TU Berlin

Machine Tools and Manufacturing TechnologyHistory

Page Content

to Navigation


Georg Schlesinger

The IMF was founded in 1904 by Prof. Georg Schlesinger at the former Technische Hochschule zu Berlin (now Technische Universität Berlin). When he was offered the new Chair of Machine Tools and Factory Operation, the then only 34-year-old quickly led the Berlin institute to worldwide importance. At the same time as founding the new institute, he established the experimental field for machine tools as the first such facility in Germany.

As a Jew, Schlesinger was expelled from his chair in 1933. After a short period of imprisonment he emigrated to England. Numerous Jewish employees of the Institute did not survive the time of the National Socialist dictatorship in Germany.

Schlesinger's life's work covered almost all areas of modern production technology. Design, production, machine tools and their acceptance, investigations into the machinability and cutting edge retention of tools, work on standards and metrology show the breadth and variety of Schlesinger's range of topics. The vision of the early years of the chair was to establish business administration as an academic discipline. Georg Schlesinger succeeded in this. Schlesinger is rightly regarded as a pioneer of scientific business organisation in Germany. Georg Schlesinger also helped to establish the tradition of medical technology research at a very early stage and worked on the qualitative improvement of prostheses, thus laying the foundation for the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at the Technical University, which was subsequently founded. In the conviction that health technology will become of outstanding importance for today's society, the Institute, with the IPK, completely in Schlesinger's legacy, once again turned its attention to medical issues in 2001 by founding a department for mechatronic medical technology. Another of Schlesinger's achievements that has shaped the present day, and which is continued in today's Institute of Industrial Engineering, was the development of psychotechnology in the years 1918/19. The School of Science founded by Georg Schlesinger in Berlin was further developed in the following decades by Otto Kienzle, Karl P. Matthes, Heinrich Schallbroch and Günter Spur as successors to the Chair of Machine Tools and Production Engineering, all in the spirit of Schlesinger. The doctoral engineers and professors who emerged from this Berlin school form a close network in the Association of Friends of the IMF founded by Professor Spur in 1973.

Otto Kienzle

Otto Kienzle, a pupil of Georg Schlesinger, became the successor to the chair during the National Socialism. Kienzle shifted the emphasis of his research more to the field of business administration, without giving less importance to the machine tool and with it to production technology. Schlesinger's trend-setting research was continued in the experimental field. The development work of fit systems carried out under Kienzle at the IMF, which later led to the ISO and DIN fit systems, is still of importance today. He also created the basis for the later DIN 8580: "Classification of manufacturing processes".

Karl P. Matthes

In Berlin, Karl P. Matthes was appointed to the Chair of Production Engineering and Machine Tools as a full professor on November 1, 1946. With his close contacts to Berlin industry, he succeeded in resuming teaching and research activities under the difficult conditions of the post-war period and gradually establishing the experimental field.

Heinrich Schallbroch

In 1953 a new chapter in the history of the Institute began with Heinrich Schallbroch. With the construction of a new teaching and institute building at Fasanenstraße 90 as well as extensive research activities, especially in the field of machining technology, he succeeded in his twelve-year term of office in giving the chair its own character in the tradition of Schlesinger and once again brought the IMF recognition and prestige in the scientific landscape.

Günter Spur

Günter Spur was the fifth successor to Schlesinger and held the Berlin Chair from 1965 to 1997. The development of the institute under his leadership can be succinctly summarized in the chain of thoughts from machine tools to manufacturing technology to production science. In complete harmony with Georg Schlesinger, the focus is on the commitment to the future of the factory as a production-technical, economic and always also socio-political challenge. The comprehensive life's work of Professor Spur can only be partially characterised by mentioning the following milestones: Numerical control of machine tools, programming languages, robot systems technology, automation technology, information and communication technology in production, expansion of CAD technology, founding of the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology (IPK) and the realization of the Production Technology Center.


In September 1997, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Eckart Uhlmann was appointed Professor of Machine Tools and Production Engineering at the IMF. At the same time, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft entrusted him with the management of the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology IPK, which has been associated with the IWF in the Berlin Production Technology Center since 1977. Today, the research and teaching activities of the IWF are geared to the technology and management of industrial factory operations and include both the development of process technologies and production plants and their IT modeling. Researchers work on the "digitally integrated factory" in five interdisciplinary fields. Their aim is to map and network product development, production planning and production in such a way that the life cycles of products and processes can be simulated, optimised and verified. The establishment of an international Master's program in Global Production Engineering is the teaching response to the challenges of the global industrial society.


Quick Access

Schnellnavigation zur Seite über Nummerneingabe