In Memoriam Prof. Hans-Jürgen Schorcht

The Machine Elements Group mourns the loss of its highly esteemed former head, Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Hans-Jürgen Schorcht, who passed away on November 3, 2023 in Ilmenau. After training as an aircraft mechanic and studying precision engineering, Prof. Schorcht initially worked at TH Ilmenau from 1962 to 1968 as a research assistant and senior assistant at the "Chair of Transmission and Drive Technology" under the direction of Prof. Bögelsack. During this time, he worked primarily on spring drives and received his doctorate on this subject at the TH Ilmenau in 1979. At the same time, he was a member of the "Documentation of Transmission Technology" working group of the Chamber of Technology (KDT) and then a member of the KDT himself from 1979 to 1991.

In 1980, Prof. Schorcht initially moved into industry at "VEB Relaistechnik Großbreitenbach", where he was a member of an extremely successful research team in the early 1980s as head of adjustment automation in the rationalization department, which succeeded for the first time in fully automating the adjustment of relays, which had previously been carried out manually. His particular achievement was to transfer the newly developed automatic adjustment system to industry. For this, he was honored with a high state award.

After this industrial activity, he returned to the TH Ilmenau as a senior assistant in the scientific field of construction elements. He completed his habilitation in 1984, was appointed associate lecturer in 1985 and associate professor of construction elements in 1988. Following the evaluation, restructuring and rededication of the TH Ilmenau as the TU Ilmenau in the early 1990s, Prof. Schorcht made a lasting contribution to the establishment of the newly founded Department of Mechanical Engineering. He was appointed university professor in 1993. Prof. Schorcht held this position until his retirement at the end of December 2005.

Through his national and international research work and contacts, he succeeded in establishing his Chair of Machine Elements in the field of spring technology as a profile-defining and state of the art research institute. The theoretical research results and the associated methods and machine technology ensured his outstanding reputation as a scientist in the professional world of spring manufacturers and users. As head of the research group

"Wire and Springs" research group, Prof. Schorcht developed a research unit at the TU Ilmenau, which realized and was responsible for numerous projects for the Association of the German Spring Industry VDFI and the Iron Wire and Steel Wire Association ESV. Last but not least, the trusting cooperation between the two industry associations was significantly promoted.

His research results have been reflected in a large number of technical articles, design information, patents and book contributions, in particular in the form of key chapters in the book "Metallfedern" (together with Dr. Manfred Meissner and Klaus Wanke), which is now established as a standard work in spring technology. As a distinguished expert and author in the field of spring technology, Prof. Schorcht has made a major contribution to the recognition and current reputation of Ilmenau University of Technology in the world of springs.

In addition to his duties as head of a university chair, Prof. Schorcht has also played a formative role in numerous committees and bodies. From 1992 onwards, Prof. Schorcht played a key role in shaping the VDI district group Ilmenau/Meiningen through his leadership. His membership of the Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft für Maschinenelemente und Konstruktion WGMK, later Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft für Produktentwicklung und Maschinenelemente WiGeP, where he contributed to the further development of curricula in machine element and design theory and the design of machine element research, should also be emphasized. He was also a member of the "Forschungs-gemeinschaft Gerätetechnik" from 2000.

In 2000, Prof. Schorcht founded the Steinbeis Transfer Center for Spring Technology at the TU Ilmenau and successfully headed it until his retirement in 2010, where he was responsible for numerous projects with spring manufacturers and users to transfer research results in the field of spring technology into practice.

He always set high standards for himself and his students in his lectures. The numerous teaching letters, book contributions and elaborated teaching examples testify to a very good system and didactic understanding. He supervised a large number of dissertations and doctorates. He was a very good motivator and an excellent doctoral supervisor in the best sense of the word for his doctoral students, including myself, and shaped their own work through his dedicated approach and example.

Even after his retirement, Prof. Schorcht took an active part in the development of spring technology. In addition to continuing to supervise doctoral students and working as a reviewer in a variety of roles, he was particularly involved in the further editions of the book "Metallfedern", which were published in 2007 and 2015. Even though he was not able to play a significant role in personally shaping the 4th edition, which had just been started, the book provides plenty of information and inspiration as his life's work.

Hans-Jürgen Schorcht was an outstanding personality who rendered outstanding services to our institute and our university and significantly advanced the world of technical springs in research and application. With his passing, we have lost a highly esteemed colleague and an empathetic person.

We will keep him in vivid memory and always honor his memory. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to his family.


Ulf Kletzin
Director of the Institute of Design and Precision Engineering
on behalf of all members of the Institute