At its highly successful 8th annual conference, the African branch of the global organisation, Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA), assembled an impressive array of presenters. In line with the theme ‘Mastering The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Smart MOM 4 Industrie’, the speakers covered a wide range of highly informative topics around the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), both at the strategic and the practical level, backed up by highly relevant case studies, and with some fascinating insights into the future thrown in.
From left: Duane Gauche (1 Worx), Daniel Spies (CDS Consulting and chairman MESA Africa), Gerhard Botha (Sasol), Yashin Parsad (Omnia), Thomas Copley (SRI), Gawie Reyneke (Lonmin), Halilou Mohaman (Boxmore), Gerhard Greeff (Bytes Technology and vice chairman MESA Africa), Gerhard Hattingh (Siemens), Varshan Mahabel (Wilec), Gert Coetzee (Dynamic Build Systems) and Andre Brits (CSI).
Chairman, Daniel Spies, set the tone by highlighting MESA Africa’s many achievements over the last year. These included an initiative with ECSA for developing a framework for certification and accreditation of Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) practitioners; a new website; a global education programme, which among other things covers international best practices for implementation of manufacturing industry standards; and double and even triple digit percentage increases in measurables such as number of events, number of sponsors, attendance at events and conferences, submission of abstracts and year-on-year revenue growth. “This is a very positive change and we aim to carry the momentum forward,” he said.
Some of the highlights included keynote speakers such as PWC director, Pieter Theron, whose talk on building a digital enterprise showed how technology will disrupt business. Head of Sasol Group MES Architecture, Gerhard Botha, continued this theme with his thought-provoking account of technology trends in the disruptive age that will change the manufacturing industry in the next thirty years: anything from self-healing materials to human-computer integration to the disappearance of physical money to designer babies to the first human colony on Mars. Dr Willie Oosthuizen, group executive for technology and strategy at Altron, talked about converging technologies for a smart environment – the convergence of IT and OT. To back this up, digital mine product manager at GE Mining, Francis Rousseau, highlighted how the industrial Internet is transforming the realities of the new plant. In a very relevant case study, she showed how General Electric has created a massive new software business for IIoT, GE Digital, based on the open source platform, Predix.
The conference also featured exhibitions by sponsors SAIMC, Siemens, Wonderware, Bytes Universal Systems, Yokogawa, Business Connexion and OSIsoft.
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