Eugen Hehl, Arburg senior partner and entrepreneurial visionary, died Tuesday, Dec. 12. He was 94.
Together with his brother Karl, who passed away in 2010, Hehl played a decisive role in shaping the Black Forest-based family business into the internationally acclaimed manufacturer of plastic processing machines it is today.
As chairman of the management team for many years and responsible for global sales at Arburg, Eugen Hehl played a key role in the company's global success. He was also the architect behind the distinctive, immediately recognizable Arburg "look" of the company’s offices and facilities around the world.
Hehl’s international ambitions were evident almost from the start. After establishing his own, initially regional, sales structures, he made his first foray abroad in 1957, when the company participated in the first trade fair in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. By 1962, he was traveling to Japan and the USA to further boost machine sales. Today Arburg has a presence in 25 countries at 35 locations and is further represented in over 100 countries through its trade partners — although the company takes great pride in the fact that all its machines are still produced only at the company's German headquarters in Lossburg.
Firmly committed to community engagement, both Eugen Hehl and his brother Karl maintained strong social ties with Lossburg. Aligning Arburg’s corporate values with those of the Lossburg community was an important pillar, as exemplified by the establishment of the Gebrüder Hehl Foundation, which officially began its work in 1999. The retirement home operated by the Bruderhaus-Diakonie, a nonprofit, Christian diaconal foundation in Baden-Württemberg, is open to older people for assisted living, short-term and elderly care.
In recognition of his efforts and achievements on behalf of the plastics industry, Eugen Hehl was presented with the Federal Cross of Merit in November 2000 by the Federal Republic of Germany. Arburg was awarded the Baden-Württemberg Business Medal in 1990 and the Baden-Württemberg Competence Award for Innovation and Quality in 2015. Further awards include honorary citizenship of the municipality of Lossburg in November 1997 and the Golden Master Craftsman's Certificate in 2005. The American Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) presented Eugen and Karl Hehl with the Business Management Award in 2007 for their joint life's work. Eugen Hehl was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame in 2015 and in 2020, he received the Richard Vieweg Medal of Honour, the highest award of the Association of German Engineers (VDI).
“We bid a deeply sad farewell to our senior partner Eugen Hehl,” wrote the company in a post on LinkedIn. “With him, we, the region and the global industry have lost a down-to-earth and success-oriented person, entrepreneur, thought leader and pioneer in plastics processing.”
Still family owned, Arburg is currently being managed by the third generation, consisting of Eugen’s two children, managing partners Juliane and Michael Hehl, together with their cousin Renate Keinath. They, the managing directors and all employees will remember him with honor and gratitude.