Wetzlar’s industrial park Hörnsheimer Eck has been home to TRIOPTICS Wetzlar for five years. Soon, the branch will move to Ernst-Befort-Straße. Although the new building is in walking distance to the previous site, this will still be a huge relocation. For TRIOPTICS Wetzlar will increase their acreage by three from 200 to more than 700 square meters in the new location. This will enlarge their sales and service location in Wetzlar fitting it with a training center. Apart from more room for office and storage areas, it is in particular a showroom with appropriate training facilities which will get considerably more space. Stefan Uwe Best is head of the Wetzlar branch. He took up the post in May 2020 in order to further the expansion of activities and capacities at this branch location. In June 2021, he found a “congenial partner” in sales director Christian Veit, as Stefan Uwe Best puts it. It quickly becomes clear during the interview how dedicated and highly motivated the two of them go about shaping the future of TRIOPTICS.
W3+: TRIOPTIC's headquarters are located in Wedel, and they are conducting business all over the world with 400 employees and eight subsidiaries. What is the secret of this success?
That’s what you have to ask Eugen Dumitrescu. (Laughs). He founded the company together with two partners, and as a CEO, he vehemently pursued his goal to become world-leader in the field of optical metrology. That optical metrology ranks among the key technologies today, is certainly a quite significant secret to our success. But I think that three factors have been just as crucial: TRIOPTICS is incredibly innovative and became established on the international markets early on by gearing our portfolio explicitly to the requirements of our customers.
W3+: The signs at TRIOPTICS have been pointing towards growth for years – not only at the company heardquarters in Wedel but also here in Wetzlar.
Stefan Uwe Best: This is correct. With two employees, Peter Watz has continually groomed and expanded the site in Wetzlar since the end of 2016. That we have to expand spatially as well became apparent quite some time ago simply because we have been growing very fast in the past years. By now, we are twelve employees. And we are planning to grow further.
W3+: You two are relatively new to the company. The new building for the branch Wetzlar is nearing completion. This sounds like you’re setting off into a very promising future.
Christian Veit: That is absolutely correct. I am virtually at home in this region and in this line of job; I worked in sales and distribution for two big enterprises in optical engineering and production measurement technology. What I really love about TRIOPTICS is indeed this spirit of getting up and go – together with the prospect of being able to set something in motion and shape the future.
W3+: What exactly do you mean by that?
Christian Veit: Mr Best already broached it: TRIOPTICS’ success is based on our providing technologies and services which are geared to the specific requirements and needs of our customers in the best possible way. Accordingly, it is important to be close to our customers. Here in the region and far beyond. With the expansion, we are creating the prerequisites for this: We intend to develop the Wetzlar site into an instruction and training center. As a sales and service location, we will be serving Belgium and the Netherlands in addition to Germany, Austria and Switzerland. We will get a lot going in the years to come.
»Being innovative is one of the most important impulses we can give from here.«
Stefan Uwe Best
W3+: That means, the new building will open up new possibilities for you to grow further?
Stefan Uwe Best: Exactly. Initially, we will use two floors in the three-story building – with an option to take up the third floor in the long term. With that, we are creating room which we’ll require in prospect. And there, we will also have the technical infrastructure to increase our potentials even further. The expanse of the current showroom will double in the new building. Core piece will be the center of competence with elaborate air conditioning technology for high-precision alignment turning as well as state-of-the-art bonding technology. Here, we will be able to develop and devise entirely particular measuring and inspection systems – from the first concept to assembly group prototypes. We can carry out commissioned measurements directly at site and maybe it will even be possible to produce small batch series on customers’ orders in the near future. The service department will be enlarged, there will be a high rack warehouse for key components and spare parts allowing us to operate and react even more efficiently.
W3+: That is an additional value mainly for the benefit of your customers, isn’t it?
Christian Veit: Yes. Take a look at the manufacturing processes and products in the sectors automotive or aerospace and astronautics, in semiconductor or medical engineering - there are hardly any customers contending themselves with standard solutions. This is a development which has to do in particular with the increasing requirements in various fields of high technology. At the same time, everything has to be done faster. Zero defects and maximum reliability are quasi presumed. We want to assist our customers in that as best as we can: with customer specific solutions and stellar service.
W3+: The region of Wetzlar is one of the most significant optics centers not only in Germany. Do you also benefit specifically from the existing concentration of expertise in the optical industry here?
Stefan Uwe Best: Absolutely. It is not by chance that we are here. And the investment into the new building is an absolute commitment to the location. I have known TRIOPTICS for more than twenty years. The managing board has always regarded the industrial regions Wetzlar and Central Hesse as an extraordinary cluster of expertise when it comes to optics and metrology. Yet, the involvement of TRIOPTICS is not restricted to existing and potential customers only. We keep in touch with the companies to the same extent as with the universities. By now, we are also cooperating closely with the Optics Center Wetzlar.
W3+: How closely are you interlinked with the company headquarters in Wedel?
Stefan Uwe Best: We coordinate on all operative and strategical matters, of course, and we keep in intense dialogue with them. But we also feel a little like a company within the company. We consider it our task to act on our own initiative when it comes to developing ideas from the requirements of the customers. Being innovative is one of the most important impulses we can give from here.
W3+: Which technology and business sectors have the greatest potential for innovation in your opinion?
About 70 percent of centration measuring technology is down to the software; this is where actual innovations take place. What makes us stand out is the combined expertise in the fields of technical optics, precision engineering, automation, and software development. All of that goes toward designing and cross-linking processes efficiently. As for business sectors, the automobile industry and microelectronics play a huge part because there is a great demand for innovations which can be transferred to other areas or industrial branches owing to the extremely high standards. What is currently most exciting is the so-called Active Alignment which is geared towards carrying out measuring and alignment processes not in series but simultaneously. Given the progressing complexity and precision of, say, optical or photonic systems, this will allow laying out manufacturing processes in a considerably more efficient and more cost-effective way.
W3+: That sounds like there is more to come. Are you looking forward to the relocation?
Stefan Uwe Best: To be honest: We can hardly wait. It is a well-known fact that craftspeople and building materials have become hard to come by in the course of this year. This has also left a mark on our building project. We hope that the new building will be ready to move in by the turn of the year so that we’ll be able to relocate successively. It is planned to open the center of competence with the showroom in January. We are looking forward to that so much!
TRIOPTICS GmbH is an internationally oriented enterprise with headquarters in Wedel, Germany. Worldwide, TRIOPTICS offers the most extensive scope of optical measuring, inspecting and manufacturing technology for development, quality assurance and production. Since September 2020, TRIOPTICS has been part of the photonics corporation Jenoptik.