Since 2002, the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF (Fraunhofer LBF) has recognised outstanding achievements in structural durability through the Ernst Gaßner Award, a scheme which honours experts for exceptional contributions in the development of safety-relevant, reliable lightweight components. This year has seen a slight difference, as the Darmstadt, Germany-based institute gave awards to two experts: Dr Yung-Li Lee of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) in Auburn Hills, USA, and Bruno Seufert of Daimler AG in Sindelfingen, Germany.
An international jury, whose members were appointed by the Fraunhofer LBF, selected the winners of the 2020 Ernst Gaßner Award from a large pool of nominees. Dr Lee received the Ernst Gaßner Award for his outstanding work in structural durability at FCA, where he is responsible for the development and implementation of advanced structural durability technologies for design, simulation and testing.
Due to the current Covid-19 situation, a digital award ceremony was held for the first time this year. In a video message, Dr Lee and Bruno Seufert were officially honoured on 9 April by the Fraunhofer LBF’s director, Professor Tobias Melz, and Rüdiger Heim, head of the institute’s department of structural durability.
Bruno Seufert has been responsible for structural durability testing at Daimler AG since 1990, and has been involved in all structural durability matters relating to chassis since 1998. Under his leadership, several vehicle innovations have been developed at Daimler, which Fraunhofer LBF describes as “extraordinarily sophisticated and successful”, including active components in the chassis, and lightweight axles. Seufert actively supports the German Association for Materials Research and Testing DVM and is a key member of the structural durability community in Germany.
Fraunhofer LBF has been awarding the Ernst Gaßner Award since 2002. The award is named in honour of the research institute’s founder, Ernst Gaßner, to recognise the work of engineers who have significantly influenced the development of structural durability in both theory and practice. Candidates for the award must deal with time-varying service loads, such as spectrum loading for designing lightweight constructions — particularly as it relates to safety components — and hold a position of responsibility in an industrial company.