SABC Spring Newsletter 2015
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In this Newsletter:

SABC Resource Guide: Welcome to The Midwest!

SABC Annual Meeting at Rollomatic Inc. Mundelein, Il

Welcome New SABC Board Members

Welcome New SABC Corporate Members

Andreas Holder, Broker  

UBS: Financing your home to fit the rest of your life

Herrmann Ultrasonics, Inc. celebrates its 25th

GF Machining Solutions

BIG Kaiser Celebrates 25 Years of Quality, Innovation and Performance

Company profile of Wandfluh of America, Inc.

What does the “ FRACHT Group “ have to do with the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships

Bircher America Launches New Ad Campaign

Singing the winter blues?

The Swiss Center of North America

Saengerfest 2015 in New Glarus, Wisconsin

New Requirements to Report U.S. Investments and Expansions

Past SABC Events 2015

Dear SABC Members & Friends,

The Swiss American Business Council is proud to present
its newsletter for its members and friends. SABC members can submit contributions for the newsletter to:
SABC Resource Guide: Welcome to The Midwest!
Dear SABC Member,
The SABC has kicked off our newest initiative called the Welcome to the Midwest – Resource Guide.  The purpose of the resource guide is to provide contacts and information useful for Swiss Executives/Companies (or others) coming to the area, or who are already here.  Resources, such as legal advisory, real estate, executive recruiting, location services, insurance, schools, etc., all can be very important as a company or an executive relocates.
Promotion of this guide will be offered through the Swiss government offices in the US (Embassy/Consulates), Swiss trade associations in Switzerland, and other relevant networks.  A web page and app are planned as well, including having a gatekeeping system to protect the resources from spam, and other malicious items but yet allowing for easy access by those interested.
Submissions should be sent to and should include address, telephone, e-mail, contact name, and a 75 word description of the service provided.
Deadline for submissions is April 15th, 2015.
Swiss American Business Council SABC
Annual Meeting at Rollomatic Inc., Mundelein, IL

The Board of Directors of the SABC have been confirmed at the Annual Meeting of the SABC on March 3, 2015. Please see below the report from Eric Schwarzenbach for more information on the meeting. 

Report from Eric Schwarzenbach,
President of Rollomatic Inc.

The annual meeting of the SABC took place on March 3rd, 2015 at the North American Headquarters of Rollomatic Inc. which is a Swiss-owned machine tool builder specializing in CNC tool and peel grinding machine as well as laser cutting machines.

Representatives from the Swiss Embassy and Swiss-promoting organizations totaled six. From the manufacturing industry ten members attended. Banking, financing and investment accounted for twelve. Two members were from the transport industry and nine from other economic sectors.

Christoph Hasenboehler delivered the keynote speech. He addressed the currency situation of the Swiss Franc which is a pressing concern for many Swiss companies that operate abroad. One of the distinguished guests in attendance was Daniel Freihofer, Minister-Counselor, Head of Economic and Financial Affairs of the Swiss Embassy in Washington, DC.

Keynote speaker Christoph Hasenboehler.

Meeting in the Rollomatic showroom on March 3rd, 2015.
SABC Board of Directors 2015 voted in at Annual Meeting with new Members

At the SABC Annual Meeting 2015, hosted by Rollomatic, the SABC membership voted in the 2015 board of directors. The SABC welcomes new members Joerg Oberschmied, Honorary Consul of Switzerland in Chicago as ex officio board member and Daniel Freihofer, Minister-Counselor, Head of Economic and Financial Affairs, Embassy of Switzerland in the United States of America to its Advisory Committee of the Board. 

Joerg Oberschmied (pictured left) was appointed Honorary Consul of Switzerland in Chicago by Didier Burkhalter, President of the Swiss Confederation, effective July 1, 2014. Joerg Oberschmied says, "For over a hundred years, Swiss companies have contributed to the success and growth of the American economy. Today, Swiss businesses support nearly half a million jobs throughout the US, and Switzerland is the 6th largest investor in the United States. SABC is a contributing factor to this success and I am pleased to join as ex officio board member."

