Frédéric Lambercy, head of R&D office at K-Team

Meet Frédéric Lambercy, head of Research & Development department in K-Team

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE R&D MANAGER?

Our customers call on us for the development of their product. Sometimes they have a precise idea of their product, sometimes less because they are not always from the electronics world thus we offer them our technical expertise. Developing a product that does not exist yet means solving a certain number of problems to overcome technological issues. The role of an R&D team is to be innovative and groundbreaking to solve each of these “locks” while keeping within the set budget. So, my job is to supervise the entire project, not losing sight of the objective while at the same time acting as a bridge between the engineers’ team and the client.


WHAT’S A TYPICAL DAY AT K-TEAM LIKE?

The days start early because there is a lot to do. I always start with a short briefing session with my team to plan the progress of the projects. Weeks are punctuated by meetings with our clients where we discuss the proposed solutions and implement them. The big advantage for our R&D department is our immediate access to the production department as workshops and machines are beside the engineers’ office. This gives us two benefits; a constructive feedback on the product’s producibility and secondly, the speed of execution, allowing us to move forward quickly with projects.



TELL US ABOUT A PROJECT YOU ARE CURRENTLY WORKING ON.

Our robots being very popular, we are currently updating them but for now our team is finalizing a product for the company SP-tech Active. Indeed, they asked us to create a belt designed for the elderly and capable of preventing femoral neck fractures in the event of a fall. This innovative project required a lot of research and after more than a year, we have developed a belt that is almost 100% reliable. It consists of an airbag, with sophisticated sensors and a very innovative algorithm capable of detecting a fall in a few milliseconds. This belt is still in the test phase, but the project is progressing rapidly and should end this year.



BEFORE BECOMING HEAD OF R&D AT K-TEAM, WHAT WAS YOUR CAREER PATH?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been passionate about robotics and engineering. So logically, I began an apprenticeship as an electronics engineer and I obtained a technical diploma. During this schooling I had the opportunity to do an internship at the EPFL (the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne), and I got hired by K-Team SA. At the time, it was just a spin-off from the EPFL robotic development labs. When K-Team offered me to stay, I started studying energy engineering at the School of engineering and management in Yverdon, then a few years later and with my diploma in my pocket, I was able to reach the position of R&D manager. At the same time, I resumed studies in project management. K-Team then evolved to become closer to Gigatec SA (a company specialised in electronic subcontracting) and both companies merge their R&D departments to create a multidisciplinary R&D team mastering many fields of application.