The Directorate: Advanced Manufacturing Technologies is part of the Chief Directorate: Technology Localisation, Advanced Manufacturing and Beneficiation of Programme 5: Socio-Economic Innovation Partnerships.

The Directorate identifies and enhances high-potential research and development (R&D) capabilities and develops niche-areas in the South African manufacturing sector. The Directorate aims to develop an environment that will facilitate a move towards a manufacturing industry characterised by advanced technology and high-end human resources.


Advanced Manufacturing Technologies Roadmap Project

The Advanced Manufacturing Technologies Roadmap Project (AMTRP) is intended to identify priority R&D investment areas in support of advanced manufacturing for the 2015/16-2024/25 fiscal period. The AMTRP will set out a coherent set of actionable plans associated with a prioritised suite of opportunities to contribute to South Africa's socio-economic imperatives of growth, employment and poverty alleviation in support of the Industrial Policy Action Plan, the New Growth Path and the National Development Plan.

The AMTRP stems from Programme 5's aim to enhance the economy using public sector R&D capabilities, natural resources, local markets, and solutions developed in response to South African challenges.

The priority technology areas identified in the AMTRP include the following:

  • Additive manufacturing.
  • Advanced fibre composites.
  • Affordable and smart automation.
  • Advanced electronics.
  • Advanced photonics.

The AMTRP will serve as a credible guide for informing public and private sector investment in advanced manufacturing R&D by supporting the country's manufacturing sector through a clear vision and considered strategic direction.

Additive manufacturing

An additive manufacturing (AM) technology roadmap for South Africa is currently being developed in order to identify appropriate research, development and innovation (RDI) and human capital development priorities, as well as to identify and quantify the potential of local and export markets for an AM-based industry. The roadmap will guide public and private sector investment in AM RDI in South Africa for the period 2014-2023.

The AM technology roadmap project identified the following initial key priority focus areas for AM technology development:

  • Development of AM processes/parts that meet the specifications of the medical and aerospace industries.
  • Development of AM for impact in the traditional manufacturing sectors.
  • New AM material and technology development.
  • Development of an AM-based small and medium enterprise industry in South Africa.

Advanced fibre composites

In the area of advanced fibre composites, the DST is helping to bridge the gap between the science and technology (S&T) base (researchers) and industry, with the aim of making a socio-economic impact that will demonstrate the value of S&T for industry development. To bridge the gap, researchers and industry need to take into account the interrelated elements of materials science, product design and processing/manufacturing. Industry forums and instruments such as incubators and demonstration facilities are also important for success.

Affordable and smart automation

In the area of automation, the DST aims to develop public sector R&D competencies further (this was a strong focus during the early days of the Advanced Manufacturing Technologies Strategy), to develop and demonstrate the promising emerging technologies identified in the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Strategy, to make simple and affordable automation systems available (particularly to small and medium manufacturers), and to develop new technologies in the field of smart automation (including reconfigurable manufacturing systems) for use by the broader manufacturing industry.

Advanced electronics

In the area of advanced electronics (and electrical engineering), the DST is working to address the high-end-skill needs (systems, electronics and electrical engineering) of various subsectors (defence, communications, asset tracking and mining electronics)and to partner with the private sector (including multinational companies) and public institutions (science councils and universities) to use existing R&D competencies and leadership to unlock the latent potential of these sub-sectors.

Advanced photonics

Photonics R&D is currently supported by DST under the Emerging Research Areas theme. The DST has funded the development of this technology area since 2010, and has seen several promising breakthroughs, including the digital laser developed at the National Laser Centre at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The Directorate: Advanced Manufacturing Technologies intends to use the strong S&T base to support the commercialisation and industrialisation of advanced photonic technologies in the manufacturing sector. This will be done through applied photonics research and the mooted advanced photonics prototyping facility.


CSIR Strategic Initiatives Implementation Unit

CSIR National Laser Centre


Mr Garth Williams

Director: Advanced Manufacturing Technologies

012 843 6435

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Technology roadmaps launched this week (17 Sept. 2004)

Projects of Advanced Manufacturing Technology Strategy showcased (2008)

Launch of the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Strategy


Advanced Manufacturing Technology Strategy (2002)




The Directorate: Mining and Minerals Processing provides science and technology policy, strategy and direction-setting support to harness value from South Africa's natural resources. The aim is to move away from a dependence on primary production into research and development-led growth of high-technology activities and industries. The Directorate: Mining and Minerals Processing has a vision for research and development-led industrialisation using South Africa's mineral resource base.

