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Lasers & Sources

Merkel visits Trumpf

SPIE Newsroom

Peter Leibinger (TRUMPF) and Chancellor Angela Merkel with a CO2 laser

Peter Leibinger, president of the TRUMPF Laser and Electronics Division, explains the operation of a CO2 laser resonator to Chancellor Merkel.

During a visit with laser manufacturer TRUMPF, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was briefed on the situation of family-run businesses in the high-technology sector. On 2 July, the chancellor visited the Ditzingen company and conducted discussions with management and employees.

The tour of the company showed her the mounting of CO2 lasers and punch laser combination machines as well as the machine tool showroom. Founded in 1923, the company is a market leader in machine tools for sheet metal processing and in industrial lasers and laser systems.

TRUMPF invests between 8 and 10 percent of its annual budget into R&D. "High expenditure and investment are necessary in order to maintain our technical advantage," said Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller, chairwoman of the TRUMPF board. "There shouldn't be a control system which costs the company a lot of money - this would be fatal, not just for us, but for industrial Germany overall."

The discussion with TRUMPF employees addressed the Euro debt crisis and its effects on German exporting companies, education and further training as well as the younger generation's prospects. The visit concluded with a discussion between the chancellor and leaders of selected Baden-Würrtemberg-based mid-market companies.

Also in the course of her visit, Merkel addressed recent revelations of data snooping by the U.S. National Security Agency, calling for the proper balance between security and freedom. The chancellor said that industry requires dependable framework conditions -- and that there should be "no spying, no matter on whose behalf." Companies had to be able to protect their knowhow and intellectual property.