Nürtingen, Germany – Hermann Heller, 130 years ago today, opened a trading and manufacturing company for patented products and watchmaking tools in Nürtingen. With the business selling tools of all kinds, the engineer laid the foundations for the long-term success of the company, which entered the mechanical engineering sector in 1898 with the production of cold circular saws for metal cutting and the manufacture of blade skiving and thread cutting machines. In 1900, Hermann Heller’s brother Ernst, a trained tradesman, joined the company, marking the birth of ‘Gebr. Heller Werkzeug- und Maschinenfabrik’ in Nürtingen.
Hubert and Berndt Heller as managing directors of the machine factory
In the 1960s, Hubert and Berndt Heller took over the management of the machine factory and developed the company into an internationally successful group of companies with numerous locations in all major markets, including the production plants in England (Redditch) and Brazil (Sorocaba), which will be celebrating their 50th anniversaries this year.
HELLER Production today
However, not all was plain sailing for HELLER. “The era of the economic miracle was over, and we now had to assert ourselves in the field of tension between economic fluctuations and tougher competition,” recalls Berndt Heller, HELLER’s long-standing CEO and former Chairman of the Supervisory Board, at the beginning of his management career in the family business.
Berndt Heller, Long-standing HELLER CEO and former Chairman of the Supervisory Board
Dr Thorsten Schmidt, CEO, HELLER
The brothers’ instinct for innovation was the key to success in difficult times and times of crisis. With the development of modular machining centers and Flexible System Transferlines (FST) in the 1990s, they led the company out of one of the most serious crises in its history, putting it back on track. “We achieved this with the help of our employees, who have always given their best, even in what have sometimes been difficult circumstances. They deserve my utmost respect and have played an important role in the company’s 130-year history,” Heller continues.
Looking to the future with a spirit of tradition and innovation
Till date, the Heller family has maintained the spirit of a family-run business with a strong sense of tradition. Since 2016, all shares in the Group have been wholly owned by the family. Berndt Heller’s children, Nicole Pfleiderer and Marc Heller, are shareholders in the company. The Group is currently managed by Dr Thorsten Schmidt (CEO), Andreas Müßigmann (CFO), Dieter Drechsler (COO), and Peter Weber (CSO).
Against this backdrop, Schmidt stated, “Today is a special day for HELLER as we look back on an impressive 130 years of HELLER. The success story that the HELLER team has written so far is something to be proud of. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all HELLER employees who put their heart, soul and expertise into our company every day. Even in these challenging times, we will continue HELLER’s success story as a competent technology partner for our customers.”
Image Source: Gebr. Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH