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Spring 2006
Solutions for Society
Mighty Motors
Paths to Perfection
of the Future
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
C o n t e n t s
Scenario 2020: Return to Tomorrow 10
Trends:Lifelines for Cities and Societies 13
Facts and Forecasts: Magnetic Megacities 15
Power Plants: More Power, Lower Emissions 16
Desalination: Energy for Electricity and Water 19
Undersea Cables:Green Power for Victoria 20
Portrait: Singapore — Paradigm for a High-Tech Future 22
Interview: Dr. Tony Tan, Ex Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore 24
Bangkok: Ticket to the Future 26
High-Speed Rail: Spain’s Trains to the Plains 29
Security: Protecting Key Assets 32
Stadiums: Technology for Champions 34
51pegasi: Managing Data for Sports 37
Hotels: Las Vegas’s City within a City 38
Disaster Relief: First Aid for the Infrastructure 40
Developing Regions:Plugging into a New Life 41
In Brief: Redefining Computer Tomography, Safer Care with Health Cards, Normal or Sensitive? Phones for the Home 4
Television for Travelers; Talk, Watch & Surf; How to Kick a Virtual Ball 6
Corporate Technology: Made for India —in India 8
Patents and Innovations:A Healthy Dose of Data /Better Signals for Cells 9
A Look into the Lab: Immunization for Computer Systems 44
Research Cooperation: Entering the Comfort Zone 68
Feedback / Preview 98
Cover, top right:Almost every process — from baggage transport to steel rolling
and data network traffic utilization — can be mathematically optimized. Siemens researcher Johannes Nierwetberg displays a symbolic path to the optimum. Bottom left: Pure water is a must, whether
for drinking or for industry. Here, reverse osmosis provides molecular filtration for a
pharmaceutical production facility. I N F R A S T R U C T U R E S S o l u t i o n s f o r S o c i e t y
Scenario 2015: This Way to the Sun 46
Trends:Mighty Motors 49
Hybrid Drives: Fine Tuning the Hybrid 53
Interview: Robert Peugeot on Diesel Hybrid Technology 54
Facts and Forecasts:The Drive for Growth 57
Motor Testing:The Toughest of Tests 58
Superconducting Generators:Cruising on Cold Power 60
Rail Propulsion Systems:The Competitive Drive 62
Innovation: Future Motors Take Shape 64
Industrial Motors:Energy Misers 66
E L E C T R I C MAC HI NE S M i g h t y M o t o r s
Scenario 2020: Hidden Identity 70
Trends:Paths to Perfection 73
Virtual Reality Lab:Visit to a Virtual World 76
Applications:Current Events 79
Applications: Testing with Simulation 82
Siemens Airport Center: An Airport that’s Ready to Fly 84
Mathematics: Optimization by the Numbers 87
Learning Systems: Formula for Efficiency 90
Interview: Prof. Martin Grötschel on Mathematics 93
eGovernment:Public Services on a Chip 94
Training:Why Simulation Saves Lives 95
S I M U L A T I O N P a t h s t o P e r f e c t i o n
PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE E d i t o r i a l
emographic experts estimate that by mid 2007, for the first time in human history,
more people will live in cities than in the country. This trend is particularly clear when
it comes to megacities. In fact, by 2015, these vast conurbations are due to add 70 million
people to the 280 million who already inhabit them. One of the major reasons for this
trend is that cities offer opportunities that are hard to find elsewhere. Take Tokyo, for example. Some 35 million people live in this megalopolis — more than in
all of Canada. Tokyo alone accounts for 40 percent of Japan’s gross domestic product
(GDP). Bangkok plays a similar role. This city of 6.5 million accounts for 35 percent of Thai-
land’s economy. Or think Paris — a city with a population equal to that of Belgium that
generates 30 percent of French GDP.
ut there’s more to cities than jobs. Cities promise better access to medical care and
education; they offer cultural diversity, the opportunity to live more comfortably, and
a chance to tap into the knowledge, communications and commercial opportunities
offered by efficient access to Internet services — in short, to experience the pulse of the
times. All of this adds up to growing demand in urban areas for a range of infrastructures,
be they transportation and communications systems, energy and water systems,
advanced medical services, or the logistics systems that ensure delivery of industrial goods
— areas in which Siemens is second to none.
ur innovative products, systems, solutions and services not only allow us to meet the
challenges of growing urbanization, but offer a range of business opportunities.
Siemens light rail systems, for instance, keep Bangkok moving (page 26); our power
plants coupled with desalination facilities promise dependable supplies of potable water
and electricity for rapidly growing cities like Abu Dhabi (page 19), and our building auto-
mation, security and telematic solutions ensure that major events like the FIFA World Cup
soccer games run smoothly (page 34).
hat’s more, innovative infrastructure solutions can offer significant environmental
advantages. In Singapore, for instance (page 22), Siemens systems are already
transforming 40,000 cubic meters of sewage per day into clear, clean drinking water. And
by 2012 the city plans to harvest one fifth of all its water from this source.
hey say that small is beautiful, but in the U.S.A., the motto is often “The bigger, the
better.” That certainly describes the Citycenter project in Las Vegas, Nevada, where
the MGM MIRAGE Group is partnering with Siemens to build a city within a city on a 66
acre parcel of the Las Vegas Strip (page 38). The project, which includes a hotel with 4,000
rooms, 1,650 luxury condominium apartments, and 50,000 square meters of retail space
for restaurants, stores and entertainment, is expected to be completed in a record 50
months with its grand opening taking place in November, 2009.
etting the contract to supply state-of-the-art technologies for this project was
challenging and exciting for two reasons. The customer has stipulated that, even in
2010, the technology we deliver today must still be among the most innovative available.
Second, the MGM MIRAGE Group wants the project to be so environmentally friendly that
it will meet U.S. Green Building Council requirements and thus qualify for substantial tax
credits. Thanks to its commitment and hard work, the Siemens One Team has landed this
order, which is valued at $100 million. Congratulations!
he projects I’ve mentioned are, of course, just an appetizer in comparison to the wide
spectrum of articles you’ll find in this issue of Pictures of the Future. But when you
read about them, I hope they’ll awaken the same feelings for you as they have for me — a
desire to learn more!
A Partner
for Megacities
Dr. Klaus Kleinfeld has been
Chief Executive Officer of
Siemens AG since January, 2005.
iemens has developed a washing ma-
chine that automatically selects the
right program for each type of laundry
and thereby optimizes water consump-
tion. Known as the “automaticWascher,”
the appliance has sensors that detect
how much laundry is in the drum, what
kinds of textiles are present and how
heavily the clothing is soiled. The user
only has to choose between “normal” and
“sensitive” settings. To determine the
amount of laundry and the textile type,
the sensors rely on information relating
to the amount of water in the drum and
the way in which the textiles absorb the
water. The degree of soiling is deter-
mined by an aqua sensor that uses a light
gate to measure water turbidity. After the
system has combined the data, the wash-
ing machine automatically selects the
right wash cycle, which is depicted on a
large display.
Normal or Sensitive?
Sensors in the “automaticWascher” recognize how heavily laundry is soiled. he cordless phone is set to become a uni-
versal remote control in the networked
home. At this year’s CeBIT, Siemens presented
a control unit that uses a conventional phone
to operate household appliances, door open-
ers and alarm systems. The control module is
compatible with current Gigaset models,
which could thus be used to operate Siemens
components such as serve@home for house-
hold appliances and the “Gamma wave”
automation solution for lighting, heating and
ventilation in the networked home. The units
are equipped with small transmitters and
receivers that evaluate and execute signals
transmitted using the cordless DECT stan-
dard. Appliances without a receiver can be
connected to special sockets that can be con-
trolled via a radio signal transmitted by the
cordless phone. Equipment such as lamps can
thus be switched on or off by phone. Owners
of the control unit can also use their phones
to talk to visitors via the front door intercom.
If the system includes a camera, visitors are
visible on the phone display, and users are
able to open the door using the phone’s
keypad. Another option allows calls to be
automatically transferred from the phone to
a cell phone. For example, this allows a build-
ing’s alarm system to notify the owner of
a break-in by sending a text message.
Vacation home owners, for example, could
then notify the police or fire department
without delay.
iemens has teamed up with several hospitals in New York to create a regional health
network and improve the exchange of medical data. To this end, health cards will be
issued that enable physicians to quickly access a patient’s medical history. The network,
which will be managed by Siemens Communications, the renowned Mount Sinai Medical
Center and the Elmhurst Hospital Center, will link together 45 medical facilities in the New
York metropolitan area. The health cards will incorporate a photo of the patient and a mem-
ory chip for storing personal data and information on allergic reactions, prescribed medica-
tions and laboratory results. Initially, a total of 100,000 health cards will be distributed to
patients, who will own the cards they hold. At the hospital, the patient can give the at-
tending physician access to the data on the card by entering a PIN. One major advantage of
the system is that it will help physicians to
avoid prescribing the wrong medications.
According to recent studies, tens of thou-
sands of patients die every year in the
United States after receiving the wrong
treatment. Siemens has also successfully
implemented a health card project for
nine million people in Lombardy, Italy
(Pictures of the Future, Fall 2005, p.76).
The Italian authorities hope that this
project will result in cost savings of up to 240 million euros a year. Health cards will
also be distributed to Germany’s 80 mil-
lion inhabitants on a step-by-step basis.
Siemens is now participating in three out
of eight regional test projects. na
Several countries are introducing health
cards in a drive to improve healthcare quality and reduce costs.
Safer Care with Health Cards
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
The Phone for the Home
iemens has added another dimension to
computer tomography. The Somatom
Definition is the world’s first computer tomo-
graph (CT) with two X-ray tubes. As a result, it
can take pictures of a beating heart at an un-
precedented level of temporal resolution and
with only half the normal dose of X-ray radia-
tion. Once in operation, each of the imaging
systems rotates around the patient three
times per second. Straton tubes emit X-rays
that pass through the patient’s body before
reaching the detector on the other side. A
computer then uses the data measured in this
manner to create images of the body’s inte-
rior. In 2005, the inventors of the Straton tube
Redefining Computer Tomography
were nominated for the German Future Prize.
The new CT is faster than any other system in
use today. What’s more, in combination with
its extremely high resolution of less than 0.4
millimeters, even the tiniest vessels become
visible. Taking pictures of a heart is particularly
difficult, since the images have to be made in
between heartbeats. To achieve this feat, the
imaging system is synchronized with an elec-
trocardiogram (ECG). In order to get sharp im-
ages using conventional devices, a patient’s
pulse had to be artificially lowered to around
60 beats per minute. However, the beta
blockers needed to lower the pulse rate were
not always suitable, as they represented an
increased health risk for certain patients, such
as those suffering from asthma or diabetes.
But in the case of the Somatom Definition the
pulse rate is no longer relevant. Thanks to the
system’s sophisticated radiographic process,
it is possible to X-ray a patient with a high
pulse rate or cardiac arrhythmia — without
the need for special medication. The system
reduces the radiation dose by 50 percent be-
cause it operates twice as fast as conventional
scanners, which use only a single X-ray source
and detector. This in turn makes the imaging
process twice as fast and cuts irradiation time
by 50 percent. na
By creating very high-resolution images, the new Somatom Definition CT
scanner enables doctors to gain
sharp pictures of coronary vessels
— without using beta blockers
to slow down heartbeat.
The phone for the networked home — Gigaset will be able to control everything
from heating and lighting to cooking.
o coincide with the 2006 World Cup, Siemens is launching a penalty shootout game for
camera-equipped mobile phones. The game, which is called Kick Real, utilizes aug-
mented reality technology. The player’s foot is real, but the ball and goalkeeper exist only
on the phone display. The game was produced at C-Lab, which celebrated its 20th anniver-
sary in March of this year. C-Lab is a joint
research and development lab of Siemens
Business Services and the University of
Paderborn, Germany.Augmented reality
combines a virtual world with the real
one. Images recorded with a camera can
be supplemented with additional infor-
mation on a display. With Kick Real
(, it works like this:
The player points the camera of a mobile
phone at his or her foot. As the ball,
which is visible on the display, is kicked,
the software calculates its flight path on
the basis of the player’s foot movement.
The virtual ball flies into the back of the
net — if it gets past the goalie. na
How to Kick a Virtual Ball
Players can enjoy a penalty shootout with
the help of augmented reality. The ball exists only on the display.
PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE D V B - H S t a n d a r d
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
Television for Travelers
The DVB-H standard has big potential, including simultaneous transmission of TV programs to large
numbers of viewers. Siemens is a driving force in DVB-H and is field testing it in the Czech Republic.
adapted for mobile use as DVB-H and standard-
ized worldwide. DVB-H can be transmitted
along with DVB-T on the same frequency
band, but national media authorities haven’t
yet allocated frequencies to providers who
want to offer mobile TV. The new standard is
a power-saving variant of DVB-T optimized for
mobile reception of broadcasts on devices
with displays of up to 20 centimeters. DVB-H
uses the “time-slicing” process, in which the
various programs and services are transmitted
consecutively on one channel in small time
slots. The cell phone only receives data in the
time slot assigned for the service selected. The receiver thus only needs energy when
data packets are actually being received.
Siemens has developed a solution that
automatically adjusts the picture to the size of
displays found in small terminals and cell
phones. For users trying to watch soccer
games, for example, the ball would otherwise
appear as a tiny dot. Between the signal re-
ceiver and the terminal is an interface that
records the soccer match. It zooms onto the
ball when the entire field is shown and sends
the enlarged picture to the viewer’s display.
The main advantage of DVB-H compared
to other transmission processes is that while
only a dozen participants can simultaneously
receive streaming services (i.e. videos) in a
UMTS mobile transmission cell, a DVB-H
transmitter can, like normal TV, broadcast to a
large number of viewers. As a result, more
than 20 TV and radio programs can be broad-
cast on a single channel. In addition, the mo-
bile radio connection to the terminals creates
a feedback channel to the transmitter. This
allows viewers to interact with the program
by, for example, voting for their favorite star
in a TV show or participating in live competi-
tions. The new technology is a prime example
of how radio and TV markets are converging
with the telecommunications sector.
Siemens has been taking part in one of the
first DVB-H pilot tests in Germany since 2004.
“We were one of the founding members of
the Broadcast Mobile project in Berlin,” says
Schneiders, “Our goal was to test in advance
the complex interaction between the infra-
structure, the mobile phone manufacturers
and the content providers.” In 2003, Berlin
became the first state in Germany to switch to
the terrestrial digital TV standard (DVB-T) and
approve a frequency for testing DVB-H. Since then, Schneiders and his team have
been optimizing DVB-H technology to ensure
that the infrastructure interacts well with the
systems from the broadcasting companies
and the mobile communications providers.
“Besides offering the Electronic Program
Guide, our test system manages the content
and checks to see if users are authorized to
access certain programs,” says Schneiders. “In
addition, it also takes care of invoicing view-
ers’ access to the content.” Feedback Channel.The Siemens test sys-
tem was presented live in February at the
world’s largest telecommunications fair —
the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona — as
well as at the CeBIT trade show in March.
There, visitors not only had an opportunity to
use various terminals, such as cell phones and
PDAs, to watch TV, but also to answer quiz
questions or take part in competitions. But,
according to Schneiders, DVB-H still poses
many challenges that need to be overcome.
These include the question of who will own
cell phone TV programs — the broadcasters
or the providers of mobile phone services?
There is also the question of which frequen-
cies can be freed up for this service world-
wide, and how promising business models for
cell phone TV should be organized. Because of these issues, Schneiders thinks
it will still be some time before cell phone TV
is ready for the mass market. “We will be con-
ducting ‘friendly user tests’ with several hun-
dred terminals during the 2006 World Cup,”
he says. According to Schneiders, the break-
through for mobile television will come in
2007. “DVB-H will be used on a large scale in
2008 during the European Cup in Austria and
Switzerland, and for the Olympic Games in
Beijing a short time later,” he says. Until then,
only a few users will be viewing live sports on
their cell phones —not counting video clips of
the most exciting goals, of course. These are
already being transmitted via other standards,
such as UMTS.
