Karlheinz Bourdon awarded with Georg Menges Prize

Dr.-Ing. Karlheinz Bourdon, supervisory board member at KraussMaffei Group, receives the Georg Menges Prize 2024, which is awarded every two years for outstanding commitment to collaboration between research and industry.

Presentation of the Georg Menges Award 2024 at the Eurogress. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Hopmann, | Photo: IKV/ Dominik Fröls

Aachen, February 2024 – On the occasion of the 32nd International Colloquium Plastics Technology, Dr. Ing. Karlheinz Bourdon was honoured with the Georg Menges Prize 2024 for his exceptional achievements in the transfer of research results into industrial practice. The prize is awarded every two years by the Plastics and Rubber section of Germany's Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA), together with PlasticsEurope Deutschland and the Association of Sponsors of the Institute for Plastics Processing (IKV) in Industry and Craft at RWTH University, to acknowledge the achievement of individual persons or groups who have made a particularly valuable contribution to the transfer of research results to industrial practice in the field of plastic technology. Professor Dr Christian Hopmann, Director of IKV and Managing Director of the IKV Sponsors' Association, presented the award in keeping with tradition as part of the 32nd International Colloquium on Plastics Technology at the Eurogress in Aachen.

Dr.-Ing. Karlheinz Bourdon is the first Georg Menges Prize winner whose professional roots lie at IKV. As a student assistant at IKV during his mechanical engineering studies in Aachen, he was introduced to the subject of injection moulding machines, which would subsequently determine his entire professional life. His first important station was his doctorate at IKV in 1989, and the following year he joined KraussMaffei as Head of Systems Engineering, where he set the first technological milestones in the field of automated mould changing and robot removal systems. After transferring to Ferromatik Milacron, where he was last responsible for the global plastics business as President Global Plastics Machinery, he primarily drove forward the development of all-electric injection moulding machines. In 2008, he returned to KraussMaffei as Managing Director and CEO Injection Moulding Technology and took over the position of Vice President Technologies of the Injection Moulding Technology segment in 2012. With the acquisition of the KraussMaffei Group by ChemChina in 2016, he became Senior Vice President Integration and was responsible for the integration of ChemChina's existing mechanical engineering companies into the KraussMaffei Group. Karlheinz Bourdon has since moved to the Supervisory Board of the KraussMaffei Group and is also a member of the Advisory Board of Pöppelmann GmbH & Co. KG.

During his career, Karlheinz Bourdon has been involved in numerous committees, the VDI, the German Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association (VDMA), the European Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association (EUROMAP), the Südwestmetall Employers' Association, as well as in research at Fraunhofer and, last but not least, the IKV.

This year's award winner is known as a "veteran of injection moulding machine construction", who has been particularly committed to the implementation of new findings and technologies in injection moulding machine construction and the injection moulding process for more than 30 years, true to Menges' credo of "research for practical application", said Professor Hopmann in his laudatory speech. At IKV, he had already dealt with topics that have not lost their relevance to this day. As a long-standing member of the Board of Trustees and member of the Board of Directors of the IKV Association of Sponsors, Karlheinz Bourdon had also always been keen to help create the conditions for a successful career for future generations. The importance of the necessary ingredients for this – technical expertise, an understanding of systems as well as innovation and market orientation – are close to his heart. "So this plastics career started 45 years ago at IKV and today we are honouring an alumnus for the first time," he said at the end: "We would like to express our sincere thanks for the many innovations in injection moulding technology, but also for the profound evidence of his success in implementing scientific findings in new products, for his commitment to research and transfer in IKV’s Association of Sponsors and for supporting our work at IKV. At the same time, I would like to congratulate him personally and on behalf of the prize donors on this special honour."

In his address of thanks, award winner Dr Bourdon spoke about his path into the world of injection moulding and his time at IKV, which had equipped him with all the important tools for his career. Prof Menges' personality and the way in which research at IKV is understood as teamwork, in which individuals are both encouraged and challenged, played a not insignificant role. He appealed to his young colleagues at IKV, but also in industry: "Use your good training and do your work with commitment and passion!” – something particularly important right now. "The best successes in my life have always been those that were hard to achieve and only possible with total personal commitment," he added. He thanked the donors of the award for the decades of good cooperation and lively dialogue: "Let's continue to fight for plastics and do the things that still need to be done! Because plastic is actually a great material – only too few people realise that."

The Georg Menges Prize was first awarded in 1999 to mark the 75th birthday of Georg Menges, who was head of the Institute for Plastics Processing (IKV) for many years. Georg Menges would have been 100 years old at the end of last year. The prize named after him is now in its 25th year and has been awarded in memoriam since 2022 The donors of the prize continue to pursue Georg Menges' central idea that research and industry necessarily belong together and that a constant exchange of information between science and industry is essential to achieve innovation. The award of the George Menges Prize acknowledges the continuous transfer of knowledge by the prizewinners, which helps to shape the future of the plastics industry in a particular way. The award is traditionally presented during the course of the International Colloquium Plastics Technology, which is staged every two years by IKV.

Winners of the Georg Menges Prize since 1999:

  • Dr. Kurt Weirauch (1999)
  • Dr.-Ing. Volker Hülck (2000)
  • Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Rolf Lidl (2002)
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Helmut Potente (2004)
  • Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. h. c. Gottfried W. Ehrenstein (2006)
  • Dr.-Ing. Erwin Bürkle (2008)
  • Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Dr. h.c. Hartwig Höcker (2010)
  • Dipl.-Ing. Herbert Kraibühler (2012)
  • Dipl.-Ing. Günter Hofmann (2014)
  • Dipl.-Ing. Hartwig Meier (2016)
  • INTRA e.V. (2018)
  • Dr. Markus Steilemann (2020) 
  • Ulrich Reifenhäuser (2022)
  • Dr.-Ing. Karlheinz Bourdon