HOFFMANN bids farewell to rubber bonded parts specialist in retirement

After almost 2 decades, Mr. Jochen Kugler, long-time managing partner, ends his successful work at HOFFMANN GmbH, rubber and plastic moulding technology, in Kirchheim Teck. During a ceremony on June 30, 2022, the entire workforce bid him farewell to his well-deserved retirement.

Some say a “rubber veteran”, others state a “knowledge database” and for many he is “the rubber bonded parts specialist” par excellence. No one else has as much expertise and know-how when it comes to rubber-to-metal and rubber-to-plastic connections. Whether it was questions about technical product solutions and their feasibility, the optimal elastomer mixture, automation solutions, REACH conformity, conflict materials or ISO-certifications – as an industrial engineer and sales manager, after 33 years of professional experience in the rubber composite parts industry, he always had an answer and one solution for employees, customers and suppliers.

In his laudatory speech, Managing Director Andreas Neumann reviewed Jochen Kugler’s professional career with personal episodes and paid tribute to his extraordinary and impressive life’s work, described his outstanding merits and thanked him on behalf of the entire workforce for his extremely great commitment in all the years together. “In the morning always the first and the last in the evening, we’ll miss that. But above all we will miss your positive attitude to life, driving things forward with a lot of heart and passion for our customers and often making the impossible possible,” says Andreas Neumann.

For his former companion, Dr. Andreas Hoffmann, it was one of his best decisions to take Jochen Kugler from Gummi-Metall Scheufele & Gienger GmbH in Weilheim in 2003 to HOFFMANN in Kirchheim Teck to join the company management. ” In every respect and at any time we complemented each other perfectly,” says the past owner, ” with him as sales manager important strategic courses were set for the company.”

Founded by Dr. Hoffmann’s parents, they have together led the small family business from a manufacturer of simple moulded rubber parts to an innovative, global manufacturing company of high-precision bonded parts made of rubber, plastic and metal for sealing and damping components – with a quadrupling of annual sales in the last 10 years.

Even in the long-term planning and implementation of age-related corporate succession in stages, the two have also shown great foresight and entrepreneurial skills. Priority was given to maintaining the Kirchheim location and thus securing jobs for the around 100 long-standing employees. A successor was found early in 2016 in form of the Dutch family entrepreneur Dino Zorge as an additional shareholder. After the leaving from Dr. Hoffmann, Zorge Europe B.V. took over the company to one hundred percent in September last year. Familiar faces from own ranks also ensure continuity and stability. As a sales manager with power of attorney Ute Schmidt succeeded Mr. Kugler 3 years ago and at the end of 2020 Andreas Neumann, the former operations manager, took over the position of managing director from Dr. Hoffman.

The constant success and permanent growth are also due to the strategic focus on specializing in high-precision micro-/bonded parts in 2K or 3K composites. In the meantime, all major manufacturers of control and regulation technology are supplied across all sectors. Likewise, many new major projects in electromobility and in the semiconductor industry allows to look very positively into the future. That also pleases the retiring Mr. Kugler. A bit wistful and yet full of pride, he notices that he could not have imagined anything better for HOFFMANN and for himself than being able to hand over a company on a very solid foundation. “The annual sales forecast at least of 21 million euros in the ZORGE group also contributes significantly to this,” he adds.

The belonging of Hoffmann GmbH to the ZORGE Group opens up a wide range of new opportunities for customers. Individual strengths of each enterprise are retained and customer benefits are further expanded under a common ZORGE umbrella. With “Made in EU” the three European production sites in Germany, the Netherlands and Hungary offer more safety and reliability in terms of quality and deadline compliance. A real alternative to competitors from Asian low-wage countries, especially in unstable and unpredictable times like these. Whether with existing series or new projects – customers can benefit from the outsourcing of moulded rubber parts to the sister company in Hungary. HOFFMANN is also expanding its existing product portfolio with liquid silicone moulded and bonded parts produced in the Netherlands. An ideal addition to support the single source idea.

Even after the retirement of the two previous owners and managing directors, HOFFMANN is still on the road to success and growth, and remains for customers an important, innovative development partner for technically demanding moulded parts made of flexible materials and their bonded solutions.