AKRON—Andreas Limper's career in the rubber industry has come full circle.
Limper, a managing director and member of HF Mixing Group GmbH's management board, got his start in the rubber industry when a vice president from Goodyear visited his school, Aachen University, and offered him a chance to study at the firm's headquarters in Akron. The trip in turn inspired him to make rubber his career.
“He offered me to come with three colleagues to Goodyear and to visit their R&D center,” he said. “I was the most beloved colleague in our unit at this moment because everybody wanted to accompany me to the U.S.”
“At that time a trip to America was fabulous,” Limper added later. “Every Ph.D. student was allowed to do it once in his university time. I had in total I believe four or five trips. I think the rubber industry at the time was far more international than the plastics people. They had 50 more years of experience, and the big companies had arrived. Today the world is getting more colored.”
On Sept. 14, Limper returned to Akron to accept the 2016 Harold Herzlich Distinguished Technology Medal at a breakfast ceremony during the International Tire Exhibition & Conference.
“Our meetings here at ITEC feel like family meetings,” he said during his acceptance speech. “I feel very well and I am very honored.”
“I found rubber to be very attractive because everything comes together,” he added after his speech. “There are chemical experts, engineering, automation and a very big difference to the plastics industry is that the compounds are made by the processors. Many, many people are running their own compounds, so they are forced to do chemical developments.”
He received the award for his longstanding contributions to the tire and rubber industry. Limper has about 35 patents on rubber and processing to his name, and his work has been published in about 180 publications. He also is the author and editor of several books and is a past recipient of the Erich Conrad Medal of the German Rubber Association.
Limper has served as a longtime professor at Aachen University, where he specializes in tire production, rubber mixing, rubber extrusion and thermoplastics.