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This feature will highlight new products and services, technological innovations, and new or recently completed orders and contracts for machine tools in South Africa and Africa. The feature might also provide some insight into research and development in the sector, as well as skills development programmes and any challenges currently facing those operating in this sector.

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    A new range of computer numerically controlled (CNC) lathes is available on the market and is three times quicker than conventional CNC lathes, according to lathe manufacturer FAS Machine Tools.

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    The trade fair for mouldmaking, tooling, design and application development AfriMold boosted the South African tooling industry and highlighted the significant growth potential for local companies. The exhibition was held in Johannesburg at the end of September.

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    An order volume of at least €4.5-billion was reached during the Exposition Mondiale de la Machine Outil (EMO) Hannover international trade fair, held in September, says German Machine Tool Builder’s Association (VDW) executive director Dr Wilfried Schäfer.

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    Preventive maintenance and training are key issues in the cutting industry, according to steel merchant Special Steels GM Theuns van der Merwe.

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    Supplier of cutting consumables and capital equipment First Cut has started distributing a new range of cutting machines and consumables from Swiss-based supplier of solutions for the processing of sheet metal and other sheet materials Bystronic.

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    A new range of screwdrivers and feeding technology has entered the South African market.

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    Two-dimensional- (2D-) code marking offers more benefits than traditional barcode marking systems, says marking and identification company Traceability Solutions sales executive Kelby Parker.

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    Tool, die and mould-making (TDM) companies in South Africa will benefit directly from the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI’s) Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Programme’s (MCEP’s) cost-sharing grants for activities undertaken within their operations, DTI chief director of the competitiveness cluster Tsepiso Makgothi tells Engineering News.

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    A vast number of industries, including the automotive, appliance, electronics, bathroom fittings and other industries, and products make use of turned components. Some of these components are made in-house by the product manufacturer, while others are subcontracted to specialist repetition turning ‘job shops.’ The component type and size vary enormously, as do batch sizes – anything from ten to hundreds of thousands.

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    Despite some weakness in South Africa’s tooling sector, the industry is preparing for growth, says Toolmakers Association of South Africa (Tasa) Gauteng chairperson Ron MacLarty.

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    Industrial equipment supplier Dowson & Dobson Industrial introduced a new range of battery-operated EC angle-head industrial screwdrivers, manufactured by Deprag Industrial, a subsidiary of Germany-based machine-building company Deprag Schultz at Electra Mining Africa in Johannesburg last month.

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    The South African machine tools industry is slowing down in certain areas, particularly in terms of supplying products and services to the steel industry, which has been significantly affected by the economic recession; therefore, many companies shift their focus from quality to pricing, says cutting consumables and capital equipment supplier First Cut director Gary Willis. Despite this, the local machine tools industry continues to develop and companies are keeping abreast of international standards, new products and research, he adds.

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    A modern computer numerically controlled (CNC) turning machine must be productive, flexible and easy to operate, says local machine tools distributor Retecon MD Hans-Peter Neth. He tells Engineering News that the new monoBlock and CTX ecoline series of machine tools from global machine tools manufacturer DMG/Mori Seiki meet all these requirements and are available in South Africa from Retecon. The company has received positive feedback from industry players since introducing both series in the second half of last year. 

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    Local lathe manufacturer FAS Machine Tools has upgraded its FAS Synchroturn computer numerically controlled (CNC) lathe to offer improved machining capability and is expected to be deemed field proven by the end of the year.

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    Industrial products supplier Dowson & Dobson (D&D) Industrial expects its distribution agreement with industrial products supplier Pneumatic & General Supplies for Richards Bay, in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) to expand its reach to industries that include the coal, agriculture, sugar and pulp and paper industries in the next few years. D&D Industrial director Terry O'Kelly highlights that Richards Bay is an important geographical area for D&D Industrial as it is home to numerous metal processing plants, the Richards Bay Coal Terminal, the sugar industry and large pulp and paper plants.

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    Professional sawing and drilling contractors have shown significant interest in the new Titan high-frequency wall saw, which is apparent in the several orders pending final financial clearance by companies, diamond tools and equipment manufacturer and supplier Diamond Products director Darryl Gray tells Engineering News.

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    Taiwan-headquartered nonprofit trade promotion organisation Taiwan External Trade Development Council (Taitra) hosted the first conference and technology forum on machine tools in Midrand, Johannesburg, this week. Representative of Taipei Liaison Office-South Africa Pei-Yung Hsu states that the local branch of the organisation has seen a need for machine tools stakeholders and the automotive industry to gather and showcase the industry’s innovations and discuss the latest available technology to take the local industry forward.

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    German headquartered multinational machine tools manufacturer TML Technik in July stated that it is strengthening its presence on the African continent through growing its distributorships in South Africa. TML Technik South Africa (SA) first opened shop in Benoni, Johannesburg in 2008 and now distributes to most African markets.  The branch offers a wide range of tailor-made machine tools suited to African industry conditions and designed, developed and manufactured in Germany. It also conducts on-site flow tests and hydraulic remote control installations for its customers, explains TML Technik president Volker Bongardt.

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    Industrial machinery supplier Dowson and Dobson (D&D) Industrial has introduced a cordless, battery-powered tool developed by Taiwan headquartered pneumatic tools manufacturer Mighty Seven, to the Southern African market. D&D Industrial sales manager Johan van Rensburg tells Engineering News that the company has been distributing Mighty Seven machinery in Southern Africa for five years and has now added the latest cordless drill/screwdriver to that range. “The Mighty Seven hand-held battery-powered cordless drill, which doubles as a screwdriver, makes it easier for operators in any condition to work more efficiently,” he explains.

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    Power tools manufacturer Bosch Industrial Power Tools maintains that local industry professionals stand to benefit from the use of its newly launched GLL 2-15 Professional cross line laser. Bosch Power Tools South Africa senior brand manager Juergen Lauer tells Engineering News that the tool was introduced to the local market this year, stating that it is part of the company’s commitment to supplying world-class power tools in Africa and to keep abreast of the local industry’s need for innovation and technological advancement. He says that the GLL 2-15 Professional cross line laser is versatile and flexible, making it the ideal levelling tool for professionals who have little experience using levelling instruments.

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