of expert-level trainees on fan systems during the on-site practicalsession at SAB Maltings. From left are USA-based trainer Ron Wroblewski; Alfred Hartzenburg,NCPC-SA; Erik Kiderlen, Ashway Investments CC; Bill Cory, UNIDO; Eddie Raad, CFW Fans;Hamied Mazema, UNIDO; Azeem Mohamood, Saint-Gobain Construction; Jaco Kirstein, SAB Ltd;and Darrin McComb, Resource Innovations.| 81 |


SPECIALISED TECHNICAL SERVICES AND SUPPORT TO INDUSTRYSeeing South AfricaThe CSIR has strengthened its ongoing support for industries such as automotive, manufacturing,health and defence, by acquiring Africa’s first laser-engineered net shaping (LENS) system.| 82 |through a manufacturing LENSAfrica’s firstlaser-engineerednet-shaping systemThe LENS system differsfrom the other approachto laser-based additivemanufacturing, knownas selective laser sintering(SLS) or melting (SLM). Bothtechnologies build partslayer-by-layer from a slicedcomputer-aided design (CAD)model by employing a focusedlaser beam to melt andconsolidate material, which issupplied in a powder bed.By contrast, the LENS systemfeeds blown powder from anozzle into a laser-generatedmelt pool, which is thentranslated over the area, whichcorresponds with the CADmodel layer. The LENS and SLSprocesses complement eachother. While the SLS processoffers better surface quality andmore intricate part geometry,the LENS process offers fasterbuilding rates, larger partsand easy variation of alloycomposition for functionallygraded materials.Another advantage of theLENS system is the ability toperform high-quality repairsof original components; itenables the damaged part tobe put back into service, whichis obviously of great interestto local end users. The LENSsystem not only offers a fast,high-quality repair option, butalso in many instances makesit possible to refurbish the partin such a way that it will havea longer service life than theoriginal. In addition, the lowheatinput and rapid-coolingrates guarantee low distortionof components and superiormaterial properties, resultingfrom rapid solidificationand consequential grainrefinement.The CSIR, through its lasermaterial processing group, iscommitted to supporting theSouth African manufacturingindustry through targeted,application-oriented researchand development, to improveits global competitiveness as aprimary driver of wealthcreation, economic growth anda better life for all South Africans.The LENS system will makea major contribution towardsachieving this goal, since it alsoaddresses priorities such as theestablishment of aerospace andtitanium industries.Refurbishment of industrialcomponents is particularlyimportant in the SouthAfrican context. South Africa’smanufacturing industry relieson imported equipment andcritical spares have to be keptin stock or be imported. Wherehigh-value parts are involved,manufacturing companies haveto choose between expensivespare-part inventories or thepossible loss of production dueto downtime while spare partsare being imported. The LENSsystem offers a cost-effectivealternative in terms of the repairof components, and perhapseven ‘building’ a complete sparepart.It uses a high-power laser(500 W to 4 kW) to fusepowdered metals into fullydense three-dimensional (3D)structures.Technical make-upThe LENS 3D printer usesthe geometric informationcontained in a CAD solid modelto automatically drive theLENS process as it builds upa component layer-by-layer.Additional software and closedloopprocess controls ensurethe geometric and mechanicalintegrity of the completed part.The LENS process is housed ina hermetically sealed chamberwhich is purged with argon sothat the oxygen and moisturelevels stay below 10 partsper million. This ensures thatthe material properties ofcomponents built from highlyreactive materials like titaniumare not compromised by thepresence of oxygen in thedeposited material. The metalpowder feedstock is delivered tothe material deposition head bya powder-feed system, which isable to precisely regulate massflow. The result is 3D parts ofhigh quality and integrity.The LENS system can buildparts – such as turbine bladesand hip implants – with theaim of tailoring its properties orsimply repairing an area thathas been damaged throughcorrosion or wear. The advantageover traditional methods is thelow-heat input that eliminatesdistortion and the ability tocreate functionally gradedmaterials (which can control themetallurgical properties).The CSIR offers companies aonce-off opportunity ofrefurbishing a component withthe LENS system, to demonstrateits capabilities (i.e. bore cladding,3D cladding) at no charge.(Also read the article onpages 12 and 13.)– Mzimasi GcukumanaEnquiries:Herman Burgerhburger@csir.co.zaThe new LENS system| 83 |


