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Wolfgang Ulmer has been the new branch manager of GROB's Switzerland branch in Baar in the canton of Zug, which was founded in 2017, for two years. Mechanical engineering is the sector with the second-largest export volume in Switzerland and is thus of great importance. Structurally, it is made up of numerous small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In addition, there are also some large corporations.

What is your first impression of the GROB In-house Exhibition and what new experiences and ideas can you take back to Switzerland?

 

All of us, my customers and I, are very surprised at what GROB has put together here. For us, GROB presents its standing and itself as a brand in an excellent way. My customers felt very comfortable. One of my customers in particular, who has been working with GROB machines for ten years, did not know the GROB location in Mindelheim and was totally impressed by its sheer size alone.

 

What impressed you the most at this trade show?

 

Clearly the enormous variety of machines, automation solutions and technologies. These are most impressive when presented all at once.

 

Mindelheim is relatively easy to reach from Switzerland via the A96. Do you expect many Swiss customers here for the In-house Exhibition?

 

I have commitments from two to three customers who want to come every day. Among them, two potential, interested customers, whom we have listed but did not know yet, have also announced their coming.

 

Switzerland and its mechanical engineering have a long tradition. Dr. Burkhart Grob also studied at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. Does this tradition still live on today, and if so, what is currently special about it?

 

The Swiss have always attached great importance to quality and to high-quality machines, which gives us good potential.

 

Which sectors make up the Swiss mechanical engineering market?

 

Aerospace, medical technology and the classic die and mold industries are our main portfolio. Then also the contract manufacturers, mechanical eningeering, etc. Also we have with the company DGS (Druckguss - St. Gallen) a customer who has system machines from us.

 

The GROB branch in Switzerland was founded in 2017 with the aim of achieving greater customer loyalty with a local service and sales presence and convincing SME companies of the technological possibilities of GROB 5-axis machining centers. To what extent has this already been achieved?

 

In the last two years, things have gone very well for GROB, with a great deal of positive feedback from customers. We have been able to catch up with competitors in particular to an extent that we could not have imagined. 

 

How is the traditionally strong Aerospace sector doing in Switzerland?

 

Our most important aerospace customer Pilatus is currently extremely successful and sold 152 aircrafts (training aircraft, Learjets) last year alone. Pilatus has five G550s linked to a linear pallet storage system and one G600F for frame structure components.

 

Why are there still so many industrial productions in the highly expensive Switzerland today?

 

This can only work because companies are very well informed about machine technologies and equip their machines with automation. 90 percent of our machines have been sold in Switzerland with automation.

 

Switzerland is not a member country of the EU. What impact does this have on GROB's business?      

                                           

A major challenge for us is customs and the associated competitive disadvantage. So ultimately the high level of bureaucracy.

 

When our customers have GROB machines in use, they are quickly convinced of GROB as a brand. However, many customers do not yet know us, and this is also our opportunity in the Swiss market, which we want to take advantage of.

 

Thank you very much for the interview!