In Memoriam Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Manfred Schilling

The Precision Engineering Group and the Department of Mechanical Engineering mourn the death of their former head and dean Prof. Dr.-Ing. Manfred Schilling, who passed away on April 11. As a distinguished expert, he played a major role in the current reputation of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.


Universitätsarchiv TU Ilmenau
Universitätsarchiv TU Ilmenau

Prof. Schilling played a decisive role in shaping the Department of Mechanical Engineering for decades. He saw it as an obligatory task to continue the internationally recognized "Ilmenau School of Design" founded by his highly revered teachers Prof. Bischoff, Prof. Hansen and Prof. Bock together with Prof. Höhne with commitment in research and teaching and to further develop the teaching building.

In his numerous lectures, he always made high demands on himself and on the students. The numerous teaching letters, book contributions and elaborated teaching examples testify to a sophisticated system and high pedagogical skill. The number of diploma and doctoral theses supervised by him is large.

Prof. Schilling has understood very well how to closely combine teaching with research activities. Special mention should be made of the applied research task "Automatic adjustment machine for relays", which was carried out under his supervision by an interdisciplinary team at the beginning of the 1980s. On the basis of the design systematics, it was possible to combine mechanical-optical precision engineering with electrical engineering/electronics and the emerging microcomputer technology about four decades ago. A novel alignment solution was developed and implemented at a high level. This extremely successful work shows that scientific ambition and practical relevance are not mutually exclusive, but rather mutually beneficial.

His research results have found expression in a large number of technical papers, design information, 13 patents and numerous book contributions, especially in the form of supporting chapters in the books "Gerätekonstruktion" and "Konstruktionselemente der Feinmechanik" (both published by W. Krause). Furthermore, Prof. Schilling was for many years a member of the scientific advisory board of the journal "Feingerätetechnik".

After the reunification, Prof. Schilling rendered lasting services during the restructuring of the "Technische Hochschule Ilmenau" and the rebuilding of the Department of Mechanical Engineering as Chairman of the Faculty Evaluation Commission, Dean of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and long-time member of the Senate and Council. His criticism was always taken seriously, his advice was always sought after.

His contribution to the establishment of the Technical Center for Precision Mechanics/Optics/Electronics in Suhl in the years 1984-1990 is also great, in which he significantly shaped its performance, campaigned for its preservation during the time of reunification, completed its transformation into the Institute for Precision Technology and Automation, and successfully led the institute from 1991 onwards.

Since reunification, Prof. Schilling has been actively involved in the working group of university professors of micro and precision engineering of the VDI/VDE Society for Microelectronics, Micro and Precision Engineering and contributed to the organization of its International Colloquia.

As a distinguished expert, Prof. Schilling has played a major role in the current reputation that the Department of Mechanical Engineering enjoys both nationally and internationally. With him, the TU Ilmenau loses a highly deserving university teacher and scientist, whose work had a formative influence on the profile of the faculty and the university for decades.

Generations of engineers have drawn from the textbooks he significantly contributed to and continue to do so today.

We will keep him in living memory and always honor his memory.