November 2022 / Switzerland

November 21 2022

Industry 4.0 at the hearth of Swiss Innovation

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, one of the research centers of the Switzerland Innovation Park Biel/Bienne, 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.

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.

Source: Switzerland Global Enterprise

November 18 2022

Secondary sector production in Switzerland rose in 3rd quarter 2022 by 3.4%

Secondary sector production rose by 3.4% in 3rd quarter 2022 in comparison with the same quarter a year earlier. Turnover grew by 7.6%, with more than half of this increase due to price increases. This growth has been uninterrupted since 1st quarter 2021. This is shown by provisional results from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

In comparison with the previous year industrial production grew in July by 0.1%, in August by 5.2%, and in September by 11.4%. For the whole of 3rd quarter 2022 production increased by 5.2% in comparison with the same quarter a year earlier.

Construction production declined by 6.5% in 3rd quarter 2022 in comparison with the same quarter a year earlier. Production declined by 5.9% in building, civil engineering also registered a decline (–13.7%). Lastly, specialised construction activities registered a decline of 5.7% in their production.

Turnover rose in industry but fell in construction

Industrial turnover in July rose by 4.8% in comparison with the previous year, and in August (+9.6%) and in September (+14.8%). For the whole of 3rd quarter 2022 in comparison with the same quarter a year earlier, turnover registered an increase of 9.5%.

Construction turnover fell by 0.2% in 3rd quarter 2022 in comparison with the same quarter a year earlier. Turnover rose by 0.4% in building, Civil engineering registered a decline of 9.5%, specialised construction activities an increase of 0.6%.

  Source: Swiss Federal Statistical Office (SFSO)
November 29 2022

Gross domestic product in the third quarter of 2022: growth underpinned by domestic economy

Switzerland's GDP grew by 0.2% in the third quarter of 2022, following an increase of 0.1% in the second quarter.* Growth has largely been driven by the domestic economy. The service sector delivered broad-based growth. Meanwhile, some of the more cyclical industrial sectors were held back by the international environment.

Despite relatively high inflation rates, private consumer spending (+0.7%) again increased above average in the third quarter. In particular, spending was up on housing and energy, leisure and travel, and non-food purchases. The value added in the retail trade increased accordingly; likewise, trade as a whole (+2.3%) again registered substantial growth after a run of four negative quarters. The accommodation and food services sector (+2.8%) continued to recover from the pandemic-related slump, buoyed by an upturn in international tourism among other things. Other service sectors such as healthcare (+0.7%) and business-related services (+0.6%) also registered a significant increase in value added. In contrast, value added in the financial services sector declined (−4.4%).

Investments in equipment (+2.1%) were another contributory factor to the robust growth in domestic final demand (+0.6%). Some easing in international supply bottlenecks allowed for extensive investment in vehicles; there was also an increase in investment in IT, in particular. In line with the pick-up in domestic demand, there was also a sharp rise in imports (+4.9%).**Construction investment (−2.0%) contracted yet again – the only component of domestic demand to do so – and with that also the value added in the construction industry (−2.2%). Turnover was down in building construction in particular but also in civil engineering and other construction site work.

In manufacturing (−0.2%), value added dipped slightly in the third quarter. While the chemical and pharmaceutical industry returned to substantial growth after two negative quarters, other sectors were increasingly being held back by a challenging international environment. The more cyclical industrial sectors experienced a downturn in value added, as reflected in declining exports of machinery and metals, for example. The nonetheless strong growth in total exports*** (+5.9%) is largely explained by a sharp increase in transit trade.

* Quarter-on-quarter growth rates in real terms. Adjusted for sporting events, GDP grew by the same 0.2% in the third quarter and by 0.1% in the second quarter. Further information on quarterly GDP can be found in Konjunkturtendenzen (Economic situation in Switzerland) at ** Goods and services excluding valuables. Adjusted for sporting events: +4.6%. *** Goods and services excluding valuables. Adjusted for sporting events: +5.8%.

Source: The Federal Council