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Aerosud has recently built its first demonstrator research and technology composite component in our newly completed Structural Composite Facility. The new facility was installed in the old Innovation and Technology Centre building at Aerosud’s factory in Pretoria, South Africa.

The Facility:

The state of the art facility features a 100 m² Clean room which houses the new Lectra ply cutter, SL-Laser projectors and bonding station.  The ply cutter has a vacuum bed and special conveyor table which pulls and feeds the composite material on rolls through the cutting head which cuts the material into the required shapes for building the parts in special tools. The laser projectors project onto the special tools and shows the technicians working in the lay-up area where to place the material cut on the ply-cutter. The composite layed-up parts are then bagged and has vacuum applied to pull all the air out and consolidate the part and tool – similar to when buying vacuumed bagged food at the grocery store or butcher.

The most impressive new piece of equipment in the facility is our new ASC controlled Autoclave. The Autoclave, which is more commonly known to Aerosud employees as Tommie, measures 1.8m in diameter and is 3.6m long. The vacuumed part and tool, still in its vacuum bag, is cured in the autoclave –Majority of our parts manufactured in the facility are cured at 180°C and 7 Bar pressure – that is more than three times the pressure of an average car’s tyre pressure. Some of the cure cycles can last up to 6 hours long.

After the cure cycle is complete, the tool and cured parts are removed from the autoclave and demoulded in the assembly area of the facility.

The main assembly area measures roughly 325 m² and features a Leakage Detection rig (freezer down to -20° C and wash bay), Backlight detection and tap booth test rig, de-moulding and tool prep area, a re-work area and a number of work stations. Each work station has vacuum and pressurised air points as well as electrical plugs for equipment to work in the facility.

The Leakage Detection test rig uses the freezer and wash bay to determine if the parts manufactured in the facility leak. The Backlight detection and tap booth is used to visually and audibly inspect the parts for defects – the light shines through the component to show inclusions or defects, whereas the parts are lightly tapped with a hammer, any de-laminations or holes in the part will give off a different noise when tapped with the hammer. Any defective parts are repaired in the repair station which forms part of the main assembly area.

The facility has a new testing facility which houses state of the art testing equipment. The equipment includes a Differential Scanning Calorimeter (DSC), Dynamic Mechanical Analyser (DMA) and Static Tensile Tester which can measure up to 100kN at elevated temperatures.

The DSC and DMA thermally analyses the test pieces to characterise the material – in other words heat is applied to the test pieces to see how the material reacts, thereby characterising the material. The tensile tester applies tension or pressure to samples to see how much load the material can take before breaking, again characterising the material.

The entire facility; Assembly area, Laboratory and clean room is temperature and humidity controlled – in addition to the building conditions, the clean room is dust controlled with positive pressure. This means that to enter the room every employee has to go through a special double door airlock, and has to wear a special anti-static dust coat.

The central building monitoring system which monitors the building health is an easy way of visually assessing the conditions inside the facility – similar to a traffic light, the conditions of the building is displayed by lights; a Green Light is for GO, an amber light means you have to notify your supervisor and a red light indicates STOP. This is especially important when manufacturing structural composite components to OEM standards.

We are very proud to say that the monitoring system was developed internally at Aerosud. 

First Demonstrator Part:

The demonstrator component has been manufactured using Cellular Core Technology (CCT); all parts for this manufacturing process have been developed at Aerosud and manufactured locally in South Africa – making this a truly special event.

The feature demonstrator part is a representative part of an aircraft found on most single isle aircraft.

This is a special occasion and something for all Aerosud Employees to be very proud of.

Aerosud is the leading role player in the development of technologies of the future such as 3D-printing solutions.

Aerosud is focusing specifically on the design, simulation and integration of technologies such as 3D printed parts, Thermoplastic composites and Closed Core Technology.

The Carte Blanche edition of Sunday 3rd September showcased the Aeroswift program, as well as the integration of 3D printed parts on AHRLAC.

The Carte Blanche segment is available for viewing below.

Industry 4.0 - a Threat as well as an Opportunity

Please follow the link below to read the article featured in Financial Mail on13 July 2017

The 2017 Paris Air Show, held at Le Bourget Airport north of Paris, was open from 19-22 June for industry and the 23-25 June for the public. The Paris Air Show is organised by the French aerospace industry's primary representative body, the Groupement des industries françaises aéronautiques et spatiales (GIFAS).

It is a large commercial event, with a major purpose being to demonstrate military and civilian aircraft to potential customers. It is the most prestigious aircraft exposition in the world. All major international manufacturers, as well as representatives of the military forces of many countries, attend the Paris Air Show.

Of particular significance for South Africa was that the Tshwane Economic Development Agency (TEDA) co-ordinated a South African industry delegation to attend the 2017 PAS. The delegation was lead by the MMC for Economic Development, Mr Randall Williams and included representatives of the TEDA, IDC, CAV and CAMASA (Commercial Aviation Manufacturing Association of South Africa) members. CAMASA organised a visit to the Airbus facility for the 21st where the A350 XWB final assembly line was visited. The delegation was briefed on Airbus’ view on the future of air travel, aircraft sales and the opportunities it brings along to create jobs in various industries such as hospitality and manufacturing.

Some interesting facts about the 2017 PAS:

The 53rd Air Show will be held from 17 to 23 June 2019 and TEDA as a strong supporter of the aerospace manufacturing industry and plans to lead a South African pavilion at the PAS in future.

Aerosud Aviation – Tomorrow’s Digital Technologies Taking Flight

Written by Dr Harry Teifel - Disruptas

At a global level the World is heading into a new Industrial Age, which is either referred to as “Industry 4.0” or the “4th Industrial Revolution”.  These developments are set to lead to massive ramifications on society as a whole but also for countries such as South Africa.  This is of particular relevance if one considers that the NDP 2030 goals largely coincide with the anticipated cosmic changes brought about by Industry 4.0.  Globally, there is a high degree of uncertainty regarding the impact of increased digitization on a variety of industries such as manufacturing.  Key questions relate to what a future world will look like in terms of the work-split between machines and people, how these developments will impact on the ability of South Africa to compete in the global arena and what this means for employment of Human Resources in this country.

Industry 4.0 relates to a trend where cyber / IT Systems (e.g. networked technologies) and physical Systems (e.g. machines and people) are increasingly merged.  This allows for remote monitoring of physical processes, creation of a “virtual copy” of a physical world, the ability for decentralized to be taken with the aid of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and for human activities to be supported through Technology.

1. Sector overview

The commercial implications for companies, value chains and economies of Industry 4.0 or the 4th Industrial Revolution are enormous. It has been estimated that the deployment of one the core technologies underpinning Industry 4.0 namely Internet of Things (or IoT) will lead to global Industrial Sector benefits of approximately $4 trillion between now and 2022 alone!  These benefits are set to occur through improvements in innovation, customer experience, asset utilization, employee productivity and supply chain management.

An Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) roadmap was presented to outline a possible SA migration to an Industry 4.0 world.  The proposed IioT roadmap consists of the following dimensions along the full Industrial Value Chain:

  • Digital Product- or Service Life-cycle Management (dealing with process aspects);
  • Disruptive Technologies (dealing with  the “Tools” required to satisfy requirements);
  • Solution Architecture (dealing with the Technology Platform for Industry 4.0 to be executed); and
  • Return on Investments Evolution (dealing with a systematic evolution process).

Critical to success in the new Industry 4.0 environment is an understanding that the future world is characterised by “connections”, which will roll out in different stages, namely:

  • Connected Machines (ability of machines / equipment to interface with each other);
  • Connected Life (establishment of networked industries where e.g. transport is linked to manufacturing, which in turn is linked to energy etc.); and
  • Connected Society (networking of everything to everything in a networked society).

