Application to Participate 2016/17
Introducing the Mandela Bay Composites Cluster (MBCC)
The Mandela Bay Composites Cluster (MBCC) is an industry-led advanced manufacturing cluster setup as a non-profit company (NPC) with participants, which have ‘composites’ as common interest. The MBCC-NPC is governed by a Board and managed by the Cluster Management Organisation (CMO), which follows a value-chain approach to stimulate collaboration, innovation and industrialization.
The MBCC is a strategic entity for the composites industry at both national and regional level. At national level the MBCC plays a strategic role as a ‘cross-sectoral composite technology platform’ in support of the advanced manufacturing industries around the country. At regional level the MBCC plays a strategic role in support of regional composite manufacturing companies who cut across the prevailing manufacturing sectors that exist in the region. The cluster aims to coordinate R&D, skills development and industrialization efforts to activate value chains that make use of non-corrosive and lightweight composite technology.
- To expand a growth-enabling multi-stakeholder composites eco-system for voicing and implementing the needs of the composite stakeholders in terms of skills, technology, industrialisation and transformation.
- To unite the composites industry via a single organisation that can voice and implement the needs of the industry.
- To implement a world class advanced manufacturing mindset based on quality assurance across all stakeholders involved.
- To align and inform Government instruments and policy to the needs of the composites industry.
- To stimulate innovation based on the principles of ‘trinity thinking’ (integration of polymer materials science, composite product design/engineering and manufacturing), value chain analysis, light-weighting and life cycle cost reduction.
Composite Value Chains and MBCC Project Teams
Composites is very diverse, with many stakeholders having different interests linked to the different industry sectors that they supply into and the different technologies that they use. The MBCC groups together composite stakeholders with similar interests in Project Teams that represent a particular Composite Manufacturing Value Chain, see Figure 1. Project Teams consist of material suppliers, manufacturers and end-users, complemented with relevant Government officials, academia and industry organisations. Having the entire value chain around the table results in a better understanding of the technological, legal and financial framework, which stimulates collaboration, guides innovation and facilitates industrialization. Companies can join Project Teams by becoming Cluster Participants by paying a monthly or annual participation fee, which is turn-over based, see Table 1. This fee allows the MBCC to manage the activities of the Project Team and to fund some activities of Project Team participants not covered under the ordinary course of business of Participants. Participants can participate in as many MBCC Project Teams as they like.
Table 1: Annual participation fees.
The aim of the Project Team is to work out how their value chain can be activated or enhanced through for instance skills development, technological innovation, standardisation, market development, or designation efforts. The Project Team can submit a project proposal to the MBCC Board. The MBCC can access its cluster funding to initiate activity or submit a “syndicated” proposal for public or private funding on behalf of the Project Team (or several Project Teams covering multiple value chains). In case funding application is successful, the MBCC will manage the implementation of the project. In addition, the MBCC can provide the necessary context for a funding application by individual companies. Full participation of the entire value chain de-risks the project and enhances the chances of successfully applying for both public or private funding, possibly at better terms, the process is schematically shown in Figure 2.
Figure 1: The MBCC value chain model
In addition to the opportunity to grow their business within a particular value chain and to participate in “syndicated” projects, participants get discounts to MBCC events, get included on the composites directory on the MBCC website (primary conduit with the global business community), can request to be represented by the MBCC on (inter)national trade missions, and can voice their needs to Government more easily using the MBCC as a conduit. In addition, the MBCC will try to negotiate preferential rates to external events, access to infrastructure, equipment and services. It is always worthwhile to mention cluster participation when conducting business with both the public and private sector.
Figure 2: The MBCC value chain activation process.
The MBCC Task Team
All Project Teams meet on a quarterly basis during the MBCC Task Team meeting, see Figure 3. High-level progress is presented and problems are raised for comments and inputs by the audience. The Task Team meeting is an open forum Participants, non/future participants, government officials and academia. Task Team meetings are a first logical step for becoming familiar with the MBCC, its Participants, its funders and its projects. Although this is an open forum, only Participants have the right to vote on MBCC related matters.
The MBCC Board
The MBCC Board consists of a chairman (nominated by Participants), the CMO managing director, members representing the enabling value chain project teams, and ex officio representatives of public funders, see Figure 3. The Board can call in external advisors if and when required. The MBCC Board meets quarterly, preferably on the same day as the Task Team meeting. The current Board composition is shown in Figure 4.
Figure 3: The organizational structure of the MBCC.