South African R&D institute adds Optomec system for laser additive manufacturing

Albuquerque, NM and Pretoria, South Africa -- The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa has purchased an Optomec LENS (Laser-engineered net shaping) system for use in metal additive manufacturing applications. The system, installed at CSIR's Laser Materials Processing area of its headquarters in Brummeria, will focus on repair and fabrication processes for high-value metal components used in automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing industries.

"Our market research brought us to the conclusion that Optomec is the market leader offering the most mature technology and the best technical and maintenance support. The proven capability to process titanium to aerospace industry standards was also a strong recommendation," stated Herman Burger of CSIR. "Due to the nature of the South Africa industry, we have a very strong focus on refurbishment of components. In addition, we will perform R&D on additive manufacturing with titanium alloys primarily for the aerospace, but also for the biomedical industries."

The CSIR provides a critical core of laser technology knowledge and expertise through the research, development and implementation of laser based technologies and applications in Africa. It launched an additive manufacturing program in March of this year, dubbed "Aeroswift," a titanium additive-manufacturing project (South Africa is one of the world's top suppliers of titanium ore material). Earlier this year CSIR opened a collaborative project with Aerosud, and opened an aerospace manufacturing facility as the anchor of a proposed Centurion Aerospace Villages for aerospace manufacturing process development.

ILS has long been tracking Africa's emergence as a high-growth region for industrial lasers in manufacturing.