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Shaping the Future: Your All-Around Partner

Director Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Stefan Haas, CEO TUV AUSTRIA HOLDING AG (Credit: Gerhard Zahalka, Standlaufbild.at)
Director Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Stefan Haas, CEO TUV AUSTRIA HOLDING AG (Credit: Gerhard Zahalka, Standlaufbild.at)

More than 1.500 experts of TÜV AUSTRIA Group are committed to our clients in over 40 countries.

Our tailor-made services in 270 areas embrace industrial services, inspection, monitoring, certification, IT security, insurance services and training.

TÜV AUSTRIA Group's international focus and the multitude of national and international accreditations make TÜV AUSTRIA your competent, secure and dependable partner.

To put it in the words of Nobel Peace Prize Winner Willy Brandt: "The best way to predict the future is to shape it yourself."

Director Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Stefan Haas


Dr. Stefan Haas, CEO TÜV AUSTRIA, on energy efficiency, Industry 4.0 and innovation.
Dr. Stefan Haas, CEO TÜV AUSTRIA, on energy efficiency, Industry 4.0 and innovation.

Stefan Haas, CEO of the TÜV AUSTRIA Group, on TÜV’s new role as “midwife” in the development of industrial technologies and on the necessity of taking energy efficiency seriously.

by Alexander Kohl, Business People
Translated by Caroline Wellner

The history of TÜV AUSTRIA began 143 years ago with the founding of the “Dampfkesseluntersuchungs- und Versicherungsgesellschaft” [Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company]. A lot has happened since then …

That’s true. TÜV AUSTRIA was founded during the first Industrial Revolution. The idea was for us to act as an advisor to industry during development because in the early days of steam technology it experienced some difficulties. The new trend these days is “Industry 4.0”; we were active even during “Industry 1.0”.

What is the company’s role today? Something like “TÜV 4.0”?

We have long since gone beyond testing, monitoring and inspection. We want to act as advisors to technological development. Industry 4.0 is currently emerging. There are as yet no standards or regulations in accordance with which to perform tests, they are only just in the process of being established. But we don’t want to wait that long. We want to be there right from the start to meet the challenges involved.

Can you specify the nature of these challenges?

On the one hand, the idea of Industry 4.0 offers considerable advantages in terms of flexibility thanks to networked production. On the other hand, the system as a whole becomes more exposed. As a result, we have to discuss matters of security on a whole new level. Since the Stuxnet virus in 2010 at the latest, we know that industrial control systems are just as vulnerable to attacks from outside.

Imagine what would happen in a completely networked production chain when one element in this chain suffered extended disruption due to a hacker attack or industrial espionage. Production is exposed to dramatically higher levels of risk these days. And we have to be proactive in counteracting this risk.

At the moment, industry is engrossed in the 4.0 hype. What is the level of awareness regarding IT security?

In my opinion, it is not given adequate consideration but we have to keep a watchful eye on the matter: a fully automated production site is simply heaven for hackers. Many of them will try to get in there – and some will succeed. Sometimes with catastrophic consequences. This is why we have to address the subject from a conceptual point of view, starting with the first link of the development chain. Besides IT security, there is also the factor of physical safety. As with the latest human-machine assemblies, for example. These innovations are fascinating: ultra-heavy loads are lifted by robots while a human performs precision assembly work on a different part of the workpiece. There used to be separate secure areas. Now they are merging. This means that much higher levels of safety will have to be guaranteed than today.

Which measures does TÜV AUSTRIA take to provide for these new levels?

We want to act as midwives for the necessary technologies. This also applies to communication standards. We must keep in mind that the fully automated machines have to communicate with each other. The main question at the moment is how and according to which parameters. There is an ongoing standardisation dispute between US American and German companies. Regardless of who will define the standard in the end, matters of IT security will have to be considered from the start. We will act as observers and make sure that this criterion is met.

What are the weakest spots in a fully automated production plant and what can entrepreneurs do to prevent a possible attack?

All objects in a production plant need to be clearly identified if they are to work together flexibly: machine, workpiece, raw material – each object must be locatable and identifiable, for example by attributing individual IP addresses to them. But today this also means: vulnerability. A production system therefore needs to be designed in a way that prevents security gaps right from the start: by integrating relevant mechanisms, by preferential use of internal networks, by requesting logs, etc.

When do you expect the global breakthrough of 4.0?

