From machine manufacturer to solution provider.

In conversation with HEDELIUS Managing Director Dennis Hempelmann.

Mr Hempelmann, a subdued mood prevails in the German mechanical and plant engineering sector. The VDMA reported real production growth of just 0.9 per cent for 2023 up to and including October and is even forecasting a downturn of 4 per cent for 2024. HEDELIUS is about to complete a new production hall and already has the next construction project in the pipeline; does that let you sleep easy?

Dennis Hempelmann (laughs): Absolutely. I can proudly say that HEDELIUS has overcome these challenging times exceptionally well to date. 2023 was by far the best year in our more than 55-year company history.

2023 was by far the best year in our

more than 55-year company history.

 

Congratulations! What does that mean in figures?

We were able to increase our turnover by 14.5 per cent to almost 80 million euros.

How was that possible?

Firstly, we benefited from high demand in the field of automated machining. HEDELIUS no longer "only" supplies machining centres, but also offers tooling-optimised manufacturing solutions that help to overcome challenges such as the shortage of skilled workers, cost pressure and productivity, and to assist our customers in enjoying success in competition. This includes such aspects as process analysis. How can I optimise coolant management, tool provision or chip management? How do I reduce the distances covered by employees? Can I run my system unmanned at night or at the weekend? We have answers to these questions, technical solutions that are ideal for small and medium-sized manufacturing companies with batch sizes of up to 500. Secondly, our philosophy is well-received by the market.

 

HEDELIUS no longer "only" supplies machining centres,

but also offers optimised manufacturing solutions.

 

How would you describe the HEDELIUS philosophy?

HEDELIUS is a thoroughly solid, owner-managed family business that has "Made in Germany" imprinted in its DNA and is characterised by a great passion for technology. We are always curious and eager to try out new things, learn and improve in order to offer our customers the best solution. The customer and their specific requirements are absolutely at the heart of everything we do; and that goes for service, too.

Doesn't that go without saying?

It should, of course. But differences definitely exist on the market. For example, a HEDELIUS customer can use our service app to request a spare part or report a problem. But they can also call our service hotline, and they won't end up on hold, but rather talking to a competent service technician. In other words: The phone rings and we pick up. Very traditional.

And very approachable.

A fact that is highly appreciated by our customers. Incidentally, one in three of our service inquiries is resolved directly over the telephone.

In this way, we're increasing our

production capacity by forty per cent.

 

You have invested heavily in expanding production capacity and already have further plans.

That's right. A new, ultra-modern assembly hall with an area of 3,200 square metres is nearing completion. In this way, we're increasing our production capacity by forty per cent. Before the end of the year, we want to start building another 3,000 square metre hall to create more space for our mechanical production.

Does that mean you see good prospects for growth in 2024, too?

I am cautiously optimistic. We started the current year with an above-average order backlog, and we expect the strong demand for our tooling-optimised production solutions to continue; incidentally not only in Germany, but in other European countries, too. After all, the challenges facing manufacturing companies in the Czech Republic, the UK and elsewhere in Europe are the same as those in Germany. An important step in the internationalisation process will be the qualification of further service partners in our company and the Europe-wide expansion of the service partner network.

What technical developments can we look forward to this year?

We will continue to focus on automation in machine construction. Having supplied many ACURA machining centres with connected automation in recent years, we've now also prepared the swivel spindle machining centres in our TILTENTA series for automation. We are starting with systems from our automation partners, although we're already working on our own solution, too.

And automation will also be the focus of our in-house exhibition on 24 and 25 April.
We're already looking forward to in-depth discussions with our guests.

2023 was by far the best year in our more than 55-year company history.

HEDELIUS no longer "only" supplies machining centres, but also offers tooling-optimised production solutions.

In this way, we're increasing our production capacity by forty per cent.

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