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Industry 4.0 at the heart of Swiss innovation

Why Switzerland

With its companies, institutes, and research centers active in the field of Industry 4.0, Switzerland has excellent resources to exploit the potential of the fourth industrial revolution.

Digital transformation is a current phenomenon that impacts all companies’ activities. This phenomenon is called Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, the upheaval that follows the three previous industrial revolutions, namely the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century, the Technological Revolution in the late 19th century, and the Digital Revolution in the 20th century.

Industry 4.0 is the digital revolution applied to industry. Thanks to the introduction of new technologies such as Big Data, artificial intelligence, 3D printers, the Internet of Things (IoT), or augmented reality, the industrial sector is seeing a new way of producing machines, objects, or consumer goods. Digital integration in the value chain makes new business models possible. Industry 4.0 thus aims at a more efficient and qualitative production. The challenges of Industry 4.0 are to implement intelligent production, create unique and customized products, and increase their added value.

Numerous development opportunities for Industry 4.0 in Switzerland

As changes towards Industry 4.0 become more and more inevitable, Western Switzerland offers excellent conditions to exploit the potential of this fourth industrial revolution.

The Swiss Smart Factory (SSF), one of the research centers of the Switzerland Innovation Park Biel/Bienne (SIPBB), is the first test and demonstration platform for Industry 4.0 in Switzerland. The promoters want to activate the transformation of research results into marketable products. On the one hand, the SSF offers all the organizations involved an excellent advertising showcase and a showroom that is not specific to a manufacturer. In fact, it is a real think tank where companies of all sizes can learn and define which technology fits their business and product needs. On the other hand, SSF acts as a platform for the mutual exchange of knowledge and new business relationships. The initiative is supported by numerous technology providers as well as by institutes such as the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH).

Other institutes like EPFL and CSEM are also involved in Industry 4.0 research and innovation. In 2022, the two institutions inaugurated the M2C in Neuchâtel, a center focused on different methods of high-precision 3D manufacturing processes, a technique at the heart of the current industrial transformation. It aims to cover all stages of development, from fundamental research – carried out by EPFL laboratories – to the transfer of sustainable technologies with a high economic impact to industry – under the leadership of CSEM. It acts as a catalyst to foster collaboration between academic, institutional, and industrial partners, and functions as a training platform for its stakeholders.

They have chosen Western Switzerland to set up their 4.0 company

Thanks to Industry 4.0 development opportunities, several companies active in the field have decided to set up shop in Western Switzerland with the help of the Greater Geneva Bern area.

Among them, Biel/Bienne-based company Seb’Automatisme, which specializes in the construction of special and exclusive machines for industry. The company has found strong support at the SSF, by having the opportunity to exhibit its machines and show its know-how to customers.

Lausanne-based engineering company Inoprod which offers support and improvement to industrialists using Industry 4.0 technologies.

The many projects, academic and research institutes, and companies in Western Switzerland involved in the development of Industry 4.0 technologies act as the leading players of innovation in this field in the region. They help accelerate the adoption of new production technologies and contribute to the prosperity of the Swiss industry. Western Switzerland thus has a solid base on which to build competitiveness and innovation on the international stage of the fourth industrial revolution.