I don’t believe that there will be an all-encompassing revolution, as many assume. It will be an evolutionary change. I don’t expect companies to manufacture their products in an entirely different way ten years from now. But some aspects of 4.0 will be applied by then. It’s industry’s age-old dream of a lot size “one”. The dream of all lean-management experts is to achieve production efficiency for each individual customer without cost disadvantage. Industry 4.0 is the means to get there. This is why this “(r)evolution” cannot be stopped.

A further topic currently under discussion among representatives of domestic industry and commerce is “energy efficiency”. The new relevant law is intended to pave the way for it in Austria ...

Yes, that’s the plan, but allow me to interject: I am very sceptical whether that law is the proper stimulus to achieve this.


The issue is being addressed from the wrong angle in Austria. It would be important for companies to become aware of the potential inherent in energy efficiency. I have worked in industry for many years and I know that dealing with this subject can act as a substantial trigger: millions of euros can be saved by making comparatively small expenditures. When this is forced on market participants, I fear that many will concentrate solely on observing the laws and updating verifications instead of actively utilising the potential.

There are still some further uncertainties regarding the Energy Efficiency Act (Energieeffizienz-Gesetz – EEffG). Both the guideline regulation and the competent monitoring body have yet to be determined …

True. We get many inquiries on this subject from various branches of industry. We at TÜV AUSTRIA will assist our customers in implementing the law. But we suspect that entrepreneurs will be less concerned with actually saving energy than with meeting the requirements of the EEffG to the last detail. It’s worth taking a look at Germany in this context. The topic has been dealt with very differently by industry there, they are really fighting for it. The legislative body has acted more decisively and created much more awareness for energy efficiency. Unfortunately, Austria lags behind in this respect.

Where is the place to start saving energy in a classical business?

There are countless ways to approach the subject. All production cycles can be improved: waste heat, motors, supply chains. Lighting is also an issue – especially the use of daylight. Last but not least, fleet management is a factor as well. In the production industry, the most significant aspect is often neglected, however: product design. How much energy can be saved by slight adaptations to the product? This is well worth taking a closer look. We are happy to be there for our customers from the beginning in this respect as well, given that there is room for the most groundbreaking innovations particularly in this area.

A renowned engineer, Dr. Stefan Haas, CEO TÜV AUSTRIA Group, is the recipient of the Lower Austrian Innovation Prize and, among other things, the European Railroad Award for the development of a linear eddy current brake.
A renowned engineer, Dr. Stefan Haas, CEO TÜV AUSTRIA Group, is the recipient of the Lower Austrian Innovation Prize and, among other things, the European Railroad Award for the development of a linear eddy current brake.
Prof. Wilhelm Exner was one of the founding fathers of the "Mutual Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company" in 1872 that has evolved into today's multi-national TÜV AUSTRIA Group. Click to play video about the history of TÜV AUSTRIA Group.
Prof. Wilhelm Exner was one of the founding fathers of the "Mutual Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company" in 1872 that has evolved into today's multi-national TÜV AUSTRIA Group. Click to play video about the history of TÜV AUSTRIA Group.

Dr. Stefan Haas, CEO TÜV AUSTRIA, talks to engineers at the TÜV AUSTRIA Testing Center in Vienna.
Dr. Stefan Haas, CEO TÜV AUSTRIA, talks to engineers at the TÜV AUSTRIA Testing Center in Vienna.
TÜV AUSTRIA CEO Dr. Stefan Haas (r) is shown a training laboratory at the TÜV AUSTRIA-OMV Academy Weinviertel in Lower Austria. Photo: Rainer Hackstock.
TÜV AUSTRIA CEO Dr. Stefan Haas (r) is shown a training laboratory at the TÜV AUSTRIA-OMV Academy Weinviertel in Lower Austria. Photo: Rainer Hackstock.

Developed by TÜV AUSTRIA Group subsidiary TÜV TRUST IT, the AppChecker validates mobile applications for corporate use.
Developed by TÜV AUSTRIA Group subsidiary TÜV TRUST IT, the AppChecker validates mobile applications for corporate use.

TÜV AUSTRIA is redefining its image. By awarding its second science prize, TÜV AUSTRIA wants to set an example in the Austrian innovation landscape – not least to position itself on a broader basis than the inspection and certification body is commonly associated with.

Stefan Haas, CEO of TÜV AUSTRIA Holding since March 2013, explained in an interview with APA-Science why the company – despite offering around 300 services – is still mainly linked in the public mind to the certificate issued for mandatory inspections of motor vehicles, and how it intends to substitute its once “state-owned nature” with a more modern image.

