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Sustainability@CHIRON Group

According to stated targets, the EU member states intend to be climate-neutral by 2050. More specifically, Germany is aiming to achieve this by 2045; and at the federal state level, Baden-Württemberg is taking this a step further, with 2040 as its goal. The CHIRON Group, however, has set a much more ambitious target: Worldwide climate-neutral production by 2025. This intensive commitment to the future topic of sustainability not only benefits the environment, but also its customers – with sustainable products and solutions for efficient and resource-saving manufacturing processes.

read time: 14 min read this article on one page

The CHIRON Group is pursuing ambitious goals for the coming years and intends to continue to grow profitably, gain new market shares and strengthen its global business. In order to support these aspirational targets, the company is finding ways besides its product range in which it can distinguish itself from its competitors, in turn providing customers and interested parties with more reasons to engage with the CHIRON Group.

The basis for this is the global »Sustainability@CHIRON Group« strategy program. Through this initiative, explains CEO Carsten Liske, »we are making sustainability a strategic factor in our business model, for us and our customers. We are building on this and continuing with this approach – to make the CHIRON Group carbon-neutral and, just as importantly, successful in the long term.«

The first milestone on the way to a balanced carbon footprint in the global production network was achieved at the end of 2022: Through investment in heat recovery and photovoltaic systems, as well as the procurement of additionally required electricity from purely renewable sources, the CHIRON Group production in Germany is now climate-neutral (Scope 1 and 2). The Taicang Innovation Factory will follow suit in 2023, while plans for a photovoltaic system are also underway at CHIRON Croatia in Zadar.

 In Neuhausen ob Eck, Germany, the panels of the new photovoltaic plant have been producing part of the electricity required by the CHIRON Group Precision Factory since the end of 2022.
In Neuhausen ob Eck, Germany, the panels of the new photovoltaic plant have been producing part of the electricity required by the CHIRON Group Precision Factory since the end of 2022.

First sustainability report: »SUSTAINABILITY by Performance and Precision«
According to the german industry magazine »MM MaschinenMarkt«, pioneers in sustainability and climate protection are also characterized by the fact that they »communicate their strategies transparently and credibly«. To this end, the CHIRON Group published its first sustainability report for 2021 at the end of last year. In this report, titled »SUSTAINABILITY by Performance and Precision«, the Group presents its strategy, specifies data on its achievements to date and provides information on its activities in all relevant fields of sustainability: These include continual development of the product range, responsibility for staff and society, quality, supply chain and resource management, energy usage and CO2 footprint.

In his foreword, CEO Carsten Liske states: »As we demonstrate in this report, which has been drawn up in accordance with the official core guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), sustainable behavior is not only of huge importance when it comes to maintaining our economic performance, but is also part of our DNA.« 

In addition to worldwide climate-neutral production by 2025, the CHIRON Group has also committed to the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) to play its part in achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement – namely, limiting global warming to 1.5 °C. Benjamin Kurth, Global Program Manager Sustainability, also notes: »Since December 2022, we have been one of the first companies in our industry to work with SBTi. This shows just how seriously we take the issue of sustainability.« The SBTi is a joint initiative undertaken by CDP, United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). As a next step, the CHIRON Group will submit its reduction targets for Scope 1, 2 and 3 to the organization for subsequent review.

The CHIRON Group represents sustainable mechanical engineering at the Vision 2045 Summit
Our commitment to sustainability was visibly embodied by our participation in the Vision 2045 Summit, which took place at the start of November under the umbrella of COP27, the 27th UN Climate Change Conference, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. Business and industrial leaders came together at this multinational summit to share ideas and develop strategies that will make a positive contribution to the future of our planet. Participation was open to companies that were invited to the summit by the organizer on account of their pioneering role. In addition, certain participants were selected to take part in a sensational video campaign. The CHIRON Group is the only company in the mechanical engineering category to be included in this worldwide campaign.

GET GREEN. TO THE CORE. The video contribution of the CHIRON Group to the current Vision 2045 campaign. Visit for more information about the project in general and other inspiring clips from all over the world.