Daniel Freihofer says, "It will be both an honor and pleasure for me to represent the Swiss Embassy in the SABC family and to contribute enhancing SABC’s important role in strengthening the Swiss-US economic relations in the booming Mid-West."

The SABC plans to extend a warm invitation to all Swiss Honorary Consuls in the Midwest to become Ex-officio members of the SABC Advisory Committee.  The purpose is to welcome them involved as well as to keep them informed about the happenings of the SABC and its efforts to create and sustain a strong Swiss-American Business community in the Midwest, especially in light of the closure of the Consulate General of Switzerland in Chicago.  We have also extended this invitation to the Swiss Embassy as well.

Welcome New SABC Corporate Members

Omya Inc. is a leading global producer of industrial minerals, mainly fillers and pigments derived from calcium carbonate and dolomite, and a worldwide distributor of specialty chemicals. Contact for the SABC: Tony Colak, CEO, Omya Inc. More.

GF Machining Solutions is the world’s leading provider of machines, Automation solutions and services to the tool and mold making industry and to manufacturers of precision components. Contact for the SABC: Gisbert Ledvon, Director of Business Development, GF Machining Solutions. More.
Andreas Holder

Broker, KoenigRubloff
Phone 312.893.3560,    

Andreas Holder has a vast knowledge of Gold Coast buildings. Expertise in condominiums and new construction and a career dedicated to luxury-level service, make Andreas the ideal broker for the real estate needs of the most discerning clients.
Those seeking to market or purchase residences in Chicago’s most prestigious buildings will benefit from his exceptional real estate background and will enjoy the highest level of service. More.

Financing your home to fit the rest of your life

By Allen Carter, Executive Director, UBS Financial Services

In today’s investment environment, it’s important to create a financial plan that looks at both sides of your balance sheet—a plan that takes into account your liability side and enables you to access strategic financing solutions that can help you achieve your goals. A great example is choosing the right home financing option that complements your overall financial strategy.

The average person buys a home or refinances a mortgage every 7.5 years. However, with interest rates still near historic lows, you may have a once-in-a- lifetime opportunity to save money by exploring the various mortgage options available to you.

Keep in mind that getting a mortgage is more than a one-time transaction. It’s the type of decision that impacts your life for years to come. Today’s mortgage products are more sophisticated than ever before and with the right advice, you can choose one that works for you today and also complements your long-term financial goals.

Consider how today’s low interest rate environment may help complement your long-term financial goals

Fixed rates vs. variable rates
In this low-rate environment, is it better to choose a fixed rate, variable rate or even an interest-only mortgage? The answer is that it depends on your individual needs and goals. Below you’ll find a few key considerations that can help you make a decision about what’s right for you.

• Fixed rate: With interest rates this low, locking in a fixed rate mortgage may be a rare opportunity that you will want to take advantage of, especially if you plan to live in your home for a longer period of time.

• Variable rate: If you have a relatively short time horizon, an adjustable rate mortgage might actually be the right choice for you. For instance, you may be planning to sell your home in a couple of years when your children graduate from college or when the real estate market picks up. In cases
like these, a variable rate mortgage (or ARM) could result in lower monthly payments now, giving you greater flexibility with your cash flow (1).

• Interest-only: While interest-only loans are not right for everyone, you may prefer them because you may find this feature lets you have greater control over your payment strategy. Generally, interest-only loans appeal to people who have the means to repay their loan at any time, but choose to benefit from the tax advantages of a mortgage (2).

It’s about more than a low rate. It’s about the advice you get.
A lower interest rate market like this one doesn’t come along every day. Now would be a great time to give me a call and discuss a plan that helps you choose a mortgage that fits into your overall financial strategy. That way you can live more comfortably today and feel more confident about your future.

(1) In contrast to fixed rate mortgages, which bear interest at a set rate, adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) have an interest rate that varies with the movement of a particular reference rate (e.g., the one-year London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR)). While in declining rate environments you may benefit from having an ARM instead of a fixed rate mortgage, in rising rate environments you maybe at risk of paying higher rates of interest on your ARM than you would on a fixed rate mortgage. You should consider this, plus other differences between ARMs and fixed rate mortgages, carefully before deciding what type of mortgage is right for you.

