Berthold Leibinger to Receive Aachen Engineering Award 2014

Berthold Leibinger and RWTH Rector Ernst Schmachtenberg Copyright: © KD BUSCH.COM

On September 5, 2014, the engineer, entrepreneur and foundation founder Berthold Leibinger of Trumpf GmbH & Co. KG, Ditzingen, will be presented with the Aachen Engineering Award. The honor is jointly awarded by RWTH Aachen University and the City of Aachen.


“With his professional achievement, Professor Leibinger stands for those few who actually manage to introduce a new technology into a grown industry. Early on, he recognized the possibilities offered by lasers and set out to revolutionize machine tool technology. Thus, the company Trumpf developed into the market leader for industrial lasers and laser systems,” explained Professor Ernst Schmachtenberg, Rector of RWTH Aachen University and Spokesperson for the Advisory Board of the Aachen Engineering Award.

“For this reason, Professor Leibinger embodies the criteria of the Aachen Engineering Award. Not only did he realize the advantages of new technologies, he actually applied them to the best possible success in his company,” added Schmachtenberg.

“We are very pleased to honor such an outstanding entrepreneur with the Aachen Engineering Award. Not only has he enriched engineering with creative ideas, he has also demonstrated strong social and cultural commitment,” said Marcel Philip, Mayor of the City of Aachen. “One of the aims of the Aachen Engineering Award is to present role models and provide orientation to young students. Professor Leibinger embodies the values that we in Aachen as a university city want to instill in our future engineers.”

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Award Recipient

Prof. Dr. techn. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Berthold Leibinger can look back on a life of achievement that is characterized by professional excellence, creative innovation, entrepreneurial acumen, and social engagement. Berthold Leibinger was born in 1930 in Stuttgart. Equipped with the proverbial Swabian virtues, he embarked on an impressive career: after obtaining his university entrance qualification, he completed vocational training as a mechanic at the small company Trumpf. Subsequently he studied mechanical engineering at the University of Stuttgart and worked for two years in the United States.

Back in his Swabian homeland, Leibinger became head of the construction division at Trumpf GmbH + Co. KG. At Trumpf, he already had completed his Diploma thesis, which led to three patents. Thanks to the innovative work of Berthold Leibinger, the company continued to grow and considerably strengthened its market position. In 1968, Trumpf presented the first sheet metal processing machine using numerical path control. At this time, Leibinger was already Managing Director Technology and a Partner at Trumpf. In 1979, the medium-sized company decided to develop laser technologies, and in the mid-eighties, the Trumpf was able to offer its first self-developed carbon dioxide laser.

In 2005, aged 75, Berthold Leibinger retired from the company in 2005, and his daughter Dr. Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller became President of Trumpf GmbH + Co. KG. His son, RWTH graduate Dr. Peter Leibinger, became Vice Chairman of the company. As President of the Laser Technology and Electronics Division, he is responsible for research and development in laser technology.

The company, founded in 1923 as a mechanical workshop, has developed into one of the leading companies in manufacturing and medical technology. Today, the Trumpf Group has 9925 members of staff, and the Group’s turnover in the business year of 2012/13 was 2.33 billion Euros. The Leibinger family owns 95 percent of the company. 5 percent belong to the Berthold Leibinger Foundation, which supports scientific, cultural, church, and social projects and institutions.

The Aachen Engineering Award is only the latest prize awarded to the Swabian developer and entrepreneur. In 2006, Leibinger received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, in 2009, he was inducted into “Hall of Fame” of the economic magazine Handelsblatt. In 2013, he was awarded the Prize for Understanding and Tolerance of the Association of Friends and Supporters of the Jewish Museum Berlin.

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The Aachen Engineering Award

The Aachen Engineering Award is presented annually by RWTH Aachen and the City of Aachen to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the positive perception and/or further development of engineering with his or her life’s work. Award recipients are selected by a high-profile Advisory Board.

The prize will be awarded for the first time on Friday, September 5, 2014, during a celebratory evening event at Altes Kurhaus der Stadt Aachen. On Saturday, September 6, the RWTH Aachen Graduation Celebration will take place, for which 5,000 participants are expected to attend and which may be the largest event of its kind in Germany. Berthold Leibinger, a role model for the younger generation, has the honor of talking about his life’s work to graduates in the key-note speech.

Sparkasse Aachen is the major sponsor of the events surrounding the Aachen Engineering Award. VDI, the Association of German Engineers, has sponsored the sculpture “Intersecting Ellipses,” which was designed by the Mexican artist Mariana Castilla Deball for the Aachen Engineering Award.

Caption: RWTH Rector Schmachtenberg and award recipient Berthold Leibinger at the headquarters of TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG in Ditzingen.


City of Aachen

Press and Marketing Division
Phone: +49 241 432-1309

RWTH Aachen University

Department of University Communications
Phone: +49 241 80-94326


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