Sustainability and credible environmental balance also in the product portfolio
According to Benjamin Kurth, the CHIRON Group faces a dual challenge in its role as a machine tool builder: »It's as much about climate-neutral production at our company as it is about saving resources and operating machining centers and manufacturing solutions ever more efficiently, which is also becoming an increasingly important focus for our customers.« With its portfolio, the CHIRON Group convincingly satisfies these criteria. One example is multi-spindle systems, which give customers a competitive edge thanks to reduced investment costs, lower space requirements and optimized energy consumption. In addition, complete manufacturing processes from a single source offer the advantage that the various elements – machine, automation, workpiece handling and technology – are all optimally coordinated with one another, helping to ensure efficiency and process reliability. Furthermore, as a founding member of the VDMA »Blue Competence« initiative, the CHIRON Group actively advocates for sustainability concerns and systematically implements the defined criteria in its products.

»Machining centers from the CHIRON Group are energy-efficient because they produce high quality reliably and quickly. Multi-spindle machines are particularly good in this respect, since in relation to a workpiece, the power requirement is lower.«
Johannes Kopf
Project Manager Technical Projects, Hansgrohe Group

All current machining centers are equipped with the latest »Premium High Efficiency« IE3 class motor technology. Frequency-controlled motors and power units are used that feed electrical energy back into the grid during braking in partial load operation, wherever it makes sense for this to occur. Using the motor as a generator results in energy savings of up to 30 percent compared to older machines.

Examples of improved sustainability and energy efficiency

Power consumption and energy costs can be reduced further with PowerSave, which is available as an option for every new machining center and also as a »sustainability upgrade« for existing machines. With PowerSave, power units are systematically switched off during production pauses; the consumption of electrical power is therefore reduced by up to 20 percent and compressed air consumption by up to 25 percent. The total power consumption is only about two-thirds compared to the standby cycle of the control system. Currently, more than 1,000 machining centers are equipped with the energy-saving module and more and more customers are upgrading their existing machines – not just in light of increased electricity prices, but also in line with their sustainability goals.

»Although we use green electricity at all our manufacturing sites worldwide, which means that we no longer have any CO2e emissions from purchased electricity, we are constantly trying to increase energy efficiency and minimize electricity consumption. PowerSave helps us to reduce the base load on the machines during production-free periods and achieve our goals.«
Jens Rudzinski
Project Manager Green Company, Hansgrohe Group

In addition to PowerSave, a number of other features on new machines pay off in terms of improved energy balance: Energy-efficient cooling of the control cabinets, loss-minimized valve technology, efficiency-optimized hydraulic units and connection to central systems such as cooling lubricant and water-to-water heat exchangers are just a few examples of these. Furthermore, the individually combinable and scalable SmartLine digital systems ensure greater efficiency, availability and productivity. For example, thanks to online support via RemoteLine, on-site technician visits can be avoided in many cases. This reduces downtime to a minimum and prevents any CO2 emissions from being incurred by experts traveling to and from the site.

CHIRON Group as a partner more than ready for the future
In the course of their sustainability activities, more and more customers are turning their production »green« and ensuring as part of their purchasing process that – in the ideal case – their suppliers' products are also produced in a climate-neutral manner and that they are conserving resources in their operations. For example, the Hansgrohe Group, a leading manufacturer of showers, shower systems and faucets, vets potential suppliers with regard to »the improvement of environmental performance and energy efficiency. The supplier is encouraged to provide services and capital equipment that support this improvement.« The CHIRON Group is well positioned for the future in this respect, states Dr. Jens König, Head of Mechatronics, who is also responsible for the topic of sustainability at the product level: »As far as resource and energy consumption in the manufacture of our products is concerned, it's not just recently that we've been satisfying the relevant criteria. We also integrate sustainability-oriented solutions into our products and pass them on to our customers for their production.«

»With ›Sustainability@CHIRON Group‹, we have laid a solid foundation for making sustainability a strategic factor in our business model, for us and our customers. We are building on this and continuing with this approach – to make the CHIRON Group carbon-neutral and, just as importantly, successful in the long term.«
Carsten Liske

More information on the topics of environment and quality can be found here.

