“Game-changer” Zühlke received award at the 13th ML Council Summit “Manufacturing 4.0 in Action” for his lifetime achievements
Executive Chairman of the German SmartFactoryKL technology initiative, Prof. Dr. Detlef Zuehlke, was awarded with the Manufacturing Leader of the Year Award by Frost & Sullivan’s Manufacturing Leadership (ML) Council in Huntington Beach, California, on June 14, 2017. He is the first non-American citizen to receive this prestigious 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 the gala event in Huntington Beach, California, which marked 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.
Global Vice President and Editorial Director and co-founder of the Manufacturing Leadership Council David R. Brousell presented the rationale for the award: “Detlef 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 German researcher and manager is successor to top representatives of Ford and GE, who received the award in the previous years.
„I am overwhelmed and very thankful! 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.