At present production alone is not enough. You have to produce at lower cost, be sparing in the use of resources, take the customer’s wishes into account and produce both quickly (time to market) and with zero inventory. The increasing complexity of products requires a qualified workforce at high costs. Production technologies can meet these challenges and needs. Promising new technologies such as additive manufacturing, robotics and also the networking of machines and the questioning of numerous habits will be needed to solve this complex equation. The companies of tomorrow will be faced with the following challenges:
- Entry into a digital and physical world
- Locating and training new skills
- Connecting the diverse objects and services of the company and, beyond this, its suppliers and customers with each other.
The Basel Region is characterized by the presence of high-tech precision companies that manufacture complex, high-quality products with high labour costs. These are essentially chemical and pharmaceutical companies (Clariant, Roche, Novartis and Actelion), watchmakers (Swatch Group, Maurice Lacroix etc.), engineering, electronics and mechatronics companies, manufacturers of sensors and machines (Endress + Hauser, Willemin-Macodel etc.) of international importance, and also several research and educational centres (University of Basel, University of Applied Arts and Sciences for Northwest Switzerland [FHNW], the Paul Scherrer Institute [PSI] and the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology [CSEM]). All these organizations have an effective knowledge with regard to production, are competitive and have to be innovative to remain competitive. All these actors form a supportive ecosystem for tackling the new transformation of manufacturing industry. Competitiveness, quality and flexibility are the strengths of Northwest Switzerland. The strategic position of Basel, on the border with Alsace in France and Baden in Germany, offers companies genuine opportunities for exchanging ideas and collaborating to improve competitiveness and develop new business models.
The focus of Production Technologies is on the careful use of resources and clean technologies For its Production Technologies service, BaselArea.swiss concentrates on 6 sectors:
- 3D printing, additive manufacturing: Additive manufacturing allows complex parts to be made to order and individual parts to be produced without a specific investment. The Basel Region specializes in the medical sector (implants) and bioprinting, but has also developed know-how in printing on various plastics and metals. This technology calls for new business models. BaselArea.swiss organizes information/networking events and workshops on this topic. We provide support for a community of scientists and enthusiasts on this particular topic. Join our LinkedIn group.
- Industry 4.0: The widespread use of mobile solutions, sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT) allows new and more efficient opportunities based on these new technologies. A current topic is Industry 4.0 (also known as the fourth industrial revolution), which raises substantial expectations with regard to efficiency gains. It also raises questions concerning the societal consequences of introducing these technologies. In collaboration with schools and research centres, BaselArea.swiss offers information events and technology-oriented networking events at regional and international level. In addition there is a Technology Circle "Industry 4.0" that brings companies together to gather information, to foster the competitiveness of companies and to develop know-how in the region. This sector has many links with the ICT sector of BaselArea.swiss. Further information
- Organic and printed electronics: Printed electronics and organic or plastic electronics comprise organic semiconductors and flexible substrates, all printed in very thin layers. The actors in this sector come from a variety of fields: fine chemicals, electronics, printing and production of von precision machines. The possibility of printing on large surface areas and the flexibility of the products open up new opportunities. Printable electronics has facilitated the emergence of new products, such as OPV, OLED and applications in the fields of healthcare and sensors. BaselArea.swiss initiates collaboration between companies and research centres on technical projects and marketing and develops a network of skills with them in the framework of a "Printed Electronics" Technology Circle. Further information
- Efficiency in the use of resources and energy in production: It is crucial to make sparing use of resources and energy during production – for obvious reasons of efficiency and competitiveness. Scarcity of resources and pollution of the environment are also factors to be taken into account. Certainly the techniques and technologies involved, which often go unrecognized, have made enormous progress. But experience remains a very important component of improvement. BaselArea.swiss has developed a network of entrepreneurs to share their experience in the Technology Circle "Energy Efficiency in Production" and to discuss technologies.
- Water technologies: BaselArea.swiss addresses the issue of water technologies, the key focus of which is on efficient use of resources. Research is concentrated on clean water, water for industrial processes and wastewater, as well as associated problems such as micropollutants, the recovery of phosphorus and also antibiotic resistant genes present in the water. Universities, engineering offices and the region’s industry have acquired enormous know-how in this field. Each year, BaselArea.swiss organizes a technology event in collaboration with the School of Life Sciences (FHNW).
- Biotechnology for the environment: The use of live organisms in industrial processes is not new in a number of fields (e.g. sewage treatment plants or food and beverages industry), but is becoming increasingly important in other sectors as well, e.g. rapid diagnostic tests in the pharmaceutical sector or the management of oil spills. Thanks to bioplastics from renewable raw materials (such as lignin), more ecological solutions offer genuine alternatives to conventional chemical processes. BaselArea.swiss regularly organizes technology events on these topics and establishes links between researchers, industry and administration.