Where does climate policy stand in Europe and Germany?
»There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.« With this sentence, Christoph Bals, Political Director of the environmental organization Germanwatch, summarizes the recently published synthesis report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report is based on around 80,000 global studies and brings together the findings of six climate reports and three special reports from previous years. Looking at Europe and Germany, the expert is optimistic: »I consider the EU to be on a good path with regard to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If anything, the energy crisis has accelerated and strengthened the Green Deal. The new greenhouse gas allowance trading system will result in the European phase-out of coal combustion by around 2030. In addition, the transformation in industry is expected to be completed soon after 2040 at the latest. This puts the guardrails in place, so to speak.« Nonetheless, there's no reason to be complacent: »When you see how transformation is being pushed in China and the U.S. with huge subsidy packages, it seems clear that Europe as a business location can only hold its own if it defends its pioneering role in green technologies.«

Retrofits for µm-precise machining with high output

The core expertise of SHW in machining is the µm-accurate production of complex milled and turned parts for oil pumps through to the finish on highly precise systems. The components are machined on a CHIRON 15 Series, among others. If these need to be prepared for new tasks, SHW also relies on the expertise of the CHIRON Group – using retrofits from the service experts.

SHW AG is headquartered in Aalen, Germany and with Swabian understatement, they describe themselves as the »leading automotive supplier in the Eastern Alps region«. In point of fact, the company has around 1,800 employees and is a world leader for engine components for all powertrain concepts, high-performance brake disks and CO2-optimised pumps. Their competence center and production location for customer-specific pumps for engine and transmission applications in the automotive, truck and off-highway sectors is the Schwäbische Hüttenwerke Automotive GmbH plant in Bad Schussenried, Germany.

For example, flanges and housings for pumps in trucks are produced there on the machining centers of the 15 Series – mainly highly productive double spindle machines with workpiece changer. If new workpiece variants are added or if additional specifications must be integrated, new clamping devices are needed. Since 2020, these retrofitting projects have been entrusted to the team led by Stephan Störmer, Retrofitting Team Leader at the CHIRON Group Service.

So far, projects have included determining the clamping concept and sequence. In the most recent project, service specialists are also bringing their turnkey expertise and designing the complete production-ready machining process.

How does an example retrofitting project progress? What is involved? How do the teams from Bad Schussenried and Tuttlingen work together constructively? Watch this video for answers.

For more information:

Smart Swiss innovation goes into series production

In October, the efficient series production of the Micro5 machining centers and the Feed5 handling systems began at the CHIRON Group headquarters in Tuttlingen, Germany. At least 100 of the smart machines are to be constructed here each year. How does this process work, how is this excellent fundamental quality from Switzerland transferred into an industrial standard and why is the Micro5 considered to be an »cosmopolitan machine«? Stefan Rüsges, Head of Pre-assembly, provides the answers in this interview.

read time: 12 min read this article on one page

Mr. Rüsges, as Head of Pre-assembly, you helped plan and set up the new process in Tuttlingen. Wouldn't series production also have been possible in Isérables at CHIRON Swiss?
It might have been possible, yes. Nevertheless: Isérables is a Manufactory, which places a natural limit on the number of units that can be produced. Our colleagues there have constructed between 12 and 15 machining centers per year. When you take into account that this includes customer-specific applications, it's a very respectable number. For quantities of 100 or more machines per year, however, the lead times have to be different and more space and structures are required for series production. Here in Tuttlingen, the relevant divisions – purchasing, logistics, workplace design and application – are established and appropriately dimensioned and we have direct access to them.