The implications of a new digitally enabled World ar profound as it impacts not only on relationships and inter-dependencies of different parties – but also means from an industrial perspective that everybody becomes involved in products and services throughout their life-cycle.

This means that Product- and Service Life-cycle Management will become the dominant logic to achieve optimal value creation by the inter-linkage of all affected parties and stakeholders.  A key requirement for future Life-cycle Management objectives to be achieved lies in the establishment of  a so-called new “Digital Business Eco-system”.  The premise is to allow for the systematic inter-connection of things or data-sources in order to allow for the overall System to be managed.  The desired outcomes of Digitaly enabled Product- and Service Life-cycle Management are:

  • Transparency of key events and developments;
  • Ability to execute and optimize Machine-to-Machine interactions;
  • Improvement of innovation- and Product/Service Development cycles;
  • Reduction of waste and costs; and
  • Improved customer satisfaction through inter alia greater flexibility and responsiveness.

How does all of this, however, relate to the South African Indusrtry- and Manufacturing Sectors, which as faced extensive pressure over the last number of years, with significant activity shifting off-shore?  Unfortunately for South Africa and other countries such as the United States of America (USA), which has also seen its manufacturing sector shrink significantly, there are a number of dynamics at play, which occur in a very dynamic and volatile environment:

  • Globalization;
  • A global shift to Services away from Manufacuring; and
  • Increasingly the role that Technology / Automation is set to play going forward.

2.     Challenges / road blocks

What is less clear, however, is the impact of Industry 4.0 on people and especially employment. The biggest challenge looming is one of automation, which is set to lead to a significant number of traditional blue- and white-collar occupations being performed by various Technologies incl. Robotics. According to Research conducted by the Foresight Alliance, there are dire predictions, relating to job-losses through automation in the coming 20 to 30 years in the USA and Western Europe.  The predictions are made up of a number of scenarios, which are driven by a.) the degree of automation implemented; and b.) the ability for automation to effectively integrate human- and machine endeavours.

The Foresight Alliance study indicates that up to 7.0% of all manufacturing jobs could be lost to automation by 2025 and up to 32.4% by 2035 in a worst case scenario.  What is equally worrying is that the parties that be most adversely affected in this situation are the so-called “Working Poor” and the “Working Class”, with 73.1% of job losses affecting the “Working Poor”. 

In a separate study by the OECD, it has been found that South Africa has a high risk of jobs being replaced by robots.  This means, that there is a latent potential of robotics to be implemented to automate tasks currently performed by people.  If one looks at the deployment of industrial robots per 10000 manufacturing workers in industrialised countries such as Japan, Germany and the USA with South Africa, the risk of automation becomes abundantly clear:  Whereas Japan currently has a density of 295 robots, Germany 163 and the USA 86 – Africa currently has a density of 2 robots per 10000 manufacturing workers.  Unfortunately the figures for South Africa on its own are not indicated, but it is still clear that South Africa may very soon see an extensive increase in robotics activity.

South Africa will need to find an innovative way to leverage Technologies to leap-frog its current extensive manufacturing challenges incl. low skill-sets and productivity levels etc. to secure its place in the global economy going forward.  Unfortunately, it is not a question if South Africa wants to play in an Industry 4.0 – but rather how South Africa uses the technological potential to ensure global competitiveness and at the same time achieve the goals set out by the NGP.

3.     Opportunities / game changers

In order for South Africa to achieve the major manufacturing / Industrial Sector challenges it faces in the coming years it is believed that the following realisations are critical:

  • Need for new answers to deal with historic and emerging challenges;
  • Acknowledgement that there is enough time for a sequential approach: i.e. fix base-line challenges first and then deal with Industry 4.0 requiremnts;
  • Need for Technology to be fully embraced as an enabler to deal with challenges; and
  • The targeted use of Technology to specifically focus on compensating SA weaknesses and improve the country’s competitive position.

How can this be achieved?  There is an international trend to re-appraise the core competencies of people and “machines” – and find optimal ways to ensure a better output by combining the two elements.  This leads to future work being performed in three different route:

  • By people possessing particular strengths in so-called “humarithms”;
  • By a combination of people + technologies known as “augments”; and
  • By machines possessing particular strengths in so-called “algorithms”.

It is believed that especially the second route (“augments”) is one that is of particular importance for South Africa and its NDP 2030 goals.  This scenario is characterised as follows:

  1. It relies on the human mind as well as body and is supported / augmented by Technology;
  2. It allows for an adaptation to various circumstances and deals with specific skill deficiencies; and
  3. It can accelerate learning through Technology not only in the initial Training stage but on an ongoing phase while work is performed.

In so doing, and with the aid of technologies such as Augmented- or Virtual Reality and supported by Artificial Intelligence, it is believed that the new value proposition offered by the augment solution (people + technologies) may contribute to South Africa in staying or becoming more globally competitive. The game-changer advocated is for a people + technology solution to be developed for different sectors and applications, which would allow SA to compete against the labour rate of an international worker working withou technology, an international augment solution as well as a machine such as a robot.  It has to be stressed that the augment solution will not able to stem the tide in sectors clearly suited for robotics (e.g. welding of body-frame in the automotive sector) but would need to be aligned with specific sectors requiring greater flexibility and with all probability lower production volumes.

4.     Looking forward / recommendations incl. Public Private Partnership

  • In order for South Africa to deal with Industry 4.0 requirements, it is argued that it is critical for such solutions to be implemented in South Africa.  Aerosud, as a supplier to the global commercial Aviation Manufacturing Sector, is keen to support this process and believes that the Commercial Aviation Manufacturing Sector (CAMASA) offers an ideal opportunity for Industry 4.0 solutions to be piloted.  The primary reasons for this are:
  • Almost infinite growth of exports possible from SA with the global demand for aeroplanes being 2000+ per annum for the next 20 years;
  • The competitive fundamentals are in place and exports are already occuring and growing at a significant rate; and
  • The aviation sector globally being hi-tech in nature and thus allowing for the effective transfer of Best Practices and trends to South Africa.

The Commercial Aviation Manufacturing Sector (CAMASA) has engaged with inter alia the Department of Trade and Industry (dti) as well as the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in an effort to establish a Public-Private Initiative to achieve the following goals as part of an Industry 4.0 Reference Implementation Model:

  • Development of Skills and enabling competencies to deal with current and future requirements incl. Augmentation options;
  • Development of an Advanced Manufacturing Solution Framework built on Industry 4.0 principles;
  • The industrialization and phasing-in of high potential Technologies such as 3-D Printing (e.g. Titanium Composites);
  • Establishment of collaborative multi-stakeholder platforms to allow for value-chain integration; and
  • Securing NGP and NDP objectives including the development of new suppliers and employment opportunities.

The plans are at an advanced stage and it is planned to further define and explore the win-win solution between the industry and government.

When ABN last spoke to Aerosud in 2015, the company had recently undergone some fundamental restructuring and organisational changes, which saw the Industrial Development Corporation coming in as a key shareholder and changed the outlook for the South African aviation manufacturing firm.  In this spotlight Johan Steyn, Aerosud Aviation’s managing director, speaks to us about Aerosud’s expansion, the cutting edge technology it is bringing to the market, how it is positioning itself for growth and what the future looks like for the company.

Aerosud started life as a private company in 1990, focusing on South African military aviation products and producing high levels of engineering content. As Steyn describes it, it was around 2000 that Aerosud went from being a small company to experiencing significant growth to a company today employing around 700 staff with a turnover of US$70 million. Steyn puts the transformation at this stage down to the IDC coming in with investment, which allowed the company to invest in new technology and expand capacity.

