A team of engineers from Transnet’s Rail Engineering
division visited a number of CSIR laboratories recently on a
fact-finding mission. The aim of the visit, according to Ntombi
Twala, Transnet product development, was to see if they could
tap into CSIR expertise as her organisation embarks on its expansion
path. “We are here to see what the CSIR can offer in our
specific areas,” explained Twala.
Transnet Rail Engineering is a leading South
African supplier to the railway industry through the manufacture,
upgrade and refurbishing of rolling stock and rail-related products.
The Transnet team visited the CSIR National Laser Centre; CSIR
Materials Science and Manufacturing as well as the National
Centre for Nano Structured Materials; and the mobile intelligent
autonomous systems group at CSIR Modelling and Digital Science.
“With a memorandum of understanding (MoU) being
put in place between the CSIR and Transnet at organisational
level, we need to identify operational programmes in line with
the MoU,” said Twala. “Transnet Rail Engineering
is looking into bolstering the four strategic pillars of its
operations, namely infrastructure; rolling stock; operations;
and strategic support.
However, she said, Transnet Rail Engineering’s main interest
lies in electronics because it wants to be a developer of electronic
power systems. “Another area of interest is foundry,”
she added, “and we are also looking into materials and
“Essentially, the visit is about creating synergy,”
she said. “For Transnet Rail Engineering to increase our
efficiency, we need to grow our engineering capability to meet
Twala added that the MoU between her organisation and the CSIR
would be beneficial to in training of Transnet engineers.
Andries Wilken, product engineer at Transnet Rail Engineering,
said the group enjoyed the laboratory visits and that it will
be helpful in crafting the way forward.
“Our long-term strategy is to focus
on renewable energy while in the short term we have identified
light materials as one of our big projects in the next five
years,” he said.
Berenice Lue Marais, head of the CSIR delegation and Strategic
Alliances manager, said, “We are fostering technical collaboration
to bringing about projects to give content to this strategic
Berenice continued: “We hope that this opportunity will
open doors for building the relationship at technological level
with Transnet Rail Engineering”.
She also revealed that following the visit to the CSIR, technical
discussions have already taken place between Transnet and the
CSIR with the aim of identifying specific projects for collaboration.
News supplied by Mzimasi Gcukumana, CSIR Strategic Communication.
27 July 2012