Two additional technology transfer centers for Switzerland

Dübendorf, St. Gallen und Thun, 09.01.2023 – The Federal Department of Economics, Education and Research (DEFR) and the AM-TTC Alliance, the umbrella association of technology transfer centers in the field of advanced manufacturing technologies, decided on November supporting two more centers in the field of collaborative robotics and photonics with 6.5 million francs until the end of 2024.

Swiss universities and research institutes are world leaders in many fields. Switzerland is also one of the leading countries when it comes to research results and patent results. However, new manufacturing technologies often do not make it from local research laboratories to industrial application. Their path ends in the “valley of death” for changes.

This is where the initiative to create a network of Swiss technology transfer centers, the “Advanced Manufacturing Technology Transfer Centers” (abbreviated AM-TTC) comes in. This initiative is part of the Confederation’s “digitalization” action plan and aims to maintain Switzerland as a modern and high-quality production location in the long term. The AM-TTC initiative aims to set up and create accessible infrastructure that enables Swiss industry – especially local SMEs – to discover and experiment with new manufacturing technologies and transfer them to their production.

The various centers were created and financed within the framework of a partnership between public authorities and industry (“Public-Private Partnership”). The consortia of centers are made up of Swiss research institutes and industrial companies. Thus, these centers are also places where scientific and industrial partners can jointly develop new manufacturing technologies and make them compatible with industry.

First centers built in 2019

Two centers have already been created in 2019: the “ANAXAM” center, which makes it easier for industrial companies to use the beam lines of the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) to study their materials and products; and the “Swiss m4m Center”, which gives MedTech companies access to an ISO 13485 certified pilot production line for 3D printed medical implants. In the start-up phase, until the end of 2020, these two centers are supported by funds from the ETH Board; since the beginning of 2021 they have been supported by federal funds as research institutions of national importance (in accordance with Art. 15 of the Research and Innovation Promotion Act (LERI) ).

Support for two other technology transfer centers

At the end of November this year, the Federal Department of Economics, Education and Research (DEFR) and the AM-TTC Alliance, the umbrella organization of the AM-TTC initiative, decided, following an in-depth selection procedure, that supports two more centers in the field of collaborative robotics and photonics until the end of 2024 with a total of 6.5 million francs. The support comes on the one hand from the funds of the ETH Board, which defined the development of AM-TTCs in Switzerland as a measure of its strategic planning 2021-2024. On the other hand, the centers also receive subsidies from the Confederation in accordance with Art. 15 LERI.

The “Swiss Cobotics Competence Center” (S3C) in Biel wants to highlight the collaboration between man and robot. Its purpose is to bridge the gap between the theoretical capabilities of robots and the industrial reality, and thus further bring collaborative robots into industrial application. Thanks to S3C, Swiss companies have access to knowledge and a demonstration and test platform for innovative “cobotic” solutions. In addition to the Swiss innovation park Biel/Bienne and the “Swiss Smart Factory” located there, the Bern University of Applied Sciences is also one of the founding members of S3C. And since the creation of S3C in November 2022, many partners from industry and science have become members.

The second newly created AM-TTC, the “Swiss Photonics Integration Center” (“Swiss PIC”), is located in the Swiss innovation park “InnovAare”. This center focuses on optical components and systems that transport and process light particles, called photons. The “Swiss PITC” will set up facilities that will allow the smallest optical components to be integrated into larger systems or devices and tested. In Switzerland, there are many companies and research groups that develop and manufacture new, innovative photonic components. Often they do not have access to such facilities. “Swiss PITC” aims to fill this gap by making facilities accessible and helping companies implement their own integration and packaging solutions in their production lines.

Information box: The AM-TTC Alliance

On February 4, 2019, 22 Swiss research institutions and industrial companies founded the AM-TTC Alliance, the umbrella association of these technology transfer centers, at Empa in Dübendorf. Members include institutions from the ETH domain, universities of applied sciences and other research institutes, industrial companies such as ABB, BASF, Bühler, Hilti, Oerlikon, Rolex and Siemens as well also the industry association Swissmem. The Managing Director is current Empa researcher Lars Sommerhäuser.

Address for sending questions

Dr. Lars Sommerhäuser
Empa, Surface Science & Coating Technologies / Director, AM-TTC Alliance
like that. +41 58 765 47 87


Federal Laboratory for Materials Testing and Research

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