Since 2014,  Aerosud has gone from strength to strength as Steyn oversaw specific operational decisions in Aerosud Aviation to access funding, expand capacity, introduce fundamental changes in operational efficiency and thinking, develop new technologies, and finally to focus on retaining key, existing clients and broadening out to new, successful relationships. In the last two years Steyn has concentrated on improving Aerosud’s capacity, accessing ‘significant capital funding’ through the IDC and shareholders, and positioned the company to add almost 30 per cent more production floor space in that time, which is now fully operational.

“We took deliberate investment decisions to expand capacity over the last two years. It was a direct consequence of the restructuring of the company,” reflected Steyn.

“The key aspect is we had the opportunity to expand our machine capabilities and redundancies which put us in the position to have a solid base going forward. We still have some opportunities for further improvement but it will flatten down now until we see substantial new opportunities.”

Added to that, Aerosud formed a new company in Q3 2015 – Aerosud Technology Solutions – held under Aerosud Holdings, it brings new technology to the group.

“It’s interesting because we have acquired a very specific composite manufacture technology. The international patent was previously owned by a US company but we have concluded the purchase agreement and positioned that patent in the new company,” explained Steyn.

Structural changes have well-positioned the company for growth and efficiency, however the breakthrough advancement of the last two years was Aerosud’s development of a unique tooling methodology associated with close composite structures. It is called closed-core technology (CCT) and allows the extraction of a rigid mould from a closed composite assembly.

“We are currently talking to three OEMs and a number of tier 1s that see potential applications in current designs or improvements on current designs. The advantages are weight saving, cost saving and part-count reduction and there is real interest in that,” commented Steyn on the market demand for CCT.

Aerosud’s business-model graph demonstrates how the company is moving away from development engineering and putting its resources and energy in to production content. While Steyn sees it as a shame, he nonetheless accepts development is an increasingly difficult market to break into. The opportunities that are available require the company to be engineering improvements to products with OEMs and tier 1s – entering the typical value engineering improvement type environment.

Steyn said that while a reduction in engineering opportunity is an unfortunate reality, the increase in production will provide a double-edged benefit.

For Steyn the result of that switch sees Aerosud Aviation occupy the ‘best cost’ environment. The aviation industry has moved away from low cost due to the associated risks. Aerosud are well positioned for success in the best cost environment when compared to low cost players such as India, China or Morocco.

Steyn explains it as so, “Language-wise, culture-wise specifically with European countries… that’s where most opportunities lie for us, we have the time zone advantage – we have a lot of advantages and we would like to capitalise on them.”

One of the overarching principles the company has seen during the restructuring is the focus on the Theory of Constraints (TOC); a methodology which champions focusing on individual constraints to efficiency and progress, and providing a solution to that constraint before moving on. It leads to an overall business model of ‘build-capitalise-sustain’, which Steyn hopes will produce an ‘ever-flourishing company’.

Under this TOC principle Aerosud Aviation has begun to undertake critical chain programme management (CCPM) processes which bring the firm significant advantages to a development cycle.

“People have demonstrated adequately how a 50 per cent reduced lead time of introducing a new product is possible, you must be clever in how you manage, report and distribute the work content,” Steyn explained.

For Steyn the primary objective is to focus on throughput – goal units such as $ throughput per hour. Following this, investment and operating expenditure become the secondary objectives in achieving TOC implementation. Steyn has spent most of the last two years working towards 100 per cent reliability in the supply chain and consulting experts to achieve it in the least painful way. This resulted in the external supply chain having been converted fully to “consumption based purchasing”, significant reduction in WIP and the resultant decrease in production Lead times.

In the aviation market there is need for absolute reliability. OEMs can guarantee this through thorough auditing and risk assessments and oversight activities in the supply chain, however at the same time they want low costs and, according to Steyn, these two elements are ‘essentially, ultimately in conflict with each other.’

“The beauty of TOC principles is that you can find a breakthrough solution and address both sides of that coin. You don’t have to choose between reliability and low cost. You achieve high reliability – 50 per cent higher than average – reduced lead time, increase to work flow, you become more nimble,” commented Steyn.

Under TOC Aerosud Aviation are more reactive, more flexible, have shorter lead times and lower costs, and these elements are what everyone in the aviation market is interested in.

Aerosud has spent the last two years reaching this stage of absolute reliability and it was demonstrated with the launch of the ‘reliability offer’ earlier this year. Steyn feels now is the time to look forward, continue internal improvements, unlock capacity and implement the ‘capitalise and sustain’ phase.

In terms of capitalising on this progress Aerosud is doing so by technological innovations. Aerosud demonstrated some of its technology offerings at the recent JEC in Paris.  A technology demonstrator using welded CFRTP and titanium ALM parts were showcased in Paris. The flyable rubber demonstrator was the result of collaboration between Aerosud Aviation and TenCate a Dutch company.  Furthermore Aerosud has launched the necessary investments required to establish a Nadcap approved structural composite facility by the end of 2016In terms of Aerosud’s partnerships with OEMs and tier 1’s it is in the 15th year of contract with Boeing for thermoplastic and composite assemblies for B737 and B777. It manufactures mechanical-installation racks for Labinal Power Systems and with Spirit Aerosystems it manufactures a pressed and welded track-can for A320 and A350. Steyn has moved some of the work for Spirit from the US back to South Africa to create increased capacity and redundancy and localise further important production content.

The work with Spirit on the A350 series is now seeing steep increases as the programme is increasing from three per month to the expected eight per month later this year Steyn said, “It’s a big increase phase and they are going well on the A350 too.”

The biggest portion of work for Aerosud is the contracts with Airbus on A320 and A350 and Airbus Defence and Space on A400M. The A400M remains a tough programme as there are still issues in this market that are a worry for Steyn who explained, “With the issues they are having and the rate changes, instability and pressure for price reduction and the fact they are not selling the product… it’s a big concern for all of us.”

Steyn believes that over the last year or two the company has been very successful in positioning itself for real growth, opening capacity, offering reliability and reducing prices. Looking forward Steyn has seen adequate evidence to fulfil the company’s dream of generating a further $50 million of new business and the key deliverable is to add at least one significant new customer or product line during 2016.

“We are close to a breakthrough on that. Probably in the A350 domain and we suspect with a tier 1 or 2 supplier. That’s what the future looks like for us,” concluded Steyn.

Full article also available in the African Business Network magazine:

Our Autoclave which was manufactured in the USA by ASC Process Systems, Inc. is here.

The building works to accommodate the Autoclave is also complete. Our team worked hard to get it installed in the new building.  

The Autoclave completed its maiden cure cycle in July 2017

Aerosud recently attended the Connected Industries Conference & Africa Automation Fair at the Ticketpro Dome. The focus of the conference and fair was the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0. Several European and Japanese guest speakers together with local speakers shared interesting insight into their Industry 4.0 journeys thus far. The fair also provided an opportunity to see and experience who is doing what with regards to Industry 4.0.


Following the links to read more:

We are pleased to announce that the canteen upgrade is complete including a very impressive industrial kitchen facility. The upgraded facility includes additional seating area to accommodate both inside and outside. The first meals prepared in the new facility have already been enjoyed by Aerosud staff. 

We are pleased to announce that the extension to Building # 4 as reported in July 2016 is now complete. The larger paint shop is now being fully utilised and all additional assembly tools have been moved in. With this expansion Aerosud is now able to meet the production ramp-up as required by the Airbus single aisle family.

The building of Aerosud’s new 240m2 ablution facility and clinic is complete. 

Ablution building:

Clinic building:

Aerosud will host a session on Advanced Manufacturing at the Vision 2030 Summit taking place 21 -22 June @ Emperors Palace, Johannesburg.

