The HERMLE machines created new possibilities and advantages

C 650 | EIFEL Mold and Engineering | Plastic Engineering

HERMLE Machines and Services Pull Michigan Mold Builder into Future of Manufacturing.

In 2008, Rick Hecker, President and CEO of Eifel Mold and Engineering, faced a reality that many machine shops are all too familiar with - the inability to compete with the lower cost of international competition. The second-generation plastic injection mold builder watched as top customers outsourced bids, chasing higher margins and better lead times.

Eifel Mold modernized their duplicating machines and invested in standard 3-axis machines to remain competitive, but eventually, they needed more. In what felt like a leap of faith, Eifel Mold made their largest equipment investment to date and purchased a HERMLE C 40 5-axis machine, trusting it would change the game for them.

  • Eifel Mold and Engineering team stand in front of Ford truck outside shop in Fraser, Michigan.
  • HERMLE Midwest Regional Sales Manager, Ken Merk, and Eifel Mold and Engineering Program Manager, Eric Hecker, discuss automation in front of HERMLE C 650.
  • Eifel Mold and Engineering Shop Manager, Michael Owen washes the HERMLE HS Flex system.
  • Eifel Mold and Engineering machinist inspects work done on the HERMLE C 30 U.
  • Left to right – HERMLE Midwest Regional Sales Manager, Ken Merk, Eifel Mold and Engineering Program Manager, Eric Hecker, and owner, Rick Hecker.

It certainly did

Ken Merk, HERMLE’s Midwest Regional Sales Manager, worked directly with Hecker to understand, analyze, and deliver what Hecker needed.

“We knew Eifel Mold needed to tighten operations and reduce outsourcing,” said Merk. “The HERMLE machines they invested in not only helped in those areas, but also brought new capabilities, new advantages and ultimately new customers.”

Traditional pain points and pitfalls became competitive advantages.

The tight tolerances and undercuts required in certain molds and complex parts could not be optimized overseas, making Eifel Mold, once again, globally competitive.

Superior lead times and lower costs drew customers back to Fraser, MI. Typical fears of cost associated with HERMLE machines quickly faded as Eifel Mold realized they couldn’t afford not to step up to a 5-axis machine, especially a HERMLE.

Eric Hecker, Program Manager and son of Rick Hecker, recognized the competitive advantages the HERMLE machines and services brought to the shop.

“The two HERMLE’s that are here – the C 30 and C 40… saved the shop from going under,” said Eric. “And now with the C 650 with automation, this thing is going to keep business coming as well – getting us quicker lead times. Everyone can cut well and make good molds but getting them to market fast is what we’re starting to see customers want.”

Eifel Mold is not only competitive in the automotive industry, but the C 650 with automation allowed them to be flexible enough to break into new industries and diversify their offerings.

Michael Owen, a 10-year staff member and current Shop Manager, immediately saw the advantages of stepping up to automation.

“It’s helped us with longer run times over the weekends and interruptions during the day,” said Owen. “A change that needs to be done really quick; we can shuttle the part in the machine back on the shelf.”

Michael Nye, the General Manager at Eifel Mold, saw the price tag and the investment into HERMLE machines and services, and knew the rewards outweighed the risks.

Nye said, “The way it cuts, the way it machines is fantastic.”

The investment made by Eifel Mold into HERMLE wasn’t just for the machines and automation. Rick Hecker quickly saw return when it came to installation and servicing the machine and equipment.

“We’ve had our first machine for over 16 years and the HERMLE staff has been phenomenal,” said Rick. “I’ve had some other technicians from other companies, and they spend three hours on their phone in the parking lot.”

HERMLE currently manufactures, sells, delivers and services nine models of machines. Consolidating product offerings allows HERMLE service to shine. Having a universal approach to the machines, the parts and the technology creates a streamlined process to solve customers’ problems.

Hecker and his team continue to push their machines and their production, so they can not only be competitive in the marketplace but stand out from the competition.

Eifel Mold and Engineering celebrated their 50th anniversary in 2023, a milestone that was once in jeopardy, now a momentous celebration of what their future holds.

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