SOUTH AFRICAN MANUFACTURING GETS INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION
South African manufacturing received international recognition with the election of Bob Williamson as world president of the International Special Tooling and Machining Association (ISTMA) at the Association’s 15th World General Assembly in Brazil. Williamson, Executive Chairman of the South African Intsimbi Future Production Technologies Initiative (FPTI) elected as new President of ISTMA World for a three-year term. ISTMA represents associations from 20 countries and serves as the centre of expertise for the worldwide special tooling and precision machining industry, a key support function for global manufacturing. Collectively, ISTMA member associations represent over 8,000 companies with an estimated $70 billion US$ in annual sales. ISTMA World is responsible for the central coordination and organisation of all international activities and assists national industry associations and their member companies to achieve business success in the global economy through advocacy, networking, information, programmes and services.
Williamson was instrumental in the establishment of the Intsimbi Future Production Technologies Initiative (FPTI) in South Africa. The Intsimbi FPTI (a multi-stakeholder initiative introduced by the Production Technologies Association of South Africa (PtSA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) sought to not only halt the decline of the tooling sector but to embark on a robust rehabilitation programme. The FPTI Pilot Programme – 2010 to 2022 was therefore introduced to pilot the advanced manufacturing sector solutions required for skills, enterprise development and transformation of the local direct tooling industry. Direct tooling in South Africa represents a R15 billion market.
Williamson says being elected as the President of ISTMA World is not only an honour and privilege but an acknowledgement by the international tooling industry of the pioneering work done by the Intsimbi Future Production Technologies Initiative and the team that pulled it together. “The recognition by our Government and all key industry sectors of the strategic importance of a strong and vibrant tooling industry for the development of a sound manufacturing economy based on talent driven innovation is without doubt the building block that has led to the success of the FPTI”.
Williamson points out that the strong focus on Industry 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution and the new “smart factory” concept will present new challenges to ISTMA World to maintain and extend its position as the centre of expertise of the worldwide tooling industry. Industry 4.0 represents a confluence of new automation concepts in the production environment and will require the development of the new innovative production technologies sciences associated with Industry 4.0. To enhance its position as a global centre of expertise ISTMA World will over the next three years under Williamson’s leadership focus on an innovative approach to provide its members with an attractive and sustainable value proposition. ISTMA World will strive to develop strong and viable global partnerships and regional clusters and to be the prime source of statistical and technical information regarding the worldwide tooling industry.