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Obituary: Raimund Loubser (Hon FSAIMechE)

Friday, 23 February 2018   (0 Comments)
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 Raimund Stephanus Loubser (Hon FSAIMechE) was born on 14 May 1927 to Thys Loubser, the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the South African Railways and Harbours.  Raimund Loubser matriculated at the Afrikaanse Hoer Seunskool in 1943 with 4 Distinctions. He obtained a BSc. Degree at the University of Stellenbosch in 1946 and a BSc. Degree Mechanical in 1948 Cum Laude. In 1965 he graduated with a PhD Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch. His PhD was awarded on “Frequency Effect in Fatigue :  EN 45 Steel”.

In 1949 he joined the South African Railways as an Assistant Engineer Mechanical. In 1954 he joined CSIR as Head of Strength of Materials Division. In 1964 he was abducted by Dr Ampie Roux and Dr Wally Grant to join the Atomic Energy Board as Assistant Director General, Scientific. From 1971 to 1982 he was the Senior Deputy General Manager of the Uranium Enrichment Corporation where he was responsible for the “Y” Plant and the “Z’ Plant. After the “Z” Plant was in production, he was moved to the Atomic Energy Board as Deputy Chief Executive Officer in 1982 and retired in that position in 1988.

Raimund Loubser comes from a family of mechanical engineers, where his father was the Chief Mechanical Engineer on the Railways, his brother also a mechanical engineer becoming General Manager of South African Railways, Harbours and Airways. Raimund’s son Jannie is also a mechanical engineer doing consulting work in the USA.

Raimund Loubser was honoured for his contribution to engineering and industry. He received the South African Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns Goue Medalje vir Natuurwetenskaplike Prestasie in 1977. He received the State President’s Order for Meritorious Service, Class 1, Gold in 1985. He was made Honorary Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch in 1990.  He received the South African Council for Professional Engineers Merit Medal in 1991 and a PhD Engineering Honoris Causa from the University of Stellenbosch in 1994.

Raimund Loubser also served as Vice President of the South African Council for Professional Engineers and was the first President of ECSA from 1991 to 1993. He served as Chairman of the Suid Afrikaans Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns from 1991 to 1993. Raimund was also a Fellow of the South African Institution of Mechanical Engineering.

Raimund Loubser was a colourful engineer, having a variety of interests and was involved in many complicated and difficult projects in his career.  With his experience in steam engines on the Railways, he shared his experiences with “Friends of the Railway”. Raimund was married to Helene Smit and lived in a home that they built in 1961 before recently moving to St. Peters Retirement Garden Estate. They have a daughter, Ariane at the School of Architecture and Planning at Wits University and a son Jannie who is doing consulting work in the USA as a Mechanical Engineer.

 

Raimund was well respected by his peers and the Council of SAIMechE honoured him as an Honorary Fellow of the South African Institution of Mechanical Engineering.



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