Nikola Wohllaib
umerous pilot tests all over the world
have shown that it is technically possible
to use the new digital DVB-H (Digital Video
Broadcasting for Handhelds) television stan-
dard to broadcast TV shows to cell phones.
The service is expected to create many prom-
ising new applications. DVB-H equipment
from Siemens is being used, for example, by
mobile communications provider T-Mobile for
an interactive mobile TV project in the Czech
Republic. Since October 2005, this project has
been making it possible for a group of cell
phone users to watch TV while on the go. To enable the users to receive TV broad-
casts, they were given cell phone prototypes
with built-in DVB-H chips. The phones are
manufactured by BenQ, a Taiwanese com-
pany that acquired Siemens’ mobile phone
division. “Not only can cell phone users watch
the online news broadcaster CT-24 around
the clock, they can also view highlights of the
popular reality show VyVolení,” says Stefan
Schneiders, who is responsible for business
development of Mobile Broadcasts at
Siemens Communications. “We will follow up
this project by conducting further field tests
in cooperation with mobile communications
companies throughout Europe.” Around two years ago, the DVB-T terrestrial
digital video broadcasting standard was
Although DVB-H field tests will be held during the 2006
soccer World Cup, a cell phone TV breakthrough won’t
come until 2008.
n the future, operators of cable networks and telecommunications systems will be able to
use their channels to offer customers the three “triple play” services of telephony, Internet
and TV. Siemens is using the entire spectrum of broadband access techniques — from
copper wires and glass fibers to radio links — to bring these entertainment services into
people’s homes. Set-top boxes receive the signals and provide access to a wide range of
services, such as electronic program guides — or a direct link via TV to other viewers.
At CeBIT 2006, Siemens unveiled the production version of the VDSL2 (Very High Speed
Digital Subscriber Line) system, which makes it possible to transmit data at rates of up to
100 megabits per second (MBit/s) through copper phone cables. A 50-MBit/s VDSL2 solu-
tion from Siemens is being installed by Deutsche Telekom in ten cities, while an optical sys-
tem using a recently approved standard can transmit data at up to 2.5 gigabits per second.
In addition, the WayMAX radio transmis-
sion system (up to 75 MBit/s) will allow
telecommunications firms to provide
broadband access in regions where land-
line connections are impractical. Such
broadband systems will even enable high-
definition television (HDTV) broadcasts
over the Internet. To this end, Siemens
Communications has enhanced MPEG-4
compression technology to reduce the
required data rate from 20 to 6 MBit/s,
making it low enough for DSL transmis-
sion. To turn the data into actual images,
Siemens offers HDTV-compatible Gigaset
set-top boxes that are equipped with 250
gigabyte hard discs and can receive TV
signals via cable, satellite or DVB-T. na
Thanks to Siemens technology, people will
be able to use their TV sets to talk to friends
— while watching their favorite programs. Talk, Watch and Surf
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
Made for India — in India e’re the new kids on the block,” says
Mukul Saxena with a smile. He’s refer-
ring to the young, 39-member research team
that he has set up in Bangalore as part of the
global Siemens CT network. Since April 2004,
the 43-year-old engineer and manager has
been building up the new research center.
Bangalore, located in the south of the sub-
continent, is famous as India’s answer to Sili-
con Valley. Its Whitefield and Electronics City
technology parks are home to some 800 IT,
biotech and nanotech companies offering
much more than inexpensive IT services. For
the past 15 years, Bangalore has been an out-
standing research location. CT’s neighbors
there include one of the country’s best IT
institutes, the Indian IT flagship Infosys and
HP Labs. At CT India, engineers are working
together with colleagues from all over the
world on distributed imaging systems, com-
puter vision, and software development.
India’s booming economy is growing almost as fast as China’s. That’s why Mukul Saxena and the new
Siemens Corporate Technology team in Bangalore are working hard to tap the domestic market.
In 2006, Siemens celebrates half a century of its production operations in India. Today,
almost 12,000 employees work at over 60 locations in India. About 4,000 of them are researchers,
developers and software engineers. Production capacity in the areas of power transmission, auto-
mation technology and medical,communication and building technology is being expanded from
13 to 14 locations. These business groups are the main customers of the Corporate Technology
(CT) research center in Bangalore.Additional customers for software development include IBM India and HP India. Siemens is constructing a new building in Bangalore for approximately 1,000
employees. New orders at Siemens Information Systems Limited (SISL), to which CT India reports,
grew by 42 percent in 2005. That’s considerably higher than the growth rate of the Indian
economy overall, which was recently put at seven percent. In the near future, India will have three
megacities with more than 10 million inhabitants which, along with India’s growing middle class
— currently numbering more than 350 million — will ensure high demand for infrastructure services such as energy, water, transport, healthcare and industrial services. When he was still living in the United
States, Saxena was impressed with Banga-
lore’s dramatic rise and wanted to help shape
it. He first worked for General Electric’s global
research and development team in the U.S.
But in 1997 he returned to India and spent
four years at an automotive supplier. From
2000 to 2004, he once again joined GE and
headed a 140-member research team distrib-
uted between Bangalore and Niskayuna, New
York. In that position he had a major impact
on research activities in the area of advanced
automation technologies and was a member
of the Board of Directors of GE Medical Sys-
tems, India. “I was then at a point in my career
when I should have returned to the United
States,” recalls Saxena. However, for personal
reasons he decided not to take that step. Be-
sides, he says, “I wanted to generate growth
in India, and I wouldn’t have been able to do
it as effectively if I had moved to the U.S.”
And that’s exactly what his new job at
Siemens lets him do. Part of Saxena’s team
works for Siemens Medical. “We develop very
flexible client-server architectures that distrib-
ute huge amounts of three-dimensional im-
age data among computers with less capacity,
in real time,” explains Romain Moreau-Gobard,
a French scientist who is the liaison to
Siemens Corporate Research at Princeton,
where he previously worked for four years. In
the future, surgeons will be able to use
systems based on research from Bangalore to
access computer tomography data in real time
in operating rooms. High-performance com-
puters will then no longer be needed to access
such files, which often contain more than a
gigabyte of data. The resources of many com-
puters will be used in the background so that
the tomographs’ output can be called up on a
workstation using visualization software.
Cost-Effective Solutions.Saxena’s top pri-
ority is to achieve close coordination between
CT India and Siemens Information Systems
Limited (SISL), Siemens’ fast-growing soft-
ware company in India, which now has 3,420
employees and plans to have more than
4,300 by September 2006. “By working to-
gether as a team, we can apply the technol-
ogy more quickly to our end products and
complex solutions,” says Saxena. That’s in line
with his ultimate goal, which is to do research
in India for the Indian market and successfully
implement cost-effective solutions there.
“What’s driving the local market? And how
can we adapt solutions that cost $1,000 in
the U.S. to the Indian market, where they
shouldn’t cost more than $100?” he asks.
Skimping on technology is not the solu-
tion, he says. On the contrary, he points out
that know-how in machine vision has already
been instrumental in helping Siemens win the
status of preferred supplier from Indian cus-
tomers. For example, a total of 70 machines
for cigarette production at the Indian Tobacco
Company in Bangalore have been equipped
with special cameras, sensors and a light
source. The equipment uses infrared light to
check the thickness of the cigarette paper. The
result is a quick way of checking that the ma-
chine contains the right paper for six types of
cigarette manufactured. “Here we’ve created a
cost-efficient solution for the Indian market
that I believe can be transferred to the global
market as well,” says Saxena proudly.
Smart Cameras. Another team, headed by
Rita Chattopadhyay, is researching optimized
solutions for camera systems in traffic moni-
toring. One of the aims is to enable special
cameras to create better images in twilight
conditions. She is also focusing on embedded
software for security cameras. “We want
them to be able to recognize when some-
thing unusual is happening and to sound an
alarm on their own,” says Chattopadhyay. For
this purpose she is developing algorithms
that are adjusted to the cameras’ low proces-
sor capacity and their application in real time.
The cameras should be able to communicate
with one another wirelessly in the future. “As
soon as someone steps outside one camera’s
range of view, the next camera will take over,”
she predicts. She is working closely with SCR in Princeton
and with Siemens researchers in Karlsruhe,
Germany, who are focussing on building
technology, video surveillance and computer
vision. Building technology is booming in
India, along with power generation, industrial
services, automation technology, and traffic
and medical technology.
“In the future, our research will have a de-
cisive effect on growth markets such as India,”
predicts Saxena. That’s why his team’s slogan
for 2006 is “Made for India — in India.” He’s
also driving his organization’s integration into
Siemens’ existing research network, so that
new ideas from India will help in globalizing
research. The current cooperative projects
with Princeton and Karlsruhe are the first
steps in that direction.
Nikola Wohllaib
Mukul Saxena,
head of CT India.
Intelligent image-
processing is a hit
with customers in
India and a com-
petitive technol-
ogy for the global
esearchers from Siemens Corporate Technology in Beijing have improved the efficiency
of UMTS mobile communications technology. Now a network can serve more mobile
phones without needing more transmitting power. The solution also reduces disturbing
interference at the boundary zones between mobile phone cells —for example, the inter-
ference that arises when a car radio receives signals from two stations with the same fre-
quency. With UMTS, the interference is remedied by ensuring that every mobile phone in a
radio cell is identified with a unique code. A large number of users, however, can strain the
capacity of this process — a problem that
Dr. Li Hui, a Siemens Inventor of the Year
in 2005, has solved by combining two
methods. One calls for splitting up the
carrier frequencies into smaller units. This
OFDM process (Orthogonal Frequency
Division Multiplexing) provides optimal
protection for the signal against interfer-
ence such as echoes caused by reflections
from buildings. And instead of using one
powerful antenna in the center of the cell,
Li distributes many low-power antennas
uniformly throughout the cell. This allows
improved coverage with less transmission
power, while also ensuring that interfer-
ence is eliminated through dynamic allo-
cation of the signals. na
Li Hui has developed a technique that improves transmission quality and results
in higher capacity in UMTS networks.
PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE Patents and Innovations
A Healthy Dose of Data
nventor Bharat Rao of Siemens Medical Solutions in Malvern, Pennsylvania, has developed
an information system that provides doctors with treatment recommendations for patients
with cardiovascular diseases. The system makes health care more efficient while reducing
costs. Medical data often is only available in hard-to-read formats and is scattered at various
locations. And hospitals often have very different styles of organizing and structuring this in-
formation. Rao’s solution, called “Remind,” gathers patient data from different sources, auto-
matically compares it and generates an optimized data file. The program created by Rao —
Inventor Bharat Rao’s program intelligently
gathers medical data and helps to improve
patient treatment.
Better Signals for Cells
a Siemens Inventor of the Year in 2005 —
gathers information from sources includ-
ing prescriptions, lab reports and hand-
written notes. Equally suitable for use in
small practices and large hospitals, Re-
mind (Reliable Extraction and Meaningful
Inference from Nonstructured Data)
makes therapeutic recommendations to
the physician, permitting faster and better
treatment at lower cost. The data also is
accessible in anonymous form, making it
invaluable for use in research and quality
management. The system is already being
used with the records of five million pa-
tients in the U.S. Although designed for
the U.S. health care system, Remind can
be configured for use elsewhere . na
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
Conserving resources for the future
means relying on the most effective
mix of energy sources:geothermal
energy, power plants with unprece-
dented levels of efficiency, and com-
bined power / seawater desalination
plants. Pages 16, 19
An old man is on the journey of a lifetime. Chinese retiree Jun Yang is on the Transrapid bound for Shanghai.
Via e-mail, he shares his fascinating
yet slightly unsettling impressions of
his trip to the megacity with his grand-
son Li. He speaks of “flying” on rails,
subway trains without drivers, a cloudy river transformed into crystal-clear water, and a hotel inhabited by unseen forces…
Siemens is turning wastewater into
drinking water in a city-state whose
infrastructure is pointing the way to a
high-tech future. Page 22
Siemens is a leading partner in local public transportation projects in Bangkok.Page 26
A new train will soon provide high-
speed service between Madrid and
Barcelona. The Velaro could be-
come a model for Europe. Page 29
With the soccer World Cup about
to kickoff, Siemens technology is
helping to ensure that everything
runs smoothly. Page 34
In developing countries such as
Gabon and Vietnam, unusual solutions are needed for infrastructure projects. Page 41
On the Transrapid. May 15, 2020, 1 p.m.
My dear Li,
Finally I have found time to write to you.
You see, time seems to be moving more and
more quickly as my journey takes me further
from my little village. It was only this morning
that I was sitting on my old bicycle and pedal-
ing my way to the bus station. It took me
almost an hour to get there by bicycle — to
travel a mere ten kilometers. But as you well
know, I’m not exactly a youngster anymore,
and the road to the station is dusty. Right now
I’m sitting in a strange train that doesn’t have
any wheels. Instead, it hovers over a magnetic
field. I changed to this train back in
Hangzhou. It looks like an arrow and covers
the distance to Shanghai in a flash — 160
kilometers in only 20 minutes! Thirty years
ago, it would have taken me hours to get
there. I’ve tried looking out the window, but it
made me dizzy. The countryside races by so
quickly that I can’t even make out the farmers
in the fields. But come to think of it, there
probably aren’t any farmers and fields out
there these days. All I can see is high-voltage
power lines, wide highways and cities. Then I
tried to concentrate on a screen that showed
the speed at which the train was moving.
That was a mistake. We were traveling at 430
kilometers per hour, and that just made me
queasy again. But the man sitting across from
me has been very helpful. He told me exactly
what was flashing by outside. What he said
was interesting, and it helped me to relax.
These gigantic power lines, for example, can
conduct energy over distances of more than
1,000 kilometers, without any loss at all. The
energy comes from power plants that pro-
duce virtually no exhaust emissions. I’m afraid
I have to close now, because my battery
needs recharging. The gentleman across from
me also has a laptop, but his has a strange,
transparent display. He says it can be used
continuously for a whole week. It is powered
by a fuel cell, which runs on a special kind of
alcohol. Just like I always told you: A stiff drink
can be good for you — and now even for
computers, too!
Shanghai, May 15, 2020 - 8:15 p.m.
Dear Li,
I have left the present day behind and arrived
at a destination in the future. When I was last
here, Shanghai was like an ant hill. Now it’s a
racetrack made of glass and steel — and
twice as big as it used to be. I must admit that
I feel a little lost amid the throngs of people in
streets overshadowed by enormous build-
ings. Unlike before, though, everything is
much more orderly and even the air is
cleaner. A police officer explained to me that
most cars today are hybrid vehicles with elec-
tric motors, and some even run on hydrogen.
The traffic is controlled by telematics systems,
which is why there are fewer traffic jams now.
Most people prefer to use Shanghai’s subway,
though, which is a huge system. And I joined
them when I found out it’s the most conven-
Return to Tomorrow
China, 2020: For retiree Jun Yang, it’s a dream come true.
After 30 years, he’s returning to Shanghai — a megacity
that looks nothing like the place of his memories. An old
laptop keeps him in e-mail contact with his grandson…
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
Lifelines for Cities and Societies
ncient Rome’s formula for success was
literally carved in stone. Thousands of
miles of well-constructed, paved roads criss-
crossed the ancient empire, supporting a
bustling world of commerce as well as swift
campaigns of conquest. Mighty aqueducts
supplied cities with fresh water from far away,
and magnificent arenas served as entertain-
ment venues for the people. A sound infra-
structure was the foundation on which eco-
nomic success and social progress were built.
It still is today, some 2,000 years later. “Today that principle is more valid than
ever,” says Dr. Michael Bobik, head of the
Infrastructural Economics / Urban Technologies
program at Joanneum Technical University in
Kapfenberg, Austria. “Our economic structure
and way of living are so specialized that we
couldn’t even exist without a highly devel-
oped infrastructure.” That’s especially true for
urban centers, says Bobik, an industrial engi-
neer. “Just imagine a prolonged power black-
out on a cold winter day in a major city. The
consequences could be catastrophic.” And demand for infrastructural solutions
will continue to increase. The main reason is
ongoing population growth, accompanied by
rampant urbanization. Large cities exert a
magnetic appeal. In 1975 only four cities had
populations of more than ten million people
— New York, Tokyo, Shanghai and Mexico
City. By 2015 there will be five times as many,
and Tokyo will be home to about 36 million
people — that’s the entire population of
Argentina today. In 2030, over 60 percent of the world’s
population will live in cities (see p. 15). Those
five billion people will have much in common.
