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Prof Stephen Matope

Inaugural lecture:

4 April 2024 @ 17:3019:00

Additive manufacturing a game changer in advanced manufacturing engineering

Manufacturing engineering contributes significantly to South Africa’s gross domestic product and to the world economy in general. Additive manufacturing forms an integral part of advanced manufacturing. Being the opposite of the traditional subtractive machining employed in the manufacturing of engineering components, additive manufacturing is considered a disruptive technology. It started out as a rapid prototyping technology to prove the design of concepts in 3D. Of late, however, additive manufacturing is being used to produce final products ready for industrial use, and not just prototypes. The technology offers the benefit of producing complicated products in one go, with minimal wastage of raw materials. It has found application in, among others, the manufacturing of conformal cooling systems for the tooling industry. Nevertheless, residual stresses in additively manufactured products pose certain challenges. Among others, these stresses may cause distortion, cracks and warping in the final product. To get a high-quality product, therefore, residual stresses have to be properly managed during the additive manufacturing process.


Short biography

Prof Stephen Matope joined Stellenbosch University (SU) in 2008 as a PhD candidate in the Department of Industrial Engineering. Having displayed a talent for teaching during a demonstration of the Motoman robot at an SU Open Day, he was given two modules (Manufacturing Processes and Production Management) to teach. Upon completion of his PhD studies, he was appointed as a senior lecturer in 2012. Promotions to associate professor and full professor in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering followed in 2018 and 2023 respectively.

Prof Matope’s research centres on the processes and systems used in advanced manufacturing. The publication record of this registered professional engineer with the Engineering Council of South Africa, , the Southern African Institute for Industrial Engineering (SAIIE) as well as the international Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers includes over 105 peer-reviewed journal articles and conference papers. He is also an article reviewer for three journal publishers.

In his teaching role, he has supervised one postdoctoral fellow, ten PhD students and over 70 MEng and BEng students in their company-based Industrial Engineering projects. With his students, he has carried out over 60 industry-based engineering projects at South African manufacturing companies. He is a member of the South African Society of Engineering Education as well as the European Network of Innovative Learning Factories (NIL) and served as the first NIL coordinator for South Africa. Prof Matope is also an external examiner for four South African and two Zimbabwean universities.

A firm believer in the value of learning communities, he has been instrumental in organising the triennial International Conference on Competitive Manufacturing since 2016 and contributed to the hosting of the International Conference on Learning Factories in 2019 and 2020. In addition, he serves on the organising committee for the SAIIE conference and was appointed as an evaluator for the selection of African scholars under the Education for Laser-based Manufacturing (ELbM) programmein 2021.

As a former visiting research scientist at Chemnitz University of Technology in Germany (2011), Prof Matope initiated a collaboration between Chemnitz and SU’s Faculty of Engineering in 2022. In 2023, this culminated in the signing of a five-year memorandum of understanding. The agreement provides for staff and student exchanges, joint research on topics of mutual interest (including hydrogen technologies) and joint funding applications (including Erasmus+ and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)). Moreover, he is a collaborator of the German-based Fraunhofer Institute, the world’s leading applied-research organisation.



4 April 2024

Organizer (event)

Amira Brown


Reitz Hall, Engineering Faculty
156 Banghoek Road, Stellenbosch Central
Stellenbosch, Western Cape 7605 South Africa
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