Since the company's founding in 1923, TRUMPF has relied on up-and-coming talent that has been trained in-house. Even Berthold Leibinger starts his career in 1950 with an apprenticeship as a mechanic at his godfather Christian Trumpf's company.
We're not quite at our landmark anniversary, but there's still plenty to celebrate – 95 years of TRUMPF
Customer insight and innovation promise – these now firmly established corporate values are the common thread running through 95 years of TRUMPF's history. Whether as a mechanical workshop in the 1920s or as a global high-tech company turning over billions of euros – Christian Trumpf and the Leibinger family share a recipe for success – you have to be unwavering in your ideas and use them to set yourself apart in the right place at the right time.
Viewing challenges as an opportunity
"Designing, further developing, and implementing things that are unexpected – this is what has made TRUMPF what it is for almost a century now. One thing is clear here – without the right employees, things simply don't work. You need people who enjoy change, enjoy pushing things further, and, above all, don't give up. Viewing challenges as an opportunity and being prepared for new things – for me, these things sum up 95 years of TRUMPF. In this web special we have put together some examples of milestones that make clear how successful this has been since &1923. I hope you enjoy getting to know all about the company!"
Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller, CEO of the TRUMPF Group
The number 5 doesn't just refer to the number of years left until TRUMPF's landmark anniversary
It also refers to the five building blocks for almost a hundred years of success – products, employees, trade shows, mobility, and internationalization. Both Christian Trumpf and Berthold Leibinger place an early focus on international trade shows in order to amaze the public with in-house innovations time and time again. Mobile customer service and field service, and subsidiaries in the most important markets around the world, are also key factors for success.
Products: from the "king of nibblers" to a laser pioneer
Flexible shafts are just the start
The first product is the flexible shafts. At first, these are only produced for dental and printing requirements. With the development of the motorized drive, they are also manufactured for industrial purposes, for example for processing metal and wood.
"King of nibblers"
TRUMPF's success in the period of Germany's economic miracle is closely linked with the inventiveness of the young Berthold Leibinger, who launches an innovative and profitable machine for sheet metal processing – the copy nibbling machine. As a result, TRUMPF is increasingly called the "king of nibblers".
Breakthrough in power tools
Berthold Leibinger makes another innovation in the field of power tools in 1963 – he develops a new, handy TKF beveler. In a complete reversal of the previous process, it enables the worker to produce bevel edges by gradually processing sheet metal. Its great success opens the door to further investment.
Inspiration from the USA is incorporated into product development
After Berthold Leibinger came into contact with numerically controlled machine tools in the USA, he decides to try to develop a numerically controlled copy punching machine himself in the mid-1960s. His courage pays off – the TRUMATIC 20 is a sensation at the European machine tools exhibition in Paris in 1968.
The start of the laser revolution – looking again at conventional methods
Despite the enduring success of the copy nibbling machine, Leibinger analyzes what has been achieved up to that point, and in 1978 he investigates personally whether the then much-discussed CO2 laser could be used for sheet metal cutting during a trip to the USA. He presents the first combined punch laser machine with beam sources from the USA just one year later.
TRUMPF and its lasers revolutionize sheet metal processing
From 1985 TRUMPF sets a milestone in the industry with the first CO2 laser developed and produced in house, the TRUMPF laser TLF 1000. Four years later, the first "folded" laser from TRUMPF comes onto the market. Even today, it is the top-selling multi-kilowatt laser in the world.
The rate of innovation continues
TRUMPF unveils another innovation in the laser sector in 1987 – the TRUMATIC L 3000 is a laser flatbed machine with flying optics. The highlight of this machine is that instead of the workpiece being moved, the processing head "flies" over the sheet metal.
Christian Trumpf acquires the mechanical workshops of Julius Geiger GmbH in Stuttgart, which are known for their flexible shafts.
This product becomes a huge sales hit for TRUMPF in the 1950s and 1960s and paves the way for further investment.
This is approximately the number of patents that TRUMPF has filed since it was founded. Berthold Leibinger gradually acquires company shares, for example by exchanging his patent rights for them.
Employees: craftsmanship and inventive spirit as guarantees of success
95 years of success in 4 minutes
Trade shows: new products that surprise
Mobility: always close to and in tune with our customers on four wheels
"We will come to you" – product demonstrations directly at the customer's premises
The TRUMPF sales department has been travelling around Germany with its "mobile showroom" since the 1960s; this enables the customer to test new curve shears on site directly from the vehicle.
With power tools in his luggage in the land of the rising sun
TRUMPF power tools travel through Tokyo in a Toyopet Crown at the end of the 1960s. Christian Trumpf relies on local trade and sales partners here to introduce products to customers in the national language.
To the Eiffel tower and beyond
Due to the specially produced demonstration vehicle from the then Parisian commercial agency TECHNOM, French sheet metal processors also benefit from individual presentations of the latest power tools and sheet metal cutting machines from 1960.
Fast customer service as a catalyst for success
Both the reliability of TRUMPF machines and the availability of the Technical Service accelerate the company's success in Europe in the 1970s. Customers in Spain also value the individual Technical Service.
Extra-large mobile product tour
In 2011 the laser truck tours through Germany for four weeks as a "rolling showroom" and introduces customers to TRUMPF's large range of laser components under the motto of "The Power of Choice".
"There's been a lot of talk, but that's not enough. Talk has to turn into action – after all, that's what we're measured by."
"Remember, it's better to be 80% on time than 100% late."
"Any energy that you invest at the top may emerge again further down the chain."
Internationalization: from a mechanical workshop to a Smart Factory
It all started with a mechanical workshop
Christian Trumpf acquires the mechanical workshops of Julius Geiger GmbH in Stuttgart in 1923; ten years later they are already too small for the industrial production of flexible shafts. This is why the company moves to a larger production site in Weilimdorf in 1933.
The first million is made in Weilimdorf
During Germany's economic miracle around 1950, TRUMPF achieves an annual turnover of 11 million Deutschmark and employs around 300 employees. Berthold Leibinger, born in a neighboring town and godson of Christian Trumpf, starts his apprenticeship at the Weilimdorf site.
A second plant becomes necessary due to worldwide success
Curve shears are also sold successfully around the world in the mid-1950s. In order to increase production capacity, TRUMPF opens a second site in Hettingen in the Swabian Jura in Germany in 1955 for the first time.
A leap across the pond
TRUMPF's first foreign production site isn't in Europe, but rather in Farmington (Connecticut) where the sales company TRUMPF America Inc. is founded in 1969. The aim is to establish TRUMPF in the United States early, as at that time the global market for machine tools is mainly dominated by US companies.
Switzerland beckons with attractive conditions
TRUMPF founds the first foreign subsidiary in Zug in Switzerland in 1963. Leibinger gradually transfers the development, production, and sales of all power tools to TRUMPF Grüsch AG in the Canton of Grisons from the 1980s onwards. The moderate work costs and the high level of productivity have also made Grüsch an attractive production location for machine tools since 1985.
New hub in Ditzingen
In 1972 TRUMPF relocates its site from Weilimdorf to the neighboring town Ditzingen, where it benefits from the improved transport and production conditions.
The headquarters are still in the same building today, which was renovated completely in 2013. The architecture firm Barkow Leibinger provides an attractive work environment with award-winning constructions such as the staff canteen "Blautopf" and the laser-cut main entrance.