Portrait of Bruno Studach
Portrait of Bruno Studach
Director of the Micro-Fabrication Research Center (M2C) - EPFL, Neuchâtel
Bruno was born in Switzerland and grew up in Mexico where he began studying biology, which he continued in France. After a first internship in Marseille in a company specializing in underwater works and equipment, which captivated him, he realized that engineering would make it easier for him to be active in this highly technological field. He therefore continued his training in microtechnology at the EPFL, then landed his first job at Mecanex, now Ruag Aerospace. He continued his career in Spain, in the innovation department of the pharmaceutical group IPSEN, before returning to Switzerland where he worked for the Faulhaber Group in La Chaux-de-Fonds, specialising in the production of high-performance micromotors. In 2016, in order to orient his activities towards business development, he returned to school at IMD where he obtained an eMBA. In 2018, he took over the management of the Micromanufacturing Science and Engineering Center (M2C), a structure recently created by Professor Christian Enz, director of the Institute of Microtechnology. Curious by nature and highly interested in new technologies, Bruno closely follows the development of start-ups in Switzerland through his participation in Business Angels Switzerland. A lover of cycling and outdoor activities, he loves to travel, to Mexico to visit his family, but also elsewhere to discover the world.
You took over the management of the M2C in 2018. What are the technological axes you have favoured?
I was hired to respond to a call for projects related to an initiative supported by the Confederation, the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Transfer Centers (AM-TTC). When preparing the dossier, we focused on three technological areas:
- 3D metallic printing by Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and Laser Shock Peening (LSP)
- Laser-matter interaction with femto-second lasers
- Multi-material 3D printing to create objects with integrated functionalities
We are convinced that these three axes are complementary, both from a technological and temporal point of view. Moreover, the potential of these technologies is very important for the future of microtechnology. The three professors directly involved in this project, Roland Logé, Yves Bellouard et Vivek Subramanian are each conducting research activities in their respective laboratories in one of these fields.
Today, we received the green light from the EPFL management to continue setting up the centre on the premises of the Neuchâtel branch. To this end, we will soon be acquiring equipment to strengthen the joint capacities of EPFL and the CSEM, the two main scientific partners of the centre. This will be the first step in the materialization of the M2C.
What have been the biggest challenges since you have been in this position?
One of the biggest challenges is to keep unity among the stakeholders that need to be federated. When I arrived, I was recommended to get in touch with most of the professors at the Institute of Microtechnology. I quickly realized how difficult it would be to get everyone to agree, because I had to convince in a cross-functional way, in an entity whose hierarchical and organizational lines are very different from those of the industry. Sometimes a tangible link between basic research and industry is missing and I think that M2C has a key role to play at the crossroads of these two entities. The centre will strengthen the bridges between these two worlds and improve their interaction.
What do you see as the next major steps for M2C?
With the acquisition of the new equipment, we will be able to start operating in 2021 and be active in 3D metal printing in the third quarter of the same year. The centre's scientific partners have acquired enough knowledge and experience to be able to guide and work with non-expert partners. We wish to stimulate innovation and support technology transfer without competing with private entities already active in this field. The idea is to constitute a technological platform that will enable value creation through the development of new materials and manufacturing processes and provide support to companies that do not have the means and/or competence in-house, particularly due to their current strategic positioning.
What do you think of the expansion of Microcity Innovation's missions?
I look forward to future collaborations, which are all the more important today with the speed at which all changes are taking place. With our highly industrialized economy and our unique skills in miniaturization, high precision and subcontracting, I am convinced that we still have enormous potential for diversification.