Innovation lauded for changing lives

2019-07-03 06:01
The members of the Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (CRPM) Unit of the Central University of Technology are, from the left Letsoalo Letsoalo (project engineer), Dr Gerrie Booysen (director and team leader), Prof. Willie du Preez, Joyce Moletsane (project coordinator) and Johan Els (operations manager). Photo: Supplied

The members of the Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (CRPM) Unit of the Central University of Technology are, from the left Letsoalo Letsoalo (project engineer), Dr Gerrie Booysen (director and team leader), Prof. Willie du Preez, Joyce Moletsane (project coordinator) and Johan Els (operations manager). Photo: Supplied

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The Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (CRPM) innovative unit of the Central University of Technology (CUT), Free State, continues making strides in science and technology.

The unit’s director and team leader, Dr Gerrie Booysen, was honoured with a prestigious accolade by the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF).

He received the Innovation Award at the NSTF-South32 awards ceremony held in Johannesburg on Thursday (27/06).

This award recognises corporate organisations for innovation, research and development over the last five to ten years.

Booysen was among the 13 recipients of this coveted award, known as the ­Science Oscars of South Africa, for 2018-’19. and was celebrated for the 21st time. The recipients are for the 2018/2019.

Booysen’s work enabled the unit to deliver 30 implants over the past five years alone, changing the lives of people from poor backgrounds.

The CRPM team uses the state-of-the-art technology of additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, to reconstruct facial deformaties pro bono.

In so doing, the team helps to improve the lives of poor South Africans who have become outcasts in their communities due to their deformities.

to repair the faces and lives of South Africans from poor backgrounds with facial deformities, people who have, mostly, become outcasts in their communities. This innovative work grabbed the public’s attention after being broadcast on Carte Blanche, and has since been named in presentations on both national and international platforms.

The CRPM unit in Bloemfontein has existed over 21 years, positively changing people’s lives through its innovative work.

Under Booysen’s leadership, and in collaboration with prosthodontist Prof. Cules van den Heever of the University of Pretoria, a team of engineers at the CRPM unit has made 30 implants possible in the past five years.

The centre is supported by the AM Research Centre, as well as a number of professionals from other disciplines.

The annual theme award for this year was made for an outstanding contribution to ‘Materials for inclusive economic development’, in recognition of the ‘International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements’ declared by the United Nations.

The national NSTF-South32 awards are regarded as South Africa’s largest awards for innovation in science, engineering and technology.

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