Quick and simple access to the network and know-how pool
Interview with René Dändliker. He is an emeritus professor of applied optics at Neuchâtel University and EPFL. At SATW he currently leads the Academic Advisory Board and is heavily involved in the "Advanced Manufacturing" focus programme.
Mr. Dändliker, what does this research overview mean for SATW?
This research overview is an excellent example of an important mission at SATW: conveying "independent and objective information to support engineering sciences and new technologies". SATW is therefore making a high-quality contribution towards the early detection of relevant technological developments.
The research overview also provides another milestone for the PR work and the visibility of SATW. It helps SATW to get higher attention and positive public perception.
For you personally?
I am absolutely delighted about this publication. I am impressed by the speed with which this work was implemented and the quality with which it was authored and published. An extraordinary achievement by the team! I want to congratulate the two ladies who were responsible for the project.
What do you see as the biggest benefit?
The "Advanced Manufacturing in Switzerland" research overview is used by the most varied participants and organisations involved in researching, developing and applying these new technologies. It provides a comprehensive and transparent overview of "who's who" in research.
It makes the state of knowledge and competencies in Switzerland visible in a unprecedented way. This gives industry, and in particular SMEs, a competent assessment of the current situation and how to combat the future changes in these areas.
It also supports "Community Building" for the participants as well as the mutual exchange with other institutions.
The political effect of such a document must also not be forgotten: revealing the available potential and detecting gaps can act as a signal for federal and local authority measures as well as those by other funding institutions (SNF, KTI, Swissmem, etc.).
Which participants in Additive Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 will benefit from the research overview?
All of them! The participants currently working on Advanced Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 and the institutions actively involved in this research overview will mutually benefit.
But I value in particular the benefits for industry, in particular SMEs. The research overview provides fast and simple access to an AM network and know-how pool. It ensures quick, targeted and customised research. The concept of thematic classification and tabular depiction creates transparency and ensures simple orientation.
How can SATW undertake targeted funding and development work in these two areas?
In spite of the limited financial resources available, SATW can do and initiate a lot. For example, by supporting collaboration between the research institutions in the form of joint events or workshops.
Support for pre-competitive research and development in the interests of Swiss industry is also part of the SATW activities.
But promoting political support using active lobbying and organised information and specialist events also serve the overall purpose of helping domestic industry to achieve a competitive advantage and realising the vision of several networked competence centres relating to technological development.
SATW also opens up the Advanced Manufacturing focus area with trade fair alliances. What do you expect from such cooperation?
Currently various advances have been made - such as cooperation with Swiss3DPrinting and AM Expo. A specialist trade fair is an excellent platform for presenting our issues beyond the academic world.
Switzerland has many associations and umbrella organisations involved in "Advanced Manufacturing". SATW is open to other alliances.
There are plans to show the current research overview in an interactive database. The management and ongoing updates require additional HR and financial resources but the benefits justify the investment.
Last question: how are industrial companies in Switzerland preparing for these new technological advances? Will they all achieve them?
Of course development involves a certain risk for all affected companies and is not easy for any of the affected participants. But overall I believe that the opportunities for Swiss industry and even SMEs are good. SATW is concerned about and helps their activities to get the necessary attention and to sharpen awareness for the coming changes in manufacturing specific products.
The economic, technical needs for the resulting consequences within the relevant supply chains are yet to be recognised. Changes to the processes and converting manufacturing can be overcome by an attentive and well-founded adaptation of the strategy even of Swiss SMEs. Although concerns are appropriate, confidence is certainly justified.