TEXT Tanja Liebmann-Décombe PHOTOS HELLER
Young talents start their apprenticeship
The training department welcomed 30 new additions: in autumn 2018, a new generation of apprentices began their professional education at HELLER in Nürtingen. They train to become industrial mechanics, cutting machine operators, mechatronics engineers, electronics engineers for automation technology and technical production designers. The young talents also include several students, e.g. of mechanical engineering, participating in the ‘Reutlinger Modell’ degree course or ‘MechatronikPlus’, the mechatronics degree programme of Esslingen University. Both types of training offer the unique combination of a skilled worker qualification and an engineering degree. Students of mechanical engineering and computer science from the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University Stuttgart also joined the HELLER family last autumn.
Moreover, HELLER offers educational support for 13 guest apprentices from the companies STS Maschinendienstleistung GmbH, hofer mechatronik GmbH, PDT Präzisionsteile GmbH, Kuhn Werkzeug- und Vorrichtungsbau GmbH, GEA Bock GmbH and Lasercomb GmbH. During the first 1.5 years, they will receive fundamental training and parts of their technical education at HELLER.
Automotive Days at HELLER China
At the beginning of December 2018, the HELLER plant in Changzhou/China organised the Automotive Days, an innovative three-day exhibition, to which the HELLER experts welcomed numerous customers and suppliers from the automotive industry.
Which manufacturing solutions offer a particularly high degree of flexibility? How can the production requirements of tomorrow be met in the best possible way? What innovative and comprehensive manufacturing solutions for the production of powertrain, driveline and chassis components is HELLER offering? These and other questions were answered during the HELLER Automotive Days.
“Approximately 300 visitors from the automotive industry and their suppliers from all over China accepted the invitation – a pleasingly positive response,” said Narendra Kumar Yadav, who organised the event. Especially the CBC machines for the coating of cylinder bores of 4-cylinder engines met with great interest. Not least the use case of a representative of Dongfeng Nissan underlined “that the process is outstanding”, Yadav said.
The event’s programme also featured technical seminars. The HELLER engineering and technology experts presented HELLER’s response to Industry 4.0 and successfully implemented automotive projects – especially in terms of crankshaft and camshaft machining. Visitors were quite impressed and interested to learn more about the services, the warehouse and the sales strategy of HELLER in China. “The Automotive Days received a very positive response and demonstrated that we belong to the global players,” Yadav summarised the event.
at Heller –
125 years of Heller
Experiencing company history up close
With a special exhibition, Nürtingen municipal museum commemorates the fact that HELLER has been part of the town’s history for 125 years. How did it all start? Which products did company founder Hermann Heller produce in Nürtingen at the time at the age of only 25? What happened at the company throughout the years, what were the challenges the company had to rise to, which machines were and are produced at the company today? Visitors of the exhibition will find answers to all these questions at the museum. According to the director of the museum, Angela Wagner-Gnan, the intention was to show the many different facets of the company’s history. To her, it was important that the focus was not only on technology but also on the people: women and men who apprenticed and worked at HELLER.
The special exhibition at Nürtingen municipal museum runs from 11 May to 13 October. It is titled ‘Beim Heller g’lernt – 125 Jahre Maschinenfabrik in Nürtingen’ (apprenticeship at Heller – 125 years of Heller machine factory in Nürtingen).
Long serving staff honoured
Long-term employees who have worked at the company for 25, 40 or even 50 years are honoured every year at the Employment Anniversary Celebration. This forms an integral part of corporate culture and takes place at the end of November each year.
The event is staged at the HELLER company restaurant. Last year, the HELLER big band under the direction of Helmut Grübel again accompanied the speeches and words of gratitude the partners and representatives of the management and the works council addressed to the 40 jubilarians. During a tour of the company, they had an opportunity to show their partners where they work.
Again, last year’s highlight was the evening’s entertainment: in addition to the culinary delights served, the musical cabaret artist Silvester Kuhar, the Knoba Sörwiss comedy waiter duo and the ‘fresh’n funky’ dance group contributed to a successful event. Other attractions included caricaturist Stefan Theurer who made humorous drawings of the guests, whilst solo entertainer Willy Wondra enticed them to hit the dance floor.
Motivated football team
Last year, the football team of HELLER China, founded approx. three years ago, won two championships: the Chengxi Challenge Cup and the Lunar New Year Cup. Currently, the team has 25 players. They come from Germany, the UK, the US, Mexico, Spain, Turkey, Morocco, Yemen, Sudan, Brazil, Ghana and Tajikistan.
The HELLER football team intends to continue this success in 2019. Currently, for example, the 8VS8 league is played in which 24 teams participate. In the past season, the HELLER team ranked 7th in this league which also includes teams who play in the highest-level amateur league in Changzhou. From May 2019, the HELLER China football team will also be able to compete in the 11VS11 leagues in Changzhou.
A visit from Asian customers
Last year, HELLER China invited existing and potential customers from various Asian countries to visit the Nürtingen headquarters. 20 people participated in the so-called HELLER VIP Tour which took place from
15 to 19 October 2018. Other items on the itinerary included a visit to castle Hohenzollern, to the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart and to the companies Index in Deizisau and Zeller Gmelin in Eislingen as well as a tour of the HELLER plants, including a presentation of the machine manufacturer’s latest innovations.
The guests were very impressed by the corporate culture, the long tradition of the company and the well organised production and assembly halls. According to Andrew Parkin, Chief Representative Asia, the tour provided an excellent opportunity “to grow our network across Asia”. According to the Head of HELLER China, the trip also provided a platform for interesting discussions with the guests, contributing valuable suggestions and feedback. Parkin comments: “This input will help us to shape our business to best fit our customers’ standards.”
About 80 customers and prospects participated in the HELLER Tech-Day held on 6 March in Piacenza/Italy under the motto ‘mobility today and in the future’ to discuss the opportunities and developments of today’s and tomorrow’s driveline technology. At the beginning of the varied programme, Thomas Lüdiger of development service provider FEV provided an outlook for 2030, presenting a study on the subject conducted in cooperation with VDMA.
Together with the technology partner Mapal, the HELLER experts provided insights into current machining options in the automotive sector. Subsequently, a presentation on the innovative CBC coating technology offered participants a glance into the future. Going forward, HELLER machines will also be ensuring optimal support in the production of electric motors. Before providing the participants with an opportunity for in-depth discussions following the official presentations, Wolfgang Wenzler provided some compelling insights to round off the successful day. The Managing Director of HELLER’s affiliated company Wenzler identified ideal ways for the machining of lightweight parts such as chassis components.
“With the main topic and the projects already implemented, HELLER, Mapal and Wenzler were able to demonstrate the audience that there is no need to fear the future if you adapt and respond to changes in good time,” Fabian Mattes, Head of HELLER Italy, summed up the event on a positive note.