The broad purpose of the Directorate is to –

  • build strategic government partnerships and directed science, engineering and technology programmes for positive economic results within the minerals sector;
  • advance science, engineering and technology human capital development in this domain.


Advanced Metals Initiative

The Advanced Metals Initiative (AMI), a flagship programme of the Department of Science and Technology, facilitates research, development and innovation across the whole value chain in the field of advanced metals. The programme was initiated by the various science councils involved, who approached the DST for funding. The main goal is to achieve optimal sustainable local manufacturing of value-added products through mineral beneficiation. Its objective is to increase the downstream value-addition of local advanced metals in a sustainable manner, through industry-relevant research and development, technology transfer and, ultimately, commercialisation.

Titanium Industry Development Programme

The country is committed to phasing in the development of this industry on the basis of new and more cost-effective primary titanium production technology. The development of the industry includes establishing the required infrastructure to support South Africa's entry into the titanium market and the commercialisation of existing technologies. In strategic analyses of South Africa's competitive position with regard to the establishment of an internationally competitive titanium industry, it was found that such an industry could be established if new technology was developed to give South Africa a substantial competitive advantage. The approach is therefore to develop technology to produce titanium metal powder that could be used directly to produce near-net-shape products or mill products.

Rock Innovation Programme

This programme was developed in conjunction with the Department of Mineral Resources, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the Council for Geoscience and South Africa's geosciences and mining research and development (R&D) environment was investigated by the CSIR's Centre for Mining Innovation, and a subsequent programme was developed, which took into consideration South Africa's research needs, as well as the outcomes and recommendations proposed by various appropriate DST-funded studies. The implementation of a geosciences and mining R&D programme has value in that it provides the mechanisms for South Africa to leverage its mineral wealth strategically through the development priorities of human capital and economic growth, and through the potential impact that R&D outputs could have in enhancing the mineral value chain in the country. The overall value of such studies is the technical know-how to support a sustainable minerals sector in South Africa, and to improve its competitiveness.

South African Minerals to Metals Research Institute

A comprehensive industry survey has shown that the South African mineral processing industry is facing serious challenges, both in developing and implementing the technologies needed to sustain the industry and its significant contribution to the GDP and to human development, and in developing and retaining the skills needed to achieve this objective. In many countries around the world, mineral-related research facilities have closed in recent years and, with some exceptions, mineral-related research activities in South Africa have been in decline. The challenge created by this situation, however, provides an opportunity for South Africa to leapfrog into a new paradigm in which it recovers and strengthens its global leadership role in the area of minerals processing.

The South African Minerals to Metals Research Institute established as a result of an initiative in 2009 by the group of founder member companies to establish a virtual national research institute, and to invite government, through the DST, to join industry in providing the impetus needed to develop the research activities required to address the challenges related to minerals processing in South Africa.


Mr Llanley Simpson

Director: Mining and Minerals Processing

+27 (0)12 843 6436

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The Directorate: Chemical and Related Industries falls under the Chief Directorate: Technology Localisation, Beneficiation and Advanced Manufacturing of Programme 5: Socio-economic Innovation Partnerships.

The purpose of the Directorate: Chemical and Related Industries is to promote research and development-led industrial development within the chemical industry as identified in the Chemical Sector Programme's chemical strategy, the Chemicals Sector Summit Agreement signed by the then Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr Mpahlwa in 2008, the Industrial Policy Action Plan, and the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Strategy.


Fluorochemical Expansion Initiative

The Fluorochemical Expansion Initiative (FEI), driven by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Trade and Industry, is aimed at developing South Africa's fluorochemical industry through increased local beneficiation of the country's fluorspar reserves. The FEI is aligned to broader national programmes, including the National Industry Policy Framework, the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Strategy and the Beneficiation Strategy for Minerals in South Africa

South Africa has the world's largest reserves of fluorspar (followed by Mexico and China), with estimated reserves of 41 million tons. Currently, the country supplies about 10% of the fluoride requirements for the global fluorochemicals industry, which is worth approximately US$16 billion per annum, but earns less than 0,5% of this revenue owing to the low levels of local beneficiation. The FEI attempts to address this through a dual strategy of intensive and focused technology development and commercialisation.