From the organisers:

You can help to overcome the obstacles facing South Africa’s manufacturing sector at Vision 2030.
Manufacturing is an important part of any economy.  Besides delivering important products to consumers, it also provides a platform for foreign direct investment, which in turn is imperative for an economy to remain on a sustainable growth trajectory.  
The South African economy has been plagued in recent years with a sluggish growth rate, which can be attributed to several factors such as uncertain foreign investment policies, unstable power sources and decreasing investor confidence, amongst others.

A look at figures from past years shows a good indication of an overall trend in manufacturing and production and points to several challenges facing the country if we are to achieve growth in our economy and strengthen our markets. To find out more about our analysis of Manufacturing - please click here

The Vision 2030 Summit, being held in Johannesburg in June 2017, will be the best platform you can attend in order to address these issues.  The Summit is aimed at:

  1. Working towards making the NDP accessible to all South Africans
  2. Bringing public and private sector stakeholders together in partnership to expedite realisation of the NDP’s goals
  3. Stimulating greater private sector participation by showcasing organisations making strides in the name of the NDP

“A revitalised manufacturing sector would allow for the creation of a higher number of jobs in the medium term.
The NDP lays out a strategy to create depth in manufacturing through beneficiation, that will realise the transformative potential of the sector.
The objectives of economic transformation are related to building a productive asset base with growing capacity for the creation of high employment.”
- Former Minister of Trade and Industry, Mzwandile Masina, speaking at the Vision 2030 Summit in 2016.



The Tshwane Inaugural Mayoral Economic Summit 2017 was hosted 22 – 23 February at the CSIR Convention Centre in Pretoria.

Aerosud was invited and exhibited at the summit.

Feedback from the Office of the Executive Mayor:

“This was a prestigious event in the calendar of the City. The summit was a huge success and we could not have done so without your support. The City has well surpassed its fundamental objective of hosting influential stakeholders from government, the private sector, academia, labour and civil society in a quest to develop a joint action plan to address Tshwane’s economic growth and development. It is safe to say that we are well on our way to realising our aspirations of reviving, stabilizing and delivering inclusive growth for all who live in Tshwane.

The conference attendees enjoyed, earned, appreciated and welcomed the exposure to the products and services that where exhibited.” – Tumiso Maitisa (Economic Intelligence Division)

Aerosud hosted the opening of the new Aerosud Training centre at Kruger avenue, Pretoria Wednesday 23 November 2016. Key partners and stakeholders from government and industry where invited to the formal opening of the training centre with its new premises located just a few kilometres from the Aerosud manufacturing facility.

The centre was moved recently from its old location at Aerosud due to space constraints. The growth and projected growth necessitated expansion that was not possible at the old facility. The new facility in Kruger avenue is kitted with all the required equipment and capability to train artisans for Aerosud and eventually the South African Aviation industry.

The long term strategy for the Aerosud Training Centre is to ensure world class skill and know-how is instilled into the apprentices that complete their training. Firstly for the South African Aviation industry and potentially in the future to other advanced manufacturing industries as well.

At the Aerosud Training centre opening the top apprentices for 2016 were awarded:

Aircraft Structures:               Lukhanyo Mahlala

Aircraft Composites:             Nyiko Khoza

Overall best Apprentice:       Nyiko Khoza

Congratulations for this great achievement!

Ofi Mokgojoa, William Magagane and Lydia Ledingwane gave their testimonials during the Aerosud training centre opening. (see pictures below)

Their stories of success are a testament to the achievements of the Aerosud Training centre in empowering and uplifting employees to become the best they can be.

We look forward to many more such stories in future.


The world aerospace supply fair, AIRTEC and the world fair for mold making and tooling, additive manufacturing, design and product development, EUROMOLD took place in Munich from October 25th until 27th.

AIRTEC is based on the three founding pillars: trade exhibition, B2B-meetings, and a high-calibre international aerospace congress. 600 exhibitors from 30 nations, nearly 15,000 B2B-meetings, 230 lectures, and about 900 congress participants attended AIRTEC 2016. Airtec was indeed the place to meet aerospace industry experts from all over the world.

AIRTEC provided us with the ideal platform to connect technology and business and thereby became the most effective way for the entire aerospace supply chain to create new opportunities.

The Tshwane Economic Development Agency (TEDA) is very interested in developing the aerospace industry as it views it as an industry that could add high quality jobs in the metropolis.

TEDA was established with the primary objective of cultivating an environment within which the City of Tswane (CoT) can grow its human capital and the economy through the facilitation, implementation and management of developments with a specific focus on economic development and investment attraction into the greater Tshwane. Their mission is to provide innovative solutions so as to attract and develop strategic industries and business into the Capital City in order to strengthen and position South Africa in the continent.

TEDA asked Aerosud and its local suppliers to accompany them to the trade fair, with TEDA sponsoring the stall cost and associated graphics.

This was the first event where the non-defence related South African aerospace industry participated as a collective. The South African companies represented at Airtec 2016 were:

  • Aerosud

  • Daliff

  • Compumach

  • Electrothread

  • DSV

  • Denel

Although ANDTc did not send any representatives along they were featured in the graphic displays. Our group was well received and the general feedback was one of surprise that South Africa had an aerospace ecosystem with tier 1/tier 2 suppliers with sub-contractors and a logistic solution that ensure world class support to the international commercial industry. It was the ideal opportunity to reinforce contact with a number of existing clients and also to meet with potential new clients and suppliers. The event was well organised and had a “dating” service that made it possible to set-up meetings with companies of your choice before the event started. There were a number of very interesting and relevant presentations that one could attend.

From the exhibitions on display it was clear that there is a huge expectation for robotics and 3D printing to make a significant contribution toward future manufacturing in the aerospace industry.

It is definitely worth the while to attend such events as a collective. It shows unity and purpose in the industry and reinforces government’s commitment to develop and invest in the aerospace industry.

The International Aerospace Symposium of South Africa (IASSA) was held on the 20-21 October 2016 at the CSIR International Convention Centre. Aerosud is a longstanding partner and sponsor to IASSA and to the Aeronautical Society of South African (AeSSA) that arranges this yearly conference.

Upon arrival at the symposium, you could sense this year differed astronomically from years past. The forum was much younger and a lot more interactive. The delegates were welcomed by Dr Glen Snedden, President of AeSSA, with key note lectures presented by Dr Alex Cenko and Maj. Gen. Des Barker respectively.

Dr A. Cenko specialises in aircraft/store separation and presented a stores integration workshop (which was a first of its’ kind at IASSA) where engineers from various disciplines could converse and contribute their opinions on this topic. This allowed many young professionals to network with both young and experienced engineers and pick their brains on industry.

In the past, technical lectures were always the headliner at these events. However, this year focused on a different approach – youth development. It was refreshing to see a focus on career building in the aerospace industry - this was the turning point of the symposium. With an afternoon-long panel session chaired by Marie Botha, young professionals could ask questions to an elite panel, which would give them an upper hand in the growth and development of their careers. The transfer of knowledge through networking with experienced professionals was priceless, providing valuable insight for the future.

IASSA 2016 was a great success in what it aimed to achieve this year and Aerosud continues to be a proud sponsor of this event.

We look forward with excitement to future conferences.


September 2016

The African Aerospace and Defence (AAD) is the biggest premier exhibition of Air, Sea & Land technologies on the African continent, with the air show attracting majority of the crowds.

AAD 2016 opened its gates the 13th of September running trade days until 16 September allowing companies, military and global business to exchange ideas, network, meet with current and potential business partners to brighten the future of the African Aerospace and Defence industry.

As always the main attraction was the air show featuring aircraft not seen before in South African skies and what better way to enjoy it than at the Aerosud chalet.  Months of preparation went into all the arrangements for the Aerosud chalet. Aerosud staff and Marketing Merchants work very hard to ensure everything ran without a hitch. The Aerosud chalet was at the edge of the runway, beautifully laid out for the week’s business meetings and attractions. Exceptional catering, friendly staff and of course the Aerosud branded white hats contributed to a very successful AAD.