They will want to get to work quickly every
day, they will want to be mobile, and to com-
municate without restrictions. They’ll need
clean water, an effective wastewater system,
and an enormous amount of energy. And
they’ll want an unpolluted environment.
“That’s going to require a superb infrastruc-
ture,” says Bobik. “But even today our infra-
structure is pushing its limits — especially in
Asia and in the developing countries most
affected by urbanization. It’s going to be a
Herculean task.”
Siemens is better equipped than any other
company to meet that challenge. As one of
the world’s largest infrastructure suppliers, it
has comprehensive expertise and experience
in a wide range of areas, including electric
power generation and distribution, water
treatment, transportation, healthcare networks
and communications. And the company’s re-
cent acquisitions perfectly complement these
capabilities. For instance, it can now use the
Efficient infrastructures for transportation, water supply and public events were just as indispensable in ancient
Rome as they are today.
I N F R A S T R U C T U R E S S c e n a r i o 2 0 2 0
ient way to get to my hotel. But you won’t be-
lieve what I saw underground: As I was board-
ing the subway, I noticed these trains have no
drivers! They run fully automatically. That
made me so uneasy that I tried to get off, but
I couldn’t — the crowds of people boarding
the train simply pushed me back in. So I just
closed my eyes and hoped that I would arrive
safely at my stop. It turns out I had no reason
to worry. The trip went smoothly, and the
train was very fast. By the time I opened my
eyes again, I had arrived. The best thing is
that you don’t even have to get off under your
own power — you’re just carried along with
the other passengers. My hotel, which you so kindly booked for
me, is located right on Suzhou Creek. When I
last visited, the creek stank and was filthy, but
today the water is blue and clear. On the
creek bank, I chatted with a friendly man who
told me this is thanks to an ingenious water
treatment technology that has greatly im-
proved the water quality. He suggested that I
should drink a glass and see for myself, but I
told him I would prefer to go to the teahouse
a few meters away. Shanghai, May 16, 2020 - 9:20 a.m.
Li, you joker,
You booked a room for me in a haunted cas-
tle, not a hotel! When I entered my room, the
light turned on by itself, the blinds were
raised as if by the hands of spirits, and an en-
chanting female voice bade me welcome —
but there was no one there. And that’s not
even the worst of it. There are live sharks
swimming outside my window! I fled to the
bathroom, where I hoped to gather my wits
and ponder these curious events. And there
another shock lay in wait for me: Suddenly, a
man dressed in a dark suit appeared in the
mirror and proceeded to report news from
around the world. Li, you know your grandfa-
ther isn’t easily frightened. Nevertheless, I left
that strange room just as quickly as I could.
And then, the instant I set one foot in the hall-
way, the light in the room went out and there
was complete silence, as if nothing at all had
happened. I went to the hotel manager to complain,
and he could not hide his amusement. He
very courteously accompanied me back to the
room and explained that there are no spirits
in my room after all — it’s just modern tech-
nology. The sharks swim in a barely percepti-
ble aquarium outside the window, and the
ghost reporting the news is a television image
in the mirror. And a guest entering the room
is seen by tiny sensors, which then turn on
the lights. And the seductive voice? It belongs
to a Ms. Yang, who is very much alive and
well. Her voice was recorded as the welcom-
ing message. Learning all that eased my
mind. And I especially like the little vacuum
cleaner robot that automatically cleans my
room. I must remember to tell your grand-
mother about that! Maybe I can find one of
these devices in a store and buy it for her. I’m
sure she’d cherish it.
Florian Martini
Infrastructures are the lifelines that tie cities and
societies together. They
bring us water, power, communications and transportation. In short,
they are the lifeblood of
any successful economy.
And when it comes to providing innovative infrastructural solutions,
Siemens is leading the way. Its solutions enhance effi-
ciency, convenience, and
the quality of our lives — in the most remote regions
as well as in megacities. 15
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
Magnetic Megacities
ccording to a UN-Habitat study, 2007 will
mark an unprecedented moment in
history: Half of the world’s population will be
living in cities. The number of cities with popu-
lations over one million will increase from 300
to about 560 by 2015, when 350 million people
will live in cities with more than ten million
inhabitants. These changes will bring greater
urbanization and economic growth, leading in
turn to much stronger demand for modern
infrastructures in areas including energy, water
supply and transport.
In its World Energy Outlook 2005, the Inter-
national Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts a more
than 50-percent increase in primary energy
consumption worldwide by 2030, with devel-
oping countries accounting for more than two-
thirds of the demand. Global energy consump-
with 70 percent from coal-fired plants. And
Beijing intends to raise the share of renewable
energy sources for power generation from to-
day’s seven-percent level to 15 percent by 2020.
Demand for water and wastewater infra-
structure systems will also grow sharply over
the next ten to 20 years. Some 2.4 billlion people
live in areas with insufficient wastewater
disposal systems, and 1.2 billion don’t have
access to clean drinking water. The World Bank
estimates a total global investment of $600
billion will be required in this area over the next
decade. What’s more, outdated infrastructure in
industrialized countries will have to be up-
graded as well. According to the Swiss firm
Sustainable Asset Management, the U.S. will
have to invest more than $450 billion to update
its infrastructure in the next 20 years.
Fa c t s a n d F o r e c a s t s
exico City
São Paulo
Los Angeles
Buenos Aires
Ruhr region
% of gross domestic product
Population (in millions)
+127.4% +79.64% +2.38% +44.36% +35.63% +29.17%
Source: Munich Re, 2005
Asia Europe Latin
America Oceania
530 545
24 31
in millions
Source: SCI Transport Report 2004 – planned high-speed rail routes 1999
Europe w/o Germany
Track network
length in km
Source: IEA, UN, Siemens PG
15,000 20,000 25,000 30,000 Developing and emerging countries
Industrialized countries (OECD),
CIS, Eastern Europe
Global population
in billions
2000 2020
Power con-
sumption in
billion kWh 4.4
+1.6% /Y
+6.6% /Y
+4.2% /Y
+2.2% /Y
+1.6% /Y
+1.2% /Y
tion climbed by 4.3 percent in 2004 alone,
according to BP’s Statistical Review of World
Energy. In absolute terms, says BP chief econo-
mist Peter Davies, this is “the biggest annual
increase ever measured and the highest per-
centage growth rate since 1984.” In China alone,
demand for energy rose by over 15 percent in
2004, and China now accounts for 13.6 per-
cent of total global energy consumption, sec-
ond only to the U.S. (22.8 percent). By way of
comparison, Germany accounts for 3.2 percent
of total energy use, and the 25 EU countries
account for a combined 16.8 percent. It’s esti-
mated that a $17-trillion cumulative investment
will be needed in the energy sector between
now and 2030, with half earmarked for devel-
oping and emerging countries. China’s gener-
ating capacity is expected to double by 2020,
Transport infrastructure also poses big chal-
lenges. Western Europe has 170 suburban rail
networks and 36 subway systems. The Interna-
tional Union of Public Transport (UITP) expects
this figure to climb by more than 50 percent by
2025. Most existing subway systems will replace
their train and signaling equipment, or switch
to more flexible, efficient automated systems
without drivers. Many big Asian cities still lack
local public transport that can meet transporta-
tion needs, although Japan is an exception. A
2003 study by consultants SCI Verkehr GmbH
shows annual market volume for subway trains
in Asia could soon grow from $430 million to
over $1 billion. Just how much this would ben-
efit the environment and the economy is clear
to see in the U.S., where motorists spend
about 3.5 billion hours in traffic jams a year.
High-speed trains will become more impor-
tant for intercity transportation, particularly in
Asia. Chinese rail operators alone have already
ordered 200 such trains, to be delivered by
2009. In Japan, second-generation Shinkansen
high-speed trains will replace current models,
while Europe’s high-speed rail network will
grow from the 2,500 km of the late 1990s to
more than 9,000 km by 2015. SCI forecasts a
$3-billion annual market volume for high-speed
trains worldwide by 2010. The market for intel-
ligent rail technologies for transport systems,
electronics, sensors, computers, and communi-
cation technologies will also expand rapidly. In
Europe alone, according to a Frost & Sullivan
study, annual market volume for such tech-
nologies will grow from $1.1 billion per year to
around $1.6 billion by 2011.
Sylvia Trage
Source: World Urbanization Prospects (2003)
Growth in major cities
(> 750,000 inhabitants in 2000)
I N F R A S T R U C T U R E S T r e n d s
know-how of VA Technology AG, an Austrian
power transmission and distribution company.
Additional expertise is now available from
Danish wind power plant builder Bonus Energy,
from German drive specialist Flender, and
from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Whee-
labrator Air Pollution Control, Inc., experts in
power plant emissions reduction. With its wide
range of products and services, Siemens can
provide long-term solutions for almost any
infrastructural task.
Demand for advanced infrastructures is es-
pecially large in the energy sector. By 2030,
according to the International Energy Agency,
worldwide energy consumption will increase
by more than fifty percent (see p. 15). As a
result, there is a demand for high-efficiency
low-emission power plants that can produce
electricity cheaply. As a case in point, in Irsching,
eration since the summer of 2004, is the
most powerful of its kind anywhere. At 1,500
megawatts, it provides as much power as a
nuclear power plant. It also produces
450,000 cubic meters of potable water daily
— enough to supply a large city.
Water supply questions also caused Singa-
pore to turn to Siemens. This city-state is
struggling with an acute shortage of drinking
water. Local rainwater and groundwater can
meet only half of demand. The rest must be
imported from neighboring Malaysia. “As a
small island with four million people, we have
to invest in the most advanced infrastructure
and technology,” says Dr. Tony Tan, former
Siemens, which has been ferrying nearly
400,000 passengers a day. Two years ago,
Bangkok’s young transit system received an-
other big boost, with the arrival of a subway
— also built by Siemens. This year a link from
the city to the airport will enable passengers
to complete the 28 kilometer trip in just 15
minutes (see p. 26). A Siemens high-speed train will soon be
covering much greater distances in Europe.
Starting in mid-2006, the Velaro E high-speed
train will travel between Madrid and
Barcelona at 350 Kilometers per hour (see p.
29). As the worlds fastest train, it will reduce
the time needed for the 650-kilometer route
from six hours to only two and a half. Many of these improvements have been
reserved for industrial countries. But other re-
Germany, Siemens is participating in the con-
struction of a combined cycle power plant with
an overall efficiency of 60 percent. That’s 1.6
percentage points higher than any other such
plant in the world has achieved (see p. 16).
Siemens is equally capable of supplying inno-
vative solutions for power transmission. In
Australia, the world’s longest undersea power
cable is now transferring hydroelectric power
from the island of Tasmania to consumers on
the mainland (see p. 20). The latest technology
ensures that virtually no power is lost in transit.
Elsewhere, Siemens is not only satisfying
society’s hunger for power but also quench-
ing its thirst — as in the desert state of Abu
Dhabi, where water is also in short supply.
Abu Dhabi needs lots of power for its rapidly
growing industry and population. Siemens
has provided the emirate with a solution in
the form of a combined cycle power plant
coupled with a seawater desalination facility
(see p. 19). This plant, which has been in op-
deputy prime minister of Singapore (see p. 24).
The result: Siemens came up with an innova-
tive solution — a water treatment plant that
uses membrane filters and UV disinfection to
convert wastewater into fresh, pure water.
Recycling now produces 40,000 cubic meters
of drinking water daily, and by 2012,
Singapore plans to develop water recycling
capacities for 210,000 cubic meters of drink-
ing water a day in order to cover 20 percent of
its total water consumption.
Moving with Siemens.Transportation net-
works are another essential component of the
infrastructure — especially in cities. “High-
capacity road and rail connections are a pre-
requisite for production and commerce,” says
Bobic. Bangkok, for example, had no mass
transit system until late in the 1990s and suf-
fered from chaotic traffic and rampant pollu-
tion. Since 1999, however, these problems
have eased thanks to the Skytrain from
gions could also benefit from new technolo-
gies. According to United Nations data, the
lack of a decent water-supply infrastructure is
responsible for over 80 percent of all diseases
and more than one-third of all deaths in
developing countries. Many locations also
lack connections to power or a telephone net-
work — and thus don’t have the rudimentary
essentials for hospitals or schools. Siemens has created basic infrastructures
in several African countries and in Vietnam
(see p. 41). The company has, for example,
been supplying water treatment plants and
solar power systems for villages in Gabon for
the last three years. “The project has ushered
in a whole new era for many people,” says
Henri Randriamanana, a Siemens engineer.
Siemens has also been involved in Nigeria
since the 1950s, and has built 70 percent of
the country’s landline network. Kenya will
soon be integrated into the global broadband
network via a state-of-the-art fiberglass net-
work. And part of South Africa’s healthcare
system has reached international standards
— for instance at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli
Central Hospital in Durba, which has been
equipped with the latest medical equipment
by Siemens. In fact, its processes are com-
pletely paperless, with all medical data now
collected on electronic files. That makes
Inkosi the most modern medical center on the
continent. Here too, infrastructure is the foun-
dation on which economic success and social
progress are being built — just as in ancient
Rome 2,000 years ago. Florian Martini
Power, water, transport, communications —
Siemens supplies every major infrastructure.
Modern infrastructures for transportation and water. A Transrapid station in Shanghai
(left) and a municipal water treatment plant in Singapore (right)
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
To illustrate Siemens’ commitment to
environmental protection, this article takes a
look at four of the company’s most recent
projects in environmentally compatible power
generation, including the gas-and-oil-fired
power plant operated by E.ON Kraftwerke
GmbH in the town of Irsching in Bavaria. Since 1995, high gas prices have meant
running the steam turbines at this facility for
only a few days a year to cover peak loads.
“Germany’s generating capacity is by no
means as lavish as it once was, especially now
that even more nuclear power plants are to be
decommissioned,” warns Alfred Beck of E.ON.
That’s why, starting this summer, Siemens
will be building a new power unit at the
Irsching plant that will set new standards in
economy and performance. With an output of
340 megawatts (MW) for a single gas turbine,
this new unit will be unsurpassed worldwide.
Following a test phase, the turbine will be up-
graded to combined-cycle operation, and will
generate additional power with the hot ex-
haust from the gas turbine (see graphic
above). The overall rating of the unit will then
increase to 530 MW and its overall efficiency
will hit 60 percent — 1.6 percentage points
higher than the current world-record holder,
the Mainz-Wiesbaden power plant, also built
by Siemens. “In terms of technology, we’re
entering new territory with this gas turbine
plant,” explains Dr. Johannes Teyssen, CEO of
E.ON Energie AG. “And we fully expect the
higher efficiency to cut our generating costs.”
Following completion in 2011, the Irsching
plant will also set a new record in climate pro-
tection: an annual 40,000-ton reduction in
emissions of carbon dioxide compared with
The planned gas turbine for a combined-
cycle power plant in Irsching (left) has an output of 340 megawatts. In Unter-
haching, also in Bavaria, a new geother-
mal power plant (below) will soon be generating electricity from the earth’s
warmth. Simulations show its machine
room and front view. 16
I N F R A S T R U C T U R E S P o w e r P l a n t s
More Power,
Lower Emissions
Population growth and economic development
continue to drive up energy
consumption, particularly
in urban centers. To meet
the world’s demand for
electricity in an environ-
mentally compatible way, it
will be necessary to exploit
fossil fuels more efficiently
and make greater use of renewable energy sources.
