40 years of service – A long way together

Andreas presents Bernd with the certificate for his 40 years of service. Andreas holds the certificate into the camera and Bernd holds a bouquet of flowers in his hand. They both look into the camera.

In a fast-paced era defined by change, Bernd embodies the exact opposite. Last year, he celebrated 40 years of service with Pepperl+Fuchs. And he has never even considered changing jobs. That makes this a good time to look back.

Bernd first entered the Pepperl+Fuchs premises in Mannheim on a Wednesday morning. It was September 1, 1983, and he was starting an apprenticeship as a mechanic in the mechanics’ workshop. “I was 16 years old, and it was the first time I had ever been inside an industrial facility. I was really impressed by the machines,” he recalls with a smile, thinking back to his first few days. “Everything was very exciting, since I got to learn about many new things. But I was given a warm welcome, which made things easy for me, and it wasn’t long before I felt right at home.”

He has continued feeling that way to this day. After completing his apprenticeship, Bernd was offered a position building exhibits in the trade fair shop. Planning, designing, building – the perfect fit for him. “Our goal with an exhibit is to familiarize trade fair attendees with one of our products. And since multiple products are presented at the booth, of course, we don’t have much room for each single exhibit. So I really have to think carefully about how to show everything that a product can do in a limited space,” Bernd explains. “I consider the design, the mechanics, which materials would be best to use, which additional components I might have to order, and how I can make the exhibit as intuitive and easy to use as possible. I work with a great team, and I really enjoy working with my colleagues.” 

Bernd is celebrating his 40 years of service and has already built many exhibits for Pepperl+Fuchs. Here he is currently constructing an exhibit. You can see a spiral that gets smaller towards the top, with lots of QR codes on it.
Bernd constructing an exhibit.

40 years of service… bored?

Has he ever gotten bored? Not once in all these years, Bernd says. “How could I? The company has continued to grow and evolve over all these years, developing an ever broader portfolio with new and different products. I have to get a feel for them all over again each time. The materials have also changed,  as have the manufacturing methods used for the exhibits. Just take the work steps alone, for example. I used to order additional materials from a traditional printed catalog. These days, I do that online in just a few clicks. When I started here, there was maybe a single light on one of our exhibit pieces,” Wenz says with a smile. “We’re dealing with Industry 4.0 nowadays.” And the number of trade fair appearances has risen during this time as well. “In the early days, we built exhibits for about 30 trade shows a year. Now it’s around 70. We even used to build our own booths in some cases. We don’t do that anymore, of course.” Even so, Bernd still goes to many of the fairs today. He checks whether the exhibits have arrived safe and sound, because he knows them like the back of his hand. Has he ever thought about changing jobs? No. He has never even considered it: “I loved building with Lego as a kid, and now I build exhibits at Pepperl+Fuchs. It’s a perfect fit!”

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