(2) Neither UBS Financial Services Inc. nor any of its employees provide legal or tax advice. You should consult with your personal legal or tax advisor regarding your personal circumstances.
Herrmann Ultrasonics, Inc. celebrates its 25th Anniversary (1990-2015)

In 1990, Thomas Herrmann, the son of Walter Herrmann, who founded Herrmann Ultraschalltechnik GmbH in 1961, established Herrmann Ultrasonics Inc. in the Chicago area. This year, Herrmann Ultrasonics Inc. is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a momentous achievement.
Herrmann Ultrasonics has been focused on providing ultrasonic welding technology for the automotive, medical, hygiene, food and electronic markets. Herrmann Ultrasonics has become the technology leader in ultrasonic welding by developing the most advanced products, providing ULTRASONICS ENGINEERING expertise and total solution offerings. Continuous growth of its PLASTIC, PACKAGING and NONWOVENS divisions has allowed the company to establish Technology Centers throughout North America.
The 20,000 sq. ft. facility, located in Bartlett, IL has been managed since 2006, by Uwe Peregi (a Swiss citizen). This modern and advanced facility allows Herrmann Ultrasonics to provide feasibility studies and trial runs in one of the three laboratories. Fast tooling delivery is standard due to in-house vertical integrated 3D tooling design and CNC manufacturing.
Herrmann Ultrasonics, Inc. is very proud of the growth and achievements in the North American market over the past 25 years. The company looks forward to remaining the technology leader in ultrasonics in the next decade and beyond. More.

GF Machining Solutions

Serving moldmakers and manufacturers of precision components, GF Machining Solutions is the North American leading supplier of Agie Charmilles wire cut, die-sinking and hole-drilling EDM machines; Mikron 3- and 5-Axis high-speed and high-performance milling machines; 3D laser texturing solutions; System 3R clamping and palletization systems; automation solutions; and spare and consumable parts.

GF Machining Solutions’ UPTIME+ service and support program further leverages the competitive advantages of its advanced product portfolio through applications expertise, comprehensive training, technical assistance, preventive maintenance, world-class warranty coverage and parts and consumables.

Vast technical expertise and industry segment knowledge drive the company’s pioneering development of new technologies, products and services. Latest advancements include flexible, compact and modular forms of automation and a wire EDM machine designed specifically for aerospace work.

Originating in Switzerland in 1861, GF Machining Solutions is part of the Swiss Georg Fischer Group, which has 50 locations worldwide. The company’s U.S. headquarters are located in Lincolnshire, Illinois, with four nationwide application centers in Lincolnshire, Illinois; Holliston, Massachusetts; Irvine, California; and Charlotte, North Carolina. For more information, please visit or call 800.282.1336.

The Mikron HEM 500U provides high-performance, high-value 5-side machining of components in a single setup.

Contact: Tim Stapula, Marketing ManagerBIG Kaiser Precision Tooling Inc., Phone: 847-228-4020, e-mail:

BIG Kaiser Celebrates 25 Years of Quality, Innovation and Performance

Hoffman Estates, IL – BIG Kaiser Precision Tooling is proud to celebrate 25 years of North American operations in 2015. Incorporated in the spring of 1990 under the name Kaiser Precision Tooling (KPT), the subsidiary of Switzerland-based Heinz Kaiser AG provided the North American market better access to products and more complete engineering solutions froma worldwide leader in development and manufacturing of precision boring tools and modular boring systems.

KPT officially opened its doors on August 1, 1990 in Elk Grove Village, IL and vowed to stay true to three core principles: quality, innovation and performance. These engineering-focused values have forged a trust in the marketplace and strong relationships that have enabled the supplier to double in size many times over.

We set out to be driven first by our engineering capabilities,” recalls Jack Burley, VP, Sales and Engineering, and with the company from the beginning. “We had an expression, ‘give us your toughest boring problem.’ We’ve always believed if we can’t solve it, there probably isn’t anyone else who can. This kind of cooperation has allowed us to relate to customers as peers for the long term, not just as opportunistic, looking to make a quick sale and run.”

