Alfred Lampl, who shaped Engel Group for 25 years and was a member of the founding generation of the injection press and automation maker, died Oct. 15. He was 89.
He joined Engel in Schwertberg, Austria, in 1968 as head of its engineering, responsible for the machine design, application technology, development and mold making divisions. Engel still was a small company then, and it had not yet started its move to become an international company.
"Engel would not be what it is today with Dr. Lampl," CEO Stefan Engleder said. "We, the owner families, the employees of Engel and many engineers, owe him much."
In 1986, as technical director, Lampl assumed overall responsibility for engineering and production, a post he held until his retirement in 1993. After he retired, Lampl remained closely associated with the company.
"(He) was a person who was enthusiastic about engineering with the ability to inspire others," Engleder said. "He shaped several generations of engineers."
One of his greatest achievements was in playing a key role in the landmark Engel tie-barless technology for injection molding machines, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Together with Georg Schwarz and the head of design engineering, Heinz Leonhartsberger, Lampl and the team broke with the long-held design principle that an injection molding press must have four tie-bars.
The big open space of tie-barless machines made it easier to use large molds and do mold changes, and gave part-removal robots complete access to the mold area. The innovation took off in the market.
"Not even we expected this success at the beginning," Lampl said at the 25th anniversary of the tie-barless technology.
Lampl had 32 patents and patent applications.
The company said he had "the outstanding ability to listen and separate what is important from what is unimportant. He managed to find answers to seemingly unsolvable questions."
In 1973, Lampl accepted teaching positions for machines and molds for injection molding at Leoben University of Mining and Metallurgy, which he did in addition to his responsibilities at Engel. He completed a dissertation at the university to earn a doctorate degree in 1982. In his dissertation, Lampl investigated the development for a process model for injection molding with toggle-lever clamping units. Camera manufacturers leveraged his knowledge to make plastic lenses.
Lampl was awarded the H.F. Mark Medal and Gold Badge of Honour by VOK, the association of Austrian Plastics Processors.