Now in its third generation, the company is led by CEO Beat Burlet, with nearly 170 employees in Fällanden alone. Heinrich Bucher’s original idea, “Flying with minimum weight and maximum of reliability,” is still implemented across the company’s now diverse product range with its unique lightweight construction methods using aluminum or composites. The company’s success over the last 70 years impressively highlights the country’s own internationally renowned commitment to innovation.
The Original Trailblazer: Heinrich Bucher’s Start as a Maintenance Expert
In 1953, Heinrich Bucher laid the foundation for a remarkable career that would have a lasting impact on the aviation sector. As a pioneer, he ventured into the world of aircraft maintenance, specializing in the repair and maintenance of galleys for the then renowned Swissair. His career started off in a modest environment – an old garage located in the idyllic community of Fällanden right outside of Zurich. The founder’s wife, Ida Bucher, was the first employee and a cornerstone to the company’s success. After years of working in aircraft construction, Heinrich had acquired a wealth of of experience when he founded the company in 1953. In his role as a master tinsmith at Swissair, he was responsible for the structural components on the aircraft. Consequently, one of Bucher Leichtbau’s main client early on was Swissair.
Decades of working with lightweight metals in aircraft construction ultimately led Heinrich Bucher to a decisive breakthrough in the 1970s. Departing from traditional balsa wood sandwich constructions, aluminum took center stage. With creative finesse, he designed galleys whose essential structure consisted of a clever combination of aluminum sheets and frame profiles. His journey would go even further – Heinrich Bucher set standards by designing doors as technological masterpieces. These were made of lightweight yet resilient metal milled directly from blocks. He followed a similar approach with a variety of latches and fittings, and over the years, many more innovations and new products would complement the Bucher product range.
Heinrich Bucher legacy would grow out of these unique contributions and developments in the aviation industry. His deep familiarity with the properties of lightweight metals and his innovative thinking not only earned him a place as a pioneer but also contributed to the development of innovative solutions in the aviation field.
Expansion in Fällanden
The expansion in Fällanden occurred in various stages to accommodate continuous growth and modernize its production facility with the latest milling machinery, used to created such products as the unique milled trolley doors.
In 1992, after the founder’s passing, the company transitioned its leadership to Heinrich’s three children, who then transformed Bucher Leichtbau to a joint stock company. The once simple design department then evolved into a modern engineering department that pushed the development and certifications of the Bucher aluminum galley system even further. At that time, in addition to Swissair, various major airlines such as Scandinavian Airlines, Lufthansa, and Austrian Airlines were already among the company’s closest customers. Additionally, the company expanded into the USA (Everett, WA.) where, with its close proximity to Boeing, it was able establish a solid foothold in the American market.
Swiss pioneering spirit and global presence.
The success story of Bucher Leichtbau reflects the unmistakable Swiss pioneering spirit. With perseverance, innovation, and a passion for excellence, the company leveraged its roots in Zurich Oberland to make a name for itself worldwide. For the past 20 years, the owner and president, Margrit Burlet-Bucher, has embodied these values. She believes in sustainable corporate management, not only for quality reasons but also to support the local economy by committing to its Swiss production site.
Today, the Bucher Group is structured into three companies, each specializing in their respective components and their own construction specialties and processes. Each individual company complements the others, with an ongoing exchange of know-how and experience.
Outlook and Gratitude
While Bucher Leichtbau AG proudly looks back on 70 years of success, its sights are firmly fixed on the future. The company is excited to continue i its innovation and to provide ground-breaking solutions for aviation, cabin equipment, rail transport, and helicopter rescue equipment in the coming years. In this moment of celebration, Bucher Leichtbau expresses its sincere gratitude to its employees, partners, and customers, all of whom have contributed to making this remarkable journey possible.