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Makino History: Part 3

The exciting 1970s – Makino gets going in Germany

Through its involvement in Europe Makino can look back on a long history that began with the traditional German company Heidenreich & Harbeck GmbH in the 1970s.

Founded in Hamburg back in 1868, Heidenreich & Harbeck's expertise was originally in the production of lathes. Whereas the early and mid-20th century were dominated by the construction of artillery pieces for the two world wars, in the early 1950s Heidenreich & Harbeck was awarded the contract to build the Large Schmidt Mirror for Hamburg Observatory as the West German partner of Zeiss Jena.

Then came the exciting 1970s. As an additional branch of the company, the first high-performance blow-moulding machine was developed for the production of PVC beer bottles. This process was adapted to PET in 1971. The plastic bottle production unit went independent in 1975 and was sold to the Krupp Group in 1979.
Back in 1972, Martin Harbeck's son had sold Heidenreich & Harbeck to its competitor Gildemeister AG in Bielefeld after the latter had acquired a stake in 1970. In 1976 Gildemeister announced its intention to close down production and drastically reduce the number of employees from 1,000 to 200.

In October 1978 the Japanese company Makino, which was founded in May 1937 by Tsunezō Makino, took an equity share in Heidenreich & Harbeck and from then on was also manufacturing its machines in Hamburg.
The company in Hamburg was completely taken over by the Makino Group in 1978. In 1997 the "local business" was expanded and business units were created throughout Europe.

Since 1999 the company has been known as Makino GmbH. Production of many machines, including lathes, was still located in Hamburg until 2007 when the company moved to the northern edge of the city. Makino GmbH was then transformed into a sales and service company with a showroom. Today, all Makino machines come from Japan or Singapore and customers in Northern Europe are serviced from Hamburg.