Four Siemens projects illustrate how this can be
y the time the UN Climate Change Con-
ference in Montreal ended on December
9 of last year, the delegates — 10,000 from
189 countries — had every reason to be satis-
fied with the outcome. After all, they had just
resolved to extend the Kyoto Protocol for re-
ducing greenhouse gases. Their resolution
calls for continuing Kyoto beyond 2012, with
even more stringent limits. Given global popu-
lation growth and increasing economic devel-
opment, however, energy use worldwide will
be climbing to unprecedented levels. This
means the only effective way to limit emis-
sions of greenhouse gases is for governments
to maximize the efficiency of fossil fuel use
and rely more on renewable energy sources
(Pictures of the Future, Spring 2004, p. 41). Politicians also will have to be joined by
industry in finding innovative solutions in this
area — a job Siemens has been taking on for
quite some time. In Montreal, the interna-
tional Climate Group even singled out the
company as a pioneer in climate protection
over the last decade. B
today’s conventional plants. This is the result
of technological advances such as computer-
enhanced turbine-blade design and new
materials that can bear greater mechanical
loads, which makes it possible to use larger
blades. Furthermore, the blades have a
ceramic coating to withstand higher combus-
tion and exhaust-gas temperatures. This in
turn makes the facility more efficient, because
a power plant’s efficiency is basically deter-
mined by the difference in the temperature of
the gas when it enters the gas turbine and the
temperature of the steam when it exits the
steam turbine as condensation.
More Energy from Cooling. In the Norwe-
gian town of Kårstø, north of Stavanger,
Siemens is building a 420-MW combined-
cycle power plant that’s scheduled to be com-
pleted in summer 2007. The plant will draw
cooling water from the icy North Sea. “That
alone nudges up overall efficiency by up to
one percentage points compared to a plant
using the warmer water from rivers like the
Danube or the Rhine,” explains Dr. Martin von
Hassel, project manager at Siemens Power
Generation. “At the same time, we’ve also
made a lot of technical improvements.” For example, the rotor disk for the gas tur-
bine can be moved along its axis to provide a
better seal, ensuring that less hot gas escapes
through the gap between the turbine blades
and the housing. The plant also features a
low-pressure turbine that makes more effi-
cient use of steam pressure. And like the
facility in Irsching, Kårstø has two steam
turbines connected in series, which together
extract energy from the hot exhaust gases,
A combined-cycle
power plant:
1 Air intake 2 Compressor 3 Gas turbine 4 Waste-heat steam
5 Generator 6 Transformer 7 Steam turbine 8 Condenser 9 Condensate pump 10 Feed-water pump 11 Cooling-water pump 12 Coupling
8 7
gas Steam
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
Energy for Electricity and Water
Persian Gulf countries want to expand their energy and water infrastructures. A power and desalination complex
built by Siemens in Abu Dhabi
is the most powerful facility of
its kind worldwide. hen oil pumping operations began in
Abu Dhabi in the early 1960s, the
emirate, which is practically all desert, had a
population of only 50,000. Today, one million
people live in Abu Dhabi —more than half of
them in Abu Dhabi City, the capital of the
emirate and of the entire United Arab Emi-
rates (UAE). Abu Dhabi City is a modern metropolis
with futuristic buildings and many green ar-
eas and shady parks. However, pass the city
limits and you’re in the desert — under which
is the country’s main source of wealth. Eight
percent of the world’s petroleum resources
and four percent of its natural gas are located
beneath the deserts of the UAE. Of this total,
more than 90 percent is located in Abu Dhabi. But although oil is plentiful, water is scarce
in Abu Dhabi. The country has no rivers or
lakes and hardly any rain (33 millimeters per
year). Moreover, what little groundwater it
possesses has been almost entirely depleted,
while demand for water is rising rapidly. Abu
Dhabi already has the world’s third-highest
per capita drinking-water consumption. And
according to the Abu Dhabi Water and
Electricity Authority (ADWEA), daily water
consumption is set to increase to 3.57 million
cubic meters by 2015. The main reasons are
population growth and a growing number of
ambitious agricultural and forestation proj-
ects. The huge need for water can be met
only through seawater desalination.
But water isn’t the only resource in short
supply; the emirate also requires electrical
energy to power its growing industrial base
and the population’s air conditioning needs.
Average peak electricity consumption in Abu
Dhabi will reach approximately 8,000
megawatts (MW) in 2015. As a result, the
emirate is investing a substantial portion of
its oil income in the creation of effective wa-
ter and energy supply infrastructures. Within
the framework of this initiative, Abu Dhabi
has launched a privatization program that is
exemplary in the Gulf region. New facilities
for power generation and seawater desalina-
tion are being privately planned, built and
operated. In each case, the operating com-
pany is a joint venture between ADWEA and a
foreign holding. Siemens’ “Shuweihat S1” turnkey facility is
a perfect example of how this innovative
approach works. In August 2004, the state-of-
the-art combined cycle power plant, which is
closely linked with a high-performance desali-
nation facility, went into operation some 250
kilometers west of Abu Dhabi City. Siemens
served as the consortium leader and was
therefore responsible for building the entire
complex, which is located beside the sea.
Italimpianti, an Italian company, built the
desalination plant. Power and Water for the City.Even at the
high ambient temperature of 46 degrees Cel-
sius, the facility generates 1,500 MW of elec-
tricity (more than one block of a nuclear
plant) and also produces 450,000 cubic me-
ters of drinking water each day. Based on the
current per capita water-consumption level in
Abu Dhabi of 500 liters per day, that’s enough
water to supply 900,000 people. The water is
mainly used for irrigation projects, however.
Over the long term, the complex will un-
dergo two further expansion phases, creating
a power generation park that can generate
5,000 MW and produce 1.4 million cubic
meters of drinking water per day. According
to the Shuweihat CMS International Power
Company, which operates the complex, the
facility is already the largest combined
power/desalination plant in Abu Dhabi —
although it is still in its first expansion phase.
Wealth in the desert.Shuweihat is the
world’s most powerful facility for electricity
generation and seawater desalination. INEXHAUSTIBLE ENERGY FROM WITHIN THE EARTH
As every miner knows, for every 100 meters beneath the earth’s surface, the temperature of rock rises by three °Celsius. A third of the heat in the earth is produced by the pressure of the
strata above; while two-thirds comes from decay of the radioactive elements uranium and tho-
rium in the earth’s crust. At the bottom of a three-kilometer bore hole, the temperature is from 80 to 120 °Celsius; two kilometers farther down it’s as much as 130 to 160 °Celsius. Water at such
depths in aquifers (strata containing fissures and cracks filled with natural groundwater or water
deposited by man) immediately vaporizes when pumped to the earth’s surface, but the pressure
generated is still insufficient to drive a turbine effectively. The solution in such cases, including at
Unterhaching, is to use a heat exchanger. The thermal water from inside the earth is fed through
the exchanger, where it warms a medium that boils at a much lower temperature, e.g. 50 °Celsius.
Consequently, the vapor pressure generated by this medium is much higher than that of water at
122 °Celsius, so it drives a turbine much more effectively. After leaving the heat exchanger, the
thermal water is fed back into the earth. Until recently, the standard method in this field was the
organic Rankine cycle (ORC), which drives the turbines using either chlorofluorocarbons (boiling
point: -40 to +50 °Celsius), which are relatively harmful to the environment, or the hydrocarbon
isobutane cycle (boiling point: -11.7 °Celsius). However, the latest geothermal plants use the Kalina
process (named after Russian engineer Alex Kalina). This uses a water and ammonia mixture,
which can be heated well above ammonia’s boiling point (-33.7 °Celsius). The ammonia vaporizes
at a correspondingly faster rate, in turn boosting the heat exchanger’s efficiency and thus making
better use of the energy from the thermal water. Using a water and ammonia mixture yields maxi-
mum efficiency for small-output power plants with steam turbines, especially in conjunction with
a low-temperature source like thermal water. The Kalina process engineering is very similar to
that for a conventional thermal circuit with pure water vapor. 18
I N F R A S T R U C T U R E S P o w e r P l a n t s
boosting overall efficiency to almost 60 per-
cent. Another highlight is the plant’s catalytic
converter, which reduces emissions of nitro-
gen oxides in the exhaust gases to only two
parts per million (ppm) — comparable plants
in the U.S. with emissions four or five times as
high are considered very clean.
The use of modern technology also brings
improvements in many areas of coal-fired
generation. The average efficiency of coal-
fired power plants in Germany today is about
37 percent. By comparison, the Waigaoqiao III
coal-fired plant near Shanghai — Siemens is
to supply a generator and the main compo-
nents for the plant’s two 1,000-MW steam
turbines — will operate at 45-percent effi-
ciency. The plant is to be completed in 2009.
China is eager to improve its generating effi-
ciency, not least because two-thirds of the
country’s power consumption is covered by
domestically produced coal. Waigaoqiao III will operate with steam
pressurized and heated to the ultra-super-
critical range (as high as 270 bars at 600
degrees Celsius), which makes it possible to
better use energy and achieve higher effi-
ciency. But that also demands a lot of high-
temperature components such as the shaft,
blades and housing of a high- and medium-
pressure turbine — a situation that in turn
requires innovative design concepts and the
very latest in materials technology. What’s
more, research is already under way to boost
operating temperatures to as high as 700 de-
grees Celsius. Deep Power.Exploiting geothermal energy
— the earth’s internal heat — neither pro-
duces emissions nor uses fossil fuels. Those
are two very good reasons why Siemens
Industrial Solutions and Services (I&S) is
A geothermal power plant supplies thousands
of households with electricity and heat.
building an ultramodern geothermal power
plant in Unterhaching, near Munich, Ger-
many. The town is fortunate enough to be
3,300 meters above a water-bearing stratum,
or aquifer, that runs through rock that has a
temperature of 122 degrees Celsius. The
water from this depth immediately vaporizes
at atmospheric pressure, but it still isn’t hot
enough to drive a turbine efficiently — for
that, it needs to be at least 180 degrees Cel-
sius. So a heat exchanger is used to transfer
the water’s thermal energy to a medium that
vaporizes at a much lower temperature. The
resulting vapor is then used to drive a turbine. This plant will be the first in Germany to
use the Kalina principle (see box) for the heat
exchanger. “This is renewable energy in the
truest sense,” says Roland Lutz of I&S. “All we
do is drill a hole in the earth and tap the heat
that’s always available inside.” Engineers pre-
dict the facility will have an output of 3.36
MW, enough to supply about 6,000 German
four-person households with electricity. Com-
mercial operation is due to start in mid-2007. German legislation in this field stipulates a
dependable level of financial support for re-
newable energy, including a guaranteed price
of 0.15 euros per kilowatt-hour for electricity
generated in this way, which should help the
plant remain commercially viable over the
long-term. And 25 of the 150 liters of thermal
water pumped to the surface every second
will be diverted to a district-heating distribu-
tion system to supply about half of Unter-
haching’s 20,000 inhabitants. The plant will
mean an annual reduction in emissions of
12,000 tons of CO
, seven tons of sulfur diox-
ide and almost 100 tons of nitrogen oxides. Bernhard Gerl
Turbine Generator
Condensate pump
Cooling water pump
Cooling water
Air and water vapor
ammonia vapor
Thermal water
Injection bore hole
Geothermal zone 3 km undergroundExtraction bore hole
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
begins to pay off when above-ground lines
reach a length of 600 kilometers;with under-
sea cable, the threshold is 60 kilometers.”
The cable being used for the Basslink is 15
centimeters thick. It resurfaces on Ninety
Miles Beach in Victoria. There, it runs through
a duct under the beach, continues for a few
kilometers as an underground cable, and
finally emerges as an above-ground line run-
ning 70 kilometers to Loy Yang. There, the
d.c. is converted into a.c. with the help of
power converter valves. “Only then can it be
fed into the three-phase power system,” says
Dr. Günther Wanninger. “On the other side, in
George Town, Tasmania, a similar station
transforms the a.c. generated there into d.c.”
Wanninger is an electrical engineer at PTD
and head of the Basslink project, for which
Siemens supplied the rectifier stations and
overhead lines. Consortium partner Prysmian
Cables & Systems, a former Pirelli subsidiary,
provided the undersea cables. The interconnector makes it possible to
send up to 600 megawatts of power from Tas-
mania to Victoria. Transmission works in the
opposite direction as well, however, which
means Tasmania is able to tap into the conti-
nental power grid during dry periods when its
rivers do not contain enough water to fill its
dams. Another advantage of HVDC systems is
that they require only two cables as opposed
to the three needed for three-phase current
transmission. As a result, an HVDC overhead
line also requires less space.
Basslink is not only the world’s longest
HVDC undersea cable link; it also has several
other impressive features. For example, semi-
conductor elements —thyristors — act as
power converters, which are controlled by
ten-milliwatt laser flashes via glass fibers.
These thyristors, which have a diameter of 100
millimeters, were produced by Infineon, and
are made of silicon, molybdenum and copper.
To achieve a d.c. voltage of 400 kilovolts, sev-
eral dozen thyristors per converter valve are
connected in series and suspended from the
ceiling of an 18-meter-high hall to secure them
against earthquakes. All of these thyristors
must trigger within a microsecond in order to
ensure that none are overloaded or damaged.
Siemens is the only HVDC supplier to use
such laser-controlled converters. Conven-
tional technology relies on electrically-
triggered thyristors, which require a pulse
with a power of several watts. The pulse is
generated by a complex electronic system
located at each thyristor. “You don’t need
such a system with the direct light pulse,” says
Teltsch. “As a result, the control electronics for
the thyristor valves requires around 80 per-
cent fewer components. That not only saves
on space; it also increases reliability.”
And there’s another benefit for National
Grid Australia, which operates the system.
“The customer also gets to work with our new
Win-TDC control technology,” says Wanninger.
“This system displays a high degree of integra-
tion, which means the hardware takes up less
space in the converter station.” Whereas the
switchgear cabinets used in previous control
systems were 20 meters long, today’s cabinets
have a length of only around ten meters. All
control, regulation and protective functions
are carried out by a Simatic-TDC system that
has already proved itself in rolling mills. What’s
more, the Simatic WinCC visualization system
simplifies operation. For example, if the user
wishes to change a setting, this can be done
easily using the Windows user interface. “The
standardized software and hardware platform
reduces the number of spare parts needed,
but that’s not all,” says Wanninger. “It also
simplifies troubleshooting.”
HVDC sea cables are also being used for a
similar Siemens project on the other side of
the world — but one where curious kangaroos
are unlikely to be seen, as the location is in
the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area.
The project involves an HVDC link between
Sayreville, New Jersey and Long Island that
will be used for power transmission starting
in mid-2007. Siemens is supplying the recti-
fier stations, and Prysmian is again providing
the 105-kilometer-long power cable, through
which 750 megawatts of electricity will flow
at a direct voltage of 500 kV. That should cer-
tainly be enough power to help Long Island
cope with hot summer months.
Evdoxia Tsakiridou
Thyristors for the interconnector between Australia and Tasmania. The 290-kilometer link carries 600
megawatts of power.
I N F R A S T R U C T U R E S D e s a l i n a t i o n
In terms of output, it is the most productive
complex of its kind worldwide. “Just the sheer size is impressive,” says
project manager Dr. Martin von Hassel from
Siemens Power Generation. “The first expan-
sion phase alone encompasses an area of four
square kilometers, the equivalent of 560 soc-
cer fields.” One technical highlight, according
to Hassel, is the plant’s net efficiency of 54.4
percent — which means that more than half
the energy released through gas combustion
is converted into electricity. “Up until now, it
wasn’t possible to achieve such a high effi-
ciency rating with a combined power/desali-
nation plant,” says Hassel. “The fact that we
succeeded is due to our innovative turbine
technology and our ability to optimize the
steam cycle. For example, we use special
materials in our gas turbines. This — in com-
bination with a very effective cooling system
The desalination unit functions according
to the principle of multi-stage flash evapora-
tion. The unit consists of six identical units
operated in parallel. The units are actually the
largest and most powerful such devices ever
built. Salt water taken from the sea runs
through several chambers in the units; with
the help of the waste heat from the power
plant, the salt water is partially evaporated
under reduced pressure. The steam thus
created is condensed to give distilled water,
which is captured, collected and then en-
riched with minerals. The result is top-quality
potable water. “The design will ensure that fuel costs
remain as low as possible throughout the
facility’s entire service life,” says Hassel. “The
main objective is to produce a reliable supply
of as much drinking water as possible. This is
a very promising concept for the Persian Gulf
Power for
The world’s longest undersea
cable is bringing energy gener-
ated from renewable sources
on the island of Tasmania to
the Australian continent. If
necessary, the link, which was
built by Siemens, will work in
the opposite direction as well.
ucalyptus trees, green pastures, black-
berry hedges and thistles dominate the
hilly countryside of southeastern Australia.