Aerosud Aviation & Paramount Aerospace Systems partnered SAAF Impala simulator was available for the public to see for the first time at AAD. You will find the article on the simulator on our Social Responsibility page.

17 to 18 September were dedicated public days. The exhibitions showcased the latest and greatest in the field of aerospace and defence with the Paramount Transformer attracting a large crowd. The US air force was jovial with their own band louring onlookers to the big and magnificent Boeing C17 Globemaster, two C130 Hercules, a KC135R Stratotanker and an MQ-9 Reaper (Unmanned Aerial Aircraft). The SAAF had you on the edge of your seat while they explained the inner workings of the Grippen with the opportunity to take a once in a lifetime photo.

Word class vocational skills were up for show at AAD 2016.  Entertained and in admiration, this was a line-up to remember… Even though most of the Sunday flights were cancelled due to bad weather AAD 2016 was a huge success.

Aerosud introduced theory of constraints (ToC) a few years ago and as part of our ToC journey decided to implement the Logical Thinking Process to facilitate focused improvement in all areas of the business. Marris consulting assisted Aerosud to implement CCPM (Critical Chain Project Management) and was thereafter influential in linking Aerosud with Bill Dettmer, a specialist in the Logical Thinking Process. The Logical Thinking Process forms part of Eliyahu M. Goldratt's theory of constraints (ToC) and has been further refined by Bill Dettmer in his approach to systems level policy analysis and focused improvements.

Aerosud acquired the services of Bill Dettmer, Senior Partner at Goal Systems International to provided training at Aerosud 22 – 29 Sept 2016.

The training assisted Aerosud to understand concepts within the Logical Thinking Process and take the first steps towards proficiency. Bill’s knowledge and wealth of experience was key to effective training and will lay an excellent basis for focused improvements at Aerosud.  

Bill Dettmer provided Aerosud with the following feedback after the training:

“This was one of the best organized Logical Thinking Process courses I've done over the past 20 years. The facility was outstanding, and the preparations and daily support were perfect. But what I noticed most was how well prepared the Aerosud participants were to realize the most from the training. There is so much to cover in the six days of the course that if participants don't read the book in advance, it's not possible to get into the depth or breadth of the material that might otherwise happen. But there was no concern about that at Aerosud---everyone came to the course well prepared, enthusiastic, and eager to learn. And it showed in the results---the quality of the logic trees: better results than normal on the first attempt.

Aerosud struck me as a forward-leaning company. From senior management on down to the production level, I saw positive attitudes and a commitment to quality. Everyone smiled, and that's a sure indicator of people's attitudes. I was particularly impressed, during my tour of the production facility, with the manufacturing technology Aerosud employed and the skill of the people using it. Equipped now with the Logical Thinking Process, Aerosud is ready to take its performance to the next level.”

Herewith a short video from the course:

SA wins Silver Medals at the World Rally Flying Championships - by Rob Jonkers

The World Rally Flying Championship happens every two years and is hosted by one of the participating nations. This year Portugal hosted the 20th FAI World Rally Flying Championships in the coastal town of Santa Cruz some 50 km north of Lisbon.

This year, 52 crews from 18 nations participated, where South Africa was the only Southern Hemisphere team to take part. Team SA was represented by 4 crews in the Advanced Class: Frank & Cally Eckard, Hans Schwebel & Ron Stirk, Thys vd Merwe & Mary de Klerk (Team Manager), Rob Jonkers (Team Captain) and Martin Meyer with Arddyn Moolman & Jacques Jacobs as International Judges and Ursula Schwebel as Judge Observer. Barbara Frieboese came with to support the team but ended up being roped in to perform a Judge Observers role too. The team was given superb support from Vera Jonkers and Alex Meyer.

Our team’s arrival was Monday the 29th August.  A full week before the championship, team SA are normally the first to arrive, as we need the most exposure to the European conditions and terrain as well as aircraft familiarization, as we need to hire local aircraft. By Tuesday late morning we had our aircraft allotted, a Spanish C172 EC-KGG and a Portuguese C150 CS-EBD, and could get airborne in the afternoon for a short recce navigation flight.

The organisers provided four official practice routes, and these were put to full use in the following days, where we were able to carry out the plot inside the aircraft as one would do in the competition week, giving us a good practice run-up.

The Portuguese landscape is essentially divided into two areas, coastal and inland, separated by a mountain range; although this mountain range is small in comparison, only around 2000 ft, it has a big influence on weather conditions and wind between them, with high wind conditions at the coast and less wind inland.

There are plenty of wind power turbines on this whole mountain range, and one has to be careful flying downwind behind the mountains where serious turbulence occurs. Temperatures also varied from the cooler coastal conditions in the lower 20’s to the near 40’s inland, all of this within 100 km.

Before the fog rolled in on Friday afternoon, two of our teams had only flown two routes, and many of the other international teams  who had only arrived on Friday were not able to get in any practice. Saturday also proved to be a no-flying day, and Sunday as always a no-flying day as the Opening Ceremony had to take place. As a compromise the organisers allowed Sunday flying, but the fog remained persistent and only lifted in the late morning, which once clear, aircraft set-off en mass to get in at least one practice route before the airfield closed in again.

Some aircraft could not return as the fog lay over the field in a thick blanket and they had to divert to an airfield 150 km away to wait out the weather. All this Atlantic generated fog was apparently due to a brewing mid Atlantic hurricane known as Gaston which had started to travel northwards – where normally such hurricanes move off westwards towards the Caribbean. Such is life in planning an aviation event where weather gets in the way.

It became a rush to get ready for the opening ceremony and the crowds descending on the airfield.  In the late afternoon the weather improved for some flying displays to take place – fly-pasts of F16’s and a YAK aerobatic display team.

For the competition week, flights are organized into two groups, flights start around 10 am at 3 minute intervals with the last flight taking off around 3pm, and when returning, two spot landings to be done. Rob & Thys was divided into group one, and Frank and Hans were in group two.  There was a strict procedure of parking aircraft next to the grass runway in take-off sequence where crews were isolated prior to receiving papers, normally between 30-40 minutes before flight.

Crews were also quarantined without access to technology after flying to prevent information from being passed between competitors.


With the opening ceremony behind us, Monday the 5th September was the start of the competition, and the weather was predicted to be good for the rest of the week. And so it was at sunrise on Monday, guess what? -  fog…., and at the 8 am briefing the competition director delayed the start by an hour to 11 am.

Eventually, everybody was off on route Delta, a route mostly going out north remaining west of the mountains with good visibility and wind at least less than 15 kts. There was one fairly tight arc leg to be flown, which had some of the crews drifting off, incurring track errors. At least the end point was a large bridge crossing a river that everybody could home in on.

In the competition with 4 navigation flights, the first day is normally discarded as a practice flight as everybody is still getting used to the environment, and given the results of team SA for this first flight, we sure wanted to have this first flight in the bin.

The next day Tuesday was a real good weather day and the teams all got off onto route Alpha, this route again mostly north and west of the mountains, with a horrible arc to be flown over very hilly terrain where towns defined on the map had less definition in real life where one could not discern where the boundaries were easily.

Needless to say this was a tough route. Many of the photo recognition pictures were of orange roofed buildings, and guess what, the whole of Portugal consists of orange roofed buildings…, thus locating and recognizing these ground features not simple.

On Wednesday we woke up to thick fog, and by the look of it was not going to dissipate, thus at the briefing it was decided based on the forecast that only a small 4 hour flying window would be available, thus the competition director made the call that only the Unlimited Class would fly, which left our whole team flying Advanced no opportunity to fly, and bringing into play the Monday Practice flight into the scoring. We took advantage of the foggy day to go out on a sightseeing outing to the Peniche peninsula north of Santa Cruz and visit the castle in the town of Obidos.

