Spotlight on strategic technologies
Precision Manufacturing
Precision manufacturing technology has captured the imagination of every industry segment—from aerospace to watchmaking. With precision in our Swiss DNA, CSEM has been developing microtechnologies down to the nano scale for over two decades. Our innovation in manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing, combined with our commitment to industry 4.0, is a step toward maintaining Europe’s flexible and competitive precision manufacturing industry.

Systems and devices in our everyday lives are becoming increasing smaller and need to deliver more capabilities while consuming less power. Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT) are the driving forces behind the microtechnologies needed to meet these challenges. CSEM’s proven heritage in the development and application of precision manufacturing solutions (e.g., in the watchmaking and precision instrumentation domains) provides businesses and manufacturers with individualized solutions, flexibility, and cost savings.

CSEM’s extensive knowledge in microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)/nano-electromechanical systems (NEMS) sensor technologies, printed electronics, and surface coating can be found across a variety of industrial and precision applications. We are actively driving the adoption of these technologies, with integrated advanced computing and advanced analytics (artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and deep learning (DL), across micromanufacturing systems, controls, and robotics—optimizing the “smart” factories of today and the future.

As Industry 4.0 requires technological solutions that are highly autonomous, CSEM’s developments in robotics and sensor technologies have the capacity to increase autonomy still further. Along with ever-increasing miniaturization, CSEM can identify ways to achieve greater packing densities and to improve quality control, reliability, and functionality, while minimizing costs and waste across the supply chain. A unique feature of being a research organization is that we are also able to offer simulation and testing, alongside process optimization and redesign.

A key element in Industry 4.0 is the move to a digital manufacturing concept based on 3D printing and additive manufacturing (AM) technologies, bringing flexibility and simplifying the supply chain. CSEM’s 3D additive printing has attracted great interest thanks to its capabilities in making customizable, complex, functional structures with smaller feature sizes and better accuracies, without additional costs.

Moreover, CSEM is addressing the reliability challenge across the full elaboration of a product—from understanding material failures and employing fault-tolerant concepts to the use of AI/ML/DL to bring the intelligence necessary to improve product performance. Likewise, chain sensor and vision systems are combined with AI/ML/DL to secure manufacturing quality via preventive maintenance, thus reducing equipment downtime and the number of major repairs required.

CSEM is using this unrivaled freedom in material design not only to engineer 3D micro- and nano-structures producing textured surfaces (e.g., in metal, plastic, ceramics, living cells, or a combination) but also as a way of controlling electrical, chemical, and mechanical properties. These highly functionalized surfaces are of invaluable use to those in the biotechnology, photonics, and tribology field.

Working across the fields of sensor technologies, robotics, and AM, CSEM is helping to solve the challenges faced by a wide variety of industries. Our work is helping micromanufacturing in Europe today, adding to the development of niche, specialized products that can be produced in flexible, autonomous/augmented production facilities. Our work is already benefiting domains such as the health, watchmaking, and scientific instruments sectors, and everything in between.

CSEM’s precision manufacturing domain brings research to life, finding ways to fabricate at a scale that can minimize cost and waste, increase quality (while maintaining reliability and functionality), and push engineering expertise to new heights.

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