Dr.-Ing. E.h. Martin Herrenknecht accepted the Werner von Siemens Ring – one of the most prestigious technical engineering awards – on December 13, 2016 in the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. The Werner von Siemens Ring Foundation highlighted Martin Herrenknecht’s innovative strength in the development of tunnel boring machines and honored his technical pioneering spirit in the realization of groundbreaking engineering projects in mechanized tunnelling. For the past 100 years, the Werner von Siemens Ring has been awarded to inventors and entrepreneurs for outstanding achievements.
“Inventor, Founder, technical Pioneer and Entrepreneur”
Around 250 guests representing the areas of science, business and politics took part in the award ceremony. The official speech was given by Nobel prize laureate and chemist Prof. Dr. Stefan Hell. Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, lauded Martin Herrenknecht’s achievements in his welcoming speech. “To ensure that we can also continue to set standards with innovative products in the future, we need strong research facilities, strong companies and lively exchange. As the manufacturer of the world's largest tunnel boring machines, Dr. Martin Herrenknecht is an exemplary figure in these areas: he is an inventor and founder, a technical pioneer and an entrepreneur, and with the success displayed by his company, he is one of the representatives of this country’s economic strength.”
In a laudatory speech about the ring bearer Martin Herrenknecht, Prof. Dr.-Ing. E.h. Manfred Nußbaumer M. Sc., member of the Foundation Council at the Werner von Siemens Ring Foundation and former chairman of the Board at Ed. Züblin AG, confirmed the pioneer spirit displayed by the entrepreneur and engineer from Baden-Württemberg. “You have repeatedly broken new ground. Every time we met, I was amazed at the energy with which you pursued your goals and the wide range of possible solutions at your disposal for excavating tunnels.”
Prof. Dr. Joachim Ullrich, the Chairman of the Foundation Council and President of the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, presented Martin Herrenknecht with his Werner von Siemens Ring. “I was surprised to receive this honour”, said Herrenknecht, “especially when I consider the impressive range of ring bearers to date. “Without the substantial support given by my mother when establishing the company, without the untiring understanding of my family given to me as an entrepreneur, and without the fantastic commitment by my engineers and employees all over the world, I would most likely never have been considered for the Werner von Siemens Ring”, he added. “Scientists, inventors and entrepreneurs have a special privilege and a genuine responsibility as we are capable of bringing beneficial progress to many key challenges. Although new tunnel infrastructures and tunnelling technology are only a small excerpt thereof, this award means that they will also be attributed special acknowledgement by science.”
Current technical Engineering Milestones in mechanized Tunnelling
In almost 40 years of its corporate history, Herrenknecht has mastered more than 3100 tunnel projects in over 80 countries in collaboration with its customers. These include the largest, longest, smallest and deepest projects – with progress regularly marked by new milestones.
Opened a year ahead of schedule and within budget, the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Switzerland is regarded as a truly epoch-making construction. Over a period of eight years, four Herrenknecht Gripper TBMs bored and secured more than 85 km of new tubes for the railway tunnel which went into regular operation in December 2016. In Istanbul, pioneer work was achieved by man and machines until August 2015 in an effort to build a tunnel link between Europe and Asia. The Eurasia road tunnel under the Bosporus, which was opened in December 2016, is regarded as a milestone in engineering and construction. Never before had a tunnel borer worked under such extreme conditions: 106 m under the strait, the Mixshield with a diameter of 13.66 m steadfastly withstood pressures of up to 11 bar despite the most difficult geological conditions. In Doha, the capital of Qatar, a championship team of international tunnelling experts offered a superlative performance featuring 21 EPB Shields supplied by Herrenknecht. In a mere 26 months, the construction crews completed a total of 76 breakthroughs along the 111-kilometer tunnel alignments – a pioneer achievement which outshines any other metro tunnel project in the world up to now. A supersized Herrenknecht TBM started its mission in Hong Kong in 2015. Weighing in at 560 tons and with a diameter of 17.6 m, this Mixshield is the largest TBM ever built to date and completed 646 m of mega-tunnel tube for a new road tunnel under the Pearl River Delta in less than eight months.