Thursday was a clear day at least but the wind was pumping around 20kts, thus the competition director declared a wind compensation factor to the route (applied for wind over 15kts), and we all set off on route Charlie which went out mostly east and across the mountains to the big river flowing to Lisbon.

Taking up compass headings was impossible with this strong wind, so one had to strictly follow map features to keep track, and turbulence in the lee of the mountains was very violent, making concentrating on flying & navigating challenging. In any event this route proved to give our team the best result of all, so I guess we were just getting in the groove of the area.

With the competition flights done, team SA organized the traditional international drinks evening at the field, making “melk tertjies” shooters with the Germans, Italians, Russians, Norwegians bringing their traditional hooch. Needless to say, good fun was had by all.

Friday was packing up day and the closing ceremony and prize giving held at the Portuguese Air Force Museum in the town of Sintra somewhat south of Santa Cruz. Team SA was awarded 2nd place in Advanced class for navigation (Germany was 1st and Russia 3rd), and also awarded joint 2nd place for the landing event together with Poland. (Poland also came first).

Our team stars were Frank & Cally Eckard who were placed 8th in the navigation competition, and Hans Schwebel & Ron Stirk doing us proud in the landings by achieving 2nd place.

Even with the overall challenging conditions and lack of practice, team SA still managed an excellent result, the best in years. The next event will be held in 2 years’ time in Slovakia.

For those who have adventure in their blood, where you can sit in an airplane ready to go anywhere without a clue where the route will take you, and figure it all out in the air and find your way around with only a map and eye-ball Mk1, then take up the challenge and join the sport of rally flying.





Aerosud had the privilege to host the Premier of Gauteng, Mr David Makhura and his delegation on 13 September 2016.

The visit to Aerosud and CAV was organised by the AMD as part of the Premiers engagement with the defence and aerospace sector during the Africa Aerospace and Defence Expo.

Mr Johan Steyn, MD Aerosud Aviation, introduced Aerosud and its capabilities of providing integrated aviation manufacturing solutions and Mr Lance Schultz, CEO CAV, showcased the Centurion Aerospace Village as an initiative of the dti in developing a hi-tech advanced manufacturing cluster in Gauteng.  Valuable discussions were held around the opportunities that exist for the South African industry to increase its export manufacturing business, to train significantly more artisans and engineers and to develop more SMME’s to become OEM approved suppliers in the global aviation supply chain.

Mr Makhura took the opportunity to engage with some of the Aerosud’s 660 staff members during the tour of the plant.

Aerosud welcome these opportunities to engage with local government officials to pursue public private partnership opportunities in our continued efforts to improve the competitiveness of the South African Aviation industry to meet global industry supply chain standards.


July 2016

Back in March 2016 we introduced our CFRTP Rudder project. The static testing of our CFRTP Technology Demonstrator was carried out in June 2016 with the Rudder installed on Aerosud’s in-house test jig.

The CFRTP Technology Demonstrator Rudder held the required load of 304kg for 3 seconds without failure, and therefore passed the static test. The rudder was further tested to a failure load of 792kg. The rudder failed at the Upper Hinge Fitting which was the weakest point predicted by the stress analysis at a load 2.6 times greater than the test load case,  showing good correlation to the sizing stress analysis which included an average stress knock down factor of 2.7.

The attached provides some more technical details of this successful demonstrator. Technical Details

The first demonstrator was manufactured and delivered to TenCate in March 2016 at the JEC in Paris. This demonstrator was also put on display at the TenCate stand at the Farnborough air show in July 2016.

A further two demonstrators have been manufactured for display purposes.

Development of this demonstrator was made possible by a number of our partners. Firstly our funding partner the South African Department of Trade & Industries, Aerospace Industry Support Initiative (AISI). Thanks also to our industry partners TenCate, AniForm and KVE.



Building #4 extension

We are extending our current sheet metal assembly facility by adding an additional 213m2 of floor space. This extension includes replacing the existing Building#4 paint facility with a larger paint facility. With this extension we will be able to accommodate the production rate increases on our products installed on single aisle aircraft. Work has already started and we expect to move in November 2016.

Canteen upgrade

We are also extending our canteen facilities by adding another 80m2 which will include both indoor and outdoor seating areas. An upgrade and extension to the existing ablution facilities also form part of this project. In addition a new industrial kitchen will be installed and equipped to serve meals for 400 people. The building work is currently in progress and completion is expected in November 2016.

New ablution facilities & clinic

Building work has also begun on a new 240m2 ablution facility and clinic. The clinic will include a dedicated Waiting Room and Examination Room. We expect completion in November 2016.



Ethiopian Airlines ink deal to manufacture and supply aircraft parts


Click the link to read the article

Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) is the Theory of Constraints (TOC) way for project management. It uses the principles of identifying and focusing on the system constraints in order to determine and improve overall performance.

CCPM has a proven track record over the past 15 years and is used by several blue chip companies worldwide. Using the CCPM way has resulted in projects finishing on time, without budget overruns and within specification. CCPM has also proven to reduce project durations. Traditional project management and modes of operation result in resources having to multi-task and thus the time duration of a task is longer with high risk of error. This multi-tasking phenomena further results in local safety margins being built into project plans durations. CCPM planning reduces individual task durations and replaces these with a project buffer, the duration of this project buffer is less than the total duration of the local safety margins typically found in traditionally project planning.

CCPM planning results in the identification of the project’s critical chain, this is the longest path of dependent tasks and is therefore the constraint of the project which in turn determines the time duration of the project. When executing the project, CCPM focuses on the efficient completion of the critical chain tasks.

At Aerosud a visual means of focus has been implemented through the use of a significant object, known as a “mascot”. A “mascot” is given to the resource performing the task on the critical chain, upon completion of this task the mascot is then moved to the resource performing the next task on the critical chain. In so doing the “mascot” moves along the sequence of tasks making up the critical chain. With a “mascot” on his/her desk, the resource must only work on the critical chain task, in so doing multi-taking is eliminated and focus is ensured. Aerosud has implemented the use of several fun “mascots” to further visually enhance the significance of the critical chain task.

CCPM execution also places focus on limiting the number of projects in process by launching only according to the availability of the constraints. This also allows Aerosud to focus on the efficiency of the constraint resources with the aim to improve their efficiency and thus increasing the overall throughput of projects.

With CCPM project monitoring is very visual and dynamic. Monitoring is done through the use of a “fever chart”. This chart monitors the amount of project buffer being consumed.

  • when in the Green Zone, the percentage of project buffer consumed is low and no corrective action is required
  • when in the Yellow zone, the cause of delay is to be identified and corrective action plan must be prepared
  • when is Red zone, corrective action plan to be executed immediately

A fever chart exists for all projects and is rolled up into a “Portfolio Fever Chart” which allows for a quick visual status of all projects.

Aerosud has implemented CCPM planning and monitoring through the use of ProChain software.


April 2016

Aerosud attended the JEC World Composite Show and Conferences in Paris between 8 – 10 March 2016. JEC is the largest composites industry organization in Europe with a network of 250,000 professionals.  JEC supports the development of composite materials by fostering knowledge transfer and exchanges between suppliers and users, providing global or local networking and information services. The Show in Paris organised by JEC is five times bigger than any other composites exhibition.

Aerosud attended the three days with the primary focus to visit material suppliers and to take note of the latest advancements in material and technologies in composites, especially in the thermoplastics field. Aerosud used the opportunity to meet with material suppliers (Hexcel and TenCate), analysis software vendors and composite welding partner KVE to discuss new materials, technologies and collaboration in future development projects. This was done with great success. Aerosud also officially handed over our first CFRTP rudder demonstrator to Harm Alberts (Sales manager) at TenCate Advanced Composites BV.

