All Africa Expo & ISTMA2023 > 6 – 10 NOV 2023 > CTICC – South Africa

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Nicky Verd - Master of Ceremonies

Nicky Verd is an International Keynote Speaker, Bestselling Author, MC Extraordinaire and Panel Moderator. She is a leading thinker on driving innovation and digital transformation through personal disruption. Nicky Verd has been recognized by Thinkers360 and Award Magazine as one of the Top 50 Global Thought Leaders and Tech Influencers on Digital Disruption and the Future of Work.

Bob Williamson - President, ISTMA World

Bob Williamson is an acknowledged international expert on the relationship of the Tooling Industry with the creation and sustainability of a Manufacturing economy. He is the President of the International Special Tooling and Machining Association (ISTMA World) which comprises 21 countries with more than 8000 member companies and an estimated turnover of 120 Billion US Dollars; Executive Chair of the South African INTSIMBI Future Production Technologies Initiative, a Government and Industry partnership established to rehabilitate the Tooling Sector for the benefit of the Manufacturing economy; as well as an Executive Director of PtSA. He has had a career spanning 40 years in the Tooling Industry locally and internationally at an executive level and has played a pivotal role in the development of key core competencies. Originally trained and graduated from a Rolls Royce engineering scholarship programme, he relocated to South Africa in the early seventies and regards himself as ‘proud to be South African’ and an African by choice. Bob is married to Norma, has 3 sons and 7 grandchildren and currently lives in Cape Town.

Prof Dr-Ing Thomas Seul - President, VDWF e.V.

Prof Dr-Ing Thomas Seul, born in 1969, has been a professor of manufacturing technology and tool design at Schmalkalden University of Applied Sciences since the summer semester 07. Since January 2008, he has held the office of Vice President for Research and Transfer at the university. Since 2010, Prof Seul has been the elected president of the Association of German Tool and Mold Makers in an honorary capacity. In the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, he represents in particular, the teaching and research activities in the Applied Plastics Technology course. The focus of his research activities is on product development of plastic components and tool design, especially for the medical technology industry.


In Germany in particular, small and medium-sized enterprises are innovation drivers. Most hidden champions are also at home in the SME sector, and according to Hermann Simon, it is precisely these hidden champions that spend twice as much on research and development as the average industrial sector. The same is certainly true worldwide, from a global perspective for similar industrial structures. Unfortunately, however, it is not that simple. Especially for the tool and die industry, often characterized by rather small structures, the implementation of research parallel to the daily business is not an easy undertaking. This requires cooperation partners around the topic of research, with whom such tasks can be tackled together. In this presentation it will be shown how it is possible to initiate a big step for a research work better tailored to the industry and for more visibility of the tool and die industry with the help of a strong research association like the Forschungsgemeinschaft Deutscher Werkzeug- und Formenbauer (FDWF). Usually, it is the scientific institutions that approach the companies. As president of the VDWF, however, I believe that the sector and the industry should actually approach research and say which topics belong in the program over the next five, ten or fifteen years. They would have to identify and evaluate the white fields in order to prioritize research topics appropriately. Finally, it shows how companies can team up with the right research institutions to implement a very different mix of theory and practice, with the goal of solving current and future problems together.

Prof Natasha Sacks - Professor of Advanced Manufacturing | Department of Industrial Engineering, Stellenbosch University

Natasha Sacks is a Professor of Advanced Manufacturing at Stellenbosch University, where she is also the part-time Director of the Stellenbosch Technology Centre – Laboratory for Advanced Manufacturing (STC-LAM). Since 2008 Prof Sacks has been leader of the Carbides and Cermets research group within the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in Strong Materials. Editorial board member of the International Journal of Refractory Metals and Hard Materials and has served on several Technical and Scientific Program Committees for international materials and manufacturing conferences. Prof Sacks has been actively involved in tungsten carbide research for more than 20 years with research themes including materials design and development, manufacturing process improvement, coating technology, recycling, tribology, additive and subtractive manufacturing.


Sustainable manufacturing encompasses the design and manufacturing of products which use materials and processes in ways which will minimize the impact on the environment, conserve energy and natural resources, are economically sound, and should ideally do no harm to employees, consumers, and society in general. The principles of lean and green manufacturing are becoming more important as the shift from linear to circular economies progresses. In this presentation a few case studies will be presented of how some sustainable practices have been applied to tungsten carbide tools including recycling of tools to manufacture new tools and the refurbishment of worn tools using additive manufacturing.

