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Article
Publication date: 19 June 2019

Micheal Omotayo Alabi, Deon De Beer and Harry Wichers

This paper aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the recent applications of additive manufacturing (AM) research and activities within selected universities in the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the recent applications of additive manufacturing (AM) research and activities within selected universities in the Republic of South Africa (SA).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is a general review of AM education, research and development effort within selected South African universities. The paper begins by looking at several support programmes and investments in AM technologies by the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST). The paper presents South Africa’s AM journey to date and recent global development in AM education. Next, the paper reviews the recent research activities on AM at four selected South African universities, South Africa AM roadmap and South African AM strategy. The future prospects of AM education and research are then evaluated through a SWOT analysis. Finally, the paper looks at the sustainability of AM from an education perspective.

Findings

The main lessons that have been learnt from South African AM research activities within selected universities are as follows: AM research activities at South African universities serve as a platform to promote AM education, and several support programmes and investments from South Africa’s DST have greatly enhanced the growth of AM across different sectors, such as medical, manufacturing, industrial design, tooling, jewellery and education. The government support has also assisted in the actualisation of the “Aeroswift” project, the world’s largest and fastest state-of-the-art AM machine that can 3D print metal parts. The AM research activities within South Africa’s universities have shown that it is not too late for developing countries to start and embrace AM technologies both in academia and industry. Based on a SWOT analysis, the future prospects of AM technology in SA are bright.

Practical implications

Researchers/readers from different backgrounds such as academic, industrial and governmental will be able to learn important lessons from SA’s AM journey and the success of SA’s AM researchers/practitioners. This paper will allow the major investors in AM technologies and business to see great opportunities to invest in AM education and research at all educational levels (i.e. high schools, colleges and universities) in South Africa.

Originality/value

The authors believe that the progress of AM education and research activities within SA’s universities show good practice and achievement over the years in both the applications of AM and the South African AM strategy introduced to promote AM research and the educational aspect of the technologies.

Details

Rapid Prototyping Journal, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2546

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 January 2020

Micheal Omotayo Alabi, Deon Johan de Beer, Harry Wichers and Cornelius P. Kloppers

In this era of Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, additive manufacturing (AM) has been recognized as one of the nine technologies of Industry 4.0…

Abstract

Purpose

In this era of Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, additive manufacturing (AM) has been recognized as one of the nine technologies of Industry 4.0 that will revolutionize different sectors (such as manufacturing and industrial production). Therefore, this study aims to focus on “Additive Manufacturing Education” and the primary aim of this study is to investigate the impacts of AM technology at selected South African universities and develop a proposed framework for effective AM education using South African universities as the case study.

Design/methodology/approach

Quantitative research approach was used in this study, that is, a survey (questionnaire) was designed specifically to investigate the impacts of the existing AM technology/education and the facilities at the selected South African universities. The survey was distributed to several students (undergraduate and postgraduate) and the academic staffs within the selected universities. The questionnaire contained structured questions based on five factors/variables and followed by two open-ended questions. The data were collected and analyzed using statistical tools and were interpreted accordingly (i.e. both the closed and open-ended questions). The hypotheses were stated, tested and accepted. In conclusion, the framework for AM education at the universities was developed.

Findings

Based on different literature reviewed on “framework for AM technology and education”, there is no specific framework that centers on AM education and this makes it difficult to find an existing framework for AM education to serve as a landscape to determine the new framework for AM education at the universities. Therefore, the results from this study made a significant contribution to the body of knowledge in AM, most especially in the area of education. The significant positive responses from the respondents have shown that the existing AM in-house facilities at the selected South African universities is promoting AM education and research activities. This study also shows that a number of students at the South African universities have access to AM/3D printing lab for design and research purposes. Furthermore, the findings show that the inclusion of AM education in the curriculum of both the science and engineering education is South Africa will bring very positive results. The introduction of a postgraduate degree in AM such as MSc or MEng in AM will greatly benefit the South African universities and different industries because it will increase the number of AM experts and professionals. Through literature review, this study was able to identify five factors (which includes sub-factors) that are suitable for the development of a framework for AM education, and this framework is expected to serve as base-line or building block for other universities globally to build/develop their AM journey.

