It is now close to four years since the inception of the National Foundry Technology Network (NFTN). The vision still remains to increase the global competitiveness of the South African foundry industry through the provision of appropriate services, in order to reduce import leakage, increase local production, and increase investment in the sector. Since the inception of the network there has been substantial progress in all the relevant areas.
To assist South African foundry companies to participate in Eskom and Transnet's competitive supplier development programmes, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) created a Technology Assistance Package (TAP) programme. The CSIR was extensively involved in the execution thereof.
With current trends in global economic growth as well as population growth, environmental degradation is on the increase with both waste and pollutants being released faster than the Earth can absorb them, and natural resources being consumed faster than they can be restored. New innovative patterns have emerged to reduce environmental stress and the National Cleaner Production 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 need to become and remain globally competitive through enhanced productivity, facilitated by advanced technology, is widely appreciated. Often these technologies - particularly those that are laser-based - are not readily available because they originated abroad or are too expensive for small enterprises.
Tappo Industries was started 22 years ago and supplies various motor industries and paint shops with over-locked cloths and tack rags. The introduction of laser technology at this medium-sized enterprise, strategically positioned among car component suppliers at the Automotive Supplier Park in Rosslyn, Pretoria, has seen the company drastically improve its productivity.