Daily orders have gone from the teens to 150-plus in the 25 years. The engineering team is larger by more than ten times, and available parts that numbered around 2,000 in 1990 now exceed 20,000. A major catalyst of that growth came in 2003 when KPT formed an alliance with BIG Daishowa Seiki, a Japanese manufacturer recognized as a worldwide leader in tool holders, cutting tools and measuring accessories.

Acknowledging the importance of the alliance, KPT changed its name to BIG Kaiser Precision Tooling Inc. The partnership dramatically enhanced BIG Kaiser’s product offering, allowing the supplier to serve customers more comprehensively. It also injected a global outlook and reach to BIG Kaiser’s vision all while maintaining production and development of two-thirds of the company’s components in the U.S.

Perhaps no more significant a sign of BIG Kaiser’s commitment to servicing local customers and technology came in 2009 with their move to a new 33,000 square-foot facility in Hoffman Estates, IL. Nearly three times larger than their previous headquarters, the location made room for a growing team and features a state-of-the-art showroom, high-tech training auditorium, larger shipping warehouse space, as well as a repair center to save customers time and money instead of sending tools overseas.

Regardless of how fast or how large BIG Kaiser grows, how they get there will not change. “Quality, innovation and performance—it’s always been about that,” BIG Kaiser President & CEO Chris Kaiser says. “That’s gotten us to where we are today and it will not change. Whether it’s when we walk in to the office tomorrow or we’re looking towards the next 25 years, we’re not going to stray away from those things.”

About BIG Kaiser

BIG Kaiser Precision Tooling is a leader in high precision tooling systems and solutions. With brands including BIG Daishowa, KAISER, Speroni, Unilock, Sphinx and more, BIG Kaiser's line is focused on extreme accuracy and repeatability. BIG Kaiser's mission is to support North American manufacturers with products that are designed and manufactured to a superior standard. Guaranteed.

For more information, contact BIG Kaiser, Hoffman Estates, IL at 847-228-7660, e-mail or visit

Wandfluh of America, Inc.909 High Street, Mundelein, IL  60060, Phone:  847-566-5700,
We are a Swiss manufacturer known for precision high quality and performance in the fluid power products and electronics. Wandfluh serves a wide range of industries including: automotive, machine tool, oil and gas, mobile equipment, and marine.

Meeting quality standards in all areas is an important part of the Wandfluh corporate philosophy and is embodied in the ISO 9001/EN 29001 accreditation awarded in 1992.

Recently Introduced Product: Digital Amplifier Module SD7

The amplifier module SD7 serves as drive for proportional valves and (in the case of the 1-solenoid version) has one, or (in the case of the 2-solenoid version) two pulse-width- modulated current outputs with superimposed dither signal. Being able to be snapped on to top hat rails in accordance with EN 60715, it is excellently suitable for applications in the industrial field. The connections are made through practical terminal screws.
The 2-solenoid version can be utilized either for driving a 2-solenoid valve or for driving two independent 1-solenoid valves. By driving two 1-solenoid valves through a 2-solenoid amplifier module it is possible to save considerable costs in comparison with driving through two 1-solenoid amplifier modules.
Apart from the amplifier function, the SD7 as standard equipment contains a ramping function, which makes it possible to separately set two linear ramps for up and down for each solenoid output.
The command value can be applied as a voltage, current, PWM or frequency signal. The amplifier module furthermore comprises two digital inputs and outputs.
The parameterization takes place through the USB - interface by means of the menu-controlled parameterization- and diagnostics software „PASO- SD7“ or else optionally by means of a hand control on the front panel.
The assignment of the inputs and outputs relative to one another is variable. This enables an optimum utilization of the hardware present and guarantees a flexible adaptation to the application without any programming knowledge.
The changed parameters are stored in a non-volatile memory, so that they are available once more following a renewed switching-on of the control system.
Instead of an analogue interface, all types are also available with field-bus interface (Profibus DP, CANopen, J1939 or HART).
Apart from the 24VDC-version, a 12VDC-version is available.
The family of the digital amplifiers is complemented with a module by the digital amplifier module SD7, which is distinguished by its compact construction and by an excellent price- performance ratio.

