Research in the service of Switzerland

Advanced manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing offer enormous potential

Advanced manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing offer enormous potential for Swiss industry to further expand its innovative strength and competitiveness. Empa is developing such technologies for a wide range of applications - from valves and damping elements to customized hip implants - in close collaboration with its industrial partners, to whom it offers access to its infrastructure, as Jakob Heier (left) explained. Image: Luzia Schär

"How to best serve Switzerland" - that is the question behind numerous research projects and innovations from the institutions of the ETH Domain, said Michael Hengartner, President of the ETH Board, on the fringes of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Answers to this question were provided to Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin and around 60 other high-ranking guests from politics, research and business at an event held at the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF in Davos.

On the fringes of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, the institutions of the ETH Domain presented themselves to Swiss politics, research and business. Among the guests were not only Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin, but also several members of the National Council and the Council of States, the State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation Martina Hirayama, several members of the Graubünden government and the presidents of the two federal universities and the ETH Board, as well as the directors of the research institutes PSI, Empa, Eawag and WSL.

Researchers from the six institutions presented their projects and their innovative research results at six posts. Empa researcher Jakob Heier showed around a dozen products made from a wide variety of materials using advanced manufacturing (AM) technologies such as 3D printing - for example, patient-specific implants, biodegradable mini-batteries made from cellulose and printed sensors on paper and textiles.

These novel technologies offer enormous potential for Swiss industry, which is among the global market leaders in many sectors, to further expand its innovative strength and international competitiveness. However, the development and use of such technologies often require direct and intensive collaboration between research and industry. Empa develops such technologies for a wide range of applications - from valves and damping elements to medtech products - in close collaboration with its industrial partners and with the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Transfer Centers, which provide Swiss industry with access to their infrastructure.

Empa researcher Jakob Heier explains the production of innovative joint implants using "Advanced Manufacturing". Image: Luzia Schär

"How to best serve Switzerland" - that is the question behind numerous research projects and innovations from the institutions of the ETH Domain, according to Michael Hengartner, President of the ETH Board. Image: Luzia Schär



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