Shy koala bears hide in trees, while curious
kangaroos explore a nearby open-pit lignite
White steam rises from the cooling towers
of the Loy Yang power plant, where lignite is
fired to generate electricity for the Melbourne
area some 165 kilometers west of the plant.
Since the spring of 2006, that lignite power
has been supplemented by a green source of
energy produced on the island of Tasmania.
There, the license plates bear the slogan
“Your natural state” — which is not surprising,
as Tasmania is rich in forests, large ferns,
marshes and canyons. What’s more, Tasma-
nia, which is around the size of Ireland, covers
90 percent of its energy needs from hydro-
power, and is now providing some of that
power to neighboring Victoria. The power is
carried by a 290-kilometer undersea inter-
connector cable 70 meters beneath the Bass
Alternating current (a.c.) was not an option
here, as transmission losses would have been
too great. Instead, the “Basslink,” as the inter-
connector is known, uses high-voltage direct-
current transmission, or HVDC (see Pictures of
the Future, Fall 2003, p.78). “This is the only
way to economically transmit large amounts of
electricity over great distances,” says Erwin
Teltsch, an HVDC expert at Siemens Power
Transmission and Distribution (PTD). “HVDC
Efficient technology — water production is not dependent on electricity generation. — enables the turbine blades to withstand
extremely high gas temperatures. What’s
more, the unit is designed so that water pro-
duction can be flexibly decoupled from power
generation.” This means the facility can pro-
duce the maximum amount of water possible
even in periods of low electricity demand. The Shuweihat facility consists of five
power plant blocks, each of which is
equipped with one turbine, a generator, and a
waste-heat steam generator. Natural gas that
is extracted in Abu Dhabi is burned in the gas
turbine. The hot gas is used to generate elec-
tricity, as well as steam in the waste-heat
steam generator. The steam, in turn, is used
to drive two turbines that also produce elec-
tricity. The turbine exhaust steam, which has
a temperature of between 140 and 180 de-
grees Celsius, provides the energy needed for
the desalination process.
region in particular, as the area’s primary
problem is water scarcity.” Seawater along the
Gulf coast has such a high salt content that
other desalination procedures, such as reverse
osmosis, are generally of little use. The distil-
lation of seawater is therefore a key method
for obtaining potable water in the region. Siemens has built similar facilities in other
parts of the Gulf, including the Jebel Ali plant
in Dubai and the second stage at Al Taweelah
in Abu Dhabi. In addition, contracts have
been signed for the first successor projects in
the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.One of
these involves a power/desalination plant to
be built under the direction of Siemens some
110 kilometers south of Jeddah at a cost of 1.8 billion euros. As a result, Siemens will
further expand its position as the market
leader for turnkey power/desalination plants
in the Middle East. Björn Gondesen
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
S i n g a p o r e
Be it the container port (at left) or traffic and environmental protection
(above), Singapore is putting its faith
in high-tech solutions. For example,
Siemens technology is helping to
transform wastewater into pure drinking water, while the city-state’s pioneering, fully automatic toll system
is helping to cut traffic volumes and
reduce smog. Singapore – Paradigm for a High-Tech Future
By teaming up with global companies and investing in education and state-of-the-art infrastructures, Singapore
has become one of the world’s most dynamic cities. Other countries hope to learn from its experiences.
an water be a hot new fad? In Singapore
it can, even though — or because — the
liquid in the small “NEWater” bottles is in fact
ordinary, unadulterated H
O. The Prime Min-
ister drinks it and serves it to state guests, and
the Public Utilities Board (PUB), Singapore’s
national water agency, gets frequent calls
from citizens who would like to receive a
regular supply. Although NEWater wasn’t
designed for retail trade, their wishes are
granted. “During the last three years, we have
distributed five million NEWater bottles,” says
PUB’s Director for Water Supply facilities Lim
Chiow Giap. The drink is a typical success
story that’s almost as astounding as that of
the city-state. NEWater really is newwater
because it used to be wastewater, but mod-
ern technology — made by Siemens — has
transformed it into pure drinking water.
The water purification plant in the Kranji
area — built in 2002 by Siemens Water Tech-
nologies (back then USFilter), which is part of
the Industrial Solutions and Services Group —
is one of the many future-oriented infrastruc-
ture projects that have made Singapore one of
the world’s most dynamic and prosperous cities.
When it gained independence, this former
British crown colony had no industry, raw ma-
terials or know-how
. But farsighted economic
planning and bold investments in education,
research, healthcare, urban development and
the environment have made Singapore into a
global city that is home to 6,000 multina-
tional firms and 500 financial institutes in an
area only half as large as London. “We’re a
small island with only four million people, so
1990s. “Before London set up its toll collec-
tion system last year, its traffic officials took a
long look at our system,” says Eng Sok Yong,
Group Director Policy and Planning at the
Land Transport Authority (LTA). To cope with
the problem of waste disposal, the city is
building an extensive underground tunnel
system to transport waste out of the city.
“This is a high-tech solution, but hygiene is
very important for us here in Singapore,” says
Ooi Giok Ling, a professor of urban planning
at Nanyang Technological University. Singapore, a telecommunications leader,
is already into its third generation of mobile
communications, with the networks of three
operators covering 95 percent of the city.
The city is also spearheading the develop-
ment of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification)
systems, which can be used, for instance, to
monitor the location of a shipping container
anywhere in the world. “New technologies
are often first introduced in Singapore be-
cause the city is so compact and its people
appreciate telecommunications,” says Dr. Tan
Geok Leng, Chief Technology Officer and Se-
nior Director at the Infocomm Development
Authority (IDA). “That means we have to deal
with all the starting-up problems — but we also
benefit from being the ones who solve them.”
Recycling Wastewater.One of the largest
challenges Singapore has had to deal with is
its water supply. Rainwater and groundwater
cover only half of its needs; the rest is
imported from neighboring Malaysia. That
dependence caused Singapore’s government
some concern — until Siemens helped it to
discover a new source in the form of recycled
water. “Of course many people need to get
results that construction of a major water
purification plant was commissioned before
the end of the test phase. Previously, the
sewage plant in Kranji had used conventional
methods and channeled the wastewater into
the sea. Today, 40,000 cubic meters of drink-
ing water are produced here every day. NEWater’s visitors’ center welcomes Singa-
poreans who want to find out how it all
works. “From the very start, we wanted to
inform people,” says Lim. “This approach has
helped to make NEWater acceptable.” Waste-
water is purified in three steps. First, the
treated wastewater is pumped through mil-
lions of tiny straw-like fibers with pores only
0.2 micrometers in diameter. This process
traps all the suspended particles, such as dust
and bacteria (Pictures of the Future, Spring
2005). Every 25 minutes these microfilters
are cleaned, with the residue being loosened
by an air current and then flushed away. In the second step, water molecules are
cleaned at high pressure by reverse osmosis
(RO). RO membranes are so small that their
pores allow only water molecule to pass. Dis-
solved pollutants such as pesticides and salts
are removed. In a third step, the water, which
is already extremely pure, is disinfected by
means of ultraviolet radiation. The end product
easily measures up to the standards set by the
World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In fact,
it’s almost a shame to simply drink it. Except
for the bottles that fans receive, only one per-
cent of NEWater is channeled into the drinking
water reservoirs. The rest goes to industries
that need extremely pure water for the manu-
facture of products such as semiconductors.
As a result of its success, the water purifica-
that some of its cities are at risk of sinking.
And China is building a 1,200-kilometer canal
to channel water from the Yangtze River to
the dry provinces in the north. Water recy-
cling technology offers a new alternative —
and opens up new markets for Siemens.
Power Plants and Medical Technology.
“Singapore is living proof that high-tech infra-
structure solutions are an outstanding invest-
ment,” says Hans-Dieter Bott, Managing
Director of Siemens Pte Ltd in Singapore,
which has 2,000 employees in 11 business
areas in the city state. To date, the company
has invested more than US $440 million in
factories, research institutes and the con-
struction of the Siemens Center, which
opened in 2004. In addition to NEWater, the
company has also provided the technology
and know-how for many other infrastructure
projects. For example, the gas turbines in
Senoko, one of Singapore’s most modern
we have to invest in the most advanced infra-
structure and technology. Top international
companies like Siemens have played a key
role in this development,” says Dr. Tony Tan,
one of the architects of Singapore’s forty-year
path-of-progress from the Third World into
the First (see interview on page 24). Driven by necessity, Singapore has devel-
oped and implemented concepts that point
the way toward the city of the future. To pro-
tect its citizens from traffic congestion and
smog, Singapore installed a fully automatic
toll system for the city center in the early
used to the idea of drinking recycled waste-
water,” says Dan Powell, Director of Opera-
tions at Siemens Water Technologies in Singa-
pore. “That’s why a lot of PR work was
necessary when we started out.” Government
officials, for example, wanted to see for them-
selves whether the technology could deliver
what it promised. In 1999 they commissioned
USFilter to build a demonstration plant capa-
ble of producing 10,000 cubic meters of
drinking water a day. The plan called for scien-
tists to test the water quality for two years, but
city planners were so impressed by the early
tion plant in Kranji is now being expanded. By
2012, its capacity will be boosted to 210,000
cubic meters per day in order to meet 20 per-
cent of the city's water requirements. Indeed, additional expansion is possible
because the recycling process is cost-effective
and much cheaper than other water purifica-
tion methods such as desalination. So it’s no
wonder that Kranji is hosting a steady stream
of delegations from other Asian countries
concerned about water resources. Nearby
Thailand, for example, has pumped so much
groundwater out of the earth in recent years
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
I N F R A S T R U C T U R E S S i n g a p o r e
“What We Can Do in Five Years Might Take 50 Elsewhere”
Dr. Tony Tan, 66, is one of
the architects of Singa-
pore’s economic success
story. He was Deputy Prime
Minister from 1995 to
2005. Before that he consecutively headed the
ministries for finance; education; health; trade
and industry; and security
and defense. Today, he is
chairman of the National
Research Foundation, a
powerful and well-funded
government body estab-
lished in January 2006 to
oversee Singapore’s effort
to become an international
hub for research and development.
Dr. Tan, when it gained independence in 1965, Singapore was a Third-World
country. Today it is one of Asia’s wealth-
iest and most dynamic economies. What
is the secret of its success?
Tan:Indeed, we find ourselves today on the
verge of being a developed country. But there
are no secrets to that. We have invested in
world-class infrastructure, good education
and the environment. We have accepted
competition, analyzed our own strengths
and weaknesses and opened our country for
immigration and trade. Everybody knows
What role does infrastructure play in
this context?
Tan:We are continuously improving our
infrastructure in order to make our economy
more competitive and our environment a
more pleasant place to live. One example is
our airport. We have become a successful air
traffic hub, both with regard to passenger
and freight traffic. In fact, we are currently
building our third terminal. At the same
time, we are investing in upgrading our
roads, our sewage treatment plants, our
telecommunication system, and so on.
stay and work in Singapore. Another advan-
tage for foreign investors is that all Singa-
poreans speak English. In fact, English is the
language we have been using in our schools
and public service for the last 40 years.
How do you intend to ensure that Singapore stays ahead of its regional competitors?
Tan:One big advantage that sets Singapore
apart is the speed with which we translate
an idea to a plan, which we then quickly im-
plement. We have the ability to move quickly
power stations, were manufactured by Sie-
mens. So was half of the high-level diagnostic
imaging equipment in the city’s hospitals.
What’s more, Singapore is an attractive devel-
opment and production location for Siemens
— for instance, for hearing aids and, since
2005, the newest generation of automatic
pick and place machines. “Singapore has an
outstanding business environment, an excel-
lent supplier base, and a highly trained and
Technology and Research (A*STAR) is devel-
oping industrial applications and working
with international firms to bring their applica-
tions to market. Singapore also wants to create
a pool of experienced scientists that interna-
tional companies can draw on. Some 2,000
researchers work in 12 institutes that report
to A*STAR. In 2004, Singapore generated 2.25
percent of its GDP through research and de-
velopment, compared to 1.9 percent in the
that these are necessary ingredients, but in
Singapore we have actually taken the steps
necessary for success. Still, the greatest
challenges are yet to come.
Such as?
Tan:Two trends are currently changing the
world. The first is the economic upswing in
Asia, in particular in China and India. In the
21st century, these two economies will
become very powerful. Together, they have
almost half of the world’s population. They
are also posting the highest growth rates.
China has been expanding its infrastructure
at an enormous pace for 20 years, and India,
although a little slower, is catching up and
making its presence felt. The second trend is
globalization. Through the Internet and real
time communication, the world is becoming
integrated. This affects all of us. Companies
such as Siemens have to operate on a world-
wide basis to coordinate their production,
sales and marketing plans. Singapore has to
come to terms with these forces, too —but
we also see great opportunities here.
Where do you see these opportunities?
Tan:China and India will revitalize the
region. Overall, our manufacturing base is
growing, as is the inflow of foreign invest-
ment. And I think it will continue to do so in
the future. This gives us the opportunity to
continuously progress toward higher value-
added goods. In electronics, we started out
by assembling radios and TV sets. To some
extent we still do so, but we also make com-
puter chips and so on. We are also starting to
produce biomedical products. Five years ago
we didn’t have a biomedical industry; now it
accounts for six percent of our GDP. How can companies like Siemens help
the Republic of Singapore?
Tan:Siemens has been here for a long, long
time and has contributed to our economic
growth. For example, we have cooperated
very successfully in reclaiming water. There
is a lot of potential regarding cooperation in
research and development (R&D). In the 21
century, investment and economic growth
will follow talent. As a result, Singapore is
set to become a talent hub. Our education
system is now world-class and we have very
attractive R&D facilities. For the next five years,
the government has earmarked some US$7.4
billion for public sector R&D. Our research,
industry and government agencies work very
closely with companies like Siemens to
deliver the products the world needs today.
China is also successfully upgrading its
university system. How are you going to
Tan:Of course we will have to take the
Chinese challenge very seriously. But I think
that world-class companies like Siemens will
continue to put substantial resources into
Singapore. One key reason is that we not
only respect intellectual property, we protect
it. That is one of the problems of transferring
leading-edge products to China. Any technol-
ogy you bring to China is in danger of being
pirated and lost. Another reason is that people
from abroad enjoy living in Singapore, because
we are open-minded, have a clean environ-
ment and excellent health services. To give
one example, our national universities have
a collaboration with MIT. Our students com-
prise some of the brightest talent in the re-
gion, and out of the 600 students who have
graduated so far, 70 percent have decided to
and to organize ourselves. This is partly because we are a city-state and don’t have a
rural population. In other words, what Singa-
pore can do in five years might take 50 else-
where. And there’s another important reason
for our success.We are prepared to take risks.
This also explains our major drive in R&D.
Judging from the results, your risk management has been very impressive.
Tan:Touch wood, but so far we have either
been very smart or incredibly lucky.
Given the trend toward urbanization,
there is an increasing need for solutions
that make cities better places to live.
Could Singapore be a role model here?
Tan:I don’t think that we should hold
ourselves up as a model. But some or the
lessons we have learned might be useful for
others. We have had many delegations from
China and India, and even some from
European cities. We are happy to share our
experiences, because we ourselves have
benefited a lot from going to other countries
and adapting what has been done there.
What will Singapore look like in 2015?
Tan:In 2015, Singapore will be a cosmopoli-
tan city with a high standard of living and a
very good municipal infrastructure. We will
be a hub for media, research and trade.
Alongside Singaporeans, people from China,
India, Europe and America will work and live
here. Singapore will have an appealing enter-
tainment scene, interesting jobs, and excellent
housing and shopping facilities. Our restau-
rants will serve great food from all over the
world. In short, it will be a very exiting place
to live. Interview by Bernhard Bartsch.
motivated labor pool that speaks English,”
says Bott. “It’s the ideal business location!”
