3D Printing Photo Report

From titanium powder to a hip socket


Additive Manufacturing, AM in brief, is fascinating: As if by magic, complex workpieces grow in 3D printers: layer by layer by layer ... – without human intervention, as it may seem at first glance. But the technology is demanding and requires a lot of manual work with a sure touch, as a visit to the expert team at the Swiss m4m Center in Bettlach shows.

Between digital planning and powerful manual labor: Empa specialist Patrick Stämpfli at the Swiss m4m Center in Bettlach. Image: Empa

The Technology Transfer Center in Bettlach near Solothurn does not work for profit, but promotes 3D printing in the medical technology industry – with further training and innovative projects. The target group are Swiss SMEs that lack experience and equipment for this promising technology.

Opened in September 2020, the “Swiss m4m Center” has been certified since mid-April according to the ISO 13485:2016 standard for medical technology products. This step now allows professionals to manufacture real products with the production line they had previously installed and tested. 

A virtual visit to the Swiss m4m Center
See for yourself how an implant in being manufactured. Follow the numbers on the interactive image below and track the Additive Manufacturing process of a hip implant – from powder to sterilized product for the operating theater.
AM-TTC Alliance
The Swiss m4m Center is part of the AM-TTC Alliance (Advanced Manufacturing Technology Transfer Centers), which was founded on the initiative of the Empa and has a mandate from the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation to evaluate applications and monitor the development of AM-TTC centers. Besides the Swiss m4m Center, there is currently ANAXAM (Analytics with Neutrons and X-Rays for Advanced Manufacturing) at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI). Later this year, the AM-TTC Alliance will launch a call with the goal of establishing two to three additional centers. Currently, the Alliance comprises 22 member organizations, among them, in addition to Empa, ETH Zurich, EPFL and other research institutions, companies such as ABB and Siemens, and industrial associations.
More information: www.swissm4m.ch and www.am-ttc.ch
Further information

Dr. Pierangelo Gröning
Departement Advanced Materials and Surfaces
Phone +41 58 765 40 04

Nicolas Bouduban
CEO Swiss m4m Center
Phone +41 79 601 32 38

Editor / Media contact
Norbert Raabe

Phone +41 58 765 44 54

Follow us
Molecular diagnosis

Detecting Alzheimer's in blood

Empa researcher Peter Nirmalraj wants to capture images of Alzheimer's peptides with unprecedented precision. This could allow new insights into the molecular pathogenesis of the neurodegenerative disease – and perhaps open the way to new therapies.

Better fibers

A jacket from a jacket from a jacket ...

Manufacture, wear, wash, incinerate: This typical life cycle of garments, which pollutes the environment, is to be changed in the future – towards principles of circular economy with recycling at its core. Using an outdoor jacket made from PET bottles and recycled materials, Empa researchers have investigated whether the product actually delivers what the idea promises. 


"Recycling is not always sustainable"

Circular economy and recycling in the textile sector: Switzerland and the EU want to move towards a sustainable industry. The basis for this has been investigated at Empa for quite some time. In an interview with Empa Quaterly, sustainability expert Claudia Som talks about opportunities, pitfalls and ideas for the future.

Quick Access

Read the latest Empa Quarterly!