Automation Founders Circle
EDITOR’S NOTE: ISA continues its tradition of honoring leaders throughout the automation industry by presenting the Automation Founders Circle awards. This year’s recipients are Hans Baumann and Margaret Walker with the ISA Honorary Member award, the highest honor bestowed by the society; Tom Thomas with the Arnold O. Beckman Founder Award; Dr. Robert Moore with the Albert F. Sperry Founder Award; and F. Gregway Shinskey with ISA’s 2008 Life Achievement Award. Wake Forest, N.C.-based freelance writer Bob Felton wrote all five of the profiles.
Dr. Hans Baumann recognized for five decades of leadership
“Our country desperately needs innovative entrepreneurs and efficient managers in order to survive in this increasingly competitive global environment.” —Baumann
Recalling NASA designed the Atlas rocket, the workhorse of the early space program, in only three years using slide rules, Dr. Hans Baumann wonders if computers are overused today, especially during the education of engineers. It might be the case, he believes, that too much reliance on the narrow, deterministic environment of pre-packaged software solutions inhibits the free-ranging perspective that sustains creativity. “You do not invent using software.”
His appraisal of American standing as an engine of technological development is similarly no-nonsense: “The United States is sliding backwards, losing market share and technical leadership.”
“We will be challenged pretty soon,” he said, “because of the public debt and the demise of our industrial base. It will produce a crisis in this country.”
That contemporary thinking and a professional career where he personally designed or directed the development of over 30 valve lines are some of the reasons Baumann earned ISA’s Honorary Member award, the society’s highest honor. The award recognizes “contributions in the advancement of the arts and sciences of automation throughout a five-decade career of invention, design, writing, consulting and business leadership.”
Baumann received his undergraduate education in Industrial Engineering in his native Germany, continuing his education at Western Reserve University, then Northeastern University, and earned a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia Pacific University.
Over the course of his career, he has worked throughout the world: chief engineer at W. & T. Co., a valve supplier in Germany; manager of R&D at Worthington S/A in France; director of Engineering at CASHCO, Inc., in the U.S.; vice president of Masoneilan-International, Inc.; and senior vice president of Technology for Fisher Controls. In 1977, he founded H. D. Baumann Assoc., Ltd., manufacturing control valves; the company was subsequently acquired by Fisher Instruments, now part of Emerson Process Management.
He is a licensed Professional Engineer in four states and a member of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.
During his professional career, he has personally designed or directed the development of more than 30 valve lines, including the “CAMFLEX” Valve and its derivations, now produced in eight countries. He is named on over 154 U.S. and worldwide patents, and he has published 119 articles and peer-reviewed papers in addition to writing or co-authoring seven handbooks on valves and instrumentation.
Control Valve Primer - A User’s Guide is among ISA’s most popular titles and was also published in Japan. Because more than a good product is needed to build and maintain a successful company, he wrote The Ideal Enterprise, published by Vantage Press, a title that takes-up business efficiency. A typical Amazon review: “[It] taught me how to manage better, what fads to avoid, and how to motivate my employees. Best of all, this book avoids all the usual platitudes of the typical management advice literature.” And, “The Ideal Enterprise is astonishing reading because it successfully attacks so many sacred cows of the contemporary business world.” A second business book will be published this fall, How to Maintain Profitability of Companies When They Grow.
Known for his work in the valve industry, he began to wonder in 1970 whether damaging turbulence in the proximity of, and passage through, valves might be analyzed and minimized using methods associated with the aerodynamic design of jet airplanes. An article published in 2001 by Valve World describes a typical problem:
Several years ago, a gas plant in Saudi Arabia experienced cracking of an acid flare header. The site engineers carried out vibration tests to determine the cause and proposed several changes to the piping system to eliminate the cause of the damage. The changes were implemented, but the problem continued and eventually led to cracks in the piping as well as the header supports.
A historical review of the problem was conducted once again, but this time with process data included in the evaluation. A fluid dynamics calculation was performed utilizing computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software to simulate overall process conditions. The detailed simulation included sonic velocity calculations, gas velocity and vibration correlation and pressure-drop calculations. The analysis revealed that 10 inch valves in the header system were the main contributors to the excessive vibration. While the valves incorporated noise abatement trims, they were undersized and generated outlet velocities over 0.7 Mach. This not only created unacceptable noise levels at the valve, but also led to velocity induced vibration of the piping system.
Baumann’s intuition proved correct, and his work became the basis of IEC Standard 534-8-3.
Similarly, his critical flow factor and pipe reducer correction factors for valve sizing, FL and Fp, were later incorporated into U.S. and international standards.
Baumann is currently a Life Fellow Member of ISA, an Honorary Member of the Fluid Controls Institute, a Life Fellow Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, an associate of the Institute of Noise Control Engineering, the chairman of ISA SP75.11 (Control Valve Flow Characteristics and Rangeability), and an Honorary Member of the Spanish Chemical Engineering Society. For 30 years he was the U.S. Technical Expert for the International Standards Committee IEC/SC65B/WG9 (Control Valves). He serves as a member of the New Hampshire State Advisory Committee on International Trade and is a chairman of an ASME bioprocessing equipment committee.
Additionally, he has received ISA’s UOP Technology Award, which recognizes “an outstanding achievement in the conception, design, or implementation of instrumentation and/or process control,” and ISA’s Chet Beard Award, named after a Society founder. In 2003, he was named one of the 50 Most Influential Industrial Innovators by InTech magazine. Further, he has received seven Vaaler Awards from Chemical Processing, awarded biennially for “products and services that have significantly improved the operation and economics of chemical plants.” In 1989, he was named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the New Hampshire High Technology Council.