Aachen, September 2022 – Ulrich Reifenhäuser, CSO of the Reifenhäuser group, has been awarded the Georg Menges Prize 2022. With this award, which is presented every two years, 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, 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.
This year's prizewinner, Ulrich Reifenhäuser, is Chief Sales Officer (CSO) of the Reifenhäuser group. He has been a member of the management since 1992 and is responsible for international sales of plant and equipment. Together with his brother Bernd Reifenhäuser, he took the company into the third generation. Ulrich Reifenhäuser has been committed for more than 25 years to the Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association in the VDMA. Since 2020, he has been the Association's chairman. During this time, he built up an international network that is second to none. In 2020 – like the namesake of the Prize – he was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame and will, again in 2022, be jointly responsible for the world's leading plastics show in Düsseldorf as "Chairman of K show" for the seventh time in a row.
Professor Dr.-Ing. Christian Hopmann, head of IKV and Managing Director of the IKV Association of Sponsors, presented the award to Ulrich Reifenhäuser on September 7, in line with tradition, during the 31st International Colloquium Plastics Technology.
In his laudatory speech, Professor Hopmann emphasised among other things the outstanding and successful commitment of Ulrich Reifenhäuser to the industry and his untiring search for optimum and sustainable solutions. He also praised his integrity and his integrating personality. "The Georg Menges Prize is awarded for the consistent implementation of research and innovation in industry. The previously described achievements of our prizewinner would certainly have been enough to receive the award but, for the sponsors of the Prize, what was especially important and the key argument for their decision was Ulrich Reifenhäuser’s honorary dedication to the K," said Professor Hopmann.
"I am truly honoured and delighted to receive this award," said Ulrich Reifenhäuser in his award speech. "What I have in common with all previous award winners is a passion for plastics. Plastics have brought a lot to this world and I am sure that we will continue to need this material in the future." Despite all his enthusiasm, he focused on the major challenge: the establishment of a circular economy for plastics, which could not be realised without digitalisation. It was good and important that the industry has taken up this topic, he stated, much had already been implemented and K 2022 would show this progress in many aspects. "I have no doubt that plastic will have its place in the future as well. It is important for this world and its biggest problem, namely CO2 emissions," Ulrich Reifenhäuser concluded.
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. In February 2021, the industry sadly bid farewell to him, which means that, in 2022, the prize was awarded for the first time in memoriam. 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)