To stay attractive, Singapore is investing
billions of dollars in future-oriented technolo-
gies, such as information and communica-
tion, chemicals, nanotechnology, genetic
engineering and biomedicine. Several organi-
zations are laying the groundwork for this.
The National Research Foundation primarily
promotes academic research and interna-
tional cooperation. For example, in January
2006 the National University of Singapore
(NUS) joined with nine other top international
universities — among them Oxford, Cam-
bridge and MIT — to establish an exclusive
scientific association that will conduct joint
research and organize student exchange pro-
grams. In parallel, the Agency for Science,
EU and 2.6 percent in the U.S., and that per-
centage is expected to increase considerably.
A Pictures of the Future Process.Whether
or not Singapore is successful depends on its
choice of research projects. Vincent Soh, head
of Planning & Operations at A*STAR, and his
colleagues went looking for methods for mak-
ing reliable forecasts. They found what they
were looking for in Munich — once again, at
Siemens. The future-oriented studies that
Siemens is carrying out using its Pictures of
the Future processes may soon be adapted by
A*STAR for it’s own planning, for the benefit
of Singapore and other cities. After all, many
megacities are looking to Singapore in their
search for solutions and their visions of tomor-
row.Bernhard Bartsch
Drinking water made by Siemens.Every day, 40,000 cubic meters of wastewater are
transformed into drinking water. Nanometer-sized pores filter out all pollutants.
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
I N F R A S T R U C T U R E S B a n g k o k
The Skytrain (above and below) and
the new subway system (left) are enhancing the quality of life in
Bangkok. The new systems provide a
cleaner, more reliable and more punctual alternative to “tuk tuk” motor rickshaws (right). Ticket to the Future
Bangkok is notorious for its smog and traffic congestion. But things are getting better. Instead of building wider roads,
planners in the Thai capital have teamed up with Siemens to develop environmentally friendly rapid transit solutions.
awinee is sipping a flower-topped cocktail
on a hot and humid Bangkok night. She’s
surrounded by young Thai manager types,
who are dancing to music. However, every-
thing is drowned out by the noise from the
street. Pawinee, a marketing manager, is
waiting for some coworkers she’s supposed to
meet at “Huu,” a popular bar. As usual, they’re
stuck in traffic.
The entrance to the bar faces a four-lane
street packed with cars and motorcycle taxis
whose angry drivers honk their horns as they
try to snake through small gaps in the traffic.
When the vehicles do move, it’s only for a few
meters. No one who drives in Bangkok is ever
able to say for sure when they’ll arrive at their
destination — regardless of whether they’re
traveling by day, when the roads are filled
with workers and businessmen, or by night,
when the fun-seekers are driven to the trendi-
est clubs. Bangkok is home to 6.5 million peo-
ple — ten million if the surrounding area is
also counted — and most of them seem to be
constantly on the move. Pawinee Krueawi-
wattanakul knows all too well how it feels to
spend hours driving just a short distance. So
today she’s left her car at home to take
advantage of a transport alternative that has
been available in Bangkok for several years:
the Skytrain from Siemens.
“The quality of life in Bangkok has risen
considerably since the elevated train line
went into service, and I’m using my car less
and less these days,” says Pawinee. The
Skytrain travels 12 meters above Bangkok’s
streets at speeds of up to 80 kilometers per
hour. Its reflection shimmers on the glass
facades of buildings on Sukhumvit Road, one
of the city’s most congested thoroughfares,
where the average speed of cars has remained
at around ten kilometers per hour for several
Pawinee also travels this route to work. “It
often takes me an hour by car, but only half
an hour by train,” she says. Every day, around
half a million people use the Skytrain and a
new subway, which was also built by
Siemens. In fact, Bangkok’s entire local public
rail transport system was built by Siemens.
The Skytrain and subway are linked by several
transfer stations in a system that is so effec-
tive that many taxi drivers now focus their
attention on the train stations.
“Bangkok had been in need of a mass
transit system for decades,” says Dr. Anat Arb-
habhirama, Board of Management member
of the private company that operates the Sky-
train lines. His office looks out over the depot
and the last stop — for the time being — of
Skytrain’s northern lines. Dr. Anat, who has
lived in Bangkok for almost 70 years, still
remembers the old local public transport
system that was abandoned in 1968.
Bangkok’s Trademark. Strange as it may
now seem, Bangkok was one of the first cities
in the world to introduce a streetcar system,
the tracks for which were laid back in 1894.
As time went by, however, the tracks fell into
disrepair as the city opted to invest in new
wide roads. Finally, the tram was shut down.
“That was an urban planning error,” says Dr.
Anat, who was a member of the Thai govern-
ment during the time that more and more city
highways were built on pillars in Bangkok.
Today he prefers elevated tracks to roads.
“The Skytrain has become something of a
trademark for Bangkok around the world,” Dr.
Anat says proudly. And of course it’s not just
system after only 39 months of construction,
with everything provided from a single source
and at a fixed price. A long-term maintenance
contract was also signed to ensure the safety,
reliability and punctuality of the trains.
Building contractor Dr. Sombat Kijjalak
paid close attention to the successful launch
of the Skytrain — and later obtained the con-
cession to build Bangkok’s first subway line.
That train system began operating with 18
stations over a total distance of 20 kilometers
at the end of 2004. The line runs in a semi-
circle underneath some of the city’s most im-
portant and congested traffic arteries. “We
visited many cities worldwide and took a look
at the best subways,” says Dr. Sombat. “To
build the system, we needed a partner capa-
ble of dealing with the enormous complexity
of the job. We ultimately opted for a turnkey
solution from Siemens, which we felt would
make everything as easy as possible for us.”
The package that Siemens provided for the
subway and the Skytrain included signaling
the locals, but also a great many tourists who
prefer to ride in the air-conditioned trains
from Siemens rather than be chauffeured
through traffic jams in clattering tuk-tuks for
an exorbitantly priced and grueling tour of
the city. The drivers of these strange motor-
ized rickshaws often wear surgical masks to
avoid taking in too much polluted air. The Skytrain has plenty to offer. The “Chit
Lom” Skytrain station, for instance, boasts
small shops, and at the “Sala Daeng” transfer
station you can get a facial massage. It’s thus
no surprise that the Skytrain’s popularity has
been increasing steadily since it entered serv-
ice in 1999. The Skytrain currently transports
300,000 to 400,000 passengers per day
along its 23-kilometer route. Furthermore,
the train’s first system extension — across the
Chao Phraya river — is nearing completion
and is scheduled to open next year. It too will
run on technology from Siemens.
“We knew from the start that it wouldn’t
be easy to build a complex local public trans-
port system without prior experience,” Dr.
Anat recalls. “That’s why we went looking for
a partner with a wealth of experience — and
finally decided on Siemens.” What’s more,
Siemens submitted a turnkey bid that allowed
the customer to take over a ready-to-operate
technology, the entire telecommunications
network, the power supply system, monitor-
ing systems, track work and the trains them-
selves. A unique aspect of the subway
stations is the glass partitions that separate
platforms from tunnels. When a train stops,
automated doors in the partitions open to let
passengers exit and enter the trains. “This
increases passenger safety,” says Dr. Sombat.
”And the stations’ air conditioning units aren’t
Bangkok’s entire commuter rail system was built with Siemens technology.
I N F R A S T R U C T U R E S B a n g k o k
the current three. The Airport Raillink shuttle
from Siemens is marked in red on the Master
Plan. This will link the city’s new airport,
which is scheduled to open this year, with the
city center 28 kilometers away, bringing pas-
sengers to and from the airport in only 15
minutes. At the moment, pylons for an
elevated line are being pounded in along an
old narrow-gauge track route used by long-
distance trains headed for Cambodia. Sie-
mens will provide a turnkey solution including
all stations and equipment here as well.
“Turnkey solutions often seem more
expensive at first,” says project manager Wolf-
gang Rueprich. “However, customers who
place individual orders have to coordinate
everything themselves. When they commis-
sion a turnkey project, they know they’ll have
a partner who will take care of everything.”
That means no unpleasant surprises — such
as higher costs — for the customer. Siemens has now helped Bangkok adapt
its infrastructure to its boomtown expansion
in three projects — to the advantage of ordi-
nary citizens like Pawinee. Eventually, one of
Pawinee’s colleagues shows up. After spend-
ing an hour in traffic, he gets out of his car
and walks the short distance to Huu Bar.
Above his head, a Skytrain rumbles through
the humid Bangkok night. Andreas Kleinschmidt
Bangkok’s first new rail car arrived by air.
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
Spain’s Trains
to the Plains
There are 22 different rail signaling and security systems in the
European Union member countries. But in the future, a uniform
standard known as ETCS will make rail travel across national
boundaries easier. The effectiveness of this technology is already being demonstrated by the new Velaro E in Spain —the fastest train on wheels.
The Velaro E whisks
passengers from
Madrid to Barcelona, a
distance of 650 kilome-
ters, in only two and a
half hours — less than
half the time needed by its predecessors.
tarting this Fall, the train trip from Madrid
to Barcelona will take less than half the
time it took in the past. The route, which
provides expansive views of unspoiled land-
scapes as it crosses the sparsely settled
plateau on the outskirts of the Iberian Range,
will be much faster than ever before thanks to
Spain’s new high-speed train, the Velaro E.
The new train —its name is an abbreviation
of VELocidad Alta (high-speed) España — is
Europe’s fastest passenger train. It was devel-
oped by the Siemens Transportation Systems
Group (TS) in Erlangen, Germany. With a top speed of 350 kilometers per
hour, Velaro E covers the 650 kilometers
between Madrid and Barcelona in only two
and a half hours. No other train currently in
there to cool the tunnels.” In the event of a
fire, the cool air flow could be used to prevent
a fire from getting out of control. Flying Train. Because the tight timetable for
building Bangkok’s subway system was short-
ened, it was necessary to fly in the first rail car
from Europe for system tests. A photo of the
train in the belly of a giant transport plane
proudly. To ensure such reliable service, the
subway system control center is linked to the
Siemens service and repair center. If a prob-
lem comes up, Nuttapol Sriprapai receives a
message on his computer screen. He can then
direct emergency teams stationed along the
route to the appropriate location. “But generally, we don’t have to deal with
anything more complicated than a broken
(see picture above) hangs in the office of
Siemens engineer Reinhold Sarawinski, who is
responsible for the maintenance of Bangkok’s
two train systems. As a service partner for maintenance,
Siemens has remained active in both the Sky-
train and the subway. During the first five
years of its operation, the Skytrain exceeded
all agreed-upon targets. More than 98.5 per-
cent of trips were completed with no more
than one-minute delays. “Because of this great reliability, the main-
tenance contract for the Skytrain was ex-
tended for another ten years,” Sarawinski says
ticket machine,” he says. About a hundred
meters away — in the subway control center
— are the operating company’s subway
security officials. Nuttapol receives his mes-
sages from this room, which is equipped with
video projectors that display a map of the
subway network — and the movements of all
trains — on a screen big enough to accom-
modate new subway lines.
Dr. Anat, Dr. Sombat and the city adminis-
tration believe the network will have to be ex-
panded soon. A master plan presented in Jan-
uary 2006 proposed a dense subway network
consisting of ten lines — a big increase over
98.5 percent of Skytrain trips were com-
pleted with less than a one minute delay.
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
I N F R A S T R U C T U R E S H i g h S p e e d R a i l
When it comes to rail transportation, Europe is not as unified as it would like to be. At the
Austrian-Italian border, locomotives and even drivers have to be changed. Europe doesn’t even
offer a standard license for train drivers. This situation has had a particularly detrimental effect
on freight transport, with trains having to wait at the Brenner station for a switching procedure
that lasts about an hour. This is a major disadvantage compared to truck freight transport, which
is cheaper and more flexible. But the “four-system locomotive” from Siemens is now helping the
rail system to become more competitive. For a few months now, freight trains pulled by these locomotives have been traveling along Europe’s most important Alpine transit route without having to stop at the Brenner Pass. This has been made possible by state-of-the-art electronics
and rail safety systems that are compatible with Austrian, German and Italian rail technology. In addition to variable LED lights and multilingual displays, the locomotives have four different pan-
tographs, which can be tipped upwards depending on which voltage system is needed (photo).
If, for example, a train arrives at the Brenner station from Italy, the locomotive operator lowers
the “Italian” pantograph and coasts the train into Austria, which is just a few meters away. The
“Austrian” pantograph is then raised. This procedure takes only a few minutes and enables more
trains to travel on fewer tracks. Rail operators can employ fewer locomotives, which reduces
costs and shifts traffic from roads to rails. That, in turn, reduces the burden on the environment.
“Our gross transport volume increased in 2005 by around 30 percent to over five million tons —partly thanks to the new locomotive,” says Dr. Harald Schmittner, head of the Lokomotion company, which is using the new Siemens trains on the route between Munich and Verona. “A
30-percent increase in rail freight transport means about 200,000 fewer drives by truck through
the ecologically sensitive Alpine region.”
Florian Martini
A Siemens ETCS-equipped unit at the Brenner Pass between Austria and Italy
be reserved by business travelers. There’s also
a “Club” class, an even more exclusive First
Class, a “Preferente” class and the “Tourista”
class, which corresponds to second class.
Every class has mini-restaurants that offer a
tempting variety of foods and beverages. In
the Club and Preferente rail cars, passengers
are served at their seats. “For Spanish rail cus-
tomers, excellent service and an elegant at-
mosphere are very important,” says Angel
Perez-Cerezo, who is responsible for local
commissioning and training for the Velaro E
project at Siemens Transportation Systems.
“Alongside the technical features, the rail cars’
offer space for more passengers. “The Velaro
is an impressive high-speed rail concept for
the global market,” says Christian Schlegel,
who is responsible for global customer acqui-
sition at TS. “However, to succeed, we must
modify the train to meet a wide variety of
national requirements at a reasonable cost.”
In addition to Spain and China, another inter-
ested country is Russia. In the future, a Velaro
may race between Moscow and St. Peters-
burg. However, because of Russia’s 3-kilovolt
overhead conductors, the top speed of such
trains would initially be only 250 kilometers
per hour.
to its higher speeds. To enable it to operate at
top speeds over long distances, they also de-
veloped a stronger transformer designed for
the Spanish supply voltage of 25 kilovolts.
German trains operate at 15 kilovolts. The same under floor design is used here
as in the ICE 3, with motors, brakes and trans-
formers installed under the rail cars (see p. 62).
By contrast, first and second generation ICEs
were pulled by a driving unit similar to a loco-
motive. With under floor technology, on the
other hand, there’s more room for passen-
gers. There’s also more usable space behind
the engineer’s cab. In the Velaro E, Spanish
federal train operator RENFE chose to install a
lounge with a glass conference table, that can
design and the fittings played a key role in
sealing the deal with RENFE.” China at 300 km/h. RENFE is not the only
rail operator to be impressed by the new un-
der floor rail concept. China has now ordered
60 high-speed trains based on the Velaro plat-
form. Plans call for the Asian Velaro to enter
service in time for the Olympic Games in
2008 on the route from Beijing to Tianjin, an
Olympic soccer venue about 60 miles east of
the capital. One difference will be that the
Chinese overhead conductor system can han-
dle a top speed of “only” 300 kilometers per
hour. Siemens will design, engineer and pro-
duce the first three trains in Germany. The
other trains will be built in a plant of the com-
pany’s Chinese partner, Tangshan Locomotive
& Rolling Stock Works. The Chinese version
will be wider than the European one and will
No Stopping at Borders. The Velaro E is an
excellent example of the consolidation of rail
systems throughout Europe. For example, it’s
the first high-speed train that complies with
the TSI (Technical Specifications for Interoper-
ability) norm that is valid for all of Europe.
