The HELLER History
In 1894, at the age of only 25, Hermann Heller establishes the company "Hermann Heller Handelsgeschäft und Produktion von geschützten Artikeln und Uhrmacherwerkzeug" in Nürtingen, trading and manufacturing patented products and watchmaker’s tools.
Initially, the company trades and also manufactures a diverse range of tools, including parallel jaw vices in enhanced design, which are in high demand at the time. However, the company's product range also includes spiral steel stairs and chimney heads.
1900s – 1920s
What started out as a small trade company, develops into a profitable machine building business in 1898 with the development of a cold circular metal sawing machine and saw blade skiving and thread cutting machines. In 1899, the company starts with the construction of the first factory in the "Neuffener Vorstadt" suburb. In 1900, the company moves into the new facilities.
The portable oscillating saw and the manual sharpening device significantly contribute to the economic success of the company. It becomes an indispensable tool in railway construction. In the following years, the company develops further machines, including radial drilling machine model RB1. In addition to customers in the Swabian region, HELLER gradually established business relations throughout the whole of Germany.
1920s – 1940s
Documents prove that already in the 1920s the company exported its products to other European countries and even overseas, e.g. to Panama. At the beginning of the 1940s, the company is well set up in terms of technology. The machines made by HELLER, including milling machines for crankshaft machining and other special-purpose milling machines are already equipped with hydraulic controls.
In the following years, HELLER continues consistent development of this particular machine technology. In the 1940s, HELLER assembles manufacturing lines in modular design. HELLER has established itself successfully in the machine building industry. Between 1917 and 1942, the factory located in the "Neuffener Vorstadt" suburb has to be expanded seven times.
1950s – 1980s
In the early 1950s, HELLER develops electro-hydraulic controls and introduces 24V relay control for machine tools. As early as 1962, HELLER builds numerically controlled milling machines and machining centres featuring automatic tool change, enabling to perform complex operations on a single machine. The first machining centre model BEA 80 NC is delivered in 1967. With a growing automotive industry the demand for efficient machine tools increases.
1974 sees the foundation of plants in England and Brazil. In 1982, HELLER opens a new plant in the US. In 1982, HELLER starts series production of BEA machining centres equipped with state-of-the-art CNC control technology HELLER uniPro NC 80.
Founding of HELLER UK
Partner for prestigious turnkey projects
For more than 40 years, HELLER Machine Tools UK has been an important cornerstone of HELLER in the UK. What started out as a service location as a result of HELLER's growing sales success has developed into a renowned Centre of Excellence for turnkey projects and innovative manufacturing solutions.
With the rapidly growing automotive and power generating industries in the UK and following major installations of milling and planing machines and transfer lines at renowned customers, HELLER Machine Tools (UK) Ltd was founded in 1974.
Activities started from a small factory unit in Padgets Lane, Redditch and primarily focused on reconditioning and servicing of existing machines, fixture manufacture and assembly as well as assembly of cold sawing machines.
Following a major decision to manufacture parts for the HELLER Group and assemble standard machines in the UK and having outgrown the small unit, the company moved within Redditch to Ravensbank Drive in 1981.
The product range assembled was diverse, including still some sawing machines, machining centres from the BEA and MCP range, transfer lines, pallet pools and gantry loaders. Such was the success of the UK operation, that in 1997 the company again moved within Redditch to its present site at Acanthus Road. Although manufacturing of parts ceased, the company finished assembling the MCP generation of machines and quickly moved on to MC, MCi, and the present H series. Additionally, it became and remains, the Centre of Excellence for assembling chain-type tool magazines for the group.
HELLER UK have been at the forefront of some very prestigious turn-key projects and manufacturing solutions for the automotive, aerospace and power generating sectors. On the personnel side, HELLER UK currently has 150 people, many of them long serving staff.
1990s – today
The 1990s are characterised by increasing competition. The focus is on streamlining measures, increased productivity and quality enhancements. HELLER responds to this development with flexible and modular machining centres and system transferlines, tailored to the specific customer application.
In 2004, HELLER establishes subsidiaries in Shanghai and Beijing. In 2013, the company establishes a factory in Wujin. In the delicate balance between traditional mid-tier family enterprise and global supplier of innovative machining solutions the HELLER Group develops a unique global corporate culture.
What started out with 7 journeymen and 3 apprentices 120 years ago has today become a globally active company, employing more than 2,400 qualified staff who can be proud of the company's success story and look to the future with confidence.
Continuity in terms of management and on shareholder level is and will remain part of our policy. In mid-2013, the great-grandson of the company founder, thus representing the fourth generation of the family, became shareholder of the company in preparation for the generation change. Berndt Heller continues to act as Chairman of the Supervisory Board.
A continually growing global competence network as well as partnerships and co-operations guarantee that the excellent reputation of the “Made in Germany” seal of approval can be complemented by a unique brand and quality promise: "Made by HELLER" – HELLER quality around the globe.