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.
Onboarding of the 1st employee
Merkle hires his first employee and long-standing design manager, Günter Pelka. The company moves to a two-room flat, also in Gundelfingen.
Garage conversion to create more space
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.
Product range expansion
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.
1st foreign representative office
The company's international orientation begins with its first subsidiary in Switzerland.
Further production area expansion
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.
Onboarding of Christen Merkle
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.
CNC technology is introduced
With the third production hall at company headquarters in March-Hugstetten, the production area grows another 700 square meters. CNC technology is introduced.
Christen Merkle moves up to the management board
On its 25th anniversary, the company changes its name to 'AHP Merkle GmbH'. Christen Merkle moves up to the management board.
Representation in the U.S.
AHP Merkle opens its subsidiary in the USA, its first pillar outside of Europe. The offices in March-Hugstetten also are expanded.
Hungary office is opened
A new office is opened in Hungary. The product catalogue appears in CAD-3D for the first time.
Production area of 2nd hall expanded
The production area of the second production hall purchased in 1986 is expanded to 250 square meters.
Establishment of Renate Merkle Foundation
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.
Additional international representations
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.
Move to Gottenheim
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.
Construction of Technical Center. Representation opens in India.
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.
Acquisition of AHP Merkle China Ltd.
Acquisition of AHP Merkle China Ltd on 2014-07-01.
Acquisition of Baden Hydraulik, opening of Technical Center
2015-07-01 Acquisition of Hauer, future Baden Hydraulik. The Technical Center featuring a training room, test laboratory, and canteen was opened in September 2015.
Inception of AHP magazine and image film, organizational structure changed to agile teams
The first issue of ahp. magazine is published in 2017. 2017: Presentation of the first AHP image film. Project start of converting the organizational structure to agile teams
Incorporation of AHP Merkle Italy srl. and AHP Merkle Portugal Lda.
2018-05-01: Incorporation of AHP Merkle Italy srl. and AHP Merkle Portugal Lda. Formation of the Sales Strategy Team Opening of the new burnishing bath (investment of EUR 1 million) November 2018: Groundbreaking ceremony for Plant 2. Construction begins.
Cinema training advertisements, first E-AHP is presented, ahp.dna manual is created, construction of Plant 2 starts
The first ahp.Azubi advertisement is shown in the Freiburg cinema. Cylinder 2.0: The first E-AHP is presented. The ahp.dna manual is created. Practiced values are passed on to employees.
Sponsoring for EHC Freiburg, coronavirus breaks out, AHP announces short-time work
Opening of Plant 2 in January 2020. The last large-scale event before the coronavirus pandemic. AHP Merkle Portugal Lda. becomes AHP Merkle Ibérica Lda. AHP Merkle becomes EHC Freiburg's sponsor, waives the naming rights of the ice hockey arena, thus enabling the stadium to be named "Echte Helden Arena" (Real Heroes Arena) in connection with the "Echte Helden" initiative for the children in Freiburg University's Children's Hospital. We come in 2nd among Germany's best training companies (Focus Money) The coronavirus breaks out. The order backlog slumps. AHP Merkle announces short-time work for the first time in its history.
First online conference for international representatives, first in-house exhibition, acquisition of the 'second GROB' Main sponsor of Freiburg Soccer School
Another award: Wirtschaftsmagnet 2021 2021-04-22: First online conference for international representatives 2021-06-24: First virtual in-house exhibition The first patent in company history "High temperature monitoring for squeeze pin immersion depth" We acquired a 'second GROB'. It has enormous potential and economic benefits. Another step towards automation has been taken. We are main sponsor of the Freiburg Soccer School starting in the 2021 / 2022 season.
"Exemplary company 2022" award
AHP Merkle receives the "Exemplary company 2022" award
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.