Numerous chairholders of chairs and institutes having a focus on forming technology at German universities and technical universities as well as personalities in comparable positions are members of the German Metal Forming Association (AGU), which was founded in 1974.
AGU considers itself as representative of its field of expertise, relevant to production engineering, for the Federal Republic of Germany and is closely linked to the German Academic Society for Production Engineering (WGP) by dual memberships.
Forming Technology at Universities and Research Institutes
The situation of university education and research in terms of forming technology was as follows in Western Germany in the year 1974. Besides the chairs in Aachen and Clausthal primarily concentrating on the first processing stage of iron and steel products, there were chairs in Hannover since 1954, in Stuttgart since 1958, in Munich since 1968, and in Dortmund since 1971, focussing on the second processing stage. Moreover, forming technology with a main emphasis on methods of the first processing stage was represented by the Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung in Dusseldorf since 1917. In March 1974, Professor Reiner Kopp had assumed the position as Director of the Institute of Metal Forming in Aachen, following Professor Vater. In April 1974, Professor Eckart Doege became the Head of the Institute of Forming Technology and Machines in Hannover, following Professor Bühler. A vacancy at a chair in Berlin was to be filled and a new chair in Darmstadt was to be established soon. Accordingly, a total of eight forming technology-related chairs at universities and technical universities would exist in the near future. In this context, chairholders reflected about a closer cooperation of their chairs in the future and about the sensible use of research funds, in most cases originating from public sources. A possible demarcation of the fields of expertise and necessary securing of scientific results was also included in the discussion. As to the Max-Planck-Institut in Dusseldorf, all chairs involved agreed on integrating its forming technology department in the planned cooperation from the very beginning, also due to its close personell-wise connection to RWTH Aachen and TU Clausthal.
University Group Manufacturing Engineering
The University Group Manufacturing Engineering (Hochschulgruppe Fertigungstechnik – HGF) existed since 1937 and was reorganized as German Academic Society for Production Engineering (Wissenschaftliche Gesellschaft für Produktionstechnik - WGP) in 1987, being an association of chairholders of manufacturing engineering chairs at German universities and technical universities. It collaborated closely with the German Machine Tool Builder’s Association (Verein Deutscher Werkzeugmaschinenbauer – VDW) and was mainly geared towards machining. In 1973/1974, WGP had more than twelve members. The Professors from the field of forming production engineering were clearly underrepresented, but an extension involving other Professors related to forming technology was not envisaged. This finally led to the decision of representing forming technology issues by an independent group – inwards and outwards, e.g. with regard to research funding institutions. The connection of both groups, HGF and later AGU, was to be ensured by dual memberships, first by Professor v. Finckenstein and Professor Lange, later by Professor Doege and Professor Schmoeckel. Thus, more emphasis was put on the growing technical and economic importance of forming technology from a scientific point of view.
In this situation, described in a very compact version, considering current events and future developments, the German Metal Forming Association - AGU (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Umformtechnik) was founded on November 1, 1974 in Stuttgart. In the years to follow, the number of AGU members grew steadily. After the German reunification, the Professors of Eastern Germany were affiliated as well. In 1999, the year of its 25th anniversary, AGU had 20 members at 16 locations, four of them in the new eastern states of Germany.