Some of the interesting exhibitors/technologies included:

  • net shape composite technologies such as RTM and SQRTM
  • thermoplastic CFRTP clips
  • progression from induction welding to rapid conduction welding
  • further progressions from welding to use of an out-of-autoclave co-consolidation manufacturing process for improved component finish
  • fibre braiding and weaving materials

Phillip Marris, of Marris Consulting (situated in Paris, France), visited Aerosud in February 2016. Phillip is a TOC specialist with 29 years of experience and he came to Aerosud to assess our methods of operation and to share his vast experience with us.

Following the assessment, which included a SWOT analysis, Phillip compiled an action plan for the new “Aerosud Way”:

  • Follow one set of priorities
  • Do not launch if the full kit is not available
  • Empty all WIP in the cell’s and fill the buffers – this will result in a calm and more professional environment
  • With a calmer environment we will have more time available to focus on improvement actions
  • Increase quality

His message was very clear that we can easily improve our financial, quality and service performance in order to become an ever flourishing company.

March 2016

In early 2015 Aerosud embarked on numerous projects to develop new manufacturing technologies. One of which was the manufacture of a composite aircraft rudder manufactured from continuous fibre reinforced thermoplastics (CFTRP). A demonstrator has been built and this showcases two new manufacturing technologies, viz.  welding of CFRTP and additive laser manufacturing (ALM, more commonly known as 3D printing).

The next phase of this project will be the structural testing of the rudder for validation of the engineering methods used.

This project was made possible through funding from both Aerosud Aviation and the South African Department of Trade & Industries, Aerospace Industry Support Initiative (AISI).

The CFRTP rudder is one of several new manufacturing technology research projects currently underway at Aerosud.

Bringing work home…

Over the last two years Aerosud has gone on an endeavour to enable resistance welding at Aerosud, specifically spot welding. Spot welding is performed on one of Aerosud’s Single Aisle Airbus work packages. Spot welding is a process where a molten nugget of material is formed between a stack of material by applying a pressure and a high electric current through the stack, the molten nugget then cools and the stack of material is bonded together in this way. This is a welding process where no additional filler material is added and in Aerosud’s case it is two aluminium sheets that are welded together, a stiffener is welded to a panel which later takes the form of a door assembly that conceal avionics after some minor assembly work and paint. These doors are installed in the latest Single Aisle Airbus airliners, with eight different door variants in total that fit onto the different variants of Single Aisle Airbus aircraft produced.

The project had its growing pains, as most new industrialisation work have, but it was a challenge Aerosud took on with much enthusiasm and high expectations to see the project succeed in as little time as possible. After a couple of month the engineers at Aerosud were able to successfully meet the stringent quality requirements that the aviation industry uphold for resistance welding. There are four parameters that need to be set: electric current, time, pressure and the electrodes radii. It is by trial and error that these four parameters are determined and that was the most challenging part of industrialisation phase. After the parameters were set for the different stack thicknesses, three different stack thicknesses between the doors, it is a rather simple and easy task to spot weld. The spot welder Aerosud procured is of the highest quality and although Aerosud will, at the current moment in time, use it to only weld aluminium, it is capable of welding steel, titanium and many other metal alloys.

By bringing the work home Aerosud will reduce the cycle time as the parts do not have to travel all the way to France and back for welding. This will allow Aerosud the full capability to produce these important metallic doors that conceal the avionics of the Single Aisle Airbus airliners within Aerosud. Yes it has been a challenging project to begin with, however as history has shown Aerosud rose to the challenge and succeeded in the end, expanding Aerosud’s already impressive manufacturing capabilities in the aviation industry.           

Tlhokomelo, pronounced “khlo-ko-melo”, is the name of our new weekly newsletter. Tlhokomelo is the Tshwane word for “focus”. This name was chosen by our own employees from a list of proposals also compiled by our employees. The meaning of tlhokomelo fits perfectly into the new Aerosud way, i.e. “focus only on the things that make a difference”.

The newspaper will address the following areas:

  • Business/ Production issues
  • Improvements
  • Support functions
  • Human resources

On the afternoon of Friday 23rd Oct 2015 we celebrated Aerosud’s 25th birthday. A lot of organising went into preparing for this event and first and foremost a big thank you to the organising committee. Preparations for the event started several months before with many ideas and themes being discussed. Finally it was decided to celebrate in “carnival” style and many people dressed up accordingly with some very eye catching outfits, accessories and colour schemes.

The ITC 1 lawn was covered by the largest marquee tent ever seen at Aerosud. There were also several kiosks for food and entertainment.

Following the welcoming speech several long term service awards were handed out and then the carnival started with some organised entertainment which resulted in some very amusing scenes with lots of laughter and some embarrassed faces.

Many of us enjoyed and danced (some better than others) to the sounds of Rocket to Russia. A good time was had by all from the sounds of laughter that could be heard all around.

In addition to the carnival, a cocktail function was held at Aerosud on 19th November 2016 for us to celebrate our 25th anniversary with our shareholders and partners who have been very much part of our journey over the years.

Following the welcoming and celebration speeches all guests enjoyed the evening with music entertainment provided by the all female trio ”Con Grazia”.

A big thanks to those involved in the organising of this special event.


In June 2015 we announced the Building 8 project. This project has enabled a major extension to our current facilities providing a new blanking facility, machining facility and storage facility.

The blanking facility on the first floor is in full production and the machining facility on the ground floor is starting to ramp-up. The capability in the machining facility includes the following:

  • 1 off 5-axis DMU75 machine
  • 3 off HAAS VF4 machines with 4-axis capability
  • 2 DOOSAN turnmill machines

The new storage facility has been commissioned and the move-in will begin shortly.

Reliability Offer

Aerosud introduced its new Reliability Offer at the 2015 Paris Air Show in Le Bourget.

Aerosud Executive Management presented the Reliability Offer to key customers and suppliers as well as several new prospects during show that was held 15 – 21 June.

The Reliability Offer was well received and some interesting and new business opportunities were uncovered.


CCT Technology

Aerosud also introduced its new CCT Technology at Le Bourget.

Aerosud’s newly founded collaboration with Assystem and inVision attracted lots of interest with its innovative CCT technology.  Aerosud is confident that this new technology will provide significant cost and weight benefits to customers.



Paris Air Show


The bi-annual Paris Air Show is one of the more important events for companies operating in the Aerospace industry.  A highlight at the event is the rivalry between Airbus and Boeing, with both companies presenting impressive commercial aviation displays.

Both companies announced increased production rates for their single aisle range of aircraft.

The Show also included defence aviation displays. However, due to military budgets being under continuous pressure the representations in this category were more discreet compared to previous years.

Besides the impressive list of multi-billion-dollar-sales announced by the leading OEMs along with static and aerial displays the halls were filled with suppliers from around the world.  The common theme throughout the crowded aisles were that 100% quality and on time delivery are assumed as a given by customers and that successful suppliers are expected to provide innovative solutions to customers’ efficiency, weight and cost reduction drives.

 The key takeout from the 2015 Paris Air Show is that Aerosud’s Reliability Offer is hitting a sweet spot in a growing industry and coupled with innovative new technologies, such as CCTech, Aerosud is well positioned to become one of the best suppliers in the Aerospace industry.


