Thursday, May 1, 2014

Richemont bet on new manufacturing technologies – World Tempus

For several years, the EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) pursues a policy of geographical expansion in order to implement its research activities nearby industrial areas of interest, and as a result the opening campus in Geneva, Fribourg and Sion. After the resumption of the Institute of Microtechnology of Neuchâtel in 2007, EPFL has moved into its new premises last September Neuchâtel. Coinciding with the inauguration of the new building, nicknamed “Microcity” Richemont announced on April 28 that he would base the 11th academic chair of the institution.

The pulpit manufacturing technology multi- scale is the third chair sponsored institution. It aims to develop synergies with companies in the region so that they benefit from the results of his research in the field. “For us, what is interesting is that EPFL is close to local businesses,” says Ricard Lepeu, co-CEO of Richemont.

Christian Enz and Patrick Aebischer, EPFL, and Richard Lepeu, Richemont, during the press conference. Paul O’Neil / Worldtempus

With two-thirds of the 10,000 employees in Switzerland Richemont spread over 20 production sites, the importance of research in manufacturing technology is obvious. The work of this new department within Institute of Microtechnology – which will include up to 20 researchers assistants – will complement the 100 million Swiss francs as individual brands group Richemont already invest. It will focus on new technologies such as 3D printing, laser machining and lithography and plasma etching, all three already used in watchmaking and jewelery.

“We already using stereolithography “says Philippe Leopold-Metzger, Piaget CEO, to Worldtempus. “We can transfer files directly from 3D computer production.” However, the accuracy level currently achieved by 3D printing (0.1mm) is not sufficient for large-scale manufacturing. One of the main areas of work of the new research group is to continue investigations in this area.

But before the research is powerful start in 2015, it remains to find the future teacher. If the recruitment of candidates has already begun on the basis of a given working with Richemont profile, it will take time to choose, because it is a very long post whose holder will have the difficult task create and manage the team of researchers.

It is only when the perfect candidate has been selected and the research team made that research in these technologies advanced manufacturing can begin . “Innovation is a must for a leader like Richemont confirms Richard Lepeu. “These new methods are opening unlimited possibilities panorama techniques to meet the industrial challenges of tomorrow.”

Although the fruits of this research will reap in a few years, the announcement made yesterday by Richemont EPFL and illustrates their common desire to take a step ahead in the race for innovation.

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