Peter Bosscha

PBosscha_Localised automation and robotics solutions using a lean and agile research and development innovation process

Peter Bosscha
Bosscha leads the CSIR’s mechatronic research group where the focus is on the development of smart machines like automated inspection systems, robotics for mining and intelligent automation systems. He has an MSc in mechatronics from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and is the inventor of various products that are currently sold locally and internationally. Peter has more than 30 years’ experience in electronic engineering, software engineering, product development and project management. It is his passion to improve the competitiveness of the local industry.

About the talk: South Africa faces a number of challenges in its manufacturing industry. Some of the competitive advantages that existed previously, like cheap electricity and low labour costs, have been eroded by rolling blackouts and increases in electricity costs. In addition, product stagnation and rising logistics costs have also negatively impacted the competitiveness of South African industry. The government has embarked on a number of strategic interventions to kick-start innovation in South Africa and grow innovation as the next competitive advantage for the country. One of these strategies is ROSSA, which will focus on the development of robotics to support automation in local industries.

The key success factor of the strategy is implementation. All too often, we develop excellent strategies, but fail on the implementation of these strategies. This paper will focus on the lean and agile research and development methodology and innovation process developed at the CSIR. It will use market areas, identified in ROSSA, as an example of how the process can be applied to a strategy and have a positive outcome for industry. The case study will cover the process from needs analysis, conceptualisation, prototyping and product development through to commercialisation of the product. It will draw on a number of well-established management and innovation practices to create a seamless process for rapid product development and uptake by industry. Will this be enough to bridge the innovation chasm in South Africa?

Co-authors: Pieter Roux, Riaan Coetzee, Delon Mudaly

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