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HERMES AWARD 2008 Jury nominates five companies for top international technology prize

28.03.2008: HERMES AWARD 2008 Jury nominates five companies for top international technology prize

HANNOVER MESSE 2008, 21 to 25 April

From a field of more than 50 entrants an independent jury under the chairmanship of Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wahlster, who heads the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), has nominated five finalists for the 2008 HERMES AWARD. This is the world's most valuable prize for technological achievement, and is awarded each year at the opening ceremony for HANNOVER MESSE.

"The massively increased investment in innovation by industry in the last couple of years is starting to bear fruit. The standard of entries for this year's HERMES AWARD was noticeably higher once again, so that it turned into a very close race to get into the top five. Just to be nominated is therefore a great honour and achievement in itself. So even though there can only be one winner on 20 April, all five nominated products are quite outstanding", says Wahlster, speaking after the jury meeting.

The following five companies were nominated for the € 100,000 prize endowed by HANNOVER MESSE (listed here in alphabetical order):

Herrenknecht AG, Schwanau: The innovative and efficient pipeline technology known as Direct Pipe is a process for laying pipelines underground, in which a continuous horizontal borehole or microtunnel is drilled and the pipeline sections are installed in the borehole in one continuous operation.

A hydraulic pipe thruster grips and clamps the prefabricated and tested pipeline sections and pushes them forward into the ground directly behind the cutter head. This process speeds up the laying of pipelines and consequently reduces costs for boring equipment, construction site equipment and personnel.

Hydac Electronic GmbH, Saarbrücken: The HYDACLab oil condition gauge is a compact multifunctional sensor designed to monitor the condition of hydraulic and lubricating oils. Relative changes in the fluid parameters viscosity, dielectric constant, relative humidity und temperature are monitored online and referenced against values for fresh oil and permissible tolerances.

For the first time the four different sensors needed to monitor the condition of hydraulic and lubricating oils have been incorporated into a single compact module. By constantly monitoring and logging fluid condition, plant operators can avoid premature breakdowns and consequential damage to machinery and components, while at the same time making significant savings in servicing costs.

And by optimizing oil change intervals, and thereby minimizing the requirement to dispose of waste oil, the technology also helps to reduce environmental pollution.

Pepperl + Fuchs GmbH, Mannheim: The DART project (Dynamic Arc Recognition and Termination) is an explosion protection technology that enhances inherent safety in hazardous industrial environments. Electrical sparks are safely extinguished in the first few microseconds by instantaneous shutting down of the electrical circuit.

This means that the power rating of electrical devices plugged into inherently safe electrical circuits can be increased to 50 watts; hitherto, using conventional explosion protection technology, the safe limit has been two watts. DART enhances inherent safety in areas at risk from explosion by adding a dynamic component and increases the available power by a factor of 10 to 20.

Trithor GmbH and Bültmann GmbH, Rheinbach/Neuenrade: With this high-performance induction heater the workpiece is heated by rotating it in the DC magnetic field of a high-temperature superconductor. The energy for heating the workpiece is transferred to the workpiece through the rotary drive system, boosting efficiency to over 80 per cent.

This represents the first application of superconductor technology to a very common and widely used industrial process, and compared with conventional induction heaters there is potential for significant energy savings. High electrical losses reduce the efficiency of conventional heaters to around 50 per cent.

Sensitec GmbH, Lahnau: This newly developed sensor utilizes a special magnetic effect known as Giant Magneto Resistance (GMR), for the discovery of which Prof. Peter Grünberg and Albert Fert won the 2007 Nobel Prize for Physics. It uses a GMR chip and support magnets to generate an optimally tuned magnetic field inside a housing.

This makes GMR technology available for the first time for precise yet robust measurements in industrial and medical equipment applications. The effect is utilized here in industry in the form of a rotary position transducer.

Through the periodic modulation of a powerful magnetic field the linear or rotary movement of ferromagnetic components such as gear wheels or gear racks can be contactlessly detected. These precise and highly dynamic sensors are suitable for regulating electric drive systems.

 

- Brigitte Mahnken-Brandhorst-

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28.03.2008 / MaP

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