Helios Gear Products Business Manager Adam Gimpert recently discussed the name-change from Koepfer America to Helios in an industry Q&A:
Q:Helios is a new name in the gear manufacturing industry. What do you do?
A: The name is relatively new, but our company has supplied machines and tools to the industry for over 30 years as Koepfer America. As of January 1, 2019, our name changed to Helios Gear Products.
Q:What spurred the name change?
A: The confluence of three forces convinced us it was the right time for a name-change.
Firstly, our company has grown to offer manufacturers several solutions for machines and tools. We directly represent several OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), including ourselves, and many consumable tool OEMs. A neutral brand like “Helios” allows us to more equally represent all our partner OEMs.
Secondly, in 2018, our key OEM partner announced a new hobbing solution well suited for the direct and Tier 1 automotive sectors. We have structured our company to serve job shops and similar small manufacturing operations, so the alignment between our group and this new hobbing machine required an evolution of our organization.
Lastly and thirdly, YG Tech, OEM of the Hera line of gear hobbing equipment, needed new representatives in North America. After visiting the YG Tech factory and vetting their machine tool solutions, we knew that working together would bring a great hobbing solution to market. With the Hera line, we can now offer gear manufacturers three empowering forces: affordability, quality, and from-stock delivery — all with our proven, reliable technical assistance.
Q:Does this mean that Koepfer is gone?
A: “Koepfer” is owned by the EMAG Group, and here in the United States, Helios Gear Products will continue to be the technical service provider for legacy Koepfer equipment, which includes models such as 300, 200, 160, 180, 173, 153, and others. We proudly continue to serve our existing Koepfer customers with our proven technical support and new affordable technologies.
Q: For technical assistance on Koepfer equipment, should customers contact Helios?
A: Absolutely! We are EMAG Koepfer GmbH’s technical service partner for all “K-type” machinery. In simple terms, if the machine is a Koepfer Model 300, 200, 160, 180, 173, 153, or similar, Helios is the go-to company for technical assistance and domestically stocked parts.
Q: Why is Helios and YG Tech such a great combination?
A: The Hera machines from YG Tech offer world class technology, such as Fanuc CNC, direct-drive torque motors, hardened and ground linear rails, and unified automation systems that our existing customers will expect and find familiar. YG Tech is a multi-generational family-owned business echoed by today’s leadership at Helios, and YG Tech has built gear machines since 1963 and other machine tools since the early 20th century. With Helios’s expertise and reputation in the North American gear manufacturing industry, the Helios Hera line offers manufacturers a new, affordable, high-quality, high-technology, reliable option for gear hobbing in the 21st century.
Q:What does “Helios” mean?
A: For our team, Helios means equipping manufacturers with machines and tools to make profitable gears. For others, Helios is the god of the sun in Greek mythology. We liked the sun symbolism, and “Helios” is not tied to any one brand that we represent. We strive to “shed light” on the path to profitable production for gear manufacturers, so they can compete in the global arena.
Q:What are Helios’s main product offerings?
A: Machines and tools for gear manufacturers: We supply hobbing equipment for gears up to about 30 inches in diameter, and on the other end, we have hobbing equipment that comfortably handles gears smaller than a baby’s little finger. Our deburring and chamfering machines are a growing segment of our products, and we also supply abrasive tools for generating grinding, form grinding, bevel gear grinding, and more. Cutting tools, of course, are an important part of our offerings: carbide and HSS hobs, milling cutters, and shaper cutters. Lastly, manufacturers also rely on us for hob sharpening and contract inspection work.
Depending on the hobbing solution required, our hobbing machines are built by ourselves, Monnier + Zahner, or YG Tech, and our deburring and chamfering machines are built by Tecnomacchine.
Q:Will Helios continue to offer used equipment?
A: We certainly will continue to offer cost-conscious solutions. Manufacturers looking for budget-friendly machines should consider our used and re-controlled (“K-Repowered”) options, which we offer with warranties and backed by our Helios technical support. Our stock is always changing, so manufacturers should give us a call or visit our website for the latest.
Q:Is there anything else you’d like to add about the future of Helios?
A: We continue to work on being a leading supplier of gear manufacturing solutions. Part of that effort is our sales partnership with Kapp Technologies of Boulder, CO. Combined, our engineers and sales teams offer manufacturers are trusted, high-quality resource for hobbing, grinding, deburring, and inspection solutions. Manufacturers know that working with either Helios or Kapp will open doors for productive and profitable gearing for the future.