How is the new range structured and how quickly is a Micro5 ready for operation?
In contrast to the other series of the CHIRON Group, the entire value-added process here is covered in area of just 400 square meters – made possible by the highly compact dimensions of the Micro5. The aim is to achieve an 18-day turnaround from the moment of entry into the system, from the initial joining through to the final acceptance of the basic machine. In the preassembly stage, there are multiple stations at which main assemblies such as the C-axis, Z-axis and machining unit are pre-assembled, as well as secondary assemblies such as chip containers and tool systems. Three days of pre-assembly are followed by nine days of final assembly. For this stage, there are currently three identical stations that process the »input« from the pre-assembly stage. Each of them also has an additional station for commissioning and final acceptance. With a lead time of 18 days, requirements can be serviced much faster than before. Furthermore, the possible options for the Micro5 are significantly limited compared to our other machining centers, simply because of the much more compact working area. The design also means that customer-specific applications – clamping devices, auxiliary equipment, fixtures – can be implemented with a shorter lead time. If, for example, a customer orders 20 Micro5 units rather than two, we want to be able to meet this demand simply and easily with our current capabilities.

 Stefan Rüsges, Head of Pre-assembly, is visibly satisfied with the successful start of the Micro5 assembly in Tuttlingen, Germany.
Stefan Rüsges, Head of Pre-assembly, is visibly satisfied with the successful start of the Micro5 assembly in Tuttlingen, Germany.

The new department comprises 32 people. Were additional qualifications required for these posts?
In principle, no. Whether they're new hires or transfers from other departments, all the employees are experienced professionals. With the Micro5, however, everything is more than just one size smaller: The largest module only takes up half a desk. A trained surgical mechanic with a steady hand is therefore required to put together assemblies with particularly small components.

»I asked interested employees in advance: Are you confident that you can cook a three-course meal using only your oven? Without a countertop or any of the other utensils in your kitchen? If you don't burn your fingers doing it, you've come to the right place!«

So it sounds like the transfer from Switzerland to Tuttlingen, Germany – i.e. from a manufactory to an industrial standard – was an easy affair?
Well, for one thing, the move toward investment in series production of the Micro5 in Tuttlingen – a decision that was made in the middle of last year – was preceded by an intensive analysis and planning phase. Key tasks included establishing supply chains, training employees and setting up the assembly line. In addition, the machining center had already been built and we obtained a very well predeveloped machine from Switzerland. Nevertheless, there was still some work to be done to transfer this high level of basic quality into an industrial standard. First, the fundamentals: We transferred all the engineering plans to our SAP system and refined them accordingly. For example, we designed the control cabinet so that it can be built according to the systems we use here. Safety standards and general and industry-specific certifications are also important considerations. In addition, it was necessary to integrate certain functionalities that our customers know and expect from a machining center from the CHIRON Group into a working area that was »tiny« by our standards. One of example of this is the laser-based axle alignment. Here, with R&D, we have modified the system from the 08 Series accordingly for the smaller working area and remain strongly engaged with development in other aspects.

Insight into the new assembly line

What machine-side optimizations does the first generation of the Micro5 produced in Tuttlingen have to offer?
We are essentially oriented toward the high requirements of the medical and precision technology sectors, where the Micro5 is already employed successfully. As for the current generation: We have modified some features based on our industrial experience and taken the machining center to the next level in collaboration with our colleagues in Switzerland. The magazine now holds up to 60 tools and up to six different clamping devices can be stored. In addition, we have optimized the C-axis and made use of a more powerful spindle. Optionally, oil machining is now also possible with the Micro5. With this and thanks to the optimized chip management, stainless steels and titanium can also be machined economically. There's another benefit, as well: We got directly started on a very demanding project for watch cases in the high-end luxury segment without a pre-run machine. It was something of a challenge! But we were able to convincingly implement the very high specifications with regard to surface quality and all customers now benefit from this. Of course, we have to ensure that we maintain a happy medium between having too many standard features and too few. Here, we create a basic machine at a high level, with basic geometry and basic machine acceptance. We put these »on the shelf«, so to speak and other departments such as the application division then take the machines »off the shelf« and refine them according to customer specifications.

»The Micro5 is intended for small workpieces and fast machining. It's present not just in our traditional user industries, but in many others, as well. In this regard, the little Micro5 is a ›cosmopolitan machine‹ with great potential.«

As of last year, it is now possible to automate the Micro5 with the Feed5 handling system. How has Feed5 been received by the market?
At the start of the assembly line, we assumed that around a quarter of the machining centers would be equipped with automation. This figure is now at 50 percent, so the productive combination of up to two Micro5 units with Feed5 is exactly what the market needs. A production island of this kind not only requires little energy, but also very little space – and space is always in scarce supply in production areas.

