21 May 2021 - NW1016
Boshoff, Dr WJ to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation
(1)Whether, with reference to his reply to question 404 on 1 March 2021, he can confirm if Additiv Solutions had met all the requirements for appointment for the Photonics Prototyping Facility Programme; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details; (2) whether Additiv Solutions in fact completed its project by 31 March 2021; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details; (3) whether he will make a statement on the matter?
1. The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) confirms that Additiv Solutions (Pty) Ltd met all the requirements for support from the Photonics Prototyping Facility that is hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) National Laser Centre. As set out in the reply to question 404 in March 2021, the proposal was evaluated by the PPF Investment Committee, which includes industry experts and the DSI, and which evaluates and recommends proposals to be supported to the CSIR. Proposals are evaluated against the following criteria:
(a) Relevance and Impact (commercial relevance; feasibility; and significance of impact to the Photonics industry);
(b) Technical merit (clarity of objectives/motivation to use the PPF; novelty of technology; maturity of technology);
(c) Budget (alignment to tasks; and feasibility with existing infrastructure); and
(d) Management Plan (feasibility and efficiency of plan; and track record and team)
The proposal from Additiv Solutions (Pty) Ltd was evaluated by the PPF Investment Committee on 9 December 2019. The committee agreed that there was a clear need for lower cost 3D metal additive manufacturing machines, that the proposal met the requirements of technical merits, budget and the management plan. The proposal also met the requirements with respect to relevance and impact, but the committee did recognize that significant effort would be required with respect to market development and marketing, and that the prototype to be developed in this project would assist in this regard. The Committee agreed that the proposal from Additiv Solutions (Pty) Ltd therefore met the requirements for support from the PPF, and recommended it for approval.
2. The project was initially scheduled to be completed by 31 March 2021. However, there were delays with the procurement processes at the CSIR, which delayed the initial setup phase of the project. These delays were due to challenges with suppliers of hardware to the CSIR. The hardware necessary for this phase was delivered to the CSIR in December 2020 and February 2021 and this work is now completed. In the project scope, a prototype system had to be characterised, and then three subsequent "Beta" machines have to be characterised for Additiv Solutions. The prototype setup and characterisation is completed; the Beta 1 system is being characterised. This makes up the bulk of the work in the project and will completed by 31 May 2021. Additiv Solutions is also required to deliver 2 additional machines (Beta machines 2 and 3) to the PPF team for them to characterise the optical setup and complete all activities planned. This stage is dependent on Additiv Solutions and is expected to be completed by 30 June 2021. The project is on track, there are no remaining technical challenges.
3. This question relates to particular project at the CSIR. The Minister does not usually make statements on particular projects, and is not planning to do so in relation to the CSIR’s support to Additiv Solutions.