Among other things, the TSI sets uniform
standards for fire protection and crash pre-
vention. The Velaro E is also equipped with
the new European Train Control System
(ETCS), which is a milestone for cross-border
rail traffic. Thanks to this system, trains will
no longer have to stop at borders in order to
change locomotives. At the moment, Europe
Thanks to under floor technology (above),
the Velaro E offers more room, for exam-
ple in the lounge (middle). The system
will enter service this Fall.
service covers such long a distance at such a
high average speed. On the old tracks, the
same trip took more than six hours. The streamlined blue-and-white Velaro E is
an enhanced version of Deutsche Bahn’s ICE 3
and, except for its colors, its outward appear-
ance is identical with that of its German twin.
But many changes were necessary to meet
the demands of the Spanish climate. Most of
those adjustments run discreetly in the back-
ground, such as the air conditioning system
that ensures a pleasantly cool environment
even at outside temperatures of 50 degrees
Celsius. Because winter temperatures along
the route, which at some points is 1,200 me-
ters above sea level, can be extreme, the cli-
mate control system can handle temperatures
as low as -20 degrees Celsius. Engineers in
Erlangen matched the train’s braking power
still has 22 different rail security systems and
a range of signals that is as varied as the safe-
ty equipment in the locomotives. There are
few locomotives today that can cross national
borders without problems (see box). Automated Trains.In coming years, ETCS
will harmonize national standards for signal
technology. The basic idea is simple: Train
drivers will receive their driving instructions,
such as information on speed limits, via GSM-
Rail, a specially developed mobile communi-
cations standard. Transmission stations along
the route will keep trains in permanent radio
contact with control centers. Depending on
the system’s stage of development, train driv-
ers will either receive all the information in
the engineer’s cab so that they can control
trains themselves (Level 1) or the system will
drive the train fully automatically (Level 3).
The train will read its position using electron-
ic beacons called “balises.” Small radio units
attached to cross-ties throughout the railroad
network will be activated and read by radio
pulses sent out by passing trains. Train will
automatically communicate their positions to
transmission stations via GSM-R. The advantage of this system is that,
thanks to the widely accepted GSM-R stan-
dard, the signaling system functions through-
out Europe. In the future, all trains will operate
in line with a standard radio signal, regardless
of which country they are traveling in. The
No other train currently covers such a long
distance at such a high average speed.
A freight transport system based on ETCS would significantly ease the burden on Europe’s road network.
S e c u r i t y
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
In November 2005 heavy snowfall collapsed
transmission towers in
Northern Germany, leaving thousands without electricity.
Protecting Key Assets
Key infrastructure elements must be secured against outages,
damage and sabotage. Siemens offers comprehensive solutions.
rom healthcare and power generation to
water supply, transportation, and industrial
production, to telecommunications and emer-
gency services such as fire and police depart-
ments — all of these areas are vitally impor-
tant for today’s society. At the same time, they
are exposed to a wide variety of threats. Tech-
nical failures and human error, including faulty
operation, can cause breakdowns. So can nat-
ural phenomena. Storms and flooding can lead
to downed power lines, transformer stations
can be destroyed by lightning, and roads and
railways left impassable by high water. That’s
exactly what happened in Switzerland in Sep-
tember 2003, when a falling tree happened
to damage a 380 kV power line. The result
was a widespread failure of the power grid in
Italy — a blackout similar to the one that had
hit the U.S. and Canada only a month earlier
(Pictures of the Future, Spring 2004, p.54). Another threat is crime. This includes not
only terrorist attacks, but worms and viruses
on the Internet, as well as hackers who ille-
gally log on to corporate computer networks.
“It’s certainly possible that hackers could dis-
able the power supply or subway system of an
entire city if they succeeded in manipulating
control signals,” explains Sven Lehmberg, head
of Intrusion Prevention for Products and Solu-
tions at Siemens Corporate Technology (CT).
Information technology is increasingly being
used to control infrastructure elements, in-
But comprehensive security solutions also
include security-enhancing technologies.
“These are technologies that weren’t specially
developed for security applications, but that
can nevertheless play a key role in creating a
security system,” says Alla Heidenreich, head
of the Homeland Security research project at
Siemens Corporate Technology. These technologies include sensor systems
for monitoring physical states, such as multi-
purpose radar sensors and fiber-optic sensors
for measuring physical quantities or identify-
ing dangerous substances. Such systems can be used to inspect trans-
port containers, for example, where sensors
supply data regarding the condition of a con-
tainer’s interior during loading and unload-
ing. For this purpose, Siemens researchers
have developed sensors that can be used to
quickly carry out automatic, on-site analysis
of dangerous chemical and biological sub-
stances in air and liquids. F
cluding the networks of electricity suppliers,
railway operators and emergency services. Internet worms, for instance, have already
impaired the operating ability of U.S. power
companies on several occasions. When this
happens, control and monitoring systems are no
longer fully serviceable. As a result, messages
can’t be displayed and it becomes impossible
to correct malfunctions or compensate for
them in time, a scenario that means greater
risk of power outages in a service area.
Homeland security technologies are de-
signed to help protect infrastructures and
guarantee their reliability. These solutions
include the typical security technologies for
information and communications systems:
encryption and access control mechanisms
(including role-based systems and identity
management), authentication processes
using smart cards, secure RFID tags and bio-
metric methods (fingerprints and voice or 3D
facial recognition, for example).
Mobile ad-hoc networks and self-optimiz-
ing communications networks are also security-
enhancing technologies. They can help to main-
tain communication even if an infrastructure
is partly disabled. Within a network of this
kind, mobile devices such as cell phones and
laptops can immediately establish connec-
tions with one another, even without an over-
all infrastructure (Pictures of the Future, Spring
2005, p.38). This is similar to the structure of
the Internet, which is organized so robustly
that a total failure is hardly possible. Each cell phone or laptop in a redundant
network serves not just as a transmitting and
receiving station but also as a router for other
participants. Mesh networks, for example, are
organized with a certain degree of redundancy.
In the event that a transmitter fails or be-
comes overloaded, a search is performed for
the nearest available device. This technology
is the basis for what will be the world’s largest
urban WLAN network. The network is current-
ly being built in Tempe, Arizona. It will cover
over 100 square kilometers, an area in which
about 400 lamp posts are being turned into
Internet transmission masts. In power grids, too, the chances of an out-
age are reduced when networks of power
lines are linked. If one connection fails, there
are generally several alternative lines to help
maintain an uninterrupted supply of electrici-
ty. The more “tightly woven” the network is,
the more secure it is. According to a 2005
analysis conducted by the Association of Ger-
man Network Operators (VDN), Germany has
the most secure power supply in Europe,
thanks to a closely linked network with short
transmission routes and power plants distrib-
uted throughout the entire country. In 2004,
for instance, power outages affecting German
customers totaled 23 minutes on average. The
figure in France was 59 minutes, in Italy 91
minutes, and customers in the U.S. faced more
than 200 minutes without power on average. Creating comprehensive security solutions
for critical infrastructures requires technolo-
gies from a number of fields, and security-en-
hancing technologies have to be combined
with security technologies typically used with
IT systems. What’s more, security concepts
that boost power-supply reliability must be
taken into account early on in the product de-
velopment stage. Summing up the mission of
the Homeland Security unit, Michael Munzert
says, “Our objective is to combine the techno-
logical expertise we have at our disposal at
Siemens Corporate Technology to design in-
novative security solutions for critical infra-
structures.” Sylvia Trage
Mobile ad-hoc networks help to maintain
service even if an infrastructure is damaged.
system will replace the many national stan-
dards in use today.
Environmental Protection with ETCS. An-
other advantage is that ETCS will operate not
only across countries but also independently
of particular manufacturers —a feature known
as “interoperability.” Today there are many
ETCS test routes throughout Europe, for ex-
ample in Germany and in the Netherlands. To
determine whether ETCS is meeting its require-
ments, Siemens has equipped a test train based
on the Desiro rail car with ETCS technology.
“Together with third parties, we carried out test
runs in the Netherlands. During those tests,
the system operated almost as well as it did
on the local run to Jüterbog,” says ETCS expert
Stephan Klein from Siemens TS in Berlin. “Technologically speaking, ETCS has been
ready for a long time,” says Dr. Ralf Kaminsky,
who is responsible for ETCS at TS in Braun-
schweig, Germany. “Furthermore, the European
Union has made interoperability a require-
ment for all of its member states in order to
strengthen the rail transportation network.” But ETCS will not be universally introduced
throughout Europe for some time to come.
That’s because countries and railroad opera-
tors have different interests. Countries like Ger-
many and France, for instance, which already
have sophisticated and powerful train security
systems, regard ETCS as a system that would
require additional expenditures without initial-
ly bringing any domestic benefits. However,
according to Kaminsky, “countries that would
be instituting such a system for the first time
would like to introduce ETCS immediately.” For this reason, rail industry experts be-
lieve that ETCS will first be installed on the
main trans-European rail routes, such as the
freight route connecting Rotterdam to Genoa.
Transporting freight by rail through Germany
and the Alpine countries would ease much of
the strain on the road network and, thanks to
smoother crossings at national borders,
would be much faster than transporting
goods by ship. What’s more, ETCS will make it
possible to shorten the distances between
trains, which in turn will boost rail capacity.
“The advantages offered by ETCS are obvi-
ous,” says Kaminsky, who is convinced that it
is only a matter of time before trains are guid-
ed through Europe via radio signals. In any
case, one of the first ETCS-guided high-speed
trains will be the Velaro E, as it zips between
Madrid and Barcelona. Tim Schröder
he time is 5:55 p.m. on June 9, 2006, and
we’re in the Allianz Arena in Munich to
watch Germany against Costa Rica — the
opening game of the World Cup. As the
shouting in the stadium dies down and soccer
fans from all over the world wait impatiently
for the kickoff, tension is high for the security
staff, emergency crews, police and stadium
staff. All of them are relying on Siemens
technology in the background — but most of
them are not aware it even exists. “All 12 World Cup stadiums are ready,” said
Thomas Brodocz, head of the World Cup 2006
project office at Siemens, back in January.
“We’ve come up with customized solutions
for each one. We’ve installed building and
security technology, fire detection systems,
video monitoring, lighting and access control
systems. In addition, there are traffic manage-
ment systems around the sports venues, park-
ing management, and the IT and telecommuni-
cations technology that we’ve fitted into almost
all of the stadiums.” Siemens worked on these
projects with the German Football Association
(DFB), the stadium operators, municipal
authorities and suppliers in order to comply
with the high standards of the Féderation
Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
The Allianz Arena in Munich is a special
case because it’s the only stadium that was
built from scratch to accommodate new tech-
nologies. Ever since the stadium’s shell was
completed in January 2004, Siemens has
Remote ticket reservations
Customer relationship management
Home entertainment /
Internet TV /
Games on cell phones
Traffic management /
First-aid center
IT security
Security management
Intruder alarm
Monitoring center
Lighting system
Facility automation
Flexible offices
Conference technology
Energy supply Building management
Energy distribution
Parking management
Video monitoring
Fire detector
Visitor information Access control
Personal identification
Loudspeaker system
Data communication
Large screen
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
S t a d i u m Te c h n o l o g y
The FIFA World Cup 2006 will kick off at the Allianz Arena in Munich (left and
right). Siemens technology will help all
12 World Cup venues make the games
an unforgettable experience. Applications range from lighting (right)
and access control (below) to security,
building and information management.
Traffic management centers in Berlin
and the Ruhr region will also rely on Siemens technology. Technology for Champions
Siemens delivers complete infrastructure solutions for major sports events all over the world. And it will also be on hand for the 2006 soccer World Cup. In fact, experts from Siemens have
been preparing for years for this major sporting event. All 12 of the German World Cup stadiums
are now equipped with the latest Siemens technology — from banks of floodlights and security systems to smart traffic management systems for surrounding areas. been actively involved. Siemens-Elin Project
Director Ferdinand Reisinger points to some
of the technology highlights the company has
been responsible. “Both the energy supply
and the IT infrastructure are protected by
backup systems,” he says. If one of the systems
fails, the other one seamlessly takes over.
“And the density of the supply system is also
unique,” he adds. “It comprises 4,000 kilo-
meters of cables and 800 kilometers of fiber-
optic components for data transmission.”
But what really thrills Reisinger is the light
distribution within the stadium’s transparent
“skin.” A spectacular system of 25,400 lamps
from Siemens subsidiary Osram illuminate
this skin, which measures 24,000 square
meters — in white, blue or red light, depend-
ing on the occasion. Those are the colors of
Munich’s two soccer clubs, Bayern Munich
and TSV 1860. Siemens worked with Siteco to
design special new lamps for the “pillowcase”
look of the Allianz Arena that develop a mini-
mum of heat and also have fewer com-
bustible plastic parts. As a result, the lighting
meets official fire prevention requirements. For the access control points, Siemens
worked with Austrian company Skidata to
install new turnstiles that can process differ-
ent types of tickets, including the new World
Cup tickets, with integrated Radio Frequency
Identification (RFID) chips. There’s no need
for direct contact. The tickets will be read by
radio at a distance of ten centimeters. Within
seconds, the ticket holder's data will be compared with information in the ticket marketer’s database. Other control points will
allow specific ticket holders to enter certain
high-security and VIP areas of the stadium. “At
the World Cup we’ll also be using 80 portable
ticket readers that compare the information
on the tickets with the database via wireless
LAN,” says Reisinger.
Historic Stadium.In Berlin, Siemens faced a
very different challenge. There, the World Cup
final will be played on July 9, before more
than 74,000 spectators in the Olympic Sta-
dium, Germany’s largest and oldest sports
arena. Built of solid sandstone, it was opened
for the Olympic Games in 1936 and today is a
protected historic monument. In the summer
of 2000, the stadium was upgraded at a cost
of 242 million euros to meet modern require-
ments. “This facility embodies the perfect
symbiosis of architecture and technology,”
says Detlef Reichenbacher, Technical Director
at Olympiastadion Berlin GmbH. In no other
stadium, he explains, is the technology as
invisible as it is there. There’s hardly a loud-
speaker, floodlight, electric cable or security
camera in sight. Almost everything is con-
cealed beneath the 3,500-ton roof, which is
open on one side and rests on 22 pillars. “This invisible technology is the result of
the outstanding cooperation between experts
on the preservation of historical monuments,
network by means of optical fiber cables. “The
old system wasn’t approved for digital data
transfer,” says Müller. “But new fireproof opti-
cal fiber cables solved that problem.” Faster Assistance.Equally sophisticated is
the Siemens safety management system,
which directs all fault messages to a single
clearinghouse. Smoke and motion detectors,
emergency alarm systems and other sensors
are linked into a network with surveillance
cameras and monitors. It’s a big advantage to
have a single platform that combines subsys-
tems manufactured by various suppliers.
“That makes it easier for our security staff to
use the systems,” explains Müller. The platform
tells security personnel what the problem is
and the fastest way to get there. “Security
guards can intervene faster because the visual
depictions of the fault messages in the con-
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
I N F R A S T R U C T U R E S St a d i um Te c hno l o g y
In October 2005, a total of 237 gold medals were won at the East Asian Games in Macau
near Hong Kong, one of the largest sports events after the Olympic Games and the soccer World
Cup.Athletes from nine countries competed in the new Macau Dome, an arena measuring
140,000 square meters and equipped by Siemens with an innovative facility management system.
This system is networked with 44 decentralized control units that receive signals from 3,000 interfaces. The control units gather data from fire detectors and temperature sensors and initiate operations such as opening and closing valves. That makes it possible to control and monitor systems such as lighting, video surveillance, fire alarms and access control using a single control
system. In case of a fire, the stadium’s 1,725 fire detectors send information about the cause and
the precise location of the fire to the control center within seconds. Security personnel can react
much more quickly than they could with previous systems. In buildings without such a network,
the fire detectors also trigger an alarm sound, but security personnel have to find out where the
fire is located and guide fire fighters to the spot.
For Siemens, security management also includes biometrics, which depends not on access
codes but on unmistakable human characteristics (Pictures of the Future, Spring 2003, pp. 35-43).
