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Employees don’t mind staying until dinner

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At technology expert TRUMPF, employees don’t mind staying until dinner

Nature lovers and tech nerds aren’t the only ones who feel at home here – so do design fans, change makers and gourmands: at the head office of TRUMPF, the international player in Grüsch. Two employees take us on a tour of the impressive building complex and share a couple of secrets with us.

From ibexes to lasers

It’s 8 a.m. Development Manager Tobias Meck is driving through the “Chlus”, the gorge-like section of the route between Landquart and Grüsch. On his way, he is greeted by Klusi. Klusi, an ibex, stands on a street next to the Chlus and calmly watches as people drive past. Klusi also serves as an inspiration for the developer in his work – more on that later.

Engineer Tobias Meck feels right at home in his lab. Everything that makes him happy is here: his team and his baby, TruLaser Center 7030. The first fully automated laser machine takes care of everything – from drawings to sorted parts. “Because laser pulses are so short, we can even label a match without lighting it.” He could rhapsodise about his high-tech innovation all day long, but there’s no time for that. Together with his team of engineers, technicians and skilled employees, he works ceaselessly to implement ideas for customers in a wide variety of sectors, from the jewellery industry to aerospace. “It starts with the idea for a product in the customer’s mind. Our lasers take care of the rest.” There is no pre-set template. “My team and I are fortunate to have a large playing field here. My job is to ensure customer success. It’s up to us how we get there.”

It’s clear that they started as a testing department from the creative way they have of dealing with “trash”. “Two and a half years ago, we started making ibexes out of leftover bits of sheet metal, as an homage to Klusi.” And during the application process, prospective employees are asked to make a cow out of sheet metal within a week.

Sci-fi tunnel, futuristic ideas

Tobias Meck’s mobile rings. He needs to go. What’s the fastest way to the production department? “To get from A to B, it’s best to go through one of the numerous sci-fi-like tunnels that connect all five buildings underground. These tunnels certainly help you get to your 10,000-step count easily every day,” says the developer, laughing as he says good-bye. At the other end of the tunnel waits Ribana Murturi, a commercial apprentice in her second year, who is responsible for promoting women in technical professions. She takes us to the production hall. On the way to her workstation, she explains that the founding family are big fans of art and design, and they have placed special paintings and interior design elements in all of the buildings. Thus, every tour becomes a new treasure hunt.

 

Promoting women at lunch

There is a glass cube in the middle of the production hall. That’s where Ribana’s workstation is located. The 17-year-old has an important mission: more women in tech professions. “It irritates me that people still distinguish between men’s professions and women’s professions. I want to encourage young women to complete a technical apprenticeship. That’s what I’m fighting for.” In line with the company’s motto – “Trusting in brave ideas” – Ribana has been tasked by management with living out her mission. She designs flyers and aims to conduct workshops in schools. Currently, she is writing a script for a video. “I want to let female technical apprentices speak in the video.” The fact that her workstation is located right in the middle of the male-dominated production area provides her with additional motivation. “I want to change the picture that I see here every day.” Her goal? “There are currently six female apprentices here. We’d like to increase this number to ten by the year 2023.”

 

Starting a revolution makes one hungry. Time for lunch, for which employees gladly queue up. And for good reason – the food they can choose from isn’t just the normal canteen fare, but rather a selection of freshly prepared dishes created by the head chef himself. When they serve the food, chef Armin Obrecht and his team greet everyone by name. Tobias Meck explains: “TRUMPF is a company with more than 13,000 employees and locations around the world, but everyone says the canteen in Grüsch is the best. When employees celebrate a company anniversary, they and their loved ones are treated to a four-course meal by the chef.” Although the laser tech company is large, it still feels like a family operation, or a “big company with an informal culture”, as Ribana says during the meal.

Where design invites nature

Outside, the afternoon sun shines in a way that allows the mountain panorama to reflect in the large windows of the building’s facade. The building was designed by the internationally renowned and Berlin-based architectural duo Frank Barkow and Regine Leibinger. The timeless design creates a sense of harmony between nature and innovation, and inspires everyone, not just design fans. “When I have a mental block, it helps to be able to look from my office into nature instead of staring at a wall,” explains Tobias Meck.

 

Anyone who would like to find inspiration outside can take the cable railway to Fanas at lunchtime. “It is not unusual for engineers to paraglide by our office windows at 1 p.m. and land on the grass in front of the building.”

Learn more about TRUMPF