Currently, the Micro5 is predominantly employed by users in the jewelry and watchmaking, precision and medical technology sectors. In which markets and for which applications do you see further potential?
In a word: Everywhere! More specifically: The Micro5 is intended for small workpieces and fast machining. It's present not just in our traditional user industries, but in many others, as well. In this regard, the little Micro5 is a »cosmopolitan machine« with great potential. Customers come to the CHIRON Group with very different machining requirements. The year is already well filled with testcuts: Currently, we are actively working on 50 projects and have over 100 project requests. 

Can you give us an example of a new application using the Micro5? Or, to look at it another way: When does it make more sense to use a larger machining center from the CHIRON Group?
One CHIRON Group customer in the USA manufactures very large, heavy parts on our large series. In the course of an appointment, the Micro5 was also presented – simply to showcase the full range of the portfolio. The customer left the room briefly, returned with a cube-sized workpiece and asked if the Micro5 wasn't precisely the right kind of machine for this type of part size and machining. This just goes to show: Many things are possible and we're definitely excited by it! Surface finishing of the highest quality is always possible, as is the production of delicate parts with high precision. However, if complete holes need to be drilled through the workpiece, for example, the working area of the Micro5 simply does not allow for this tool path. With the 08 Series, we cover a much wider range in this respect. The machining concept of the Micro5 is deliberately different, also in terms of how the forces are mapped. For example, if you place four Micro5 units on a surface instead of one machine of the 08 Series, this can be advantageous. The decisive factor, as with any machine selection, is that it is suitable for the component and the machining.

One last question: After seven months of assembling the Micro5 and Feed5, what would be your initial summary of how things have turned out?
Well, the fact that we have so much to do here on the new assembly line and that the application is also increasingly in demand shows that the Micro5 has plenty of potential. And series production here in Tuttlingen, Germany really did start at just the right time.

Step by step: The assembly stations up to the finished Micro5

Portraits, people and potential for the CHIRON Group

Tomáš Tichý, new Managing Director of Chiron Czech. Tim Oliver Kramp, Service Supply Chain Director at CHIRON Group at Tuttlingen. Mikaël Nègre, CHIRON Swiss Service Manager. And Simon Knecht, Business Development Manager at CHIRON America. Four people who are developing new potential and making the CHIRON Group perform even better for its customers.

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Tomáš Tichý,
Managing Director of CHIRON Czech

Mr. Tichý, you became the new Managing Director of CHIRON Czech in November 2022, succeeding Ivan Mikita. What are your first impressions?
The CHIRON Group and its brands have a fantastic reputation in the Czech and Slovakian market, Ivan Mikita and the team have done excellent work here over the years. So I'd like to take this opportunity to thank them sincerely for that! My first impression has been very positive and I am delighted to be working with such a professional team, which offers outstanding support for our customers in Sales and Customer Service. First of all, I familiarized myself with the responsibilities of our employees and company processes here and got to know our key accounts personally. These discussions with customers gave me valuable insights into the areas in which we need to improve even further to achieve more in-depth collaboration and where there is still potential.

How is the Eastern European market developing, what potential do you see in general and in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in particular?
We look after the Czech Republic and Slovakia so that's what I want to focus on. Historically, both markets have been shaped by the processing industry, particularly the automotive industry. On the one hand, there is great potential for our products, but on the other hand the negative impact of the energy crisis and supply chain disruption are being strongly felt. Less is being invested, which is also because of the automotive industry's transition to e-mobility. Many of our customers that manufacture parts for combustion engines are facing a decline in the number of new projects.

