The 2018 winners of the Seifriz Award and the jury

Innovation Is an Acquired Manual Skill – From Ski Boots to Awnings

30 years of the Seifriz Award – the German skilled trades and science award

Year in, year out, the transfer award for German skilled trades and science highlights the interplay between the skilled manual trades and science. In fact it has been aptly demonstrating this for three decades. This year’s anniversary award ceremony took place at the annual meeting of the Baden-Wuerttemberg Crafts Congress (BWHT) in Stuttgart. Three project teams shared the total prize of €15,000 for recently developed products. Professor Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Johann Löhn also received a golden badge of honor from the BWHT during the event.

Two of the prizewinners were Marco Krückemeier, manager of the Cologne- based business go3 (“The exercise experts”) and Christopher Kreft of the German Sport University Cologne. Together they developed an orthopedic insert for ski boots, which can be customized to individuals using 3D scanning and printing. Their aim with the insert is to improve the performance of alpine skiers. Their 3D technology can be adapted to all anatomical needs of the customer in order to reproduce a sole at any time based on stored anatomical and biomechanical data. The new design with a padded longitudinal arched shell transfers more power from the skier to the ski, and this improves skiing performance.

A further prize was awarded to the master metalworker and managing director Hubertus Haking from Ladbergen (Haking Metallbau GmbH) and Professor Dr. Klaus Baalmann (Münster University of Applied Sciences). The partners developed a new awning: Wires used to extend and retract the shade are concealed within the rails of the awning. As a result, when it is in the closed position, none of the wires or rails are visible. This makes it possible for the awning to blend in inconspicuously with the overall appearance of a building, important for the visual appeal of facades on historical buildings.

Master hairdresser Frank Brormann, owner of the 360° Haare salon in Oelde, and Professor Dr. Jürgen Peterseim (Münster University of Applied Sciences) also received an award for their “calligraphic” cutting invention. Their device cuts hair at a uniform angle in such a way as to increase the surface area of hair tips. This makes hair more elastic, easier to manage, and more voluminous. The inventors’ “calligrapher” was put through several rounds of testing with various cutting devices, allowing the project partners to demonstrate the effect of different cutting techniques on the quality of the cut. The instrument they developed also protects the tips of hair in the long term.

The award winners were congratulated by Dr. Nicole Hoffmeister-Kraut, Baden-Wuerttemberg Minister of Economic Affairs, and Crafts Congress President Rainer Reichhold. Reichhold then announced a further prize at the award ceremony: Johann Löhn, President of Steinbeis University Berlin and chairman of the Seifriz Award jury from 1989 until July of this year, was awarded the Golden Badge of Honor of the Baden-Wuerttemberg Crafts Congress. The BWHT praised Löhn’s outstanding contribution to the Seifriz Award.

The transfer award of German skilled trades and science recognizes successful collaboration between the skilled manual trades and science and academia. The award is bestowed once a year by the Baden-Wuerttemberg Crafts Congress and the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts in cooperation with the specialist magazine handwerk, the insurance and finance group Signal Iduna, the Association of Skilled Trade Technology Transfer, the Baden-Wuerttemberg Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour, and Housing, and Steinbeis.


Anja Reinhardt
Steinbeis Foundation (Stuttgart)