Research chair at CUT launched

2015-08-12 06:00

NALEDI PANDOR, Science and Technology minister, will launch the research chair, on Friday at the Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT), which was awarded by the National Research Fund (NRF) under the Department of Science and Technology (DST) through the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChi).

The research chair, under the leadership of Prof Ihar Yadroitsau, SARChi research chair at CUT, is awarded in recognition of the phenomenal work that the CUT is doing in this dynamic and exciting field.

The NRF and the department have demonstrated consistent and on-going support for the research agenda within academic institutions through the SARChi Initiative.

The goal of this initiative is to increase the research output and innovation from South Africans in areas that are considered essential to the country’s strategic growth and development.

The CUT has equally been committed to these goals, driving the creation of new and insightful methodologies within the Additive Manufacturing (AM) space for many years.

The Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (CRPM) is engaged with the overarching strategies as outlined by the DST and the NRF and this has led to rich and dynamic partnerships.

The centre uses Rapid Prototyping, Rapid Manufacturing, Rapid Tooling and Medical Product Development technologies to further education, understanding and development within this space.

SARChi chairs are highly competitive initiatives that have all South African universities and research agencies vying for the chance to take part. They are tenable at universities and research agencies that are deemed by the DST to be leaders in selected field.

The hosting of this research chair by the CUT is another achievement to add to its growing list.

It will run for a period of five years and will enable the CUT to create new platforms through AM and open up new ideas that come with this technology.

3D printing is set to play a fundamental role in the new industrial revolution, especially within the medical space where innovation can potentially transform people’s lives and CUT is at the cutting edge.

“I am particularly pleased that the CUT is proudly taking a lead in innovations that will change the face of medical science in South Africa.

“The (CRPM) continues with its ground-breaking work on the design, development and manufacturing of medical devices, and has assisted 12 patients to date.

“This is the first medical device of its kind in the country, and CRPM makes us stand proud at the forefront of innovation in this field,” said Prof Thandwa Mthembu, vice-chancellor and principal at the CUT.

The SARChI research chair will focus on Medical Product Development through AM, also known as 3D printing, and many members of the medical profession have shown keen interest in the work that the CRPM has been doing.

The centre’s capabilities in the design and manufacture of patient-specific implants has undergone impressive strides and its goal is to further this arena significantly, forming deeper alliances with medical professionals, public and private hospitals.

“We are also focusing on contributing to medical equipment development through the design of innovative devices and production through new AM techniques in combination with conventional machining techniques,” says Yadroitsau.

“AM makes designs possible that conventional methods could not achieve, so we are going to definitely look into medical equipment development under this research objective with an emphasis on disabled patient assistive devices.”

It is thanks to the many years of hard work put in by the CRPM that led to the research chair being awarded to the CUT, the CUT said in a statement

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