Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Karl Schekulin

Steinbeis bids farewell to a thoroughbred engineer with a spirit for inventive experimentation and a passion for innovation. Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Karl Schekulin passed away on May 19 at the age of 85. A first-generation Steinbeiser, he was held in high esteem for his expertise, his collegial manner, and his openness, not only within the Steinbeis Network, but also far beyond in Germany and internationally.

Karl Schekulin embarked on his career as a process development engineer at Daimler-Benz in Stuttgart. This was followed by positions as a technical manager at Inter in Switzerland, a test engineer at Heller Bros. Machine tools in Nurtingen, and AEG Electric Tools in Winnenden and the United States, most recently as technical director.

In 1977, Karl Schekulin was appointed by what is now Reutlingen University as a professor of structural design. His expertise lay in machine components and structural design systems. He initially brought his extensive practical expertise to bear on a part-time basis for Steinbeis, through the Steinbeis Foundation Technical Consulting Service at the university. Finally, in 1986 he founded his own Steinbeis Transfer Center: Ablative Manufacturing Processes (now the Steinbeis Transfer Center for Process Development).

A credo Karl Schekulin ascribed to with conviction was that “you can’t skew physics.” He was tireless in his drive and focus to develop new manufacturing processes in a variety of sectors of industry, such as a 5-axis CNC die-sinking EDM, which has since become the standard process internationally, or electrochemical die-sinking using pulsed direct current. As well as his fervent involvement in high-pressure waterjet machining, he invested particular energy in the development of innovative laser machining processes, such as dispersion, in which diamond and carbide elements are mixed into remelted surfaces. The numerous scientific papers he published and the solutions he developed to technological challenges are a testament to his ingenuity – reflected to this day in many high-quality components still used in the aerospace industry. In 2016, Karl Schekulin received a special Steinbeis Foundation Transfer Award – the Löhn Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the Steinbeis Network.

In addition to his zest for research and development, Karl Schekulin was passionate about aviation and flying as the “ultimate technological form of applying physical principles to perfection.” He also fulfilled his dream of qualifying for a commercial pilot license. Even after retiring from active employment at Reutlingen University, there was still strong demand for the expertise offered by Karl Schekulin, and even recently, he worked as an advisor at his Steinbeis Transfer Center, fueled throughout his senior years by a sense of curiosity and enthusiasm for things new. With the passing of Karl Schekulin, we not only lose an outstanding engineer, but also a kind and considerate comrade, who we will sorely miss.

We would like to express our deepest sympathies to his bereaved wife and relatives.

Michael Auer | Manfred Mattulat
Steinbeis Board of Directors