The Industrial Automation Industry in South Africa
Industrial Automation entails MANY different aspects: from field devices (instrumentation) to PLC programming; from PLC hardware to enterprise level software and everything in between. It is a vast value chain and requires skills and understanding of the process being controlled, safety requirements and implications of different types of equipment and how it all fits together. Mechanical, electrical, electronic, chemical and industrial engineering knowledge and skills all play a part in the success of an automation professional.
The Automation Industry is an exciting mix of skills and competencies and there are quite a number of role players (to name a few):
- Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA)
- Society for Automation Instrumentation Measurement and Control (SAIMC)
- Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Africa (MESA)
South African Council for Automation and Control (SACAC)
And then there are the companies that supply automation hardware and solutions. There are many, but the biggest ones are:
- Schneider Electric
- Rockwell (Alan Bradley)
- Endress + Hauser (Instrumentation)
- Adroit Technologies
Manufacturing in South Africa
The manufacturing sector in South Africa are the ‘consumers’ of automation, considered the ‘end users’. At the 2017 Manufacturing Indaba, Manufacturing Circle chairperson Andre de Ruyter explained that manufacturing’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) had fallen from 24% in 1980 to less than 13% in 2015. See the full Engineering News article: South Africa’s manufacturing sector ‘woefully underperforming’.
Mining in South Africa
The future reimagined
This last picture of the ‘engineering roles in perspective’ is a picture that I would’ve loved to have seen when I started my career. It shows where engineers, technologists and technicians predominantly operate during their careers.
The Automation Federation Competency model
Sage advice on choosing what you want to do:
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