The Coega Development Corporation (CDC), in line with national priorities for skills development, has put in place plans for a state-of-the-art tooling cluster in Zone 2 of the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ).
The CDC has opted for a “proactive rather than reactive approach” in preparing to meet industry demands and thus developed a feasibility case for a tooling cluster incubator which matches national training initiatives with an actual site of praxis, the organisation announced during South African Automotive Week in Port Elizabeth.
The proposed cluster will provide a “pull factor” for tooling investors and aim to provide jobs for trainees from the National Tooling Initiative training already rolling out at the Coega Training Centre located in the Coega IDZ’s Zone 4.
The tooling incubator will adopt a cluster approach, but it will also focus specifically on attracting recently trained and qualified tradespeople, thus promoting job creation and sector development.
“The establishment of a tooling cluster incubator is aimed at providing a range of opportunities for tooling companies. For instance, the objective of clustering resources and capabilities will be to allow companies in the cluster to tender on a collective basis to meet the major tooling requirements of Original Equipment Manufacturers,” said Ayanda Vilakazi, CDC head of marketing and communications.
Equipment required to convert raw material into a required shape is called tooling and the process of equipment manufacture that aids in the conversion of a raw material into a required shape is commonly referred to as tool, die and mould (TDM) making.
“TDM making skills are a critical factor on which to hinge manufacturing competitiveness – particularly in the industries like automotive, aerospace, rail and marine, agro-processing, electronics and mineral beneficiation. However the industry is suffering – mainly as a result of skills erosion and a critical shortage of artisans and engineers, but also a lack of jobs. The envisaged tooling cluster incubator aims to alleviate the jobs crisis in the industry and match skills with work that also benefits other investors in the IDZ and South Africa at large.”
“Skilled toolmakers are considered the engine room of manufacturing capability and this region and the CDC dare not loose on an opportunity to enhance these capabilities in our ‘front yard’.”
This belief has seen 16 Hectares of Zone 2 earmarked for the tooling cluster, and a total of 30 hectares for expansion. The cluster will allow for shared security, administration, metrology and other services and infrastructure, knowledge sharing and industry development initiatives.
“Left under-developed, the tooling industry will wither – allowing this to happen would be a national controversy and there is no way that any corporation that envisages industrial development as a route to socio-economic development and growth would pass up an opportunity to nurture and growing the TDM making industry,” Vilakazi said.
Already around South Africa there are a number of initiatives that promote tooling development, such as the Tooling Association of South Africa (TASA) in close cooperation with the National Tooling Initiative (NTI). Both these initiative enjoy the support of the Department of Trade and Industry.
The NTI drives the national objective to revitalise of the South African TDM industry to contribute as a strategic growth stimulator for manufacturing and technical skills development. It focuses on five major programs: skills and expertise development; capacity expansion, SMME and BBBEE structuring; technology re-capitalisation; competitiveness improvement and export development; and PPP governance structure development.
The CDC also played a role in the recent establishment of the Eastern Cape branch of the Tooling Association of SA and the organisation will be aiming at increasing cooperation and clustering of joint initiatives amongst participating companies.
Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/2012/10/tooling-cluster-for-coega/