What new possibilities do you see and how do you want to develop these for CHIRON Czech and the CHIRON Group?
A quote from former Canadian ice hockey star Wayne Gretzky comes to mind: »Everyone skates to where the puck has been. I skate to where it's going to be.« For us, that means that although the ongoing trend toward e-mobility is leading to turnover losses in the conventional industry, it has new potential for the sale of machining centers for producing electric battery or motor parts. We already have machining centers for automotive and aerospace structural components in our portfolio. So to stick with the ice hockey metaphor, we're already where the puck is going to be. It's now a matter of finding new customers in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and convincing them of the advantages the CHIRON Group offers for their business development through its products and services. I believe the great potential is also in after-sales, customer service and spare parts. The main thing here is to offer our services proactively – to both direct and indirect customers. The reasons to choose a service partnership with us are clear: the technical expertise of highly trained service engineers and fast spare part delivery. Because actually experiencing a quality service is a key factor when buying a new machine.

What goals do you want to achieve with CHIRON Czech and where do you think the subsidiary will be in five years' time?
Our goals are ambitious: We want to increase our market share in the Czech Republic and Slovakia by becoming more strongly established in the areas we have just been discussing. We also want to at least double our turnover in markets other than the automotive industry. In terms of sales figures, we want to continue our success of the last few years with sales of more than 20 machining centers per year – or ideally increase this of course. Ambitious targets motivate me personally and I can also feel this motivation 100 percent among my team.

Tim Oliver Kramp,
Director Service Supply Chain

Mr. Kramp, you head the new Service Supply Chain department. Why have our own supply chain for customer service and how is it being developed?
Service requirements are very dynamic these days. By having our own Service Supply Chain, we can meet this demand much more efficiently and provide spare parts for our customers, subsidiaries and service callouts quickly and with excellent availability. That keeps downtimes as short as possible, which of course helps our customers' productivity. My job is to develop the supply chain. That involves both demand for parts alone, as well as requirements for customer service and fitting. In total, 20 people from Purchasing, Planning, Warehousing and Returns are working at high pressure to establish the Service Supply Chain.

How are you and your team going about developing the Service Supply Chain?
At the moment, we are investing in the heart of the Service Supply Chain in Tuttlingen, Germany – our own spare parts warehouse. We are following the »home construction« principle here: in the first step, we are building the warehouse this year and designing the relevant processes – we are moving in. In 2024, we will be doing the »interior design«, in other words automating order processes. So our customers will feel the benefits of the warehouse more and more over time.

The new department started up in October – what positive changes are already in effect today and what are your impressions so far?
In materials scheduling, we have already optimized processes and are in a better position to meet the dynamic demand for spare parts. For me personally, the last few months have been intense and enriching. Everyone is investing a lot, the changes have been initiated and we are on a very strong course.

How do you create a motivational atmosphere in your team for everything that's yet to come?
To keep motivation levels up, we have a »wow!« team meeting every day, where we discuss good developments and results. Anyone can contribute to this. And of course, one of my tasks as a manager is to create a productive working environment. In a nutshell: we focus on the positive.

Mikaël Nègre,
Service Manager CHIRON Swiss

Mr. Nègre, you have been the Service Manager at CHIRON Swiss since January. Where were you before that?
I started my career at MOTOREX, where I was responsible for quality management throughout the group. After ten years, I wanted a new, different challenge, which I found as EU Business Development Director at Tiffin Metal. Tiffin Metal is an American company with 200 employees that makes material transport systems for logistics centers – particularly for Amazon.

What experience have you brought in terms of mechanical engineering?
My experience in mechanical engineering? I had approximately zero when I first started at CHIRON Swiss. But the products are fascinating and I am learning something new every day. Besides my actual tasks, that's my own personal challenge for this year.

How does you background in quality management and business development benefit you and the customers of CHIRON Swiss?
In the past, I was always in contact with customers, supported them very intensively and did my bit to find solutions for their requirements. Customer satisfaction is my thing and that's exactly what expanding the Service department for Switzerland is about. I can use my experience in the processes and management. The tasks are extremely complex: We need to take into account the multiple languages spoken in Switzerland, efficiently design the processes between the CHIRON Group and CHIRON Swiss and gain more qualified staff. In short, boredom is definitely not on the cards and we are more than ready for our new tasks in Sales and Customer Service for entire product portfolio of the CHIRON Group.

