Von der Heyde: Between Tradition and High Tech
The roots of W. von der Heyde GmbH (Stade) run about 130 years deep. When the company receives a smaller order from the Elbe-Weser triangle region of Germany, employees are reminded that the company founded its reputation as a machinery manufacturer as a forge. In the meantime, “VDH” is primarily equipped for high tech solutions in the specialty machinery industry. Without the traditional craftsman-like background repair jobs of rather simple, but often times very old mechanical devices for which drawings and spare parts no longer exist, as well as very complex machines with highly automated processes, would not be conceivable.
Within the region of Stade, the company is the problem-solver for local as well as for small to large companies. One example: Dow Chemical has a large location near Stade and needs regular repairs or maintenance done or needs special parts, which cannot be bought elsewhere.
Von der Heyde is a self-contained facility for developing specialty machinery, from developing the electronics via the necessary software to the in-house machine manufacturing. Standard products like motors/drives, mass spectrometers, pneumatic or controls, etc., are bought on the open market as they are needed for the final product. The VDH team is able to develop one-of-a-kind equipment, which can be customized to specification to fill a very specific need in a large manufacturing application. The goal, however, is to try to serialize the product in some way to standardize the special areas in the industry, like cooling industry/heat exchangers and compressors/chillers. The most important target group, however, in this specialty machinery business is the automotive industry.
Within this main business for the company, the leak detection technology for aluminum wheels takes the largest portion, but leak detection is also very important for other automotive parts in order to guarantee impeccable quality products. Mechanical engineers know that 100 per cent protection from diffusion/leaks cannot be achieved, at least when two or more different parts are put together as one. VDH, however, offers the expertise to detect intolerable leak rates. VDH manufactures leak detection machines for evaporator plates, mainly for the upper car class, and for cooling coils for air conditioning units of cars, for airbag systems for airbag manufacturers and for other companies making heat exchangers, oil chillers, etc. Customers are car manufacturers themselves, but additionally a primary market is the suppliers to the automotive industry.
About 75 employees are currently working at VDH; the turnover runs in the lower 2-digit million euro range. The company is currently located in a combined residential/commercial region; a completely new area awaits the beginning of a new building – adjacent to a large Stade Airbus Plant and in the midst of other high-tech companies, which all have contributed to achieve national recognition of the new industrial area CFK-Valley Stade. On one hand, VDH may be a highly specialized company, but on the other hand, the applications of innovative technology for special machinery and its leak detection technology are limitless.