Machine Tools Africa puts on a world-class show with exceptional technology advancements on display

30th May 2024

Machine Tools Africa puts on a world-class show with exceptional technology advancements on display

Thousands of visitors from across the country attended Machine Tools Africa eager to see the latest machinery, products, services and technologies that South Africa has to offer. The show last took place seven years ago and there have been huge advancements made since that time.

Visitors were able to engage with eighty industry-leading exhibitors and their technical teams to learn about the latest global industry trends and technological developments in the machine tools market. The show took place at the Johannesburg Expo Centre from 21-24 May.

Machine tools are the backbone of the manufacturing industry providing essential equipment for the fabrication processes of all major manufacturing sectors, including automotive, aerospace, electronics, and energy. Machine Tools Africa is extremely important to this sector, the success and growth of which can contribute to the local economy and to creating  jobs. It’s crucial for the machine tools industry to be able to bring these latest machines into the country and showcase what they can do.  

“The number of machines on the show was mind-blowing,” says Charlene Hefer, Portfolio Director at Specialised Exhibitions, a division of Montgomery Group. “One of our exhibitors had 24 machines on their stand with 20 technical advisors and the machines were running the entire time throughout the show. Some of the machines on display at the show run into millions of rands. By its very nature it is a focused show.”

“We welcomed 6,500 visitors to the show over the four days, which was a 10% increase in visitors compared to the previous show. The quality of visitors has been really good. Many travelled from Cape Town and Kwa-Zulu Natal, in addition to those from Gauteng, and from other provinces. The feedback we have had from visitors and exhibitors has been very positive.”

World-class show

Gary Corin, Managing Director at Specialised Exhibitions, says it’s incredible to see the technology that is available and the amazing machinery, products and services that are relevant and important to the industry. “It’s been a world-class show in every sense of the word,” he says. “It’s been a jampacked week. The quality of the machinery, products and services on the show floor and the live demonstrations have been superb. A number of exhibitors have had sales on machines, and many are following up sales leads as well.”

Corin went on to say that the capital investment required in purchasing these machines is high and the decision making process involved with the acquisitions is complex, ensuring that the specific technology, equipment, or machinery, is compatible with the customers current manufacturing process. Machine Tools Africa presents a perfect environment as it facilitates all these necessary conversations, not only with sales and marketing experts but with technical experts who can assist and facilitate them. 

Focusing on education and training

A focus on education and training was also evident at the show. “We partnered with some academic and career-based institutions who are looking at attracting talent to the engineering, manufacturing and industrial sectors in South Africa,” explains Hefer.

“It’s been very exciting having the WorldSkills competition running at Machine Tools Africa. It’s a first for the show and demonstrated the incredible talent and skills of young professionals in the industry. First in action at the competition was a 20-year old German gold medal competitor followed by his South African counterparts. They were each individually given 5 hours to design a part, machine it, and complete it, in what would probably normally take a team to complete in 2 days. Congratulations to the winners who were announced on the final day of the show. Julian Gelo, the German competitor took first place and Nthabiseng Mnisi, who is studying at the Nkangala TVET college in Middleburg, took a well-earned second place.”  

“It was also great to have Sol-Tech with us this year,” continued Hefer. “They are a vocational training college and it was good to see the kind of talent that they’re attracting to this industry, and to have those students come to the show to experience the kind of technology that is available. It was heartening to see many experts sharing their knowledge and expertise with young South Africans.”

The free-to-attend seminars that took place at Machine Tools Africa provided an opportunity to listen to leading local and international experts speak about the latest industry trends and developments in the global and African machine tools market. Topics were aligned with the theme days of safety, sustainability, skills and South Africa day.

Mike Lee, Chairman of the Machine Tool Merchants’ Association (MTMA) says that the industry has been looking forward to the show for months. “We are delighted with the turnout of the show. There have been lots of quality visitors, really good exhibitors and a high number of overseas principals. It’s been very busy with lots of excitement and the customers that were here were very positive, which is good for our industry going forward.”