By Mario Wasserfaller, APA-Science
Translated by Caroline Wellner

Even though the annual inspection of cars according to §57a of the Austrian Motor Vehicles Act, which is commonly referred to as “Pickerl” [sticker] in Austria, only accounts for less than one per cent of TÜV AUSTRIA’s turnover, the association “TÜV = Pickerl” remains fixed in people’s minds. “This comes from Germany, where the regularly recurring inspection of vehicles is done by the TÜVs and the Dekras (note: also certified inspection companies)”, Haas explained the different situation compared to Austria, where virtually every car repair shop is authorised to carry out the abovementioned inspection. The fact that TÜV AUSTRIA is an independent enterprise in terms of company law and shares only the name with the various German Technische Überwachungsvereine [Technical Inspection Associations], does not seem to have penetrated the minds of Austrian consumers either.


Historical roots

Some of the confusion is based on the common historical roots of the TÜVs, according to Haas. In the course of the 19th-century industrial revolution, devastating steam boiler explosions resulting in many casualties and collapsed buildings demonstrated the necessity of independent inspection institutes “in order to safely control the then still relatively new and dangerous technology”. In Austria, the “Dampfkesseluntersuchungs- und Versicherungsgesellschaft auf Gegenseitigkeit” [Mutual Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company] was founded in 1872. At around the same time, relevant institutes were established in centres of industry in Germany, which gradually expanded their expertise from boilers to various other fields of technology, including cars.

After the “Anschluss” of Austria to Nazi Germany, the Austrian Inspection Company was integrated into the German one, and so there was only one German TÜV at that time. After the Second World War the organisation was restructured, but the brand name remained.

“Since that time, the German TÜVs only share the name with the Austrian TÜV”, Haas pointed out. The individual TÜVs have since been in “rather intense” competition with one another.

Dual strategy

Generating an annual turnover of 120 million euros with a staff of over 1,100, TÜV AUSTRIA now pursues a dual strategy. “The first priority is to continue to strengthen and expand our position in the domestic market. The second key area is international expansion, where we plan to further exploit the opportunities for growth provided by the international market”, according to Haas. TÜV AUSTRIA is already active in 26 countries, “and the number keeps growing”. One aspect of the international subsidiaries is to offer comprehensive support to Austrian businesses in their expansion efforts abroad.

It is important for Haas to communicate TÜV AUSTRIA’s actual range of services and to dispel various myths about it. Before the EU liberalised the market, testing and inspection services were regulated “more or less monopolistically”, which appears to have manifested in the public mind to this day. “But this hasn’t been the case for a long time now”, Haas emphasised. He asserted that TÜV AUSTRIA has undergone a dramatic change from a state-owned monopolist body to a company competing in the free market.

Lifts and “AppChecker”

The company’s portfolio comprises around 300 services, with some 400,000 technical inspections being performed every year.

The main focus, which used to be on testing lifts, pressure equipment, lifting and conveyor units, is constantly expanded by new fields, such as biomedical engineering, for example.

Moreover, a broad range of services is now available on the subject of IT security, including so-called penetration analyses, i.e. the “planned and permitted” hacking of corporate networks or smartphones for the purpose of detecting weak points. A special service called “AppChecker” has been created for the testing of smartphone applications, for example.

Up to a certain point, Haas sympathises with the repeated criticism voiced by industry regarding the torrent of standards, mandatory certifications and inspections of their machinery. On the other hand, the situation has “significantly improved” as a result of EU-internal market liberalisation and the concomitantly increased competition, not least because of the associated drop in price levels: “The kinds of services we perform used to be regulated monopolistically, meaning that industrial companies had only one provider. There was a fees regulation and that was it, prices were correspondingly high.”

An additional factor is the consumers’ need for protection, their demand for safe products that work. “And it’s up to the legislative body, in Austria as well as in the EU, to draw up corresponding regulations in the interest of consumers. Because the interests of consumers are not the same as the interests of industry”, according to Haas.

Processes put to the test

But not only industry, TÜV AUSTRIA itself is obliged to continue developing further and to uphold the standards.

New test procedures are researched on a regular basis, e.g. regarding the non-destructive testing of vessels in a less time-consuming way.

“We have been extremely active in this area over the last couple of years, and we consider it our social mandate to support innovation as a whole and, most of all, to help create an innovation-friendly climate.”

Research and development are ever present in Haas’ personal biography: as an assistant at the (TU), and in his jobs with the (CDG) and Knorr-Bremse.

Dr. Stefan Haas received the Lower Austrian Innovation Prize and, among other things, the for the development of a linear eddy current brake.

