Key stakeholders in South Africa’s automation industry have called for greater collaboration to drive industrial progress and to make the Internet of Things (IoT) a reality within the sector.
Speaking at the official launch of the Africa Automation Fair 2019 in Johannesburg, stakeholders noted that South Africa was emerging from turbulent times, but said that collaboration could help the automotive industry to fast-track economic growth and development.

The automation sector, now moving toward a digital Industrie 4.0/IIoT era, is poised to drive greater efficiencies and make South African enterprises internationally competitive, which will ultimately benefit all South Africans, they said.

Oratile Sematle, president of the Society for Automation Instrumentation Measurement and Control (SAIMC), noted that the industry had already progressed to a point where its voice as a collective is now heard in government, institutions and various sectors.

“But knowing that if we use automation in the right ways, we can ultimately change the landscape of the South African economy and improve the lives of all people, we need to continue to collaborate to drive further progress, and make South Africa great again,” he says.

Marc Van Pelt, chairman of the Industrial Instrumentation Group (IIG) and MD of Pepperl+Fuchs, commented: “As we seek to bring the country to new levels economically, we need to look to automation and smart manufacturing to make our industries competitive on a global basis. At the Connected Industries conference earlier this year, the sector started the Industrie 4.0/IIoT discussion, and the next question is: who is using it? Is the sector ready? As a country, we still have a long way to go.”

Sematle and Van Pelt encouraged industry stakeholders to step up collaborative efforts through forums such as the Africa Automation Fair and Connected Industries conference, where the sector is able to assess the automation industry’s challenges and seek solutions to support progress.