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Ceremonial act for Prof. Dr.-Ing. Günter Heinrich, founding director of the ILK Dresden

to celebrate his 90th birthday


To celebrate his 90th birthday, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Günter Heinrich, founding director and visionary of the ILK Dresden, was honored today in the presence of his wife, invited guests and all of ILK’s employees.

Prof. Franzke, managing director of the ILK, began his laudatory speech with a quotation from Hundertwasser: “Who does not honor the past, loses the future, who destroys their roots, cannot grow.” With personal veneration, Franzke acknowledged visionary Heinrich’s life’s work for the ILK Dresden and congratulated him in the name of the whole institute. Franzke also presented Heinrich with the ILK medal of honor, designed and created by the institute’s own prototype construction.

Heinrich, who had been appointed as director of the ILK in 1964, had already been a pioneer of the use of regenerative energy.

At the beginning of the 1970s, the use of regenerative energy was put into practice by the implementation of thermal heat pumps. Thus, the ILK designed energy-optimized air-conditioning and refrigeration technology for major public buildings, such as the Semper Opera Dresden, the Gewandhaus Leipzig or the Berlin Theater.

Prof. Günter Heinrich has always been a representative of the credo: “Knowledge must be useful to science!”

In 1964, he founded the scientific magazine “Luft- und Kältetechnik” (“Air-conditioning and refrigeration technology”) to accelerate knowledge transfer. After thirty successful volumes, the magazine merged with “ki – Klima, Kälte, Heizung” (“ki – air-conditioning, refrigeration, heating”) to become today’s “KI – Kälte • Luft • Klimatechnik” (“KI – refrigeration • air • air-conditioning technology”).

Heinrich was not only a visionary and motivator, but more than anything a busy networker and idea provider.

In 1990, he started the idea of an advisory board together with Prof. Steimle to put the ILK’s scientific excellence into the economic context of the German refrigeration and air-conditioning sector. Because of these actions, the ILK Dresden transferred into the German federal research environment. One of Heinrich’s first measures was to stop further qualified employees from leaving the East of Germany, which was and still is characteristic of him. His philosophy „Every single employee and all of them together stand for the ILK, no one represents solely their work.“ is still manifested in the enterprise’s values today.

„This basic understanding has made us strong and distinguishes us from many other enterprises., said Franzke, and he continued: “Without his work, the ILK would not be the same enterprise, having gained social appreciation for almost sixty years. The ILK is a relatively small institute, but it quickly and flexibly provides for the national and international research standard, and is a reliable partner to the industry.”

Besides applied research, the ILK is mainly strong in individually designed and applicable solutions in the fields of cryo-, refrigeration and air-conditioning technology, air cleaning, material testing as well as energy infrastructure. The most remarkable developments include for instance helium-liquifying facilities, test benches for refrigeration facilities with flammable cryogens as well as liquid ice storage systems.

In his speech “Ways and detours”, Prof. Heinrich flourished and inspired all of the staff of the ILK. He emphasized that it has always been the staff which constitutes all of the ILK’s charm and spirit. The story of success has always been based on the optimism of the institute’s employees.

The question Prof. Heinrich posed at the end of his speech was message and vision for the current generation at the same time: “What secures the future of society?...

…the forethought of technical novelties and the required engineering work! Thus, ways and detours, even wrong tracks, are the lifeblood of understanding.”


The ceremonial act was musically framed by the duo Ulrike and Prof. Guido Titze (violin and oboe), which suited Prof. Heinrich’s childhood dream very well – to become a violinist.

Résumé of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Günter Heinrich:

1957 Diploma in Engineering at the Technical University Dresden

1959 Technical director of the refrigerator factory DKK Scharfenstein

1963 Doctorate at the TU Dresden: “Movement element for digitalization of the movement in manufacturing engineering”

1964 Call to be the director of the ILK Dresden

1972 Call to the TU Dresden as honorary professor

1980 Professor for refrigeration technology at the TU Dresden

1990 Return to the ILK Dresden; Together with Dr. König and Dr. Herzog, Prof. Heinrich was in charge of the management until the year 2000.





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