Michael Kirbach - Director: DMG MORI Aerospace / Die & Mold Excellence Center, DECKEL Maho Pfronten

Michael Kirbach is a graduate engineer specialising in precision engineering with a focus on production and automation. He also has an MBA in International Sales and Strategic Marketing. Michael has worked in the aviation industry for more than 30 years, holding various senior positions in engineering, sales, marketing and material management. He has been Head of the DMG MORI Aerospace Excellence Center since 2012 and in 2020, took on the additional responsibility of Die & Mold.


In the last 20 years, tool and mould making has developed from manual to industrially driven production. In production, machining transformation is an important trend. Individual processes on different and partly specialized machine tools are integrated via process integration on one or a few universal machines. This creates advantages in the process chain as well as in quality. Successful technology integration is the prerequisite for automation followed by digital and green transformation. DMG MORI has set itself the task of making these modern technologies from machine tools to automation as well as digital and green transformation tangible for customers with innovative products along the entire process chain, and supports this with appropriate training via the DMG MORI Academy.

Montez King - Executive Director, NIMS

Montez King is the Executive Director of NIMS, the nationally-recognized organization responsible for developing national standards, competency-based credentials, and training frameworks in manufacturing industries. Mr King is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the NIMS operation including administration, programs, and strategic planning.


New manufacturing technologies are emerging faster than the pace at which an average individual can learn and retain. As smart digital manufacturing technologies and others continue to emerge, new industry duties will continue to be added and existing duties will continue to evolve. Smart Training Solutions is an innovative framework for modernizing training to keep up with the pace of emerging technologies and building a bridge between educators and employers. Learn how you can improve your bottom line with effective On-the-Job Training.

Tapiwa Samanga - CEO, PtSA

Tapiwa Samanga is an industrial development practitioner with over 25 years of experience in commercial/developmental mining initiatives, industrial development, regional economic and market integration programmes. His interests include upgrading Africa’s industrial capacity, the continent’s accelerated industrialisation agenda and the development of industrial regional/continental value chains anchored on the continent’s vast natural resources.


The world is short of manufacturing technical skills like toolmaking. Developing TDM skills is resource expensive – teaching capacity, training equipment, time, and workplace-based mentoring. It is therefore imperative that maximum effort should be put into making sure that every apprenticeship recruit makes it to the shop floor and stays enjoying a long productive career. The key is ensuring that whoever is selected to undertake a TDM career path has attributes and an affinity for the trade. PtSA has not only figured out how to select toolmaker candidates but also how to support South African youth along challenging and demanding career paths. Results show that our retention is far higher than similar trades and our graduates are of superior quality compared to other training methodologies.

Markus Heseding - President, ISTMA Europe

ISTMA Europe President, Markus Heseding, is Managing Director of VDMA Precision Tools as well as VDMA Measuring and Testing Technology. He joined VDMA in 1992 after graduating as a Mechanical Engineer, and is active in several European and international associations. The further development of the tooling industry in terms of commercially successful sustainability is of high importance to Markus.

Manuel Oliveira - Secretary General, CEFAMOL and ISTMA World Secretariat

Manuel Oliveira is Secretary General of CEFAMOL (Portuguese Association for the Mouldmaking Industry), responsible for its innovation and international projects. He is also Secretariat Head of ISTMA World and ISTMA Europe, and Editor in Chief of “Molde” Magazine.


Portugal is a world reference in the mouldmaking industry. The geographical concentration of companies in two regions and their capacity to cooperate and work together in different areas of activity, has been a differentiating factor and a way to achieve success. Internationalisation, training, innovation and R&D, are subjects where the ability of the companies to collaborate within themselves, but also with technological and research centers, has highlighted Portugal’s place in the international market.

Prof Justin Barnes - Manufacturing Ambassador, TWIMS & Associate Professor, University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS)

Prof Justin Barnes has completed industrial research, corporate strategy, and industrial and trade policy development assignments in over 30 countries; and has extensive benchmarking, firm-level and supply chain upgrading experience. He is the Chairperson of BMA, the Manufacturing Ambassador of TWIMS, and an Associate Professor at GIBS, University of Pretoria.


South Africa has experienced deindustrialization over the last decade, with Gross Value Added and capital investment declining. This has had devastating consequences for the domestic economy and has occurred at the same time as the country’s tooling capabilities have contracted, and the country’s major manufacturing sectors have increased their dependence on tooling imports. Rebuilding the country’s tooling capabilities is therefore identified as key to the revival of the manufacturing sector, and by implication the broader economy. However, what does this mean in the context of the global digital transformation of manufacturing and the need to decarbonize production? What does sustainable manufacturing look like in the future? And, how does this challenge the rebuilding process in respect of the tooling sector? In this conference paper, we explore these questions, focusing on the South African context to bring to light broader sustainability challenges in the manufacturing sector.

