Thomas Schneider, Development Manager for Production Platforms and Lifecycle Engineering at TRUMPF in Ditzingen, Germany
How did your journey start at TRUMPF and which stops have you made along the way? What position do you hold currently?
I studied Mechanical Engineering and worked in various different positions in Development after I completed my doctorate. Before I joined TRUMPF I was Head of Development for flight control and actuation systems at a family company. At TRUMPF in Ditzingen, I am now responsible for lifecycle engineering/product quality and am in charge of the development of production platforms for the machine tool business division.
Why did you choose TRUMPF?
The challenge of transforming a traditional machine tool development department into an agile development organization with new methods and roles. I'm also able to apply my knowledge from the aviation industry. I really like being able to join the team in the transition to Industry 4.0 in this phase.
What do you like best about your tasks?
I can actively shape our work here. Together with my team, we define machine service and the complete networking of our products in an era of Industry 4.0 and big data analytics. We develop the products of the future in sheet metal processing in a team comprised of system architects, mechatronics specialists, software developers, and mechanical engineering experts.
What is the most exciting project/topic that you have worked on?
The development work to date was geared toward technologies like 2D laser cutting and punching. In the future we will develop products on four levels – the technology, machine, production, and business platforms. This is where innovations are born, from sensors to the cloud. Almost 600 developers at four sites in three time zones are involved in this 'transformation project'.
Do you have a personal highlight?
Yes, I do. When I took charge of the development team at the start of 2016, the team had already been working at full speed on a completely new 2D laser cutting machine for four years. The team became agile and with each planning stage the big goal – the world premiere at the Euroblech leading international trade fair – got that much closer. I'll never forget the pre-show in the test halls in Ditzingen. It was the first time that we had showcased the machines in full operation to selected customers, the development team, and our partners – including a laser show, great live music, and a fitting party. It was a great moment for a full-blooded engineer and development manager!
What do you value in particular in TRUMPF as an employer?
The high level of trust placed in our work and the culture of a family company together with all the values that come with it. These aren't just written down on paper, but are actually implemented in practice throughout the company. It's particularly important for me as a manager, as I pass on the values to my employees and am a role model.