We don’t normally get to see Littelfuse’s products. And yet there’s hardly any electronic device that doesn’t require components from this global market leader. The European headquarters of the US firm are located in Bremen. And they’re far more than just a sales office.
The European head office in Bremen doubles as a Littelfuse research centre. It specialises in fuses and sensors. “We test vehicle fuses under different conditions, among other things,” says Jürgen Scheele, Managing Director of Littelfuse Europe GmbH. For example, our laboratory staff carry out tests in climatic chambers where they subject components to frost and strong heat. One of the chambers can also create vibrations to simulate drive cycles in combination with temperature changes. “For prototypes it is particularly important to be able to eliminate all possible sources of faults,” he explains. Littelfuse also tests products on behalf of its customers, and for other companies.
The US corporation’s customers span a range of different sectors and countries. Many devices are already using sensors nowadays – and with the Internet of Things their number is only likely to increase. From systems suppliers for vehicle manufacturers to the automotive industry itself, the telecommunications sector and power generators – to name but a few – Littelfuse offers them all a diverse product range. That also brings certain other advantages. The research and development work in one sector can trigger advances in other areas. Such as automotive sensor technology, which is responsible for temperature control, being used in buildings to achieve, for example, efficient cooling and reduced energy consumption.
Jürgen Scheele was born in Bremen. After studying electrical engineering in the city, the managing director of Littelfuse Europe worked for a company in Dünsen that produced vehicle fuses, which was taken over by the US firm. Scheele stayed with the new corporation, but crossed the Atlantic for a while, moving to Chicago for a year in 2007 to work for the company there. He also spent some time working in China and Lithuania, gathering even more international experience. The main focus of his work is on sensor technology; these days he is responsible for this area across the whole group.
In September 2011, Littelfuse Europe GmbH moved from Dünsen in Lower Saxony to Bremen. “For us, the better infrastructure in Bremen was the decisive factor for the move,” says Scheele. The company was able to find suitable premises with the help of Bremeninvest and commercial real estate agent Robert C. Spies. The European headquarters is now located in the district of Habenhausen. Scheele took over the management of Littelfuse Europe GmbH in August 2017.
In 2017, Littelfuse celebrated its 90th anniversary. But the company is anything but old-fashioned. It is a global market leader in circuit protection, power control and sensing platforms – and that means always having to stay right at the cutting edge of technology. Littelfuse achieves this through specialised research centres, and through ongoing development of its own internal experts. The company also grows by taking over other innovative firms, such as the automotive sensor specialists Hamlin in 2013.
For Littelfuse, being at the cutting edge includes offering employees a modern working environment and a good work-life balance. “Like many of my employees, I often telework from home,” explains Scheele. This requires a certain level of trust, but it’s the end result that counts. “Many of my colleagues have phone conferences with business partners in Asia or North America,” adds Eva Heumann, who is responsible for marketing and communication at Littelfuse Europe GmbH. “Due to the time difference it may be necessary for them to work early in the morning or late at night. In that case it is incredibly helpful to be able to arrange your working time flexibly and to work from home.” It also makes it easier for parents to balance work and family life effectively.
We are looking for the best people – no matter where they are.
Jürgen Scheele, Managing Director of Littelfuse Europe GmbH
Littelfuse doesn’t just offer teleworking in and around Bremen. “We have some employees who don’t live in the Bremen region, some even live abroad,” says the managing director. There are around 30 people working in Bremen, but Littelfuse Europe GmbH has about 60 employees in total. This level of flexibility is not appropriate for every job, however. “Our laboratory technicians can’t work from home, of course,” says Scheele with a smile. Many employees prefer to work in the office anyway, because it allows them to communicate directly with their colleagues. And personal interaction is very important too, at the European headquarters of Littelfuse in Bremen.
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