Exclusive MedtecLIVE 2024

Heads of the industry: A portrait of Bernd Block

Emotions, empathy and drive: Dr. Bernd Block is a global industry manager for medical technology at Trumpf Laser- und Systemtechnik AG in Ditzingen. His career is characterized by a multifaceted academic career. But for Block, his work is more than just a job - it is his passion.

Technician at heart

 Bernd Block's academic journey began with a degree in general mechanical engineering at Clausthal University of Technology, where he specialized in durability and design. "It was a small university, few people, but a lot of close teamwork," Block recalls. "I had no contact with medical technology during my studies. But I gained valuable international experience through stays in Helsinki and Nottingham as well as internships at renowned companies such as DaimlerChrysler," says Block. This diversity and internationality of mechanical engineering fascinated him and shaped his openness to new topics and tasks.

"The laser is the greatest and most beautiful tool for me"

So after graduating, he worked as a research assistant at the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V., where he initially focused on laser material processing in rail, vehicle and aircraft construction. "My first project there was welding railroad carriages, which was something completely different. And yet this experience laid the foundation for my later specialization in medical technology." It was there that Bernd Block was able to realize his interest in technological challenges and longer-term projects. He is fascinated by mechanical engineering: because the possibilities are endless and the range of tasks so diverse.

From mechanical engineering to saving lives

"Most of my fellow students ended up in vehicle construction, that was the obvious choice. But I always had the feeling I wanted to do something else."  For Block, the personal motivation to help people was the focus of his work early on. He appreciates the high demands placed on the quality of products in medical technology and loves the technological challenges when developing such products. Openness to new ideas, honesty and transparency as well as team spirit and interdisciplinary collaboration are important principles for him. "I always wanted to do things that are not written in textbooks. Things to which others would say: no, that's not possible." 

Block's doctoral supervisor at the time, Professor Haferkamp at the University of Hanover, promoted the merging of medicine and mechanical engineering and, according to Block, brought biomedical engineering to Hanover. And it was through these contacts that Block received an offer from Cortronik GmbH, part of the Biotronik Group. "I thought I always wanted to work on the Baltic Sea, right at the beach in Warnemünde. Why not?" This led to 15 years at the company, where Block initially worked in materials technology and in the testing laboratory. Quickly, he ended up in process development and participated in a major project, developing resorbable coronary stents made of magnesium alloys. "This project was once in a lifetime, there had never been anything like it before," says Block. According to him, a large part of the production technology in this project was developed in-house at Cortronik and there were no test procedures for this product yet. "So we did everything ourselves at the site, from development to the finished product. I was very grateful to be able to accompany such a long-term development through to approval."

During this professional challenge, his team and Cortronik have received awards such as the Biotronik Automation Award 2018 and the Technology Award of the State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. These awards are the result of his dedicated work on innovative medical technologies, in particular his involvement in the development of the coronary stent.

Another hit on his hands 

After 15 years of intensive work at Cortronik, the industry manager took the bold step of taking on new challenges at Trumpf Laser- und Systemtechnik AG. The prospect of applying his expertise and passion for medical technology in a new environment motivated him.

"Laser technology is what my heart beats for. I had to open the next door and try something new." In 2021, Block has found a new home at Trumpf, where he can continue to build on his many years of expertise. As industry manager for medical technologies, he is involved in the implementation of innovative solutions in the field of laser and system technology. His activities include business and strategy development and working with an international team of professionals to consolidate and expand Trumpf's position as a leading supplier in the industry. Under his leadership, various projects are being driven forward to improve healthcare worldwide: He analyzes trends in medical technology, fine-tunes technical solutions with his teams and continues to expand the industry’s network. Bernd Block's commitment and expertise have been actively and creatively shaping the future of the medtech industry at Trumpf for three years now.

Big RGB-DSC02182.jpg (1.8 MB)Bernd Block (right) and colleague Michael Pfüller (left) in application development ©Trumpf System- und Lasertechnik AG 

Successful together

Values such as teamwork and a passion for his work are of the utmost importance to Block. "I can only achieve this kind of performance as a team, it's like a soccer match. Only if everyone works together, with a clear goal in mind, it will work. And that's what fascinates me." He always focuses on his love for his work. He is not only driven by success, but above all by joy and the opportunity to make a positive contribution to society. His dedication and enthusiasm for developing innovative medical technologies make him an inspiring role model for his team and colleagues in the industry. "For example, when I sit in a restaurant and see the staff interacting well and having fun, I feel much calmer. And when I'm at a party, I joyously talk about what I'm doing. It's not cars or weapons, no, we're helping people here."

Bernd Block is not only an expert in his field, he also sees himself as a translator between the technology and the company, who continues to push the boundaries of medical technology with passion and commitment. As part of the MedtecLIVE exhibitor advisory board, Block says: "Let's use the trade fair as a kind of living room with a feel-good atmosphere - as a contact area for the industry. If Trumpf invites people, it means everyone is invited."