This year’s Hermes Award goes to Wittenstein AG. One of the world’s most prestigious innovation prizes, the award will be presented to the company on 12 April 2015 at the Hannover Messe Opening Ceremony. “Wittenstein AG is synonymous with technological expertise and innovative spirit,” said Dr Jochen Köckler, Member of the Managing Board at Deutsche Messe. “The company has been exhibiting at Hannover Messe for many years and, year after year, has been showcasing new products in the field of high-precision electromechanical drives. The winning product is a completely new type of gearhead featuring Industry 4.0 connectivity. This makes it an excellent fit for this year’s lead theme: ‘Integrated Industry – Join the Network’.”
Wittenstein AG will receive the Hermes Award for its product “Galaxie” – a high-performance gearhead with independently movable 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 machinery.
The Hermes Award will be presented by Dr. Johanna Wanka, Federal Minister for Education and Research. “The Galaxie high-precision gearhead is an outstanding development and a prime example of Germany’s innovative drive,” said the Federal Minister in her address at the award ceremony. “Wittenstein AG has proved that with courage, creativity and determination a completely new kind of gearhead can be created. The company has also succeeded in embodying the future of industry – the networking of production and services – in its gearbox.”
“This year’s award winner demonstrates that even in the digital age, springboard innovations are still possible, even when it comes to the basic fundamentals of motion in industrial drives. Our jury unanimously chose Wittenstein’s Galaxie gearhead as the winner since it leverages a radically new gear-tooth principle – the logarithmic spiral, which occurs in nature in the form of a snail’s shell, for example – in order to provide a new kind of high-performance drive system without a gear wheel that features integrated sensors and networking,” added Dr. Wolfgang Wahlster, Chairman of the Jury and head of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI).
The other nominees besides Wittenstein AG (Igersheim, Germany) were: ABB Automation GmbH (Mannheim, Germany), ContiTech (Hannover, Germany), Next Kraftwerke GmbH (Cologne, Germany) and Schunk GmbH & Co. KG (Lauffen/Neckar, Germany). The award-winning and nominated products and processes will be on display at the companies’ stands during Hannover Messe 2015 (13 to 17 April). Moreover, the innovation stand “tech transfer – Gateway2Innovation” in Hall 2, Stand D12, will provide detailed information about all the nominated entries for the Hermes Award 2015 and the companies involved.