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From family business to market leader

  

Schleifen + Polieren issue 3/2017

For 60 years now Heinz Berger Maschinenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG designs and builds machines for grinding and polishing of workpieces. In the last decades the company has been transforming from a family business to a medium-size group of companies which is market leading in several segments.

The beginning

When Heinz Berger, together with his son Karlheinz, founded in 1957 Heinz Berger Maschinenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG to produce grinding machines for cutlery and hand tool items, nobody could have foreseen that the family business with originally 50 employees would develop to a company group exporting in 70 countries worldwide.

The increased demand for Berger grinding machines in the 60th entailed greater capacity with the result that the company moved from the headquarter Berhausen to the new factory premises in Wuppertal. From there on good conditions were established to extend the product range by new product developments and to export worldwide.

Developments and innovations

To meet the continuously increasing requirements Karlheinz Berger, who took over the company after his father's death in 1970, developed new machine designs with mechanical and hydraulic drive technology. An ever-greater part of machines was equipped with automatic piece loading.

In the beginning of the 90's the daughters Claudia and Heike as well as the sons-in-law Dr. Andreas Groß and Marco Chiesura joined the company.

This was the time when new developments of machines based on CNC drive technology became more and more important leading to a range of 40 models with six servo axes right now. The integration of innovative technology with robotic automation and modern measuring technique is pushed more and more. Initially employed for automatic loading robots are more and more integrated for grinding and polishing of workpieces.

For drive technology of the machines servomotors are increasingly substituted by linear motors with the result of a higher disposability, maintenance-freedom and feed speed.

The Berger Group

In the course of the last decades the company met the increasing requirements from the United States by founding an independent company in 2003, Berger L.L.C., extending in this way the service and sales in the countries overseas.

At the same time, the demand of machines in the neighboring industries increased. To meet the demands of related market segments and to position the product range more broadly Heinz Berger Maschinenfabrik acquired complementary companies in the last 15 years joining them in one company group: the Berger Group.

In 2004 the company acquires Hauschild Schleif- und Poliermaschinenbau GmbH, founded in 1952 and specialized in the production of machines for mechanical surface finishing with elastic tools.

One year later, the company group has been enlarged by August Nell jr. GmbH. Since its foundation in 1922, Nell was known specialist for steel strip grinding machines for the production of blades of each kind. The Berger Group enters into the market of steel strip processing.

Three years later, Julius Maschinenbau GmbH joins the Berger Group. The company which since 1964 is specialized in strip processing lines adds strip edge trimming machines by metal cutting to the product range of the group.

Another three years later Werner Peters GmbH & Co. KG joins the group completing the product range in the field of steel strip grinding including the technical knowledge of Otto Manderbach, a company Werner Peters had bought 30 years before.

In 2011 the extension of the group was completed by the acquisition of L-P Servicetechnik Osygus GmbH, former Laschet + Partner Werkzeugtechnik GmbH, a company specialized in profile generating centers.

Expansion strategy

The increase of employees from 60 to 140 as well as the enlargement of the product range provoke an expansion of the site in Wuppertal.

From 2010 to 2016 a new administration building and two production halls have been built in three construction phases with the result that nowadays the Berger Group is producing on an area of 9000 m².

For 60 years already the company has been working with a team of highly qualified employees – half of them technicians and engineers – whose main task is to find innovative solutions. Hereby, the realization of user specific machining requirements plays a particular role.

Nowadays state-of-the-art workpieces are produced, ground and polished on special Berger machines: from razor blades to scalpel blades, from tweezers to gardening tools. The market leading company group has representatives in Europe, America and Asia. The right steps are taken for a global presence with the result that by now 75 % of the produced machines are exported worldwide.