Research limitations/implications

The survey was distributed to 200 participants and 130 completed questionnaires were returned. The target audience for the survey was mainly university students (both undergraduate and postgraduate) and the academics who have access to AM machines or have used the AM/3D printing lab/facilities on their campuses for both academic and research purposes. Therefore, one of the limitations of the survey is the limited sample size; however, the sample size for this survey is considered suitable for this type of research and would allow generalization of the findings. Nevertheless, future research on this study should use larger sample size for purpose of results generalization. In addition, this study is limited to quantitative research methodology; future study should include qualitative research method. Irrespective of any existing or developed framework, there is always a need to further improve the existing framework, and therefore, the proposed framework for AM education in this study contained only five factors/variables and future should include some other factors (AM commercialization, AM continuous Improvement, etc.) to further enhance the framework.

Practical implications

This study provides the readers and researchers within the STEM education, industry or engineering education/educators to see the importance of the inclusion of AM in the university curriculum for both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. More so, this study serves as a roadmap for AM initiative at the universities and provides necessary factors to be considered when the universities are considering or embarking on AM education/research journey at their universities. It also serves as a guideline or platform for various investors or individual organization to see the need to invest in AM education.

Originality/value

The contribution of this study towards the existing body of knowledge in AM technology, specifically “AM education research” is in the form of proposed framework for AM education at the universities which would allow the government sectors/industry/department/bodies and key players in AM in South Africa and globally to see the need to invest significantly towards the advancement of AM technology, education and research activities at various universities.

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Article
Publication date: 8 March 2011

R.I. Campbell, D.J. de Beer and E. Pei

In a previous Rapid Prototyping Journal paper, the authors reviewed the first decade of rapid prototyping (RP) use within the Republic of South Africa (RSA). The paper…

Abstract

Purpose

In a previous Rapid Prototyping Journal paper, the authors reviewed the first decade of rapid prototyping (RP) use within the Republic of South Africa (RSA). The paper analysed its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and proposed a “road map” for future development. Much has happened in the intervening years since that article was published and this paper seeks to update readers on the current situation in RSA. In particular, it reports the extensive development of research in the field of RP and additive manufacturing (AM).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses a literature review approach combined with reflective analysis to distill the most important developments within the RP community in RSA since 2004. These are compared to the previous road map to ascertain if there are any required actions that have been overlooked or any additional lessons that have been learnt.

Findings

The paper shows that there has been good progress against the previous road map and that current plans should remain in place with the addition of a greater educational dimension.

Practical implications

This paper provides readers with an overview of important RP/AM developments in the RSA. The analysis from this paper will aid RSA academics, industrialists and government agencies to assess their performance and to plan for their future roles within the RP community.

Originality/value

As with the previous paper, this paper provides a useful model for other countries to follow since it demonstrates both good practice but also the need to learn from past experience.

Details

Rapid Prototyping Journal, vol. 17 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2546

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2005

Deon de Beer, Gerrie Booysen, Ludrick Barnard and Michèle Truscott

The paper examines whether additive manufacturing can deliver durable injection‐moulding tools – fast, reliable, accurate and economic. Researchers from the Central…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper examines whether additive manufacturing can deliver durable injection‐moulding tools – fast, reliable, accurate and economic. Researchers from the Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT), South Africa, are involved in rapid prototyping (RP) applications‐based research, simultaneously using results to support small‐ and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) on a national basis – both with contract research and technology transfer[1]. SMEs in South Africa involved in product development, are often hampered by economies of scale. Many new products simply disappear in the product development valley of death, partly due to manufacturing costs and limited product development budgets. RP has been used extensively by Technimark, one of the CUT's industrial partners, to evaluate and verify designs in various design stages. To remain competitive in the global market, Technimark and the CUT often have to apply RP directly as the manufacturing method. The paper discusses the use of RP to support (accelerated) limited production of moulded plastic parts.