Exactly how are customers in the Swiss market benefiting from the expansion of Customer Service for all brands in the CHIRON Group and how is the department set up?
Today, we already offer the full range for all brands – installation, maintenance, spare parts, etc.; part of the services are still provided by external quality partners. The aim is to support all customers directly in the future. The more intensive our contact with customers, the better we understand their individual requirements and the better we can serve them. There are currently 28 of us here in Switzerland, half of whom are in Engineering. We have six employees on the Customer Service team but plan to expand this gradually. Recruitment is underway and we are confident that we will have another ten staff members to bolster the Customer Service team by the end of the year.

Simon Knecht,
Business Development Manager
CHIRON America

Mr. Knecht, you have worked for the CHIRON Group since 1999, most recently as Regional Sales Manager in Schlierbach. What made you »jump across the pond« in 2021?
So I made the jump before in 2006 and was responsible for the Proposal Engineering of STAMA machining centers in America until 2011. During that time, I met my wife, who was working as a German teacher in Chicago and was keen on living in Europe. So we moved to Germany, had children – who are now already eight and ten years old – and I was Regional Sales Manager in Schlierbach for the USA, the Scandinavian region and a few other countries until 2021. So I never lost my connection with the USA and regularly traveled with the CHIRON America team. In 2021, I received a job offer, said yes and we moved to Charlotte as a family.

What exactly are your tasks as a Business Development Manager?
I started out with a sort of dual role – as a Business Development Manager and Head of Proposal Engineering and currently I'm learning the ropes as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. There are 13 of us here in Sales, Proposal Engineering and Marketing. As for business development, it's a very diverse area and ultimately it's all about sustainable growth, expanding our business areas and gaining new customers. For example, here in Charlotte we have a great deal of expertise on complete automation solutions, both for new and existing machines. The American market has changed enormously in the last ten years. Automation is the central theme in every enquiry – and we are perfectly positioned for it. A highlight for me was the launch of the Micro5. Investigating the market potential, planning the start and then seeing how the machining center caught on at the first presentation at IMTS, the major American trade fair, was amazing. As I understand it, business development is not limited to one person, as everyone needs to have an awareness of it for us to move forward and stay on the ball. It's like when you're riding a bike – standing still isn't good, as it only works for a brief moment and then you simply fall off.

You've already given us an insight into the American market. Are there general differences in customer requirements and the approach needed? And what products need to be made more widely known?
Overall, people here are more focused in the near future and »can't« is not an option. Here we try things out and keep searching for a solution until it works. It's like the »Just do it« slogan of that lifestyle brand with the swoosh. It's equally important to keep things as simple as possible. When we deliver a machining center, the personnel have to train on the job. So our top technology needs to be user-friendly despite its complexity. Another key factor here is the delivery times and short response times; machining centers supplied from stock are an important part of our business. To ensure we can provide the right machines at the right time, we rely on good coordination between Sales and customers here and Production in Germany. In addition, we are trying to make our new products – the major 22, 25 and 28 Series or the 715 Series – more widely known. Based on past experience, it takes a while for something new to reach every corner of a country as big as this one. So there's still a lot to do!

What do you miss about Germany and what have you come to love in the USA? Do you have a motto that you live and work by?
Simply wandering along an alpine meadow in »Allgäu«, sitting there and enjoying the view of the mountains, is something I definitely miss. Or just walking to the bakery or a restaurant – you need a car for almost everything here. But on the other hand that does give you the freedom to go on a spontaneous road trip. It gives you a very different driving feeling than when you're on a German motorway! You can also easily do activities such as fishing, camping and going on a motor boat here without lots of preparation or planning. My motto for life and work is: »Love what you do every day!«  I think we should approach everyday things in particular with inner motivation. We all need something that drives us. For me, it's the buzz I always get when I can develop the right solution with our customers and the team. So I value and cultivate a transparent, positive working environment where everyone – our customers, suppliers and us on the team – can experience their work as a form of enrichment, as part of a shared achievement and be newly motivated by that for future tasks. If we look back at some point, it wasn't always easy, for sure, but we can take positives out of it. Perhaps we'll sit around the table later on and tell our stories. What will mine be? I hope it's a lively story full of enthusiasm, brilliant solutions, humor, great experiences and wonderful encounters. That's it.