As satisfying as the process of innovating and recognition for it may be, Haas is aware that a science prize like the one awarded by TÜV AUSTRIA will not “turn the research community upside down”. But it serves to demonstrate “that even an independent company considers it important to provide a platform for young researchers, young engineers, and wants to honour outstanding achievements so as to elevate the status of innovation in the public mind”.

Non-academic trigger

While Austria has recently caught up somewhat concerning its research quota, the subject “should be even more important to us than in the past”. Haas considers non-academic research, especially in industry, an essential trigger, as it has a double benefit: “That kind of research is swiftly implemented in new products and services, which in turn contributes to the Austrian economy’s continued success in the global market. Tax incentives for companies to spend money accordingly are a very important topic, I believe.”

Personally, Haas would welcome closer cooperation between industry, private and university research facilities, as is the case in the USA, for example. “The closer the link between industry and universities, the better the results regarding the research quota, which in turn is highly important for the economy”, the expert remarked.

According to him, there are two sides to the current shortage of qualified employees in many industrial countries: “On the one hand, it’s a sign that job opportunities for qualified personnel exist, which could be taken as a positive sign. But in reality it’s a negative sign, because it means that supply and demand are not in balance.”

Haas locates one problem in the low appeal of technical education for youths, which may also be linked to the social status of such qualified employees – and for which science prizes could in turn serve as additional motivation.

Specialized Competence

Profound experience, education and continuous training render TÜV AUSTRIA with its more than 1,300 mostly technical employees a competent partner in all matters regarding technical safety, quality and environmental protection. Because of its participation in numerous national and international committees and its relevant research activities TÜV AUSTRIA on top of the latest developments.

Impartiality / Integrity

TÜV AUSTRIA is strictly independent of any interest groups such as authorities, industry, trade, operators or any other parties.

Worldwide recognition

The documents issued by TÜV AUSTRIA are highly recognized in and outside the European Community as well as in some overseas countries. For our customers this is the guarantee for legitimacy and acceptance by economy, authorities and the public in general.

EU Testing Body

Manufacturers can also turn to TÜV AUSTRIA for EU approval procedures.

Customized service packages

By employing TÜV Austria for a row of tasks synergy effects and consequently economically more attractive all-round-packages can be achieved.

High availability

The services carried out by TÜV AUSTRIA do not depend on single persons. Teams of competent experts guarantee high availability.

Quality-assured services

TÜV AUSTRIA's organisation and quality management ensure standardized procedures within the scope of services, independent by which division or subsidiary they are carried out.

International Network

TÜV AUSTRIA offers its clients in Austria comprehensive service coverage across the entire country. Internationally, TÜV AUSTRIA Group pursues focus regions: from Egypt to Singapore, TÜV AUSTRIA clients benefit from the group's tight network of branch offices and representations.

Measuring and Testing Equipment

TÜV AUSTRIA has a multitude of the latest high-quality and calibrated measuring and testing equipment at its disposal in its two testing centres in Austria (Vienna and Wels) as well as on site.

One All-Purpose Partner

The four business sectors Industry & Energy, Infrastructure & Transportation, Life, Training & Certification and Service Providers & Public reflect the global markets, enable TÜV AUSTRIA to better serve the needs of customers from all industries. Whether property managers, energy companies, banks or food producers, whether testing, supporting, or training – depending on the requirements, one contact partner will advise the customer about the various offerings within the portfolio of TÜV AUSTRIA and tie these to an overarching package solution.

(C) Fotolia

Environmental protection combined with sensible use of energy and natural resources has become one of today's central challenges. These aims define the future and quality of life for the next generations.

Industry, mobility and environmental protection must not particularly be contradictive. This depends on integral reflections on technologies, their consequences and the public acceptance.

The complexity of the specialized subjects and the related regulations constitute highest requirements for all those involved. These are equally relevant for the legislation and authorities, but especially for industry with regard to supplying the necessary financial means.

Integral Solutions

The way to lasting and responsible solutions is not always easy, though. Tomorrow's challenge lies with new, integrated solutions, that protect the environment and natural resources and at the same time improve technological and economic competitiveness. The essential requirements in this field could be paraphrased with catchwords such as "sustainable development" and "clean technology".

On the basis of clear legal structures, authorizations as well as technical and personnel conditions TÜV Austria offers an equally broad and profound scope of services.

Many Years of Experience

TÜV AUSTRIA has also gained extensive know-how and many years of experience in the environmental sector. Reference projects reach from the environmental audit and certification of environmental management systems for an Austrian paper mill and Chrysler Eurostar to environmental certificates for power stations in Austria and abroad.

