Milestones: A bit of history - Heller at 170

Heller’s history dates back so far that it was founded before the Tower was a glint in Gustave Eiffel’s eye. As part of our Milestones series, Torque bores into the innovations, back story and future of what is probably the oldest drill bit manufacturer in the world…

Dust extraction is rightly hailed for its health and safety benefits on construction sites and in 2019 there is a wealth of equipment available to protect engineers and tradespeople, but Heller was on the ‘dust extraction’ case almost 40 years ago, back in the 1980s. Now the brand’s own Duster Expert is a premium extraction drill bit that meets increasing H&S requirements on construction sites.

The Heller company has a history that spans much further back in time, way back to 1849, when Johann George Heller founded the Heller drill bit factory in Dinklage. Continuing a family tradition that began way back in the 16th century, Heller is almost definitely the oldest drill bit manufacturer in the world. The manufacturer has uncovered innovation over the years, not least in 1928, when it became the first company in the world to manufacture tungsten carbide tipped drill bits and sell them on the market. Heller’s core competency is the development and production of innovative drill bits that can be used in many popular machines and are designed especially for professional users. Heller has also continuously expanded its product portfolio to include products from other areas of manufacturing. Nowadays, the company also serves the sawing, fastening, cutting and grinding manufacturing segments.

This evolution of the business has been down to supporting customers, explains Managing Director Dr Robert Untiedt: “In the future, we will continue to emphasise innovative solutions in our core product range and will add products to specific and related product segments when they offer our customers clear benefits and further intensify cooperation with retailers.”

Priding itself as a reliable partner of specialised retailers with particular emphasis on customer service, Heller’s primary focus is on high-performance, high-quality tools, although providing related services is playing an increasingly important role. In the recently established Heller Training Academy, the company offers retailers training courses in which they can get detailed information on all Heller products and experience them up close and in action. Individually configurable product display systems, pre-equipped modules and attractive secondary placements with a high profit per unit of area help promote sales at the point of sale. Heller has been continuously expanding its range of services across digital media as well. In addition to classic content, the Heller website also provides exclusive services such as the password-protected retailer area containing additional information or the online Product Finder, which includes user recommendations on the best Heller tool for the corresponding application.

With a solid financial foundation, Heller says it has an excellent base to expand its position as one of the leading providers of professional tool accessories through sustainable growth. Since 2014, Heller has been a member of the Serafin industrial group in Munich, which has continuously and systematically invested in the company. Jörg Frommeyer, Managing Director of Operations, says: “In addition to product development, branding, sales and IT infrastructure areas, we are also focusing in particular on a modern and efficient machine park.”