Gebr. Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH celebrates 125th anniversary
7 February 2019 marks a historic day for Gebr. Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH. Exactly 125 years ago, Hermann Heller – only 25 at the time – founded a trade and manufacturing business for patented products and watchmaker’s tools in Nürtingen. It marked the birth of today’s family business. With the sales and distribution of tools of all kinds, the company founder laid the foundations for the company’s long-term success.
The highlights of the anniversary are fast approaching. From May to October 2019, Nürtingen’s municipal museum will host a special exhibition titled ‘Beim Heller g’lernt’ (apprenticeship at HELLER), giving the public an opportunity to delve into the history of the machine building company rich in tradition. On 6 July, a major Anniversary Day will be held at the main plant in Nürtingen, offering a wide range of attractions for staff and their families. “A significant part of our success story are our highly skilled and motivated people, who do an outstanding job day in and day out,” says Klaus Winkler, CEO of the HELLER Group.
HELLER history is part of the region’s industrial history
The HELLER history is inextricably linked to the development of the region and the town of Nürtingen, where today the company employs approx. 1,700 people at its headquarters. Already a few months following the founding of his business, Hermann Heller expanded the company, renting a larger production building – the so-called ‘Steinerne Bau’ (stone building) – where henceforth seven workers and three apprentices produced parallel jaw vices, fans and corkscrew staircases. The young family business entered the machine building industry when, in 1898, it started manufacturing cold circular metal sawing machines, saw blade skiving machines and thread cutting machines. In 1900, Hermann Heller’s younger brother Ernst joined the company as a trained tradesman. It marked the birth of ‘Gebr. Heller Werkzeug- und Maschinenfabrik’ in Nürtingen.
The demand for machines made by HELLER was such that the company moved to new premises in the suburbs of Nürtingen at the turn of the century. Already before WWII, HELLER had begun developing and producing special-purpose machines for the machining of aircraft and marine engines. After the war ended, the Nürtingen-based family business quickly made a name for itself in the machine tool business and in the 1950s began with the production of transferlines, e.g. for the automotive industry. Following the death of the company’s founding fathers Hermann and Ernst, Herman Heller jr. and his two brothers Rolf and Werner were the second generation to take over leadership of the company during the so-called Economic Miracle or ‘Wirtschaftswunder’, a period of thriving economic growth in Germany. With Hubert and Berndt Heller the third generation of the Heller family took over the management of the company in the 1960s. They developed it into an internationally successful group of companies with a strong innovative spirit and numerous locations throughout all major markets.
HELLER enters anniversary year with full order books
Today, the HELLER Group employs 2,900 people worldwide and develops and produces machining centres and manufacturing systems for metal-cutting applications for numerous customers from the automotive industry and many other market sectors. In recent years, it expanded its portfolio with innovative systems for the coating of cylinder bores. Despite political uncertainties, HELLER is looking to the future with optimism in its anniversary year. “We are starting our anniversary year with our order books well filled and aim to continue our successful work in 2019,” says Klaus Winkler.