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MAPtm Match-Making Mission

23 June 2015 — The recent Match Making Mission to the Netherlands that took place from 7-13 June was arranged by the Manufacturing Accelerator Programme (MAPtm) and The Netherlands Enterprise Agency.

Representatives from fifteen South African companies participated, and feedback received from the participants thus far has been very positive. Upon arrival, delegates checked into the Hotel Utrecht to meet and prepare for an intensive week of seminars, factory tours and individual match-making sessions.

On Monday, 8 June the delegates were given an EU market overview by Tamar Hoek from The Centre for Promotion of Imports from Developing Countries (CBI). This was followed by a presentation about the ESEF Trade Fair, one of the most respected trade shows for supply, subcontracting, product development and engineering. A discussion about the impact of Smart Industry on manufacturing followed. The delegates paid a site visit to STINIS Spreaders – a trend-setter in container handling. The evening ended with dinner in the Rotterdam Harbour.

Tuesday saw delegates attend numerous factory visits, the first being Bronkhorst High-Tech BV – leaders in Mass Flow Meter / Mass Flow Controller technology for gases and liquids, pressure controllers and evaporation systems. The company has become a world player through strategic use of IT and continuous production process improvement.

The next site tour was to Machinefabriek Boessenkool – designers and producers of parts for machine building, complete machines and provides machine repair and overhaul services. Their mission is to provide customers with special equipment based on prodigious engineering. After lunch, the team visited Wouter Witzel – manufacturers of butterfly-valves used for water-treatment, shipbuilding, oil and gas, desalination, building services, and power stations.

On Wednesday, the delegates visited High-Tech Campus and Brainport, where they networked extensively and learned a great deal from their European counterparts.

The last two days included interaction with the trip sponsors, Royal Haskoning DHV, who are an independent, international engineering and project management consultancy, delivering services in the fields of aviation, infrastructure, maritime, mining, transport, and urban and rural planning. This was followed by a visit to the Power-Gen Europe Fair which usually attracts power industry experts from more than 100 countries.

The remaining factory visits included HP Valves, TenCate and Aeronamic. HP Valves is a well-known and respected manufacturer of medium- and high-pressure gate, globe and check valves. Using their experience in worldwide delivery, they offer a wide range of valves for power generation and petrochemical industries.

TenCate is a multinational textiles technology group that develops and produces solutions for the protection of people and their working and living environments. This particular visit highlighted the need for and the benefits of rigorous and strict quality control standards, which are often avoided by South African companies primarily due to the lack of understanding of the importance thereof.

The final visit was to the Aeronamic B.V. who develop, manufacture, test and maintain complete high-speed rotating systems for the aerospace industry. Aeronamic B.V. recently signed a contract with Honeywell Aerospace for the delivery of the Forward Module as part of the F-35 Power & Thermal Management System. Aeronamic B.V. will be responsible for the manufacturing, production, final assembly and testing of the Forward Module at the company’s facility in Amelo, Netherlands.

Aeronamic B.V. is also widely recognised for its innovative, high-technology driven designs, development and production of turbo machinery and critical high-precision components in aerospace. Investing heavily in innovation, Aeronamic has managed to future-proof its components, and along with a strong focus on single source production, it has become the sole supplier for the scroll compressor system used for cooling the galleys and avionics for all versions of Airbus A350XWB.

Delegates on the mission said they were extremely impressed with the technology, efficiency and capabilities of the manufacturers in Holland and noted, as South African manufacturers, that we have an enormous amount to learn.

The South African contingent felt it was a most worthwhile experience and, based on the results of the individual match-making sessions, the momentum suggests a follow-up trip will most certainly be on the cards.