Trüb AG Switzerland

Success is on the cards for Trüb

Trüb AG Switzerland is a market leading international manufacturer of national ID and bank cards.

The company has been committed to providing security to its many clients since 1859 through providing effective protection against forgery and fraud. Until recently, its main area of expertise was the production and printing of secure bonds. Those operations were terminated in 2005 in favour of card production and personalisation and the company stands today as the leader in its field in the Swiss market.

Headquartered in the Swiss town of Aarau, which is located some 45 minutes away from the country’s capital Zurich, around half the group’s 500 employees are based at the site with the remaining 250 split between the subsidiaries of Trüb Baltic AS in Estonia, Trüb services AG and Cardag AG in Switzerland and Germany as well as Winter AG, which is also in Germany. It is also one of the most prominent companies in the world market and is constantly working on improving its position in the sector of smart cards, identity cards, passport data pages and HVF and tachograph cards.

The development of tachograph contracts clearly illustrates Trüb’s capacity to develop both know-how and tailor-made solutions for customers, which has led to the gradual increase in the length of the value added chain: from producer of tachograph cards, via EU-compliant personalisation, to complete system integrator. Five years ago, after a whole series of truck accidents caused by over-tired drivers, the EU decided to introduce a European-wide digital trip recorder. This latest technology was introduced to ensure that no driver anywhere in Europe could have more than one tachograph card. To this end, 22 national identification registers were linked to one network using TachoNet. The EU plan was based on the security system used for the European driving licence, which required both an integral chip and the means to prevent manipulation of the tachograph card, or to ensure any tampering was instantly recognisable. Other tough requirements included an operating temperature range from -25° to +85°C as a result of its location in the instrument panel below the vehicle’s front windscreen. Besides this, a tachograph card has to process the storage of 300,000 pieces of data. In comparison, a bank card in daily use would only be able to handle around 1200.

In Germany in 2003 the responsible department of Ministry of Transport in Flensburg put the project for supply and issuance of the new digital trip recorder out to tender. The EU requirements were raised still further by the conditions added by the Federal Criminal Office in Wiesbaden. Apart from that, supply had to be guaranteed even if a sub-contractor defaulted. Trüb AG Switzerland met the requirements for the card production by offering two chip systems from different suppliers and through its experience from other projects with Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) in Estonia and Hong Kong. The Swiss company successfully outbid the local German competition in the biggest tachograph project in Europe involving 2.3 million tachograph cards and consequently also won the Technology Award from the International Card Manufacturers Association.

In 2004 the tachograph tender process in Finland brought about the next stage of the development story. Here, besides supplying an EU type card, the supplier was also to undertake the day-to-day personalisation of the cards in two separate centres, which was stipulated by the Finnish authority for security reasons. The handling of card applications, control via TachoNet and digital signature also had to be implemented within the Finnish Transport Ministry. From there the encrypted data was to be sent to Trüb’s personalisation centres in Tallinn (Estonia) and Aarau (Switzerland) which were also responsible for the final distribution to the tachograph users. In fulfilling the Finnish contract, Trüb gained further experience of certification by the EU Member State Certification Authority (MSCA) in relation to its own Trackstar system.

The next successes, which the tachograph team in Trüb chalked up were in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – these were entrusted to the company as a result of its reference project in neighbouring Finland and the know-how gained in Switzerland. These contracts also included card production, personalisation and logistics. The MSCA-compatible personalisation, which was implemented, reduced the need for software amendments to meet the individual countries’ requirements such as language and alphabet. This created the ideal preconditions for Trüb to be able to win the contracts from the next two countries: Liechtenstein and Switzerland, which in 2005 followed suit with the EU’s HGV tachograph solution. Switzerland, with its four official languages German, French, Italian and Rhaeto- Romanic posed particular challenges in ensuring that each driver received a card in his/her desired language.

When the Eastern European states were admitted to the EU on 1 January 2007, they had seven months to upgrade the quality for their tachographs. In Romania and Bulgaria, Trüb made the winning bid for a turnkey solution. In Bulgaria, the authorities required an additional guarantee that the supplier would operate the tachograph system for ten years. This led Trüb to enter into a co-operative partnership with a Bulgarian partner, Demax, to form Trüb-Demax in which Trüb Switzerland AG first took responsibility as a complete system integrator.

Within only five years and nine contracts, Trüb Switzerland has developed from a secure tachograph card manufacturer to a complete system supplier. The company produces polycarbonate cards, personalises these optically and electronically, takes responsibility for the relevant data management, documents this with certificates, scans data EU-wide, advises on design questions and last but not least, supplies cards directly to users. The tachograph development is an ideal model for Trüb, tackling the whole process step-by-step, adapting it for each customer and gaining know-how along the way. As for the next stage in Trüb’s development, watch this space.

Trüb AG Switzerland

Products: Identification and banking cards
Sites: Switzerland
Employees: 500