Joachim Heinzl

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr.-Ing. E.h.

Former professor of microfabrication technology and microtechnology
TUM School of Engineering and Design

born September 6, 1940


Interview with TUM Emeritus of Excellence Joachim Heinzl

"Some things work before you know why"

Joachim Heinzl originally wanted to become an architect. But he decided to study Mechanical Engineering at TUM. His groundbreaking research led to the worldwide introduction of inkjet printers. [read more]


Before Joachim Heinzl moved to TUM, he began his career path at Siemens, where he was professional head of his division in the central laboratory. During his time in the industry, he was responsible for the development of mechanical printers, punched tape and magnetic tape machinery, dot matrix printers and non-mechanical printing techniques. He developed the drop-on-demand inkjet printer, starting from the original idea through to the end of series production of the first commercially available inkjet printer Siemens PT80. As a scientist, Joachim Heinzl became internationally known through his ground-breaking research in microsystems technology (or microelectro- mechanical systems, MEMS). From 1998 to 2000 he was the spokesperson of the Microsystems Technology research association. His areas of research included, in particular, low-noise aerostatic bearings, ultra precision processing and the laser measurement technology. The development of stepper motors and servo drive technology – in collaboration with other colleagues – indicated the large extent of his scientific interests. Together with Chinese guest lecturers and German Sinologists, he developed an intelligent text system for the Chinese language, which was included in the computer systems that Siemens AG supplied to the People’s Republic of China in 1987. Joachim Heinzl is a perfect example of someone successful both as a teacher and a researcher, who is able to bring his practical academic efforts into his professional practice as well as into the industry. He has more than 100 patent applications and patents to his name. As spokesperson for the advisory board of the Munich Business Plan Competition from 1998 to 2005, he ensured that good ideas could be trans-formed into technical innovations. Since his retirement, Joachim Heinzl has been serving TUM as a member of the board of trustees at Munich Aerospace as well as in IMETUM’s academic advisory council. He also reports on appeals proceedings and the mentor program at the TUM: Young Academy. 

Short biography

1960 – 1965 Studies in general mechanical engineering, TH Munich
1967 Supplementary exams for the intermediate diploma in electrical engineering, TH Munich
1968 Development engineer at Siemens, central laboratory
1970 Doctorate in electronic acoustics, TUM
1975 Appointment to the University of Duisburg
1975 – 1979 Chief scientific adviser at Siemens' central laboratory
1979 –2005 Professor of microfabrication technology and microtechnology, TUM
2006 – 2012 President of the Bavarian Research Foundation


Memberships and honors

Vice president of TUM (1995-2002)

Deputy chair of the Akkreditierungsverbund für Ingenieurstudiengänge (accreditation association for degree programs in engineering) (AVI) and Akkreditierungsagentur für Studiengänge der Ingenieurwissenschaft und der Informatik (accreditation agency for degree programs in engineering and information technology) ASII (1998-2002)

Member of the National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech) (2003)

Academic director of the Hanser Verlag’s magazine F&M (1979-2005)

Spokesperson for the “Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Technischen Hochschulen und Technischen Universitäten in Deutschland” (ARGE TU/TH) (1995-2000)

Chair of ARGE TU/TH (1997-2005)

Deputy ombudsperson of TUM (1997-2005)

Honorary member of the Academic Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Association (AMIV) (2005)

Tutor for the German Research Foundation (1999-2006)

International member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), Washington, DC, USA (2007)

Member of the board of directors of Voxeljet AG (2013-2017)

Ombudsperson of TUM (2016 - 2019)

Advisory member of the TUM Compliance Office from among the TUM Senior Escellence Faculty (since 2020)

Member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts (since 2021)



  • Badge of Honor of the Association of German Engineers (VDI) (1994)
  • First prize in the German national Start-Up Competition as co-founder of the company Aerolas, together with M. Muth and Dr B. Schulz (1997)
  • Third prize in the German national Start-Up Competition as co-founder of the company Generis, together with Dr I. Ederer and R. Höchsmann (1999)
  • Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Medal (2002)
  • Aachen and Munich Prize for Technique and Applied Natural Sciences (2003)
  • Honorary doctorate from the University of Hanover (2006)
  • German Federal Cross of Merit (2009)

You can download "Explanations of honors and awards" here [PDF 215 KB]