The Herrenknecht AG has been honoured with Germany’s oldest prize for innovation. Dr.-Ing. E. h. Martin Herrenknecht, founder and chairman of the board, accepted the Diesel Medal in the “Deutsches Museum” in Munich. From the founding of the company onward, Herrenknecht has collaborated with contractors to constantly further the scope of feasibility of mechanised tunnelling. Tunnels today can be built exactly where they are needed, independent of the geological and topographical conditions – with ever larger diameters and under increasingly complex conditions.
Award for the “Most Successful Innovation Achievement”
The Diesel Medal has been awarded since 1953 for industrially successful and enterprising innovation achievements. On 8 April 2016, the winners were announced in the presence of more than 200 guests from industry, politics and media in the “Deutsches Museum” in Munich.
In the category “Most Successful Innovation Achievement”, the board of trustees awarded the medal to the Herrenknecht AG as the technological and worldwide market leader in mechanised tunnelling machinery. “Technical progress is no purpose in itself, but should offer real value to humanity, to a city, to an economy”, said Martin Herrenknecht. Feasibility limits in mechanised tunnelling were something to push against, and which permanently challenge Herrenknecht and the tunnelling industry. Collective pioneering spirit, a trusting collaboration with all project partners and powerful tunnelling machinery were constantly taking the tunnelling industry forward. In August 2015, for example, the parties to the Eurasia Tunnel project in Istanbul, a two-storey road tunnel, experienced the final breakthrough of the tunnel boring machine. The passage under the Bosporus overcame the previous limits in several ways: never before has such a large TBM (Mixshield, Ø 13.66 m) worked 106 m below sea level in such challenging geology.
The Diesel medal was initiated by Eugen Diesel, the son of Rudolf Diesel, in 1953. It is awarded by the German Institute of Inventions (DIE e. V.). One of the aims of the institute is to honour the achievements of inventors and companies in public and support their work. Famous winners of the Diesel Medal include Wernher von Braun, Gottlob Bauknecht, Arthur Fischer, Anton Kathrein, Sybill Storz, Viktor Dulger, Karl Schlecht, Friedhelm Loh, the Nobel prize winners Herrmann Staudinger, Ernst Ruska and Manfred Eigen, and the SAP founders Dietmar Hopp, Hasso Plattner and Klaus E. Tschira.