Our Story

About Eifel

Eifel specializes in product development through production tooling. Eifel is a leader in production and prototype tooling for automotive interiors. Our 5-axis CNC machining capabilities provide outstanding quality finishes more efficiently, shortening lead times and producing longer-lasting molds. We build molds for products such as steering wheels, airbag housing units, center consoles, headlamps, seat back panels, and aftermarket parts. Eifel also provides specialized services including on-site data presentations, studio consulting, and professional contracting services.

Our focus at Eifel is on People, Process, and Technology – all three of which combine to form the nucleus of a successful business operation.

We put the best people in place and support their growth while devoting resources to obtaining the right equipment and implementing the best methods. You have to invest in all three in order to be successful.

Richard Hecker, Owner & President

Milestones In History

In 1973, Josef P. Hecker started Eifel Pattern and Model Company to provide tooling aids to automotive suppliers. After immigrating to America from Kreuzau, Germany and working more than 15 years in the automotive and aircraft industries, Hecker looked to capitalize on his wealth of knowledge in the industrial patterns and models trade and established a company of his own.

The small shop, named after a mountainous region in Germany, takes in more than 200 custom jobs per year and employs more than 20 highly skilled professionals. Eifel has grown into one of the industry’s leading product development and production tooling firms with several prominent Tier 1 automotive customers.

Specializing in the product development cycle, from supporting studio styling with full product design to prototyping and production tooling, Eifel designs and builds tools for products such as steering wheels, vehicle aftermarket parts, airbag housing units, car center consoles, headlamps, and seat back panels. Eifel also provides specialized services including studio consulting, on-site data presentations, and professional contracting services.

Though Eifel’s current status and future appears promising, this was not always the case. As with any industry, the industry was subject to ebbs and flows, and Eifel was not immune. During the mid-1980s in a technology-driven automotive industry, many small businesses, like Eifel, experienced a reduction in business and suffered from an inability to compete for jobs. Many of the small businesses folded.

In the 1980s, Josef Hecker brought in his son, Richard, to help refocus the business. Richard, who grew up working around his father’s shop, had made a name for himself in the industry after obtaining a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University and working as an engineer for General Motors.

The younger Hecker came in with a plan to capitalize on advanced technology and merged the new discipline with Eifel’s existing capabilities. By 1989, survival and future success meant keeping a steady eye on industry trends and taking advantage of cutting-edge technology. With that in mind, Eifel invested in advanced CAD/CAM software and state-of-the-art CNC machining centers.

“Though the amount invested seems like a substantial investment for a small company, it was something we had to do to remain competitive,” Rick Hecker said. “The upside of that investment was the company seeing immediate positive results.”

With an arsenal of new technology, equipment, and know-how at its disposal, Eifel positioned itself as one of the quickest “Concept to Completion” toolmakers in the business.

Using cross-functional teams of CAD designers, engineers, and toolmakers in the initial concept phase of a program, Eifel not only ensures that all design and manufacturing concerns are implemented in the part design, but also that the overall product development cycle is shortened, part repeatability is delivered, and program costs are reduced.

In 2000, Eifel emerged from the shadow of a shrinking industry with a new approach to business and a new company name: Eifel Inc. But the Michigan design and manufacturing firm’s evolution would not stop there. Shortly following came new ownership. Richard Hecker completed a buyout of his father’s company, taking the reins and guiding Eifel into the future.

Richard built on a philosophy that existed under his father’s leadership and made it a focal point, that of “People, Process, and Technology.” The three combined form the nucleus of a successful business operation.

“Within a good business model each of these areas should be just as important as the other. We put the best people in place and support their growth while devoting resources to obtaining the right equipment and implementing the best methods,” Hecker says. “You have to invest in all three in order to be successful.”

Today, Eifel’s expertise is derived from more than 45 years of business experience in providing turnkey solutions for the company’s many satisfied automotive and aerospace customers. Computer-aided design and manufacturing are an integral part of Eifel’s ongoing success in a highly competitive marketplace.

Our Timeline

  • 1973Josef P. Hecker starts Eifel Pattern and Model Company with a focus on models, patterns, and fixtures for the automotive and aerospace industries.
  • 1975Eifel moves to Fraser, Michigan, and it begins building transmission housings and castings for Chrysler.
  • 1986Josef Hecker’s son, Richard, joins the business and leads its restructuring.
  • 1989Eifel invests in advanced CAD/CAM software and state-of-the-art CNC machining centers.
  • 1990Eifel begins reverse engineering, surfacing, and laser scanning.
  • 1995Eifel gets a facelift and a 6,000-square-foot addition. Eifel evolves into a full-service tooling source and has full design CAD data.
  • 1997Eifel purchases two Leadwell CNC Machining Centers.
  • Early 2000sEifel changes its name to Eifel Inc., and Richard Hecker becomes the new owner.
  • 2002Eifel achieves ISO 9002 certification.
  • 2004Eifel adds high-speed machining and net surface machining technology.
  • 2006Eifel replaces its boring mill with a Haas 4-Axis Horizontal CNC Machining Center.
  • 2007Eifel receives lean manufacturing training and begins implementing lean practices.
  • 2008Eifel purchases its first Hermle 5-Axis High Speed Machining Center.
  • 2010Eifel purchases a Makino Wire EDM.
  • 2011Eifel purchases its second Hermle 5-Axis Machining Center.
  • 2012Eifel purchases its third 5-axis machining center, a DMG Mori DMU100P.
  • 2013Eifel adds 3,000 square feet to its manufacturing facility.
    Eifel purchases its first plastic injection molding machine – 1996 Nissei FE460 500 ton press.
  • 2014Eifel hosts its first Lincoln HS Students plant tour, where the students learned how injection molds are built and parts run in the injection molding press. After the first tour, we began hosting MFG Day each year in October.
  • 2017Eifel assists in procuring a DMG 5-Axis CNC machine, valued at $250,000 for the CTE students at Lincoln Hight school in Warren.
    Eifel purchases its first plastic injection molding machine – 1996 Nissei FE460 500 ton press.
  • 2018Installed in January 2018, Eifel’s biggest CNC yet, a 2017 DMU105 monoBlock 5-Axis CNC with a work envelope of 41 x 44 x 29.
    Eifel adds a DMU50V CNC to its arsenal of 5-Axis CNC mills bringing it to a total of five 5-axis machining centers.

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