Rudolf Diesel Medal 2019: WITTENSTEIN wins with the “Most Sustainable Innovation”

WITTENSTEIN SE has just been honored with the Rudolf Diesel Medal 2019, Germany’s oldest innovation award, for the “Most Sustainable Innovation”. Dr. Manfred Wittenstein, Chairman of the WITTENSTEIN SE Supervisory Board, was presented with the award last Friday afternoon in Munich for Galaxie®, the radically new gearbox class.

The Rudolf Diesel Medal, Germany’s oldest prize for industrially successful and enterprising innovation achievements, has been awarded since 1953 in memory of innovator Rudolf Diesel. The medal, which is bestowed every year in four different categories by the nonprofit German Institute of Inventions (D.I.E e.V.), is designed to honor the people behind special innovative performances and give them a public face.

In winning the award, Dr. Manfred Wittenstein joined an elite group of inventors, innovators and patrons who have made an indelible mark in the German innovation landscape such as Carl Friedrich Benz, Ferdinand Zeppelin, Roland Faber-Castell, Claudius Dornier, Wernher von Braun, Gottlob Bauknecht, Arthur Fischer, Christof Bosch, Nobel Laureates Herrmann Staudinger and Ernst Ruska or, more recently, Hans Peter Stihl as well as SAP founders Dietmar Hopp and Hasso Plattner. Throughout his many years at the helm, Dr. Manfred Wittenstein – the present Chairman of the WITTENSTEIN SE Supervisory Board – was the architect of WITTENSTEIN’s evolution from a small, family-run company to a flagship for Germany as an industrial location.

More than 200 invited personalities from the German innovation scene attended the official ceremony in the Hall of Honor at the Deutsches Museum in Munich. In his laudation Professor Eckard Minx, Chairman of the Board of the Daimler and Benz Foundation, paid tribute to Dr. Manfred Wittenstein’s life’s work as an engineer, commenting that the name WITTENSTEIN stands for the exemplary rise of a small, family-owned firm of machine builders to become world market leader for drive technologies. The jury’s decision to award the Rudolf Diesel Medal 2019 to WITTENSTEIN SE and its Galaxie® Drive System as the “Most Sustainable Innovation” was founded on a number of factors: in short, Galaxie® is regarded as a new gearbox class, and hence a basic technology, which enables two key sectors of the German economy – engineering and automobiles – to make the next developmental advance in terms of precision, energy consumption and material use. As the WITTENSTEIN group makes the transition from a drive manufacturer and mechatronics corporation to a “Leader in Cybertronics”, it is at the forefront of efforts to shape digital transformation in a controllable way for companies and their employees.

For WITTENSTEIN as a family-run enterprise, the Rudolf Diesel Medal 2019 is further confirmation of Galaxie®’s status as an extraordinary innovation achievement. Since making its debut back in 2015, the new gearbox class has enjoyed the highest possible recognition, winning several prestigious awards: following on from the Hermes Award 2015 and the Innovation Award of the German Economy 2016, it was nominated last November for the Deutscher Zukunftspreis 2018. 

Dr. Bertram Hoffmann, Chairman of the Board and CEO of WITTENSTEIN SE, also described this latest top award as strong motivation for all employees: “Unconditional excellence and a passion for innovation – that’s our ambition as a leader for mechatronic drive technology. It’s what we try to prove to our customers every day – and it’s what we burn for!"


Photo 1: Dr. Manfred Wittenstein, Chairman of the WITTENSTEIN SE Supervisory Board, is presented with the Rudolf Diesel Medal 2019 for the “Most Sustainable Innovation”. He is shown here on the right together with the winners in the other three categories: Klaus Eisert (Phoenix Contact GmbH & Co. KG, “Most Successful Innovation”), Martin Verg (GEOlino, Gruner + Jahr GmbH, “Best Media Communication”), Stefanie Herrmann and Thorsten Rudolph (AZO Anwendungszentrum GmbH Oberpfaffenhofen, “Best Innovation Support”).  
Photo: Daniel Hinz, A.P.I.

Photo 2: Galaxie® – A completely new gearbox concept: separate teeth instead of rigid gear wheels
Copyright DZP / Ansgar Puden