From the vice to the highly-flexible manufacturing system
It all began in 1894 when Hermann Heller, just 25 years old, founded a company called "Hermann Heller Handelsgeschäft und Produktion von geschützten Artikeln und Uhrmacherwerkzeugen". Today, the HELLER Group develops and produces state-of-the-art CNC machine tools and production systems for machining processes and has over 2,900 employees all over the world.
In 2019, HELLER will be celebrating its 125th anniversary. A good reason to explore again in detail HELLER's history and the milestones along its journey to become a successful, global machine tool manufacturer: the journey from the vice to the highly-flexible production system
February 7: Hermann Heller (1869-1931) founds a company called "Hermann Heller Handelsgeschäft und Produktion von geschützten Artikeln und Uhrmacherwerkzeugen" in Nürtingen.
In the beginning, HELLER produces chimney pots, spiral staircases, parallel-jaw vices and other tools.
Thread-cutting machines and the first cold circular saws expand the product range.
A portable oscillating saw together with manual sharpener for rail track construction follow next.
January 5: commercial register entry "Gebrüder Heller Werkzeug- und Maschinenfabrik" in Nürtingen, the partners are the brothers Ernst Heller (merchant) and Hermann Heller (technician).
At the beginning of the 20th century, HELLER was already successfully selling the RB0, RB1 and RB2 radial drilling machines and the RBS high-performance radial drilling machine. This was a crucial step on the way to becoming a milling machine manufacturer.
The first apprentice workshop is setup in Nürtingen.
HELLER exports to Denmark, delivering abroad for the first time.
The second generation enters the company.
HELLER developed a special milling machine for the flat machining of a light metal crankcase for the Messerschmitt 109 R aircraft, which reached the world record speed of 755 km/h.
Special design for pillar cold circular saw SKS 3000 weighing 220 t, a 3 metre diameter sawblade and a bed length of 60 metres.
Machine tools from HELLER are equipped with hydraulic control systems – the range now includes crankshaft milling machines.
Modular heavyweight console milling machines are launched on the market.
At the time of the economical miracle, HELLER makes more and more custom machines and transfer lines to cover the increasing demand for more production capacity. In addition, HELLER introduces the electro-hydraulic control system (24 volt relay control) for machine tools.
HELLER introduces the FH 140, laying the foundation stone for the company's DNA today. The horizontal production milling machine in a console design, later as a bed construction PF, already has the stability, productivity and reliability gene still typical of HELLER today. This makes it the forerunner of machining centres in the 1960s.
With Hubert and Berndt Heller, the family's third generation takes over the management of the machine factory.
HELLER develops numerically controlled (NC) milling machines and machining centres with an automatic tool change facility.
Crankshaft milling machines with internal milling for high production follow.
The company expands its network with production workshops in Redditch (England) and Sorocaba (Brazil).
HELLER expands its product range by camshaft milling machines.
With a production site in Chicago, HELLER now has a precense on the US market.
BEA machining centres with the latest CNC technology and proprietary control system (HELLER uniPro NC 80) also go into series production this year.
Opening of the sales and service office in France (Paris).
HELLER offers a wide range of flexible and modular machines for numerous applications, providing increased productivity and more efficient manufacturing processes, including machining centres (MCA, MCS, MCP), head changing systems (HCS), crankshaft and camshaft milling machines (RFK, RFN) and turn-broaching centres (DRZ).
Opening of the sales and service office in Italy (Verona).
Founding of the Heller AG as a holding company.
HELLER celebrates its 100th anniversary in a period of economic turbulence.
Opening of the production facilities in the US (Troy/Michigan).
Introduction of the MC machining centre range equipped with the new HELLER uniPro CNC 90 control.
Opening of the sales and service office in Mexico (Querétaro).
The HELLER Apprenticeship Initiative (HAI) is introduced by the management and the Youth and Apprentice Representatives (JAV). The aim is to promote social learning in education and social responsibility.
Opening of the sales and service office in Spain (Barcelona).
HELLER acquires GSN Maschinen-Anlagen-Service GmbH. The company from Rottenburg am Neckar specialises in machine rebuilds and overhauls
Berndt Heller becomes Chairman of the Supervisory Board.
HELLER introduces the new H-series. It comprises flexibly configurable 4-axis horizontal machining centres for a broad range of materials and parts, from single unit manufacture through to large series production.
August Wenzler Maschinenbau GmbH from Spaichingen, a specialist for component production solutions in lightweight construction runs, is acquired.
HELLER invests in the expansion of mechanical production at the Nürtingen site.
HELLER introduces the new F-series. It comprises 5-axis production machines with and without pallet changer for a broad range of applications in various sectors.
Founding of the "Development New Business & Technologies" department, which sounds out ideas for new business fields as well as the founding of a distribution and service location in Pune, India.
HELLER introduces the new C-series. It comprises 5-axis machining centres for combined milling-turning tasks on one machine (combined processing).
The first CBC modules for the innovative coating of crankcase cylinder bores are delivered.
Start of flow assembly at HELLER in Nürtingen. Others follow in the plants in the USA and Great Britain.
That same year, HELLER receives the largest contract in the company's history.
HELLER opens a production plant in Changzhou (China).
Introduction of the HELLER4Industry concept which, alongside complementary machine functionalities, offers other "on-demand" machine services, as well as a more expansive range of service packages.
HELLER introduces the new HF-series. It comprises 5-axis machining centres, which work highly productively and flexibly and which are easy to operate and maintain.
HELLER4Industry is consistently advanced. HELLER4Use.
The flexible usage model for machining centres is introduced.
HELLER acquires Paatz Viernau GmbH in Thüringen. The company is a specialist in the manufacture of bore heads, multi-spindle heads and complex fixtures.
HELLER celebrates its 125th anniversary and has over 2,900 employees worldwide.
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