FEBE Dean spearheads Smart Manufacturing and Product Development Project

22 August 2023

Dr Grace Kanakana-Katumba, Executive Dean at the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE), together with Swansea University’s Mechanical Engineering Professor, Rajesh Ransing, recently met with delegates from the Royal Academy of Engineering in the United Kingdom, to provide feedback on the accomplishments of TSP1255, a Smart Manufacturing and Product Development Project. The project is focused on fostering knowledge exchange among South African researchers in the field of Smart Manufacturing.

Dr Grace Kanakana-Katumba, Leader for the Smart Manufacturing and Product Development Project.

The Royal Academy of Engineering awarded Dr Kanakana-Katumba, the lead researcher for Project TSP1255, a prestigious research grant of £80,000 (R1,951,681.01). The project commenced in July 2022 and spans over a period of 24 months. 

According to Dr Kanakana-Katumba, the project was initially awarded in March 2020, during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic when she held the position of Deputy Dean at the College of Science Engineering and Technology at the University of South Africa.

“Even after my appointment as Executive Dean of FEBE in 2021, I continued to lead, put in the work and contribute to Project TSP1255,” said Dr Kanakana-Katumba.

The award from the Royal Academy of Engineering, which is reserved for top engineering researchers in both the United Kingdom and South Africa. is a testament to her exceptional expertise.

As part of the project, several impactful events were organised to promote knowledge exchange and collaboration, including:

  •  A research symposium that took place in South Africa on 3 November 2022, which facilitated the sharing of cutting-edge research and insights in the field of Smart Manufacturing.
  •  Two engaging workshops were conducted with industries in November 2022 and April 2023, respectively. These workshops focused on empowering Small, Medium, and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) by highlighting the potential of Industry 4.0 technologies to enhance their competitiveness. 

Amidst the discussions on the progress of Project TSP1225, the team also eagerly anticipated the upcoming Smart Manufacturing Conference, scheduled to take place in South Africa in November 2024. 

Dr Kanakana-Katumba added that the Academy's overwhelming support for the project was evident at the meeting, especially when they pledged further assistance for the conference. “The Academy encouraged all researchers funded by their RAE programs in the Smart Manufacturing field to attend the conference and actively share their knowledge and insights,” she concluded.

From left, Prof Rajesh Ransing, Dr Adefemi Adeodu, Dr Grace Kanakana-Katumba and Dr Meghana Ransing at the Royal Academy of Engineering Headquarters in London.

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