Phoenix Contact wins Hermes Award

for lightning monitoring systems for wind turbines

  • April 23, 2012
  • Phoenix Contact wins Hermes Award
    Phoenix Contact wins Hermes Award

Phoenix Contact, based in Blomberg, Germany, is this year's winner of the internationally renowned HERMES AWARD. Every year this important technology prize is presented at a special ceremony held during HANNOVER MESSE to a company which has developed an outstandingly innovative product. Dr. Wolfram von Fritsch, Chairman of the Managing Board at Deutsche Messe AG, reports: "Phoenix Contact, the recipient of this year's HERMES AWARD, is a company that has consistently driven innovation throughout its 90 year history. Now a global business concern, the company will be demonstrating its R&D prowess at HANNOVER MESSE for the 59th time."

The award has been bestowed on Phoenix Contact for a system which measures lightning surges in lightning conductors and conveys operational status evaluations via the Internet to the remote control center. Lightning strikes are responsible for most incidents involving damage to wind turbine rotor blades. This groundbreaking system facilitates continuous monitoring and ensures that maintenance work can be quickly initiated. The system is based on the electrical-optical Faraday effect and measures the full course of the lightning surge as well as the impact on each of the individual rotor blades. Furthermore, the system helps to ensure that the plant continues to function and it increases the reliability of the electric energy supply. Maintenance work can be targeted more effectively and with greater cost-efficiency.

Germany's Minister for Education and Research, Dr. Annette Schavan, presented the HERMES AWARD on 22 April at the opening ceremony for HANNOVER MESSE. In her address Dr. Schavan emphasized: "The changing emphasis on the energy mix of the future has spawned a host of innovations. An increasing number of companies are putting new products onto the marketplace. These are proving invaluable by making renewable energy a cheaper and more efficient option. The prize-winner, Phoenix Contact, exemplifies the best in German industry: the company is a highly innovative, global operator and market leader."

Dr. Wolfgang Wahlster, HERMES AWARD Jury Chairman and Chairman of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), commented: "This year's HERMES AWARD has been bestowed on a product of special significance to an industry going through such radical change, in particular on the wind energy market. It is a typical leading-edge cyber-physical system (CPS): a sensor-actuator system linked to the Internet that will form the basis for the fourth industrial revolution. Every year more than 25,000 new wind energy farms are built, including an increasing number offshore. Thanks to the products developed by Phoenix Contact maintenance of these facilities can now be carried out in a less random fashion, more quickly and cost-effectively."

In addition to the winner, Phoenix Contact GmbH&Co.KG, Blomberg, the other companies nominated for the award were: ContiTech AG (Hannover, Germany), Festo AG (Esslingen, Germany), Linz Center of Mechatronics (Linz, Austria) and Pepperl + Fuchs (Mannheim, Germany). The prize-winning product and all nominated products and processes are exhibited during HANNOVER MESSE 2012 (23-27 April) at the stands of the respective companies. Furthermore, the Innovation Stand "tech transfer - Gateway2Innovation" in Hall 2, Stand D12, will provide in-depth information on all the products entered for the 2012 HERMES AWARD competition and the companies involved.