May/June 2012
Automation Update

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 that has developed an outstandingly innovative product.

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.

In addition to the winner, Phoenix Contact, 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 were exhibited during Hannover Messe 2012 at the stands of the respective companies.

-News brief courtesy of