News


SAIMC at the forefront of the Digital Industrial Revolution in South Africa

Technews Industry Guide: Industrial Internet of Things & Industry 4.0 News SAIMC

Marc van Pelt.
Marc van Pelt.

The Digital Industrial Revolution (DIR) – aka 4-IR or Industry 4.0 – will profoundly shape our efforts to promote industrial development. The scale, scope and complexity of this new technological revolution will bring experiences unknown to humankind in the form of cyber-physical systems (CPS), where computers, networks and physical processes are integrated. In particular, when compared to the previous industrial revolutions, the DIR is occurring at an exponential pace (IPAP 2018 -2021, the DTI).

What will the nature of automation be in the future? And how well is the South African manufacturing sector prepared to meet these new challenges? The SAIMC (Society for Automation, Instrumentation, Measurement and Control) is actively addressing these and other challenges through its involvement in the adoption and implementation of Industry 4.0 to the benefit of the South African economy.

The SAIMC was established in 1957 as a non-profit organisation to act as a catalyst between industry and education. Today, its mission is to provide guidance with regard to education, training and automation thought leadership that is appropriate to current and future industry requirements. It is also involved in the recognition of automation as the 10th engineering degree, to provide an avenue for students into Industry 4.0 or the IIoT.

The Digital Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 talks about the usage and impact in an industrial environment of the Internet of Things, Data and Services. Decentralised intelligence helps to create object networking and independent process management, with the interaction of the real and virtual worlds representing a crucial new aspect of the manufacturing and production process.

Industry 4.0 represents a paradigm shift from ‘centralised’ to ‘decentralised’ production, made possible by technological advances that constitute a reversal of conventional production process logic. Simply put, this means that industrial production machinery no longer simply ‘processes’ the product, but rather that the product communicates with the machinery to tell it exactly what to do. Industry 4.0 connects embedded production technologies and smart production processes to pave the way to a new technological age that will transform value chains and business models through the concepts of the ‘smart factory’.

The South African perspective

Many business leaders believe that South Africa holds the potential to re-establish a leading role in the global economic environment. Hence the South African Government launched an initiative to step into the digital revolution through its Industrial Policy Action Plan (IPAP). The DIR will enable a growth policy allowing the country to improve its competitiveness, resulting in an upswing of the economy. However, some serious challenges need to be dealt with to make effective use of this opportunity, namely:

• Infrastructure: a solid Internet and communications network.

• Education and training: a need to educate lecturers and students on how to skill and re-skill new and existing workforces.

• Market structures: understand and adopt the change in different market structures and the interaction between them (primary vs. tertiary).

The South African economy is unbalanced through the scarcity of companies in the SME sector. Big business cannot solve the country’s unemployment problem on its own. In the developed world, for example, the SME sector is responsible for a much higher portion of GDP, therefore providing a healthier economic platform. However, with the right strategic cooperation, South Africa could revitalise its manufacturing industry and SME sector through digitalisation and the application of Industry 4.0 or the IIoT.

As a country, we have the opportunity to become an early adopter on the African continent. We should use it to leapfrog our competitors through unique, locally developed, high-tech products and services. These market changes are happening fast and might be disruptive in some domains. However, they offer the opportunity to revitalise the way we do things. Manufacturers need to adjust their infrastructures and develop new ones, upskill their workers and reorganise their businesses. We need to attract the right digital talent/skills and (re)train and develop the existing workforce to understand and operate the new and smart technologies.

The Digital Industrial Revolution offers a huge opportunity for South African manufacturers to reinvent themselves and become more successful and competitive in local as well as global markets. The SAIMC is an active participant in this process of economic and technological transformation.

Marc van Pelt,

Manager Industry 4.0 Task Team




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page

Further reading:

From the Editor's desk: Digital transformation is more than just technology
May 2019, Technews Publishing (SA Instrumentation & Control) , News
While digitalisation offers new ways to increase operational efficiency, we see many companies battling to overcome the challenges. Particularly, they struggle to get past the ‘pilot’ stage, and are therefore ...

Read more...
A technology evolution unfolds at X-Change 2019
May 2019, IS³ - Industry Software, Solutions & Support , News
IS3 and AVEVA reimagine asset optimisation and new ways of work in tomorrow’s digitally enhanced manufacturing plants.

Read more...
Emerson appoints new president for Middle East and Africa
May 2019, Emerson Automation Solutions , News
Emerson has appointed Vidya Ramnath as the new president for its Automation Solutions business in Middle East and Africa.    A 24-year veteran of Emerson, she was most recently vice president for Emerson’s ...

Read more...
Emerson and Repsol form strategic alliance
May 2019 , News
Emerson and Repsol have announced a strategic alliance to deliver advanced subsurface geophysical technologies to significantly reduce the time to prospect and produce first oil. To achieve this critical ...

Read more...
Yokogawa establishes Yokogawa Norge
May 2019 , News
Yokogawa Electric Corporation has announced that it has established a subsidiary in Norway to engage in the sale of control products and provision of related services. The subsidiary, Yokogawa Norge, ...

Read more...
Local manufacturing key to economic growth
May 2019 , News
The manufacturing sector in southern Africa is primed to take a more active role in supplying goods to the continent and internationally. Characterised by a pioneering diehard attitude, this sector has ...

Read more...
Iritron welcomes Oculus into the I3Group
May 2019, Iritron , News
Pretoria-based Iritron, a black economic empowered technology company and subsidiary of the I³ Group, providing quality solutions in the fields of electrical, instrumentation and control systems engineering, ...

Read more...
SKF expands engineering services to address changing customer needs
May 2019, SKF South Africa , News
The last few months have seen SKF South Africa substantially expand its engineering team and services to keep in step with the company’s new technology and service developments, as well as to address ...

Read more...
HAW to showcase niche product lines at Nampo 2019
May 2019, Hydraulic & Automation Warehouse , News
Hydraulic and Automation Warehouse (HAW), a Bosch Rexroth South Africa Group Company, will showcase eight of its niche product lines at Nampo 2019. Formally known as Grain SA’s Nampo Harvest Day, the ...

Read more...
Hytec appointed service partner to Zollern
May 2019, Hytec South Africa , News
Hytec South Africa has been appointed the southern African service partner to the Drive Technology Unit of Zollern. The partnership allows Hytec South Africa to sell, execute inspections, and conduct ...

Read more...