Paris Air Show 2015: Facts & Figures 

  • Held every second year, this year from 15 – 21 June
  • 130 aircraft with flight demonstrations by the Falcon 8X (Dassault Aviation’s latest business jet), Airbus A350 and A400M, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, Bombardier’s CS 300, the JF17 fighter from Pakistan, the Boeing 787 and the Airbus Group’s E-Fan amongst others
  • 2 300 exhibitors from 48 countries
  • 351 000 visitors (151 000 trade visitors, 200 000 general public)
  • 52 000m2 of stands, 330 chalets, 26 national pavilions and 40 000m2 outdoor space
  • $130 billion worth of orders were announced including:
  • 934 commercial airliners
  • Airbus, Boeing, ATR, Embraer ($ 112 bn)
  • Airbus: 421 aircraft ($57 bn) – Boeing: 331 aircraft ($ 50.2 bn)
  • 835 CFMI engines ($ 14 bn)
  • 52 Airbus Helicopters (€ 550 m)


Mr. Johan Steyn, Managing Director of Aerosud Aviation, was interviewed by African Business network in April 2015. The feature includes a brief history of the company and some major milestones achieved by Aerosud as it continues its course to becoming the largest manufacturer of aircraft components on the continent.

Mr. Steyn also discussed overcoming challenges associated with the vast logistical separation caused by Aerosud’s geographical location. Suppliers and customers in Europe and the United States mean that large quantities of material must be imported and products subsequently exported. On the other hand, the isolation from other aviation suppliers necessitated the adoption of a wide range of skills varying from design and development to several manufacturing processes such as machining and surface treatment. This broad skills base makes Aerosud a “smart supplier”.

Winning partnerships is sighted as one of the strengths of the company and 2014 saw Aerosud undergo a significant transformation. The company ‘unbundled’ in June and the restructured Aerosud Holdings made a few internal changes including part-ownership of the company by younger members of the management team as well as the creation of an employee trust to support black economic empowerment. “The trust enabled more than 200 black employees to become equity shareholders in the organisation and have direct representation on the company board,” says Johan. “That is something we’re very excited about.”

Johan believes that Aerosud’s restructuring will help to focus its energies on securing new opportunities in the market. “It has never been our aim to market ourselves to 200 airlines out there. We’d rather have a smaller number of customers with whom we have really strong relationships, and we see that as one of the strengths that we can offer new customers, together with our broad and interesting technology options.”

The full article will be published at the end of May under the heading:

 “The South African manufacturer that beat the odds to become a leading supplier to the world’s aircraft giants”

Due to space pressures caused by the A400M work, Aerosud had to expand its production and storage area.

The solution was a complete new workshop and storage facility called Building 8.

It consists of a double volume area of 240m2, and 9m high. This will be the new sheet store. It will utilise a high tech moving rack system from Schaefer, with a Hubtex picker from Goscor. It will provide a total of 430 sheet storage bays. The rest of the building is a double story, area per floor roughly 840m2. The bottom floor will house the machining facility, as well as the tooling and maintenance workshops.

The top floor will be our new part blanking facility, and will house 3 sheet metal routers, deburring, 2 waterjet machines and 2 panel routers.

Commencement of construction was October 2104, and completion is 30 June 2015. Total cost around R20M.

Aerosud was represented at the 16th International TOCPA (Theory of Constraints Practitioners Alliance) held recently near Johannesburg.

The conference was attended by almost 40 delegates from industries as diverse as footwear, Bank note printing, mining and aerospace.

Aerosud participation included a presentation on the extent that TOC has been implemented in the internal and external supply chains of the organisation.

Over a year ago Aerosud began the process of implementing the TOC concept as the tool to ensure that Aerosud attains the goal of 99% DDP (Due Date Performance). This process began with the detailed definition of Strategies and Tactics (S&T) for every department of Aerosud contributing to product throughput and hence 99% DDP.

The success that Aerosud has had with TOC implementation has aided in attaining the goal of increased throughput.

Invision is a Washington US based company that specialises in alternative composite technology. The MOU was signed on 20th of March 2015 between Aerosud Holdings and Invision. This agreement would pave the way for setting up a joint project that could demonstrate the application of the patented technology in Aerosud Aviation environment.

The cellular core technology (CCT) is a process by which a thermoplastic core is used as a layup mandrel for pre-preg materials. The layup is enclosed in a mould and cured in an autoclave cycle. The core provides pressure from within the mould and ensures full consolidation of the component. After the curing cycle the core can be removed leaving a composite component with complex geometry. Advantages of this method are that closed geometry components that would not allow for a solid mandrel to be removed after curing can now be manufactured with ease. Further to that, the ridged core assists in a fast layup cycle. The use of multiple cores in one component results in very complex assemblies with ribs and stiffening elements, or, internal channels to be cured in situ with no subsequent assembly necessary.

Aerosud Aviation will evaluate this technology during the month of May 2015 for use in existing processes and new opportunities.

On time supply to the customer is not only dependent on the availability of finished goods products and the delivery of such by a 3rd party, but it is also highly dependent on sufficient floor space capacity and proper workflow methods. Business growth together with the company’s strategies and tactics to maintain 99% Due Date Performance soon made us realized that the existing 120m2 floor area is no longer sufficient.  The Dispatch Extension Building Project was launched and on 15th September 2014.

Within 3 months the project was completed and on December 5th 2014 we were handed over the keys for entry to the new facility which now comprises a total of 300m2. The extended area has been divided into three sections; an incoming finished goods area for products ready to be packed, a checking and packing area and a distribution area for the staging and loading of cargo ready for collection. There is also a palletizing area where we build customized pallets and boxes to accommodate our customer’s specific shipment requirements.

The original dispatch area has been converted into a staging area that allows for consolidation of shipments and a 70m2 dispatch office of has been erected directly above the staging area.

With robust product flow based practices now in place together with service level agreements with our freight forwarders and SACAA Part 108 Known Consignor accreditation, our Dispatch Department is now able to fully support the company’s 99% Due Date Performance Strategy.



Press Release: 17 September 2014


Aerosud Holdings and Industrial Development Corporation Announce Strategic Alliance

Pretoria, South Africa – 17 September  2014: AAD air show.

Following an international tender process, Aerosud was in November 2013 awarded a contract for the manufacture of a variety of parts and assemblies for the new Airbus A400M Military Transport Aircraft. The company was successful despite the tough competition from established aerospace suppliers.

This achievement was on the back of its earlier selection for two production packages for the new Airbus A350 commercial airliner, the rapid growth of production volumes for its existing single-source contracts for parts manufacture for the Airbus A320 family, and having just been awarded the fourth contract renewal for the manufacture of parts and assemblies for the similarly successful Boeing 737 aircraft. Aerosud is now well positioned for substantial growth of its production capacity, skills profile and associated facilities. Aerosud is heading towards producing in excess of 1.4 million parts and assemblies per annum for Airbus, Boeing, and their Super Tier One Suppliers Spirit Aerosystems (Europe and USA) and Labinal, which even by International standards is considered substantial.

Against this backdrop, Aerosud has the pleasure to announce the formation of a strategic alliance with the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC), whereby the IDC has acquired a 26% equity stake in Aerosud Holdings and its subsidiaries, Aerosud Aviation and African NDT. Aerosud Holdings’ access to capital resources will support its growth initiatives. The IDC will undoubtedly be contributing its expertise and know-how in positioning Aerosud for an ever increasing contribution to government’s Industrial Policy Action Plan.

At the same time the Paramount Group, a long-time partner, will be expanding its equity interest in Aerosud, thereby creating access to exciting new markets and opportunities.

Aerosud is now heading towards a turnover of R1billion per annum within the next two years, and with an Order Book of around R 5 Billion, will be increasing its employment beyond the current number of 850 engineers, technicians, aerospace artisans and skilled machine and process operators. It has already embarked on further expansion of its production facility, which includes further investment in machine equipment and facilities for its specialised aerospace manufacturing processes.

Aerosud will continue to strengthen its long term sustainability and its relevance to a growing client base by further investment in new technologies and manufacturing processes.  

August 2014

Aerosud will be at the African Aerospace & Defence show at Airforce Base Waterkloof
from 17 -21 Sept 2014.