The nominations for the Hermes Award technology prize have been finalized. The independent selection jury have put forward the following nominees: Bürkert Werke, KHS, Phoenix Contact, SAG and Sensitec.
The companies are all exhibiting at Hannover Messe 2014.
"The nominated products address trends of defining importance for the future of industry. Some of them will help pave the way for Industry 4.0, while others will contribute to the development of tomorrow’s decentralised and intelligent energy supply,” explained Professor Wolfgang Wahlster, Executive Director of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence.
Here, in alphabetical order, are the nominated companies and their innovations:
Bürkert’s nominated product is FLOWave, a flow meter for use in pipelines. It is the world’s first surface acoustic wave device for measuring fluid flow rates and characteristics in stainless steel pipes that does not involve the insertion or placement of sensor components inside the measurement channel.
The acoustic waves are generated along the interior surface of the pipe by a specially developed piezoelectric interdigital transducer. The measuring elements do not come into contact with the fluid medium and therefore can be re-used.
The measurement channel is not narrowed or obstructed in any way because no moving or fixed components protrude into it. The device thus has very low maintenance costs and is suited to a wide range of uses, particularly hygiene applications.
KHS’s nominated product is KHS-INNOPRINT PET, an innovative inkjet technology for printing labels on PET drink bottles.
The innovation lies in the fact that labels can now be printed directly onto drink bottles in the filling plant, thereby eliminating costly labeling systems that use paper and plastic films.
KHS-INNOPRINT PET is suitable for production runs of all sizes, including very short runs and even single-batch runs. The ink is food-safe and virtually odorless. It adheres well to PET containers, but can easily be removed during recycling.
This new technology opens the way for product individualization at industrial scale and has the potential to eliminate many tons of label waste every year.
Phoenix Contact’s nominated product, PROFICLOUD, takes the PROFINET fieldbus system into the cloud.
PROFICLOUD gives users location-independent access to smart-factory data by enabling them to connect directly to the cloud from anywhere in the world.
PROFINET devices that are connected to smart-factory sites via the cloud using PROFICLOUD can be used in the same way as locally connected devices.
This enables the more efficient use of shared resources across multiple sites. With PROFICLOUD, existing automation projects can be extended easily and without costly infrastructure upgrades. The technology uses SSL/TLS encryption protocols to ensure secure connections to the cloud.
SAG’s nominated product is iNES, an intelligent distribution grid management system that can be used to convert conventional local grids in stages into smart grids.
This is done by adding modular, decentralised and autonomous metering and control systems comprising decentralized network status monitoring technology and decentralised intelligent software agents.
The metering and control systems capture and monitor all in-feeds and load flows in real-time and can balance out critical variances in a targeted and timely manner by managing grid equipment and grid-connected generation capacity and loads.
iNES adds intelligence to conventional low-voltage networks in three stages, starting with station monitoring and progressing from there to full grid monitoring and, finally, to grid automation.
A smart solution that reduces the need to lay more copper, it works by optimising the utilisation of existing distribution grid capacity while maintaining grid stability.
Sensitec’s nomination centers around its CMS3000 series of highly dynamic electric current sensors. The sensors are based on the magnetoresistance effect and work by detecting changes in electromagnetic fields.
The current to be measured passes through a U-shaped conductor, thereby eliminating interference from external magnetic fields. The CMS3000 family of sensors features bandwidths of up to 2 MHz and is up to ten times more responsive than comparable sensors.
It therefore offers superior protection in the event of sudden high-current pulses, as may be occasioned by short-circuit faults. Other advantages include high measurement accuracy and temperature stability and galvanic isolation.
Because they provide high-resolution current measurement, CMS3000 sensors promise to play a key role in distributed energy supply applications and electric vehicle charging solutions.
Highly compact and featuring patented MR sensors, the CMS3000 series opens the way to totally new applications in areas such as electric load disaggregation in smart metering, inductive charging systems, intelligent battery management and power inverters for electric vehicles.