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TWIMS showcasing next-gen manufacturing

by | May, 2023

Established by the Toyota SA Education Trust, TWIMS is a not-for-profit initiative dedicated to developing manufacturing executives in Africa. TWIMS is an open institution, welcoming students from all industries and backgrounds.

The future of manufacturing will likely be characterised by significant disruptions driven by new technologies, rapidly changing customer preferences, and shifting market dynamics. Some key trends likely to impact manufacturing in the coming years include increasing digitalisation and automation, sustainability pressures, personalisation and customisation of products and services, and new manufacturing models driven by the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence (AI), Virtual and Augmented Reality, Additive Manufacturing, and smart materials. To succeed in this rapidly evolving landscape, manufacturers will need to develop effective business strategies that enable them to respond to emerging trends and challenges. Manufacturers will have to use technologies to optimise their existing processes and products, while simultaneously exploring more fundamental product and process changes. For example, manufacturers need to use AI to improve their quality assurance processes while exploring how to use Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to change their production and product development processes.

The manufacturing industry is likely to experience significant disruptions in the coming years, and companies that are able to adapt to these changes and develop effective digital business strategies will be best positioned to compete.

Demonstration Space

TWIMS has had the benefit of research in these manufacturing disruptors over the last few years and has identified the need for a demonstration space in KwaZulu-Natal where the various technologies can be showcased and directly experienced. Consequently, TWIMS has invested in a Future Manufacturing Management Sandbox at its Campus in Kloof.

The Management Sandbox was launched in September 2022 by the chairperson of TWIMS, Andrew Kirby (President and CEO at Toyota South Africa). The event also included several CEOs and executive managers from the broader manufacturing sector.

The Sandbox aims to introduce students and delegates from visiting firms to some of the future manufacturing technologies presently reshaping the manufacturing sector.

The Sandbox has a fully IOT-enabled assembly line, including Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Visual Recognition Technology, and Radio Frequency Identification demonstrations. In addition, the components assembled on the line can be 3D printed in the Sandbox using Additive Manufacturing equipment.

Prof Theuns Pelser, the executive director of TWIMS, emphasises that TWIMS’ Management Sandbox is designed to support experimentation and the exploration of emerging digital technologies presently reshaping manufacturing. The Sandbox is a unique Industry 4.0 “playpen”.

Established in partnership with Jendamark and Rapid 3D, two of South Africa’s leading technology providers in the Industry 4.0 space, the Sandbox is intended to support digital transformation in the South African and broader regional manufacturing sector.

TWIMS’ Management Sandbox is intended to be a valuable tool for future manufacturing exploration in South Africa, as it provides a controlled environment for testing and implementing new management strategies, processes, and technologies.

Key Reasons

Some of the key reasons why the TWIMS management sandbox is so essential:

  • EXPERIMENTATION: A management sandbox allows businesses to test new ideas and approaches in a controlled environment without the risk of negatively impacting their current operations. This enables them to experiment with new management strategies, processes, and technologies and to evaluate their effectiveness before implementing them on a larger scale.
  • RISK MITIGATION: By testing new manufacturing strategies and processes in a sandbox, businesses can identify potential risks and challenges early on and develop strategies to mitigate them. This can help reduce the risk of failure when implementing new initiatives in the real world.
  • INNOVATION: A sandbox encourages innovation by allowing businesses to explore new ideas and approaches without fear of failure or negative consequences. This can help drive organisational creativity and innovation, leading to new products, services, and processes.
  • LEARNING: A sandbox can also be a valuable learning tool for managers and employees, allowing them to learn new skills and techniques in a safe and supportive environment. This can help build organisational capacity and enhance overall business performance.

We believe that the Management Sandbox at TWIMS will do precisely what sandboxes have done for the development of children over the years. By giving management a safe space to experiment, innovate and learn about the various Industry 4.0 technologies that will reshape their organisations, we anticipate that using the Sandbox will improve the competitiveness of the local industry.

As the TFG Research Head of Future Manufacturing at TWIMS, Dr Malika Khodja Möller is directly responsible for the Sandbox. As a Doctor of Engineering, Dr Khodja understands the challenges of engaging with and making sense of Industry 4.0 technologies, arguing that: “By demonstrating a number of future technologies within the management sandbox, we essentially provide students and visitors with a practical engagement with the Future Manufacturing today. In doing so, we make the abstract more real and encourage appropriate technology adoption and future innovation”.

For more information: Dr Malika Khodja-Möller, TFG Head of Future Manufacturing

T:  +27 31 767 5202



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