| 84 |SPECIALISED TECHNICAL SERVICES AND SUPPORT TO INDUSTRYLaser-based manufacturingsupport programme for SMMEsThe South African economy is growing at a rate in excess of 4% per annum with manufacturing as a key component. Unfortunately,an economic growth rate of 4% is not nearly enough to provide the number of jobs required by the South African economy.This can be deduced from the ever-increasing unemployment rate, especially among 15 to 25 year-olds. Overall unemployment is inthe order of 25 to 30%. Job creation requires new industries, which are best established through small, medium and micro enterprises(SMMEs), and which in turn are created through technological innovation. Laser technology is a key enabler in this context.THe need to become and remainglobally competitive throughenhanced productivity, facilitatedby advanced technology, iswidely appreciated. Often thesetechnologies – particularlythose that are laser-based – arenot readily available becausethey originated abroad orare too expensive for smallenterprises. With the downturnin the economy, any additionaladvantage that can be supplied tothe South African manufacturingindustry is imperative. In the fieldof lasers, the CSIR has workedwith SMMEs over the past 10years in an attempt to help thembecome more competitive. TheCSIR’s laser materials processinggroup, through its capabilities inlaser manufacturing processes,is well positioned to assist thelocal manufacturing industry,and in particular the SMMEcomponent, to reduce the entrybarriers to utilising laser-enabledmanufacturing solutions. Thegroup has well-establishedtechnology platforms; housingequipment that is unique inSouth Africa, complementedby a team of highly trained andexperienced scientists, engineersand technicians. The equipmentincludes South Africa’s only:• Laser-cutting facilitycapable of processing threedimensionalsheet metalprofiles• High-power laser weldingresearch and development(R&D) facility• Laser metal deposition (buildupof volumes)/laser surfacecladding R&D facilities.Over the past three years, theCSIR’s laser material processinggroup has supported, onaverage, 20 short technologyfeasibility studies for industrialcompanies per annum. It isestimated that more than 60%of these studies have resultedin the adoption of a laser-basedtechnology solution by thecompany concerned.In some cases companies wereable to adopt and integratenew manufacturing processeswith their existing technologyand infrastructure. In additionto assisting SMMEs, the CSIRhas assisted companies suchas Bell equipment and WermaAutomotive tooling, thatneeded limited productionservices, through existingmanufacturing capacity. In athird mode of technologicalcollaboration, the CSIR hasworked with clients, forexample, Denel Munitions, toacquire appropriate equipmentand implement an integratedmanufacturing solution.Tappo Industries is an example of anSMME that has greatly benefited from alaser-based solution and is now a globalplayer (see opposite page). Mark Luksich,maintenance manager at Tappo, is flankedby company machine operators, KagisoPhiri ,left, and Johanna Mashiane.In cases where no off-theshelftechnology solutions areavailable, the CSIR is capable ofdesigning and constructing alaser-based technology solutionfor transfer to the client. Workhas been undertaken in thismode for Tappo Industries,Robert Bosch South Africa,Myriad Plastics and Eskom.With these manufacturingsupport efforts, the CSIR iscollaborating with organisationssuch as the Aerospace IndustrySupport Initiative to create thelaser-based manufacturing(Labama) support programme.The aim is to empower SMMEsthat are active in the aerospaceindustry, with laser-enabledmanufacturing solutions sothat they can become morecompetitive in the global marketand provide services to theaerospace industry. Through thisprogramme, SMMEs can eitherimprove existing capabilitiesor expand into new areas. TheCSIR’s laser material processingspecialists will guide SMMEsin arriving at an appropriatesolution that enables them tosucceed on their own.– Federico SciammarellaEnquiries:Dr Federico Sciammarellafsciammarella@csir.co.zaCSIR laserssolve backlogchallenges at TappoTappo Industries wasstarted 22 years ago andsupplies various motorindustries and paint shopswith over-locked cloths andtack rags. The introductionof laser technology at thismedium-sized enterprise,strategically positioned amongcar component suppliers at theAutomotive Supplier Park inRosslyn, Pretoria, has seen thecompany drastically improve itsproductivity.The company suppliesautomotive companies with lintfreecloth – a specialised wipingcloth designed to remove looseparticles of dust and dirt thatcontaminate a surface that is tobe painted, coated, laminated,or otherwise finished. Italso manufactures antistaticgarments for clean-roomenvironments. The companycuts about 900 m of cloth everyday – an impossible feat prior toemploying CSIR-developed lasertechnology.According to Mark Luksich,maintenance manager atTappo, the company cameunder pressure to meet therapidly increasing demand forits products. When, in 2001,it reached the point whereTappo could no longer meet thedemand with its productionbased on manual labour,Tappo approached the CSIRfor a solution. “We wanted toautomate our processes andlaser technology was the onlyway to do that,” recalls Luksich.He says that deliberationstook place between the twoorganisations, focusing onhow best the CSIR – withits vast knowledge andexpertise in lasers – couldintegrate this technologyin Tappo’s manufacturingprocesses. “We provided theCSIR with specifications andthe organisation deliveredthe project according to ourspecifications and on time.”Laser cutting can improveboth production and quality.In addition to improvedproductivity, Tappo now hasthe advantage of a sealedcut edge with no residuallint. The previously usedmanufacturing technologyemployed a mechanicalcutting process, which causedunravelling of the materials,resulting in small fibres, or lintthat are left behind on the carbodies after they have beenwiped, in preparation to bepainted. Residual lint on thecar body results in flaws in thepaintwork.“The laser technology hasimproved our turnaroundtime and has enhancedour productivity,” Luksichcomments. Previous processeswere cumbersome andextremely slow. The lasercutter freed up our workforcefrom cutting and we use themelsewhere,” he remarks.Based on the good relationshipbetween the two organisations,Tappo signed a serviceagreement for maintenancewith the CSIR.“Tappo Industries is an excellentexample of the impact thatlaser-based manufacturingcan have on the profitabilityof a company,” says HardusGreyling, operations manager atthe CSIR National Laser Centre.– Mzimasi GcukumanaMachine operator Johanna Mashiane of TappoIndustries lays out the lint-free cloth for laser cutting.| 85 |

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