Design/methodology/approach

The hypothesis is to use additive manufacturing for direct production of injection‐moulding tooling, subject to time, cost and quality constraints.

Findings

A case study where both development costs as well as lead‐time forced our industrial partner to trial Alumide as a tooling medium is discussed.

Originality/value

The paper introduces a new rapid tooling material, which may be of cost and time benefit to the product development and plastic injection‐moulding fraternity.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 14 June 2011

Ian Campbell

Abstract

Details

Rapid Prototyping Journal, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2546

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2004

Deon J. de Beer, Ludrick J. Barnard and Gerrie J. Booysen

Functional design is closely linked to manufacturing and building. Designers' freedom to express themselves is often limited by the capabilities of craftsmen who have to…

Abstract

Functional design is closely linked to manufacturing and building. Designers' freedom to express themselves is often limited by the capabilities of craftsmen who have to give physical substance to the designer's ideas. This paper reviews the use of rapid prototyping (RP) to construct complex geometry. Three‐dimensional computer aided design data are transferred to a build volume on a 2D layer‐by‐layer basis. This manufacturing method results in the rapid production of a physical model that can be used to verify designs, check form, fit and functionality, as well as to create a depth perspective. The paper describes a fresh approach into an old industry, i.e. model making. Results proved that models built by conventional methods can be cost‐effectively substituted by RP methods without the surface limitations created by cardboard models.

Details

Rapid Prototyping Journal, vol. 10 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2546

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 April 2007

Michèle Truscott, Deon de Beer, George Vicatos, Keith Hosking, Ludrick Barnard, Gerrie Booysen and R. Ian Campbell

The last decade has seen major advances in rapid prototyping (RP), with it becoming a multi‐disciplinary technology, crossing various research fields, and connecting…

Abstract

Purpose

The last decade has seen major advances in rapid prototyping (RP), with it becoming a multi‐disciplinary technology, crossing various research fields, and connecting continents. Process and material advancements open up new applications and manufacturing (through RP) is serving non‐traditional industries. RP technology is used to support rapid product development (RPD). The purpose of this paper is to describe how the Integrated Product Development research group of the Central University of Technology, Free State, South Africa is applying various CAD/CAM/RP technologies to support a medical team from the Grootte Schuur and Vincent Palotti hospitals in Cape Town, to save limbs – as a last resort at a stage where conventional medical techniques or practices may not apply any longer.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses action research to justify the proposal of a new method to use CAD/CAM/RP related technologies to substitute lost/damaged bone regions through the use of CT to CAD to.STL manipulation.

Findings

A case study where RP related technologies were used to support medical product development for a patient with severe injuries from a road accident is discussed.

Originality/value

The paper considers current available technologies, and discusses new advancements in direct metal freeform fabrication, and its potential to revolutionise the medical industry.

Details

Rapid Prototyping Journal, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2546

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 April 2011

Eujin Pei, R. Ian Campbell and Deon de Beer

The purpose of this paper is to examine the limitations of entry‐level rapid prototyping (ELRP) machines when fabricating objects with high complexity.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the limitations of entry‐level rapid prototyping (ELRP) machines when fabricating objects with high complexity.

Design/methodology/approach

The literature review provides an overview of RP technologies, followed by a discussion on the different levels of complexity in objects. The paper continues with a discussion on the definition of ELRP, followed by a number of experiments to explore the limitations of an ELRP system when fabricating complex models, and to compare the results obtained with those from a professional RP machine using standardised build parameters and the same acrylonitrile butadiene styrene material.

