The Stahl-Informations-Zentrum in Düsseldorf, Germany invited the experts of the field to judge upon the triennial Stahl-Informationspreis finalists.
A large crowd of industry representatives gathered in the capital of Northrhine-Westphalia to decide on the ranking of the finalists, nominated by the jury out of a pool of 658 applications in total – more than any other comparable award, as the chairman of the SIZ, pointed out in the opening dialogue with the show’s moderator, and only female participant, Birgit Klaus.
Three prizes are awarded in four categories, respectively: construction, research & development, design, and products. An additional special prize – “Climate Protection with Steel” -chosen by the jury among all four categories, honors special achievement with respect to environment-friendly inventions or process improvements.
The company Pumpen Strebe won this special prize for their Venturi-Steel-Probe, a nested tube with integrated helix, that reduces the drilling depth for geothermal applications substantially.
All other prizes were given their final ranking by the audience via keyboard input. In the R&D category, the first prize went to the development of the Crofer 22 H steel by the Institute for Energy and Climate Research at Forschungszentrum Jülich. This particular alloy serves as interconnetors for High Temperature Fuel Cells and allows for cheaper production.
Second came a development of the Insitut für Umformtechnik und Leichtbau (IUL) of the Technical University Dortmund. Their device uses an induction loop for heating steel profiles of various shapes, which can subsequently be bent at will. This reduces the number of specific parts, e.g. in the automotive industry, and thus saves welding steps.
The third price was awarded to the partnership of the Fraunhofer Institute für Physikalische Messtechnik (IPM) in Freiburg, the Institut für Strahlwerkzeuge at Stuttgart University and the Institut für Grundlagen der Elektrotechnik and Elektronik (IEE) of the Technical University Dresden. They achieved a real-time sensing system for laser welding that is able to adjust the beam power to achieve the highest seem quality without evaporating the zinc corrosion protection on the back side of the metal sheets. Their system should enter the market in 2013 through the Berlin-based company Scanvision.
As in the previous instances, the experts are convinced that these awards can trigger quite a number of success stories, which will certainly be reviewed at the next award ceremony, 2015.