All Africa Expo ISTMA 2023 > 6 – 10 November 2023 > Cape Town International Convention Centre – South Africa


We have much to offer the Tooling Industry

South Africa and the African continent have much to offer the world as a supplier of Tooling Systems.

“South Africa and the rest of the African continent have a lot to offer the world as a supplier of Tooling Systems,” said Bob Williamson, President of ISTMA World.

While there is some considerable development needed in the tooling industry in Africa, South Africa boasts advanced capacity to design and manufacture world-class assembly systems which it supplies to the international automotive industries. When it comes to dies and moulds, the South African industry provides in the region of 10% of the local needs of the manufacturing sector.

South Africa also has by far the most developed tooling sector for tools, dies and moulds (TDM), however small pockets of excellence exist which are focused on supporting the packaging industry in countries like Zimbabwe, Ghana, Kenya and Angola.

“It must be noted that all manufacturing requires tooling and without a strong and vibrant tooling sector, South Africa would be at the risk of de-industrialising,” said Williamson.

South Africa has developed an acknowledged world-class and accredited programme for the training of toolmakers, which has the potential to become the world standard in toolmaker training.

This uniquely South African solution is a product of the government and industry partnership INTSIMBI FPTI, which is led by the Production Technologies Association of South Africa (PtSA) and developed in collaboration with international partners to address the needs of the TDM sector in providing a competency-based toolmaker apprenticeship programme to support manufacturing.

“The modern-day manufacturing industry is characterised by technological advancements. The fourth industrial revolution (4IR) represents a giant leap towards digitalisation and concepts like artificial intelligence, robotics, the internet of things (IoT), genetic engineering and quantum computing are fast becoming the building blocks of the manufacturing industry of the future. The PtSA TDM Powered toolmaker apprenticeship training programme was designed to future-proof the careers of those individuals in the industry,” said Tapiwa Samanga, Chief Executive Officer at PtSA.

Williamson noted that for Africa to become a serious contender in the global tooling industry, government and industry partners need to scale up the INTSIMBI programme significantly and train more toolmakers and facilitate more enterprise development in the tooling sector.

“In terms of policies and regulations, there needs to be increased support for the TDM sector. Relevant bodies and government need to acknowledge the role and achievements of this critical industry sector in the development of the economy as well as increased investment allowances. Import duties on critical commodities such as tools steels and accessories need to be reduced or removed altogether,” said Williamson.

The 16th International Special Tooling and Machining Association World Conference (ISTMA 2023) which will coincide with the All Africa Expo, will facilitate the necessary dialogue to find solutions to these and other issues in the industry.

The theme of the conference this year is sustainable development, technical advances in tooling manufacturing and skills development. It will bring together representatives from global tooling houses, associated industries, industry leaders and businesspeople from 21 countries and 22 ISTMA World member associations comprising of more than 8 000 companies.

“I encourage everyone who is in the sector to attend the ISTMA 16th World Conference and be part of the rich conversations that will take place at the conference,” concluded Williamson.