Swiss Empa: 3D Printing Photo Report – From titanium powder to a hip socket

By guest author Norbert Raabe from Swiss Empa. Images: Nicolas Zonvi.

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 Centre in Bettlach shows.

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 Centre

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 sterilised product for the operating theatre.

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 organisations, among them, in addition to Empa, ETH Zurich, EPFL and other research institutions, companies such as ABB and Siemens, and industrial associations.
More information: and

Links: Homepage of the Swiss m4m Center in Bettlach

Transfer center for medtech certified: Green light for “Swiss m4m Center”;
Media release April 2021