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Five questions to Dr. Christian Grünzweig and amazing video content!
Anaxam has been an active participant in our thriving innovation hub.They have expressed their enthusiasm for the collaborative environment at Park Innovaare, highlighting the opportunities it offers for interdisciplinary cooperation and knowledge sharing. Watch our video and figure out what ANAXAMA has to say about Park Innovaare.
“Book an analytics screening appointment with ANAXAM”
ANAXAM is a technology transfer centre specialising in applied materials analytics with neutron and synchrotron radiation. The technology transfer centre offers industry advanced analytical possibilities in the field of imaging, diffraction, small-angle scattering and spectroscopy that are way beyond the laboratory scale. ANAXAM is also a non-profit organisation founded in 2019 by the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), the Swiss Nanoscience Institute (SNI) and the Canton of Aargau. Before assuming his post as CEO of ANAXAM, Dr Christian Grünzweig was Senior Scientist at PSI, where he was also responsible for industry collaborations in the field of neutron imaging. ANAXAM is a Member Company of Park Innovaare and is due to move into the new building complex in 2024.
You worked at PSI for about 11 years before joining ANAXAM as CEO. How does your current job differ from your previous work at PSI?
The work of a research institute naturally tends to be scientifically driven, while the activity of a technology transfer centre is geared more towards industry. In my role at PSI, however, I was already in charge of industry projects and in hindsight I had already built up a sort of “mini-ANAXAM” for neutron imaging. The digitalisation plan launched by the federal government provided the impetus for establishing the technology transfer centre, allowing industry to benefit as well from analytical facilities in the area of neutron and synchroton X-rays. The sort of large-scale research facilities available at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI, for example, offer industry incredible possibilities to optimise processes and materials. This has been a great motivation for me, and so to answer your question: ANAXAM acts as a bridge between science and industry, and I am keen to continue explore this area further.
What benefits does a technology transfer centre offer?
As the name already says, a technology transfer company ensures a smooth transfer of knowledge and technologies from research to industry. Experts in fundamental scientific research work hand in hand with companies, often leading to the further development of new technologies. This is an essential point when it comes to making sure companies are competitive. A technology transfer centre can thus also become a success factor for the future viability of companies and boost economic prosperity.
Do you only serve customers from the high-tech industry – or what business sectors do your services cover?
We cater for them all – from SMEs to large corporations. We deal with enquiries that involve problems with the manufacture of series production (key blanks), or everyday objects in other words, through to sensor technology. So ANAXAM is not purely focused on the high-tech sector. Nevertheless, the advantages of large-scale research facilities for companies need to be advertised more widely. So when working with customers – SMEs or big business – we are constantly drawing their attention to the benefits of using a technology transfer centre.
What’s been your most challenging inquiry from industry so far?
One particularly challenging project was with the Swiss SME SpectraFlow Analytics, a global supplier of online measurement solutions used in the minerals industries. ANAXAM and SpectraFlow were involved in a joint project to develop a customised sample feeding system for synchrotron diffraction experiments. With this innovative infrastructure, the quantity of samples taken, as well as the number of samples collected during diffraction measurements, could be scaled up. This made it possible to achieve throughputs in the order of 100,000 per year.
How would you like to see ANAXAM develop in future?
I’d like to see materials analysis raise its profile so that rather than being reactive, companies adopt routine screening analysis as a proactive approach. I always like to explain this with an example from everyday life in hospitals. Companies usually use our services when there is a serious problem, similar to when a patient needs a CT scan because his foot is broken. But material analytics can do much more. It would be helpful if companies were to realise that routine screening – as offered by material and process analytics – would prevent the foot being broken in the first place. By this I mean: material analytics should accompany processes or products so that companies can set the right course at an early stage. The earlier analytics is integrated into processes and materials, the less effort is required later on. To avoid major intervention when something eventually breaks, companies should ideally book screening appointments with ANAXAM well in advance. Past experience has shown that this ultimately saves businesses time and money.