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Advanced Mechatronic Technology Centre

VWSA – DAAD INTERNATIONAL CHAIR IN AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING

                                                                                                     Prof Udo Becker

Students in NMMU’s engineering departments are able to navigate the high-tech world of the car industry, thanks to a unique four-pronged partnership between the university, Volkswagen South Africa, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the University of Braunschweig/Wolfenbuettel in Germany.

The partnership, termed the VWSA-DAAD International Chair in Automotive Engineering, is equipping engineers for work in the region’s automotive industry – which is strongly linked to global industry and business –  it is also giving rise to research and development initiatives which serve the industry. 

Professor Udo Becker from the Institute of Automotive Engineering in Wolfsburg, who is the chairman of the body, said the automotive industry concentrated around Port Elizabeth needed well-educated engineers, particularly in the fields of automotive production and manufacturing. “Furthermore, this industry needs well-linked research cooperation with universities to develop new systems and parts, and optimise processes in production and manufacturing.”

The overall research field is automotive engineering and manufacturing, which integrates systems and controls, materials and physics, as well as production and process engineering.

Research projects include automation and de-automation in the production process, and quality assurance, including optical measurements and intelligent control concepts for automotive air-conditioning systems.

A number of Masters and PhD students are involved in combined projects with the automotive industry. Under-graduates embark on research with the industry for their final-year projects.

Other goals of the VWSA-DAAD International Chair in Automotive Engineering include the strengthening of international cooperation between the university, German universities and the global automotive industry, as well as the establishment of new research and development initiatives in the field of energy systems, materials and manufacturing technology.

Although the body was only formed in 2007, NMMU has enjoyed a long-term partnership with the Institute of Automotive Engineering in Wolfsburg, which belongs to the University of Braunschweig / Wolfenbuettel in Germany, since 1997. It also has existing partnerships with other German universities, including Ingolstadt, Oldenburg and Reutlingen, which allow for exchange programmes for students and staff.

Contact information
Miss Liesl Stowman
Project Coordinator
Tel: 041 504 9912
Liesl.Stowman2@mandela.ac.za