The Developing Additive Manufacturing Ecosystem project which will support manufacturing of innovative medical products, Additive Manufacturing (AM) of patient-specific implants and cutting/positioning guides through state of the art technology platforms recently kicked off with an official launch in Gaborone, Botswana. With the University of Botswana (UB) as project Coordinator and consortium partners Central University of Technology (CUT) and the Botswana Institute of Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI), the consortium brings together the three partners who each have a unique offering that supports this project objective. BITRI contributes design, research and product development expertise while UB’s industrial design department contributes students and design expertise from an academic research environment as well as equipment from the Faculty of Medicine to share design, technical skills and knowledge. The other partner, CUT, contributes 20 years of AM experience with 15 years in the medical field.
For the official two day launch event of the project, a workshop and site visit was hosted to expose all stakeholders to the possibilities of Additive Manufacturing technology. The workshop was opened with welcoming remarks by Dr O. Nkomazana, the University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academic Affairs and was followed by presentations from Professor Deon de Beer emphasised the importance of collaboration towards the success of the SAIS project and shared the South African landscape with existing research programs. Prof. de Beer envisaged the expansion of the Collaborative Program in Additive Manufacturing across borders to neighbouring countries such as Tanzania and Zambia. On the second day Dr Shatani Nkhwa introduced participants to Medical Design Studio employed by the University of Botswana’s Faculty of Medicine. CUT presented a hands-on training workshop where clinicians and design engineers were exposed to the Mimics Innovation Suite, utilised to design patient specific implants. During this session lessons learnt over the past 10 years of making use of the software, were shared with participants.
Pro. Deon De beer adressing the launch of the project