KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany, June 19, 2017–Frost & Sullivan’s Manufacturing Leadership (ML) Council awarded Prof. Detlef Zuehlke the Manufacturing Leader of the Year Award at a ceremony in Huntington Beach, Calif., on June 14. Zuehlke is Executive Chairman of the German SmartFactoryKL technology initiative. He is the first non-American
citizen to receive the honor.
The ML Council presents the Manufacturing Leader of the Year Award each year to one individual who has demonstrated, through his ideas, values, and achievements, that he has
made significant contributions to the manufacturing industry and profession. In 2017, the panel of 15 judging experts decided to honor the German founder of the concept of the smart factory. Zuehlke received the award at an event in Huntington Beach, marking the finale of the 13th ML Council Summit.
He was honored for his founding and ongoing leadership of the SmartFactoryKL initiative, which, in cooperation with the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, has become known as the birthplace of the Industry 4.0 paradigm of intelligent, modular and digitized production.
David Brousell, Global Vice President and Editorial Director and co-founder of the Manufacturing Leadership Council, said Zuehlke’s “pioneering work with Industry 4.0 has changed the game for manufacturing on a global scale. His commitment to identifying, implementing, and proving interoperability solutions for manufacturing environments will benefit manufacturers everywhere.”
The award previously was given to top representatives of Ford and GE.
“It is a great honor to be awarded Manufacturing Leader of the Year,” said Zuehlke. “It is a big recognition of our work in Germany and at our SmartFactoryKL initiative in the domain of Industrie 4.0 and I am very proud to be selected by a US-American panel for this prize. I also understand this to be a call for closer collaboration between our two leading industry nations. In order to achieve a maximum of success in Manufacturing 4.0, we must work together. This is a network topic that nobody can tackle alone. We will truly be stronger together,” he added in his speech.
This spirit lays at the foundation of the German SmartFactoryKL initiative in 2005 which Zuehlke has been expanding internationally ever since. In recent years, especially US-American and Asian companies have become partners and members of the technology initiative.
Now in its 13th year, the ML Awards program honors organizations and individuals that are shaping the future of global manufacturing. Nominations are entered into 13 categories and
evaluated and scored by a panel of expert judges. Twelve of the ML Awards categories are for outstanding projects by a manufacturing company. One category recognizes the
achievements of individual manufacturing leaders.