Dr Paul Potgieter

PPotgieter_Bridging the gap between design and manufacture in the aviation industry – the drive to eliminate the historical industrialisation process

Dr Paul Potgieter
Potgieter is the Group Managing Director of Aerosud, which supplies integrated manufacturing solutions to the aviation industry. He completed his PhD in mechanical engineering at the University of Pretoria while employed by the CSIR’s (then) National Institute for Aeronautics and Systems Technology. This is where he led a small team tasked with the development of a first indigenous helicopter design, a variant of the Alouette III, today known as Alpha XH-1. In 1984, he joined the Atlas Aircraft Corporation where he headed the South Africa Rooivalk helicopter development team. In 1990, he moved to the private sector and formed Aerosud. Potgieter has a passion for the fasttracking of the new generation of engineers and technicians and is actively focusing on the stimulation of competitive technologies and innovation.

About the talk: A very costly and time-consuming gap has always existed in moving from the design phase via industrialisation to the manufacture of new aviation products. Much energy has been invested in eliminating this gap with concepts such as design-for-manufacture, but the inherent momentum of traditional methodologies and the complexity of organisational and functional barriers have severely constrained these attempts. The development of the AHRLAC advanced reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft is proving to be a green-fields opportunity for the application of state-of-the-art technologies and new manufacturing techniques aimed at bridging this gap, and constitutes a pioneering venture which could dramatically change the landscape for aviation manufacture.

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