Further information about the new proportional screw-in cartridges can be found under Find more information on our SD7 Amplifier on data sheet.

Wandfluh will be participant in the Offshore Technology Conference on May 6-9, 2015 in Houston, TX.  Please come visit us at booth #3655.

What does the “ FRACHT Group “ have to do with the 2015 Alpine World Ski Championships  Vail/Beaver Creek, CO  - February  2015?

As a global Freight Forwarding company handling:   air, ocean, import, export and customs brokerage services  every day we also transport goods for special projects on a regular basis. In this particular case we were contracted by a Swiss company specializing in event management to coordinate the transportation and customs work of aprox. 50 Containers of temporary seating structure, benches and press boxes for radio and TV stations which were used during the Vail/Beaver Creek Ski World Cup event in February 2015.

These containers not only had to be transported from various European locations efficiently, they also had to be transported up the mountain to a specific and rather small staging area and then again further up to the ultimate job site for assembly.
Logistic challenges included narrow roads; specific sequence of arrivals of each load, close coordination with the client’s project managers for final assembly and it all had to be there timely in order to avoid weather related issues such as early snow.

The entire project was a success not only from a logistics perspective but also by the fact that several Swiss skiers ended up winning medals including Gold and Bronze during the downhill event.

For more information about the Fracht Group please visit us at or simply call our Chicago office at (224 / 361 0080) or reach out to Walter Groeli (630 / 363 9919) and allow us to introduce ourselves.

Bircher America Launches New Ad Campaign

Bircher Reglomat, a Swiss manufacturer of high quality sensors & safeguarding products with their global HQ in Beringen and US subsidiary in Schaumburg, IL, has launched a new worldwide print ad campaign designed to highlight the versatility of their new microwave sensor for industrial doors & gates, Hercules 2s. The ad features a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife and the tagline “Maximum versatility”. The photo was obtained directly from Victorinox by Bircher’s Global Marketing Communications team and Victorinox is excited to support a fellow Swiss company by being featured in Bircher’s ad for such a high-quality product. “It was a great team effort. We think the new ad concept really showcases our Swiss heritage and demonstrates the versatility of the sensor” says Verena Zimmermann, Bircher Reglomat’s global MarCom director.
The Hercules 2s sensor is suited for a variety of industrial door activation applications including fire stations, warehouses, car dealerships, parking garages, car washes, and loading docks. The ability to “mix & match” the two separate outputs people/vehicle detection, forward/backward traffic, and door open/close functionality makes Hercules 2s one of the most versatile sensors on the market today. “Hercules 2s has been on the market for over a year now and the customer feedback regarding ease of use and application versatility has been overwhelmingly positive” says Stephan Zwahlen, president of Bircher America, the company’s US subsidiary.
The new ad campaign will be featured in several industry publications and a direct mail campaign in support of Bircher’s exhibition at the International Door Association Door Expo taking place April 10-11 in Indianapolis, IN.  To tie in the message to their booth, Bircher will be conducting a prize drawing at the show for a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife. For more information on the Hercules 2s sensor for industrial doors, please visit

Form BE-13 May Be Required to Report U.S. Investments and Expansions

After a hiatus of several years, the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) recently reinstated its BE-13 reporting requirements. According to the BEA, the purpose of this new investment survey is to capture new investment transactions when a foreign direct investment in the United States is created or an existing U.S. affiliate of a foreign parent establishes a new U.S. legal entity, expands its U.S. operations, or acquires or invests in a U.S. business. Under applicable regulation, reports submitted to the BEA are confidential and may be used only for analytical or statistical purposes.

