Quality prevails.

For more than 40 years. 

A great deal has happened since our company was founded in 1973. What was once a one-man operation has become a medium-sized company with more than 260 employees. Throughout all the changes which have occurred, one thing has always remained the same: our steadfast commitment to quality. The following text describes how this commitment has shaped the history of AHP.



1973

On April 1, Gerhard Merkle founds a company for the development and manufacture of hydraulic cylinders in Gundelfingen, South Baden, Germany. A residential building in Thormattenweg serves as the first company headquarters. The factory is located in the garage and the office in the living room. Merkle is the developer, the manufacturer and the salesman in one person. Whenever he is not tinkering on new products, he is driving thousands of kilometers across the country. He always has one thing with him: homemade sand cake baked by his wife Renate, who also diligently supports him in the company.


1975

Merkle hires his first employee and long-standing design manager, Günter Pelka. The company moves to a two-room flat, also in Gundelfingen.


1978

Since the garage no longer affords enough space, Gerhard Merkle expands it to a double garage. Special custom cylinders also are produced according to the customer's wishes in this small production area.

 


1981

The company moves to March-Hugstetten near Freiburg. A small production hall and offices are available here. The product range is constantly expanding. Meanwhile, Merkle also produces short-stroke, block, cube, and flange cylinders.


1983

The company's international orientation begins with its first subsidiary in Switzerland.


1986

Merkle purchases an additional production hall in March-Hugstetten. The production area grows to 250 square meters. A raw material store and a sawmill are added.

 


1988

Christen Merkle, the son of the company founder, joins the company and takes charge of Accounting. Meanwhile, the company also is present in Denmark and Portugal. During the following years, the company expands its presence to include Holland, Belgium, Sweden and Finland. The AHP Product Catalogue appears on diskette for the first time.


1992

With the third production hall at company headquarters in March-Hugstetten, the production area grows another 700 square meters. CNC technology is introduced.

 


1997

With the third production hall at company headquarters in March-Hugstetten, the production area grows another 700 square meters. CNC technology is introduced.


1998

On its 25th anniversary, the company changes its name to 'AHP Merkle GmbH'. Christen Merkle moves up to the management board.

 


1999

AHP Merkle opens its subsidiary in the USA, its first pillar outside of Europe. The offices in March-Hugstetten also are expanded.


2000

A new office is opened in Hungary.
The product catalogue appears in CAD-3D for the first time.

 


2001

The production area of the second production hall purchased in 1986 is expanded to 250 square meters.


2002

The Renate Merkle Foundation is established. In addition to regional projects, it also supports relief projects for social disadvantaged people in the Ukraine. The company website www.ahp.de is available in 14 languages.

 


2004

With its agency in France, AHP Merkle opens its twelfth foreign subsidiary. By 2008, Hong Kong, Singapore and China have been added to this list. Italy is then included in the following year.


2010

Move to Gottenheim near Freiburg. In the meantime, a production area under one roof with an area of 6,000 square meters, has been erected for some 120 employees in the open countryside.

The first edition of the comprehensive ahp.book is issued just in time for the move. In addition, the first compendium of hydraulic cylinders, ahp.informiert (ahp.informs), is issued.

 


2012

The first edition of the comprehensive ahp.book is issued just in time for the move. In addition, the first compendium of hydraulic cylinders, ahp.informiert (ahp.informs), is issued.


2013

A new training center is established in Gottenheim. AHP Merkle now employs two dozen trainees. The training quota is almost 20 percent. The 19th foreign subsidiary opens in India.

 


AHP Merkle's company history is a chronicle of continually growing success – success that has resulted from measured, locally-rooted management. Our long-range vision is to build on what we have and to cultivate relationships of trust with our business partners. A tradition that will of course be continued even after the generational change from the founding couple, Gerhard and Renate Merkle, to their son, Christen and his wife Katrin Merkle, the second generation of family ownership.

We greatly appreciate the outstanding relationships we have with our numerous customers in Germany and abroad. We have grown side by side with many of these companies, more than a few of which have since achieved worldwide success. We shall continue in the future to pursue a policy in which our customer-oriented approach means above all our own commitment to your corporate objectives – and that is something you can count on.