Findings

Of the five complex models that were produced from the Rapman machine, four of them were affected by warping; also, support structures were difficult to remove due to the interwoven build pattern. The study also found that the Rapman parts were coarsely built as opposed to the Dimension parts that were less coarse. The Rapman parts were also much lighter due to the hollow internal structure, as compared to the dimension parts that were virtually solid. From a quantitative viewpoint, parts produced from the Rapman machine showed significantly greater average errors in both absolute and percentage terms.

Practical implications

Users should bear in mind the restrictions of ELRP machines when fabricating complex shapes. The models may be prone to warping and the support structures could be difficult to remove.

Originality/value

This paper allows developers to understand the restrictions when fabricating complex models on an ELRP machine. The findings will also enable manufacturers to develop better entry‐level systems.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 31 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 12 August 2014

Sanat Agrawal, Deon J. de Beer and Yashwant Kumar Modi

This paper aims to convert surface data directly to a three-dimensional (3D) stereolithography (STL) part. The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data available for a…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to convert surface data directly to a three-dimensional (3D) stereolithography (STL) part. The Geographic Information Systems (GIS) data available for a terrain are the data of its surface. It doesn’t have information for a solid model. The data need to be converted into a three-dimensional (3D) solid model for making physical models by additive manufacturing (AM).

Design/methodology/approach

A methodology has been developed to make the wall and base of the part and tessellates the part with triangles. A program has been written which gives output of the part in STL file format. The elevation data are interpolated and any singularity present is removed. Extensive search techniques are used.

Findings

AM technologies are increasingly being used for terrain modeling. However, there is not enough work done to convert the surface data into 3D solid model. The present work aids in this area.

Practical implications

The methodology removes data loss associated with intermediate file formats. Terrain models can be created in less time and less cost. Intricate geometries of terrain can be created with ease and great accuracy.

Social implications

The terrain models can be used for GIS education, educating the community for catchment management, conservation management, etc.

Originality/value

The work allows direct and automated conversion of GIS surface data into a 3D STL part. It removes intermediate steps and any data loss associated with intermediate file formats.

Details

Rapid Prototyping Journal, vol. 20 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2546

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2005

Deon J. de Beer, Michéle Truscott, Gerrie J. Booysen, Ludrick J. Barnard and Jakobus G. van der Walt

The purpose of the present work is to develop a methodology to manufacture patient‐specific models (lead masks) to be used as protective shields during cancer treatment…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the present work is to develop a methodology to manufacture patient‐specific models (lead masks) to be used as protective shields during cancer treatment, using 3D photography, rapid prototyping (RP) and metal spraying. It is also intended to reduce the trauma experienced by the patient, by removing any physical contact as with conventional methods, and also to reduce the manufacturing lead time.

Design/methodology/approach

Patient‐specific data are collected using 3D photography. The data are converted to.STL files, and then prepared for building with an LS 380 in nylon polyamide. Next, the sculpted model is used as the mould in a newly patented metal‐spraying device, spraying liquid metal on to the sculpted surface.

Findings

Intricate body geometries can be reproduced to effectively create metal shields, to be used in radiography applications. The models created fit the patients more accurately than through conventional methods, reducing the trauma experienced by the patient, and in a reduced time‐frame, at similar costs to conventional methods. The new process and its materials management are less of a an environmental risk than conventional methods.

Research limitations/implications

Access to 3D photography apparatus will be necessary, as well as to RP or CNC equipment. Using this approach, files can be transferred to a central manufacturing facility, i.e. hospitals or treatment units do not need their own facilities. Added implications are the design of jigs and fixtures, which will ensure accuracy in reuse.

Practical implications

Metal shields can be created with ease and great accuracy using RP machines. It takes less time without inflated costs. Models are more accurately and easy to use, with less trauma experienced by the patient during the manufacturing phase.

Originality/value

Novel applications, combined with a new process. The research expands the fast‐growing field of medical applications of RP technologies. Its practical application will benefit patients on a daily basis.

Details

Rapid Prototyping Journal, vol. 11 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2546

Keywords

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