Fluorochemical Expansion Initiative Research and Development Programme

The key role players in the FEI Research and Development (R&D) Programme are the Department of Trade and Industry, the DST and Pelchem SOC Ltd. The main technology partners in the initiative are the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa), the University of Pretoria (UP) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). UP and UKZN host the DST-National Research Foundation South African Research Chairs Initiative in Fluoro-materials Science and Process Integration (Prof. Philip Crouse), and Fluorine Process Engineering and Separation Technology (Prof. Deresh Ramjugernath)

The focus of the FEI R&D Programme's research activities is on fundamental research in developing novel technologies and new products, and on applied research to improve existing technologies and develop new applications for existing products. The main focus of Phase I of the R&D Programme was on widening the FEI technology base by developing skills and R&D infrastructure at two higher education institutions, namely, UKZN and the UP. In Phase II, in addition to continued fundamental research and skills development, the focus of the R&D Programme included improving existing technologies and converting FEI R&D outputs into commercial opportunities. Necsa's multipurpose fluorination pilot plant, funded by the DST, is being used to upscale some of the products developed at laboratory scale.

Multipurpose Fluorination Pilot Plant

The DSTprovided grant funding to Pelchem SOC Ltd to establish a multipurpose fluorination pilot plant (MFPP) at Necsa in 2010. An MFPP is considered an essential tool to enable the smooth transition between R&D and commercial operations, and will serve a multitude of purposes, all of which will greatly enhance the FEI.

The MFPP was constructed in four phases. Phase 1 involved building a direct fluorination facility designed to produce a range of perfluorinated alkane compounds, including specific fluoromonomers used in the production of modern fluoropolymers. In Phase 2, fluoropolymer production facilities targeting a range of fluoropolymers and co-polymers were established. Phase 3 established facilities for the production of various inorganic fluoride compounds, especially the metal fluorides. Phase 4 involved developing the facilities to enable the production of organic fluorides targeting specifically reagents used to produce active pharmaceutical ingredients.


The MFPP direct fluorination system is capable of producing a wide range of specialised organic fluorides chemical products. The patented technology was developed by Necsa (Pelchem).

Construction and commissioning of the first two phases of the pilot plant were completed in 2012. The then Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Mr Derek Hanekom, launched Phases 1 and 2 of the MFPP on 17 July 2012.

Prof. Crouse, SARChI Chair inFluoro-materials Science and Process Integration at the University of Pretoria, and Derek Hanekom (Deputy Minister of Science and Technology at the time, and current Minister of Tourism) at the launch of Phases 1 and 2 of the MFPP at Necsa on 17 July 2012.

The last two phases were completed in September 2013 and the pilot plant was launched by Derek Hanekom, then Minister of Science and Technology, on 5 December 2013.

From left to right: Mr Imraan Patel (DDG: Socio-economic Innovation Partnerships at the DST), Dr Mochubela JacobSeekoe (Chairperson: Necsa Board of Directors), Dr Petro Terblanche (Managing Director: Pelchem SOC Ltd) and Derek Hanekom (Minister of Science and Technology at the time) at the launch of Phases 3 and 4 of the MFPP at Necsa.

Persistent Organic Pollutants skills development

According to South Africa's National Implementation Plan under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, the DST awards postgraduate bursaries and/or scholarships aimed at building national capacity in Analytical Chemistry, with a particular focus on analysis of persistent organic pollutants. Postgraduate students at North-West University, Tshwane University of Technology and the University of the Witwatersrand were allocated bursaries in 2014.


FEI Project Management

Pelchem SOC Ltd

FEI Research

University of KwaZulu-Natal

University of Pretoria


Persistent Organic PollutantsResearch

North-West University

Tshwane University of Technology

University of the Witwatersrand


Dr Mahlori Mashimbye

Director: Chemical and Related Industries

+27 (0)12 843 6546

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Necsa launches phases 3 and 4 of fluorochemical pilot plant(5 Dec. 2013)

Necsa launches Fluorochemical Expansion Initiative (24 March 2009)


Address by former Minister of Science and Technology at the launch of the Multipurpose Fluorination Pilot Plant (17 July 2012)