Bühler celebrated the ground breaking for its Innovation Campus in Uzwil, Switzerland, on Monday. Projected to cost CHF 50 million ($51.5 million), the innovation campus will consist of two key elements: upgraded technology labs and a new innovation building.

The new building will build a bridge between the engineering and business worlds in the existing towers and the upgraded application labs, the company says. On three levels, the modern building will be the home for project teams of employees, clients, start-ups, students and apprentices. It will feature an auditorium for up to 300 participants for large events.

Collaboration and a “maker space,” a media center and a co-working floor with open and secured spaces for more than 100 people will also be part of the building. In addition, Bühler’s apprentices will benefit from a dedicated apprentice center featuring several training rooms. Construction is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2019.

“This innovation campus will reinforce our innovation power and market leadership. It will help us bring together the smartest minds of the industry to create innovations for a better world,” said Stefan Scheiber, Bühler’s ceo, at the ground-breaking.

Reflecting Bühler’s strong focus on the food processing industry, open living spaces with a central coffee bar, a tea lounge and adjacent thinking spaces complete the building, making it a state-of-the-art workplace, the company says.

“This building is focused on collaborative innovation,” says Ian Roberts, chief technology officer at Bühler. “We are creating a collaborative space for all functions, all ages, and all knowledge holders. It will allow us to live and foster our innovation culture and test future work practices.” The new building will bring together Bühler’s network of partners, be they customers, start-ups, academics, apprentices or suppliers, and create a link to the technology labs.

Bühler’s existing technology labs, such as the Bakery Innovation Center, have been upgraded or will be during the building process, and are an integral part of the new campus, as they are closely interlinked with the new building.

 “This is a unique setting, which I have not seen anywhere else, explains Roberts. “We are creating a space that brings together visionaries and long-term thinkers of the start-up scene and universities with engineering teams that hold Bühler’s long-standing applied and tested know-how in processing technology. By combining both, we can truly create innovations for a better world.”

Every year, the company invests 4 to 5 percent of its turnover into research and development. “This building will help create the space where we can bring together key players in the industry to develop innovations for a better world,” Scheiber added.