Five companies nominated for Hermes Award | Automation.com

Five companies nominated for Hermes Award

March 26, 2015 - The HERMES AWARD is the world’s most prestigious technology prize. It is offered every year by Deutsche Messe in connection with the HANNOVER MESSE industrial technology fair. “This year we received entries from nearly 70 companies and 10 different nations. That’s a new record, and it is indicative of the high esteem achieved by the HERMES AWARD in association with the world’s leading showcase for industrial technology. The companies nominated for this year’s award come from all of the key segments addressed by HANNOVER MESSE, namely Industrial Automation and IT, Power Transmission and Control, Energy and Environmental Technologies, Industrial Subcontracting, Production Engineering and Services. This is indicative of the strong spirit of innovation inherent in every section of the fair,” remarked Dr. Jochen Köckler, Member of the Managing Board at Deutsche Messe.

Five nominees for the HERMES AWARD have been selected from among the applicants by an independent jury headed by Dr. Wolfgang Wahlster, the Managing Director of the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). The five innovative solutions developed by these companies will be profiled before a large audience during the heavily publicized HANNOVER MESSE Opening Ceremony on 12 April. Dr. Wahlster will then announce the winner, after which Germany’s Minister for Education and Research, Johanna Wanka, will give a congratulatory address and present the award.

“The level of innovation demonstrated by this year’s entries is top-notch,” said Wahlster. “Three of the nominated products constitute major contributions to Industry 4.0 and smart services in the form of collaborative robotics, high-performance gearboxes for the next generation of machines, and web-based service platforms. The other two nominated products have an important part to play in our transition to a more sustainable, decentralized energy system,” he added.

The companies nominated for the 2015 HERMES AWARD (listed in alphabetical order) are as follows:

ABB Automation GmbH, Mannheim, Germany: ABB’s nominated product is YuMi, a dual-arm collaborative assembly robot. With seven degrees of freedom in each arm, YuMi is able to manipulate and assemble small parts with great accuracy and adapts easily to human-centric work areas. It also features lightweight design, soft, padded arms and a collision warning system so that it can safely work alongside humans without the need for any protective cages or barriers. YuMi was designed for a range of small-parts assembly tasks in the electronics industry and is therefore highly versatile.

ContiTech, Hannover, Germany: ContiTech has been nominated for its “Materials Innovation for Automobile Heating” project, which relates to a patented electrically conductive polymer-based paste that is spreadable and can therefore easily be integrated into surface materials by means of screen printing. The product adds electric heating functionality to interior surfaces such as seats, arm rests and door trims. An electric current is applied directly to the paste to produce heat. This new heating system is suitable for all vehicle types, but especially electric vehicles, as it uses only about ten percent of the power required by conventional heating wires and produces heat in mere seconds.

Next Kraftwerke GmbH, Cologne, Germany: The nominated project here is a virtual power plant by the name of Next Pool. Next Pool aggregates more than 2,500 distributed generation and consumption installations to create a virtual power station with a capacity of around 1,500 megawatts. All generation and consumption assets in the pool are integrated into an intelligent M2M communication network that is managed by a fully automated central control system. The result is an intelligent swarm of smaller power plants that is able to take on roles normally reserved for central power stations. This includes participation in the balancing energy market – something most distributed plants would not be able to do on their own because they do not meet the 5 MW threshold imposed by electricity market regulations.

SCHUNK GmbH & Co. KG, Lauffen/Neckar, Germany: The nominated product here is SCHUNK eGrip, a user-friendly web-based 3D design tool for additively manufactured robot gripper fingers. The tool shortens the gripper finger design time by as much as 97 percent to around 15 minutes and reduces production and delivery turnaround time by up to 80 percent. It can also cut gripper finger production costs by up to 50 percent – even for highly complex geometries. The SCHUNK eGrip technology is classed as a process innovation because it can be applied to products other than grippers to create a range of web-based smart services.

Wittenstein AG, Igersheim, Germany: Wittenstein has been nominated for its “Galaxie” product, a high-performance gearhead with independently moveable gear teeth arranged in such a way that all surfaces of each tooth are able to engage with the teeth of the fixed outer ring gear. As a result, the Galaxie’s force-transmitting surface contact is more than six times greater than that of conventional gearheads. The teeth are driven by a combination of a polygon on the input shaft and, on the output side, a segmented antifriction bearing and a tooth carrier with segmented outer bearing ring. The meshing pattern is a logarithmic spiral – another first. The Galaxie outperforms all other gearbox designs in terms of torque density, torsional stiffness, zero backlash and compact form. It is also more energy-efficient and is suitable for a range of applications, including machine tools, robots, wind turbines and textile machines.

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