A new competence and transfer center for collaborative robotics opens its doors at the location of the Switzerland Innovation Park Biel/Bienne. Founding partners are the Swiss Smart Factory association, the Bern University of Applied Sciences BFH, the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology ETH Zurich and EPFL. Under the name Swiss Cobotics Competence Center (S3C) the initiators want to demonstrate the opportunities for collaboration between humans and robots. With the S3C, the industry gains access to know-how and a demonstration platform for innovative cobotic solutions.
Robots that heave and weld heavy components behind a protective fence belong in the classic image of industrial mass production, as we have known it since the 1970s.
Robots that support us very closely and flexibly in our daily work have not yet arrived in our everyday lives. The Swiss manufacturing industry in particular could receive a competitive boost from robotic helpers, but despite technological progress, collaborative robots are still the exception in Swiss factories.
The Swiss Cobotics Competence Center (S3C) aims to close this gap between new technological skills and industrial reality and thus help collaborative robots to find broad industrial application. "If used correctly, collaborative robots promise higher productivity and avoid the relocation of production from high-wage countries such as Switzerland to other countries," says Prof. Dr. Gabriel Gruener lecturer at the BFH and board member of the S3C association.
Competences are bundled at the Biel site
For this purpose, at the location of the Switzerland Innovation Park Biel/Bienne in Biel, corresponding competencies are bundled in the S3C and an open test and demonstration center for collaborative robotics is set up. The S3C is supported by the Swiss Smart Factory, BFH, EPFL, ETH Zurich, as well as further 14 academic partners and over 18 partners from the industry and from all parts of Switzerland, who have joined together to form a public-private partnership.
With the S3C, a central point of contact for Swiss industry is to be created on the subject of collaborative robotics. The focus is initially set on the four application areas: precision and watchmaking industry, machine tool industry, medical technology and laboratory automation.
Swiss network for technology transfer
The S3C is a research institution of national importance and is being funded as part of the "Advanced Manufacturing Technology Transfer Centers" (AM-TTC) initiative for the years 2022-2024 with funds from the ETH Board as well as from the Federal Department for Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER) according to Art. 15 RIPA. An option for follow-up funding for the years 2025- 2028 is already planned. In addition to the S3C, another centre in the field of photonics is being funded in this second AM-TTC Call. In the first AM-TTC-Call 2019, the two centres ANAXAM and the Swiss m4m Center have emerged.