Trumpf's Leibinger points to strong China and UK markets for laser machining

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Trumpf CEO, Dr Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller, has said that the ‘fog is beginning to lift’ on the recession, from the laser system company’s point of view. She made her comments at an open day, held at Trumpf’s UK technology centre in Luton yesterday, where the UK branch is celebrating 40 years of business.

Trumpf has seen sales remain relatively flat for the 2012/2013 financial year, with sales growing by one per cent to €2.34 billion. Its pre-tax profits, however, dropped by 26.9 per cent to €154 million from €211 million, due to the company acquiring two new companies and increasing its R&D investment last year.

Leibinger-Kammüller commented that the Chinese market had become one of the company’s strongest regions. Last year, Trumpf purchased 72 per cent of Chinese business, Jiangsu Jinfangyuan CNC Machine Company (JFY), in order to reinforce its market position in China.

Elsewhere, Leibinger-Kammüller said that Trumpf was well represented and succeeding in South America through its Brazilian division. She also said that the company generates less profit in India, due to the weakness of the rupee.

In the UK, Leibinger-Kammüller expects higher turnover because of the increased investment the UK is making in industry and manufacturing. Trumpf UK managing director, Scott Simpson, said that the company predicts an end of 2013/2014 financial year total of £45 million, which would be a 15 per cent increase on last year.

Trumpf UK was one of the first subsidiaries of Trumpf GmbH. Founded in 1974 in St Albans with only five employees, it moved to its current headquarters in Luton in the 1980s and now has around 100 staff.

At the open day, the company demonstrated its TruLaser 5030 Fibre systems with BrightLine fibre technology. The BrightLine technology improves the performance of solid-state lasers for cutting thicker materials, according to Trumpf, which could lead to solid-state systems superseding CO2 lasers.

Leibinger-Kammüller attributed Trumpf’s success in part to its family values and training engineers from a young age. There was evidence of this in the UK subsidiary’s centre, including an electric go-kart, a result of the company sponsoring school groups as part of a Greenpower-organised race day scheduled for July 2014. The go-kart, which is still being built, will reach speeds of 50mph.

Trumpf stated the importance of industry and technology leaders joining forces with schools, colleges, and universities to maintain a high level of science and engineering expertise. Simpson stated that there is hope, as the term ‘engineer’ is no longer held as a dirty word. The public opinion is now that people would rather go into a technology-orientated job than banking, and that the long held tradition of brilliant British engineering is being revived, he said.