No matter whether OMV, Voest Linz or Swarovski, TÜV AUSTRIA reduces environmental protection and economic interests to a common denominator.

For TUV AUSTRIA the customer benefit always comes first. Service for our customers has top priority and is based on our high competence in solving any kind of problem, on our communicative abilities and our impartiality. We stand for expert advice, know-how and profound knowledge of how to minimize risks and problems. Furthermore, we attach major importance to safety and availability of installations and devices. TUV Austria makes sure that technical process and inventive genius are made use of and are accepted for the benefit of society. TUV AUSTRIA plays a leading role in the field of safety, quality and saving natural resources.

Therefore, TUV AUSTRIA Group can offer custom-made services in the field of testing, inspection, certification, advice and training in almost every sector.

Experience in Figures

The high degree of experience that TÜV AUSTRIA has gained can be demonstrated best in the form of figures. Among many other items, TÜV AUSTRIA regularly inspects about 90.000 medical devices, equally 60.000 lifts as well as other lifting devices and 300.000 pressure devices (steam boilers, pressure vessels, bottles, fixtures etc.). The scope of tested subjects reaches from small motorcycles to vehicles carrying hazardous goods, from belts to track ropes for cableways, from children's bicycles to roller coasters, from go-carts to ambulances, from pressure cookers to large power stations, from liquid gas tanks to oil refineries, from single-use gloves to operating room equipment and from mobile chandeliers to stage machinery.

TÜV AUSTRIA's numerous specialists operate worldwide.

A brief history of TÜV AUSTRIA Group

Steam engines were in frequent use back then, and the considerable risks that came with it were equally common: Europe-wide statistics recorded three deaths per day caused by steam boiler explosions. Reasons were mostly technical flaws and inexperienced, badly trained personnel.

On June 11th 1872 representatives of the industry and technical experts convened to establish the „Dampfkessel-untersuchungs- und Versicherungsgesellschaft auf Gegenseitigkeit“ [Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company].

The “Dampfkesseluntersuchungs- und Versicherungs-Gesellschaft” [Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company] was established, which inspected 3,000 boilers in the first three years alone – a milestone in operational safety, and a number that was to increase considerably in the years to come: today, 300,000 items of pressure equipment (steam boilers, pressure vessels, bottles and fittings) are being constantly monitored.


Market leader TÜV AUSTRIA: Lift inspections since 1905

Another early sphere of activity was the inspection of lift systems, which has been carried out for industrial firms since 1905. Ultimately, it is thanks to these early inspections that the use of lifts is commonplace and completely safe nowadays. Over 85,000 inspections of lift systems were carried out in 2010.Today, TÜV AUSTRIA is the market leader and the largest independent inspection, control and certification corporation in Austria.


Internationalisation: TÜV AUSTRIA from a global perspective

The TÜV AUSTRIA Group is internationally recognised and active all over the world.

Internationalisation began in 1994 with the foundation of TÜV AUSTRIA Hellas Ltd in Greece, which today is very successful in the areas of photovoltaics, food safety and management system certifications.

In Italy, TÜV AUSTRIA is the market leader in acoustic emission analysis, in Germany it is the number two in expert’s parts reports in the motor vehicle/automotive sector. Growth markets for TÜV AUSTRIA are, among others, China, India, the Republic of Korea, Libya, Portugal and Spain. The TÜV AUSTRIA Group consists of 25 companies in more than 30 countries. Around 500 of the 1,300 employees in total are not from Austria.


People have put their trust in TÜV AUSTRIA for 140 years

Today, TÜV AUSTRIA is active in around 300 fields. New services are continually added and expanded based on customer requirements. TÜV AUSTRIA provides support to many companies on their path to internationalisation – around 60 percent of TÜV AUSTRIA’s activities have changed since 1994.

Demand for TÜV AUSTRIA’s services is especially high in the following fields: IT security, management system certifications in the areas of quality and environment, preventive plant safety (e.g. chemical plants or refineries) and acoustic emission analyses.

TÜV AUSTRIA is highly acknowledged by businesses, the authorities and the public. Because TÜV AUSTRIA is independent and has no business relationships or relationships of dependence with the authorities, industry, commerce, trade, operators or any other parties.


People are the priority: training/further training and passing on knowledge

Customer benefit comes first for TÜV AUSTRIA. Customer care is the top priority, based on a high level of problem-solving and communication skills as well as objectivity. This is why we attach great importance to the training and further training of our employees. It is absolutely necessary to keep the entire company up to date, both in terms of staff and in regard to machinery, laboratories and test equipment.



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