Prof Dr-Ing Wolfgang Boos, MBA - CEO, WBA Aachener Werkzeugbau Akademie

Following an apprenticeship as a tool mechanic, Prof Dr-Ing Wolfgang Boos, MBA , studied mechanical engineering at the RWTH Aachen University. After graduating, he completed, with distinction, his doctorate at the Machine Tool Laboratory (WZL) and became the managing senior engineer of the Chair of Production Systems at the WZL. Since 2018, he has been an associate professor there as well as a lecturer for various teaching activities within the field of sustainable production. In 2010, he founded the WBA Aachener Werkzeugbau Akademie GmbH as the first centre with over 80 member companies on the RWTH Aachen Campus. Since January 2023, Prof Dr Boos is Managing Director of FIR e. V. at RWTH Aachen University and Centre Director of the Smart Logistics Cluster. He also holds various managing director and advisory board positions in start-ups and medium-sized companies.


The global tool and die industry has been in a constant change for years. The trend of digitization and the phenomena of economic overproduction have determined competition in the industry in the past. Increasing sustainability requirements for the manufacturing industry demand a paradigm shift in toolmaking – the vision for the future now outlines a digitized and sustainable toolmaking. To meet this vision, the WBA Tooling Academy has defined the target of the “sustainable production enabler” including measures to align the industry towards the target state. The presentation “International Benchmarking: Shaping the future of sustainable and digitized toolmaking” features the status quo of the tool and die industry by country based on the WBA-study “World of Tooling”. Subsequently, the target state of sustainable and digitized toolmaking as well as the paradigm shift are addressed.

Yanesh Naidoo - Innovations Director, Owner and Member of the Board, Jendamark Automation

Yanesh Naidoo is an industry-leading innovator in the automotive sector, specializing in Industry 4.0 technologies. As the driving force behind Jendamark Automation's cutting-edge production lines, he ensures the incorporation of state-of-the-art features that boost flexibility, quality, and efficiency. Yanesh's visionary leadership has expanded the company's digital manufacturing technologies into new industries, offering solutions like Smart MES, Frontline Worker platforms, Cloud-Based Preventative Maintenance tools, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality training, and AI-enabled Machine Vision systems. With over 18 years of experience at Jendamark, Yanesh has excelled in sales, design, and business development, including maintaining customer relationships, securing new business, and overseeing concept development. His expertise extends to project management, encompassing engineering assessments, supplier evaluation, project funding justification, and precise timing control. Yanesh earned a BSc in Engineering with a focus on Mechatronics from the University of Cape Town, solidifying his academic foundation and complementing his extensive industry experience. Equipped with a comprehensive understanding of automation and Industry 4.0, he guides clients through successful journeys in embracing cutting-edge technologies.


In this discussion, we will be exploring the impact of AI in the manufacturing industry. We will delve into the challenges, opportunities, and future prospects within this dynamic field. AI has shown tremendous promise in manufacturing through successful Proofs-of-Concept (POCs). However, the true test lies in scaling these POCs for widespread adoption. One major obstacle is the lack of focus on building the necessary infrastructure to support AI in manufacturing environments, where handling messy and large-scale manufacturing data proves challenging. To fully unlock the potential of AI in manufacturing, we require a unified data model and a bidirectional, hardware-agnostic communication protocol like PLC. This ensures clean and contextual data collection and seamless integration of AI model results with live production machines. Let’s find out if AI in manufacturing will be a resounding hit or a mere miss. The future of manufacturing innovation awaits.

Eduardo Medrano - Chairman, ISTMA Americas

Eduardo Medrando is a business leader in the manufacturing industry, visionary and promoter of the tooling sector in Mexico, actively promoting the integration of high technology as a fundamental factor of the competitiveness. He is the Former President of the Mexican Tooling Association AMMMT, and currently President of Makino Mexico and Chairman of ISTMA Americas. He is the author of the business book "The ABC of Tooling".


Tooling manufacturing companies begins as small business and entrepreneurs ventures full of challenges, with difficulties to define a niche of operation to be relevant to its market and become truly profitable. The understanding of the fundamentals of tooling as a business, the opportunities and the challenges scoped by the existing resources, partners, cost structure, revenue streams and customer segments would conduct to the establishment of a robust business model and a value proposition. A innovate business approach looking for professionalized and institutionalized structures while technological tools are incorporated to develop the manufacturing skills and production capacity. A stimulating approach to capture the attention and endorse the motivation of young talent and entrepreneurs to one of the more creative and exciting industries in manufacturing.

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