Dr Lameck Mugwagwa: Postdoctoral fellow, Central University of Technology, Free State

Dr Lameck is talented academic, specialising in Manufacturing and Materials Technology who has published his research in several high ranking journals and conference proceedings.

Tell me about yourself i.e., line of work, education, and career?
I am an academic, specialising in Manufacturing and Materials Technology. I obtained my PhD in Industrial Engineering from Stellenbosch University, focusing on improving the mechanical and form accuracy of 3D-printed metal parts. The need to manufacture products timeously, and with minimum waste, gave birth to an advanced manufacturing technology called additive manufacturing, also popularly referred to as 3D printing. Additive manufacturing, a process in which 3-dimensional objects are built layer by layer, allows for the design and manufacturing of complex geometries. However, the technology is severely hampered by the occurrence of residual stresses that compromise the strength, dimensional and form/shape accuracy of finished parts. My active research area, therefore, is in the development of strategies that minimise these stresses in order to enhance the in-service performance of finished components.

What inspired you to pursue your line of work/business and how much work did it take for you to get where you are now?
My undergraduate final year advanced manufacturing technology module inspired me to look more into additive manufacturing and manufacturing processes in general. I knew pursuing postgraduate studies in these areas would solidify my knowledge, and, hopefully result in useful contribution to academia, manufacturing and humanity in general. The journey that moulded me was long, tiring, sometimes extremely lonely and often required foregoing luxuries normally enjoyed on a daily basis.

Every journey has its share of challenges; what were yours? Did you ever feel like giving up? If so, what kept you going?
I wanted to give up at the proposal stage of my PhD studies. That was the first time I asked myself: “Ïs it really worth it?”. The bar for PhD was obviously very high, and I thought my mentors’ expectations at the time were unbearable, almost ridiculous. To make it worse, I had to be in a foreign land, away from my wife and son for my entire first year. But somehow that gave me more determination, and my family kept me going. I was not going to accept going to hunt and returning empty-handed.

Any notable milestones/achievement you would like to share?
Attainment of PhD (Industrial Engineering – April 2019). I have also published my research in high ranking journals and conference proceedings. Furthermore, I have contributed significantly in the training of engineering professional at various levels both in Zimbabwe and South Africa over the years.

What is the big picture i.e., where to from here?
I’d like to contribute more to the field of advanced manufacturing and bring our continent up to speed with the traditional pace-setters. The idea is to be the ‘best FOR my country, FOR my continent” through training, meaningful research, and innovation.

What word of advice would you like give to others reading your story?
You CAN.

Connect with Dr Lameck (click the links):

Facebook: Lameck Mugwagwa

Twitter: @LameckMugwagwa

LinkedIn: Lameck Mugwagwa


Whatsapp: +27737555112


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