U.S. companies may find they are obliged to file a Form BE-13 where 10% or more of their voting securities are controlled directly or indirectly by a Swiss or other non-U.S. investor. Reporting is also required for transactions that result in indirect ownership of 10% or more by a non-U.S. person or entity. Triggering events requiring a filing include:
  • acquisitions of U.S. businesses
  • transactions in U.S. real estate
  • new U.S. entity formations and
  • expansions to new U.S. facilities.
Subject U.S. entities must submit one of six types of BE-13 forms depending on the triggering event. If the transaction value is equal to or less than $3 million, an exemption is available but requires the filing of a claim for exemption.

Triggering events are required to be reported within 45 days. Failure to report is a violation of law and is currently subject to civil penalties of $2,500 to $32,500 and criminal penalties of up to $10,000 and a year in jail.

William E. Turner II
T. 312.629.7337

This information was prepared by the law firm of Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP, 200 West Madison Street, Suite 3900, Chicago, Illinois 60606, T. 312.984.3100, as a general source of information and does not constitute an opinion or legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship with readers. This information may constitute attorney advertising material in some jurisdictions.
Singing the winter blues?
Sam Burckhardt gave two very different concerts that surely warmed your heart.

By Sam Burckhardt

I have been very fortunate to play with musicians of very different backgrounds over the years. The first concert on March 20 this spring was straight ahead blues gig in a cool and inviting club, the High-Hat Club. I've performed with the legendary Jim Liban, a great harmonica player and singer from Milwaukee, Chicago's most versatile guitarist Joel Paterson, and his great rhythm section of Beau Sample and Alex Hall.

The second concert was on March 25 with pipe organist Michel Shawgo at Second Presbyterian Church. We  presented a program of original compositions and romantic pieces. The concert was part of Sounds of the South Loop.

Second Presbyterian Church, Chicago

The Swiss Center of North America’s Board of Directors has made a commitment to a number of strategic options to ensure our future including the Swiss Roo✚s Society—100 members who make an annual sustaining gift of $1,000 or more.

Today are 1/3 the way to our goal as the Swiss Roo✚s Society grew by 32 families, individuals, organizations and businesses.  I thank those who have already chosen the Swiss Center of North America as one of the charitable organizations they support.

Why become a sustaining member?  Please take time to listen to Tony Zgraggen as he explains why he is a Swiss Roo✚s Society member.  The link below will send you to YouTube.  

I am including a page that outlines the Swiss Center’s past and present.  Your sustaining gift provides us the future.

My fondest regards,           
Beth Zurbuchen

Saengerfest 2015
Heimatklänge – Sounds from the Homeland, June 18-21, New Glarus, Wisconsin, USA
You are invited to the 41st Saengerfest, June 18th – 21st, 2015 in New Glarus, Wisconsin.

The North American Swiss Singing Alliance will hold their try annual singing festival and competition the weekend of June 18th through the 21st, 2015.

The New Glarus Männerchor as the host, with the help of the New Glarus Jodelklub and many volunteers from beautiful Green County welcome you!

The Saengerfest provides the perfect occasion for all Swiss and admirers of Swiss culture, to come together and celebrate our shared heritage or mutual passion through music, food and friends.
170 years ago, immigrants from Switzerland settled New Glarus. Today, New Glarus and Monroe are among the greatest strongholds of Swiss culture in America.

What a better place to hold this festival than in Green County.,
WI. I invite you to join us from June 18-21, 2015 in New Glarus, WI to celebrate our common Swiss heritage. More.

Tony Zgraggen
Past SABC Events 2015

March 13 - Exclusive Meeting with Stephan Roth, Mayor of the City of Lucerne, Switzerland. UBS and SABC co-hosted event with key Chicago contacts (photo above).

March 4 - Exclusive CEO/CFO meeting with Andreas Hofefert, Chief Global Economist UBSExclusive CEO/CFO meeting with Andreas Hofefert, Chief Global Economist UBS

March 3 – SABC Annual Meeting 2015 (photo above)
Pictures of the SABC Annual Meeting 2015

January 21 – Global Outlook 2015: Economic Trends, Critical Business Issues and Survival Strategies

Swiss-American Business Council (SABC), P.O. Box 64975, Chicago, IL 60601 U.S.A. -