Much of the company’s expertise in this area was recently brought together in the Biometrics
Center of the Program and System Development unit at Siemens Austria. Here, experts work on
optimizing security systems that quickly and efficiently register fingerprints, process data and
then compare it with users’ fingerprints to allow or deny access. Another innovative method that
is almost ready for the market is 3D facial recognition, whereby a color grid is projected onto a
face and recorded with a camera (p. 84). “That enables us to identify a definite arrangement of
image points and then represent the cheekbones, for example, in three dimensions, which we
can’t do with a simple photograph,” explains Ludger Weihrauch from Siemens Building Technolo-
gies (SBT) in Karlsruhe, Germany. As a result, people can be identified more clearly, quickly and
reliably. 3D facial recognition is based on the results of a research project in which Siemens Cor-
porate Technology in Munich worked with Viisage Technologies AG in Bochum, the market leader
in this area. The method is now being prepared for market launch. In access control, SBT acquired
Swedish company Bewator, which has around 300 employees, a strong sales network in Scandi-
navia and the UK and holds a leading market position. A new center of expertise for access con-
trol is now being set up in Solna, Sweden. “That’s where we’re going to check out the latest
trends, expand our range of products and coordinate the sales of all our access control products,”
says Reinhard Kretschmer, who is in charge of security products at SBT in Zug, Switzerland.
Data for Sports
Sports technology is booming. Siemens Venture Capital (SVC) is investing in
Dutch company 51pegasi,
which has designed a solu-
tion for simple and intelli-
gent data management
during sporting events.
true Tour de France fan always knows which team individual cyclists belong to and
how many stages they’ve won. Those viewers not familiar with such statistics can see
the information on their TV screens. This service is just one example of the data manage-
ment required for sporting events associated with large amounts of data. Here, tasks involve
organizing schedules for athletes, coaches and helpers; collecting, administering, and
archiving data related to a particular event; and providing the media with this information.
To master these challenges, Dutch company 51pegasi BV, which was founded in Novem-
ber 2004 and employs 20 people, came up with the idea of managing all of the data using
a single platform. The name 51pegasi comes from the star in whose orbit the first planet
outside our solar system was discovered in 1995. Just as a star is the reference point for its
planets, the new “51box” serves as the foundation for several different solutions. It hosts
various applications (brought together as a software suite) that conduct data management
operations before, during, and after the sporting event. The platform is based on XML com-
puter language. Because the system can manage data independent of format, the information
can easily be published via diverse types of media. “That means our solutions are important
planning tools for all types of sporting events, large or small,” says CEO Gilles Vliegen. In
2006, 51box will be used at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne,in 2005 it appeared
at the Southeast Asian Games in Manila. For years, parts of the software have ensured that
the right media are flashed up at the right time during the Tour de France. The entire soft-
ware suite package has yet to be used at a sporting event, but that’s set to change.
Siemens Venture Capital (SVC) has been involved with 51pegasi since May 2005. To
date, SVC has invested 700 million euros in over 100 start-up companies and 30 venture
capital funds, mostly in the U.S., Europe, and Israel. Along with funding, SVC also provides
51pegasi with advice and direct business support, which is why Dr. Uwe Albrecht, Managing
Partner Corporate Fund at SVC, is also a member of 51pegasi’s Supervisory Board. “In addi-
tion to 51pegasi’s technological expertise, it was the company management’s familiarity
with the sports industry and the excellent contacts it enjoys with the sector that convinced
us to get involved,” says Albrecht. SVC’s investment will now enable 51pegasi to further
develop its product portfolio and expand its sales and marketing activities. Siemens and
51pegasi plan to design a comprehensive IT concept for the sports industry. To date, the
fast-growing technology market for the sports industry has been divided into technology
suppliers and system integrators — a global IT company does not yet exist. That’s why
Siemens would like to offer technology for sporting events from a single source in line with
the SiemensOne strategy, which involves serving major customers from all Siemens groups.
The first customers are the Commonwealth Games Federation and the 2007 Cricket World
Cup in the West Indies. The software from 51pegasi perfectly complements the Siemens-
One strategy here.
Gitta Rohling
will enter service at the end of May,” he says.
“Step by step, we’re recording data on the
traffic flow to and from the stadiums, in the
city centers and on the highways, so that we
can bring fans to their destinations quickly
and guide other drivers past the congestion
by means of detours.” In the Ruhr region, Europe’s largest conur-
bation, up to six million people are on the
road every day. The World Cup stadiums in
Gelsenkirchen and Dortmund are located
here. “We’re going to install 100 additional
Traffic Eye sensors along the key access
routes,” says Ramachers. “They’ll use infrared
technology to measure traffic density, direc-
tion and speed.” During the World Cup, this
data will be combined with information from
the traffic control centers in the Ruhr region,
the Rhein-Ruhr Public Transport Authority and
the parking system in the Ruhrpilot control
trol center are linked with precise instructions
on how to cope with each situation,” Müller
adds. Siemens also installed security technol-
ogy for the police, including video surveil-
lance inside and outside the stadium, plus a
control center located high above the stands.
“With nearly invisible special cameras we can
sweep across the stadium and zoom in on a
five-seat area,” Müller states.
Finding the Best Route. The four-week
World Cup will generate a lot of movement,
not only in the 12 stadiums but also on Ger-
many’s highways and public transportation
systems. Tens of thousands of people will be
flocking to the stadiums or big screens in city
centers and then returning home, causing
enormous “rush hours.” But that doesn’t
bother Siemens expert Ludwig Ramachers,
who is in charge of the Ruhrpilot traffic man-
agement system in the Ruhr region (Pictures
of the Future,Fall 2005, p. 23). “The system
center. “We’ll use this information to deter-
mine the current traffic situation and notify
people via radio and the Internet of the best
route and the best mode of transport,” says
Ramachers. This dynamic traffic information
system will optimally prepare the Ruhr region
for the throngs of soccer fans. In Dortmund,
Ruhrpilot already provides a traffic guidance
system that, with the help of specially allo-
cated lanes, helps drivers find the stadium.
The system was installed by Siemens and is
administered by the city’s traffic management
center. In Gelsenkirchen, the area around the
stadium has traffic lights equipped with
smart software that reroutes traffic as
needed. All of the World Cup cities and stadi-
ums, their security personnel and the fans are
already benefitting from advanced technolo-
gies . But that’s just an appetizer compared to
the mega-event that is about to be kicked off
this summer when the World Cup gets going. Nikola Wohllaib
Sensors along highways near stadiums
register data on passing cars.
Dynamic traffic information flows to-
gether to provide a comprehensive view. architects Gerkan, Marg und Partner, and en-
gineers from Siemens,” says Reichenbacher.
“We integrated much of the security, media
and communications technology by means of
more than 300 kilometers of cable,” says
Thorsten Müller, head of the Olympic Stadium
project at Siemens. That includes two sound
systems with more than 2,300 loudspeakers
for announcements in the stands and the
rooms in the stadium’s interior. Here, Sie-
mens worked closely with Berlin-based event
engineering company TSE, which supplied
the stadium’s digitally controlled sound system.
The two systems are integrated into a single
hen the MGM MIRAGE group, a leader
in the hotel and gaming industry,
decided to build the largest, privately-funded
development project in Las Vegas, they
decided that it was not worth gambling on
the future with an untested partner.
In August 2005, they awarded a $100 mil-
lion contract to Siemens to assemble a collec-
tion of technologies and services to help
make their vision a reality. “MGM MIRAGE
selected Siemens because of the company’s
successful track record building other large-
scale complexes throughout the U.S. with the
most advanced technologies,” said Terry
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
I N F R A S T R U C T U R E S H o t e l s
A model of the MGM MIRAGE
CITYCENTER project on the Las
Vegas Strip. The project will in-
clude a hotel, luxury apartments
and exclusive stores. Siemens
will provide advanced technolo-
gies for the complex, which is
the city’s largest, privately financed construction project .
City within a City
A city within the city is taking shape in Las Vegas — with pioneering technologies from Siemens that will increase comfort, improve security and limit environmental impact.
experts from operating companies and from
Siemens Corporate Research (SCR) to identify
suitable technologies for MGM MIRAGE. For example, Siemens Building Technologies
is looking at the latest building management
systems and sensors. Communications is
looking at ways to improve communications
for guests. Even Siemens’ home appliances
business is involved. SCR is applying the latest
in scenario planning technology to develop a
picture of life and technology at Project CITY-
CENTER in 2010. This tightly focused “Picture
of the Future” will assist Siemens in exploring
potential applications and in helping MGM
MIRAGE to visualize the impact of key tech-
nologies on the project as a whole.
Green Buildings. Perhaps the greatest
opportunities for both companies lie in the
determination of MGM MIRAGE to create an
environmentally-friendly “green” building on
the Las Vegas strip. In the late 1990s, a
government program created the U.S. Green
Building Council (USGBC). This organization
sought to embed environmental conscious-
ness into the building industry by showing
how building “green” not only impacts the
environment favorably but can also lead to
bottom-line benefits. The state of Nevada, for
example, offers tax credits based on adher-
ence to certain USGBC requirements — re-
quirements that many Siemens technologies
can help MGM MIRAGE to meet. If it qualifies,
MGM MIRAGE can achieve major savings.
Here are some examples of how Siemens
can help: Innovative OSRAM Sylvania lighting
systems can significantly cut the power
requirements in lighting the entire complex.
Siemens Building Technologies can offer co-
generation capabilities and electrical infra-
structure to allow Project CITYCENTER to effi-
ciently provide some of the electricity it uses.
This is critical in a city in which 50 percent of
the energy used annually goes to providing
residential air-conditioning.
Perhaps most significantly, for a facility
based in a desert, Siemens can maximize
water utilization — for example, using a
water filtration plant that could recycle waste
water for use in providing environmental
cooling for residents. Recycling water, at a site
that could use up to 150,000 hectoliters a
day, could produce dramatic savings. Natu-
rally, the benefits that will result from imple-
mentation of these technologies will be passed
on to the residents and guests of the CITY-
CENTER facility in the form of lower utility costs
and a cleaner, more secure environment.
Robert E. Tevis
In the tourism global marketplace few locations can boast the sort of boom currently happen-
ing in Dubai, which is reported to be the fastest-growing city on earth. A staggering $100 billion
worth of development projects are either under way or planned for the near future in Dubai, in-
cluding 40 new five-star hotels. Little wonder then that Dubai became the location for Siemens’
first hospitality innovation summit at the end of last year.
As the centerpiece of the summit, Siemens built a model hotel to showcase its expertise and
solutions across a range of cutting-edge hotel innovations in building management and control,
guest services, communications, lighting, and kitchen appliances. The location of the hotel was
a marquee constructed on the grounds of Dubai’s race course. Visitors included hotel managers,
owners and investors. The model hotel took 40 people a total of 10,000 hours to build.
Stepping into the cooled marquee from the searing heat outside, visitors first entered a reception
area. Our tour guide checked himself in and received an RFID key card that controlled the air-con-
ditioning and lighting in his room, allowed automatic billing, and gave him entry into restricted
areas such as car parks. The check-in clerk could also immediately see the guest’s profile, which
included information about whether he was a VIP and what his native language was.
On entering his guest room, our host received a personal greeting on the interactive TV display,
together with information about the city and a “what’s on” guide. A computer controlled the
automatic blinds, air conditioning and lighting moods.
Innovations extended into the kitchen area, with electrical appliances connected via the internet.
A unique system enables residents to stream their favorite movie from a central server and watch
it on any TV display, including one mounted on the refrigerator. Furthermore, the dishwasher
and washing machine can be operated via the Internet, and thus theoretically from anywhere in
the world. A “magic mirror” demonstrated a new technology being installed in the bathrooms of a new
2,000-room Dubai hotel. A special screen is incorporated into the mirror, so that with a touch of
a button, the latest TV news and sports is beamed on to the mirror.
Guests’ requests are routed via the Siemens telephone system to a hotel operator who takes the
details and then sends a job request to the most appropriate staff member. Within minutes of
our guide making such a call, a member of the hotel staff – who had received a message on a
PDA – arrived with a bucket of ice cubes.
Rounding the corner of the exhibition, we entered the back office area via a fingerprint recogni-
tion system where the hotel’s electrical infrastructure is controlled. We also heard about the level
of savings hotel operators can enjoy thanks to innovative building management technologies,
including Osram energy-saving light bulbs, which can cut lighting costs by up to 70 per cent.
In the infrastructure room, power switching equipment was on display, along with security and
safety lighting solutions. And as we left the model hotel, we passed intrusion detection, perime-
ter access control, fire fighting and fire detection systems. The exhibition clearly demonstrated
that the latest and most sophisticated technologies can strengthen and streamline operations,
while maximizing guests’ overall experience.
In January 2006, Siemens also opened an ultra-modern information and presentation center at
its building technologies’ headquarters in Zug, Switzerland. The center demonstrates access con-
trols, integrated warning systems, climate control systems and energy management solutions. Rob Simpson
Lanni, CEO of MGM MIRAGE. “Siemens
understands our ambitious vision for Project
CITYCENTER as a unique development where
people can live, work and play.”
It is certainly no understatement to call
Project CITYCENTER an “ambitious vision.”
One acre (the size of a small soccer field) of
property on the Las Vegas strip is today worth
an estimated $20 million. MGM MIRAGE will
use 66 acres of this precious land to build a
“city within a city.” Project CITYCENTER, when
completed, will include a 4,000-room hotel
and casino, three 400-room specialized
boutique hotels, 1,650 luxury condominium
units, and over 500,000 square feet (almost
50,000 square meters) of retail, dining and
entertainment space. The timeline is also
ambitious. The project’s doors are scheduled to
open in November 2009 — a mere 50 months
after the contract with Siemens was signed.
The challenge presented to Siemens by
this project is significant. While Siemens has
the capability to supply advanced infrastruc-
ture components today, MGM MIRAGE wants
Siemens to provide systems that will still be
state-of-the-art in 2010.
The Siemens One organization immediately
assembled a team of research and development
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
Plugging into a
New Life
Electricity, clean drinking water and telecommunica-
tions are crucial requirements of our civilization and
the basis of prosperity. How can these essentials be
brought to regions that don’t even have roads? Siemens projects in Africa and Asia offer solutions.
he story is a typical one for Africa. “Seven
years ago, the government of Gabon
planned to bring electricity to the village of
Antsia,” recalls Henri Randriamanana from
the Siemens Power Transmission and Distrib-
ution Group (PTD). Power lines and diesel
generators were set up in the village, which is
surrounded by miles of jungle. The genera-
tors ran for two months, but then the lights
went out. “Because of the bad roads it was
impossible to supply the village with diesel,”
says Randriamanana.
But today, Antsia has electricity in spite of
its remote location. Some 40 streetlights
illuminate the village’s roads at night, and a
water purification unit provides germ-free
drinking water at three dispensing points. All
this was made possible by the Gabon Ministry
of Energy, which commissioned Siemens to
provide one hundred remote villages such as
Antsia with solar energy. In December 2005,
project leader Henri Randriamanana arrived
in Antsia with his team and set up the solar
streetlights as well as a 900-watt solar energy
generator for the water purification unit. “The water purification unit, which consists
of a pump, a sand filter and a UV disinfection
unit, was the biggest improvement. It has
marked the beginning of a new era for the
village,” says Randriamanana, adding that
“Infant mortality declines by 80 percent if the
water is free of bacteria and bilharzia larvae.”
And the streetlights have completely changed
the villagers’ lives. “In the evening, when it’s
pleasantly cool, people now get together to
sing, dance and play their drums. The women
can stay outside to pound manioc, weave
Thanks to solar
energy, villages such as
Antsia now have
clean drinking
water and electricity.
First Aid for the Infrastructure
he year 2005 was marked by numer-
ous natural disasters — the tsunami
in Asia, hurricanes in the U.S. and the
earthquake in Pakistan being just three
examples of the destructive force of
nature. According to the International Red
Cross, 145 million people were affected
by these catastrophes, which left millions
homeless and devastated entire infra-
D i s a s t e r R e l i e f
On December 26, 2004, a series of tsunamis devas-
tated large parts of southeast Asia, killing more than 220,000 people. Just hours after this disaster,
Siemens employees in Indonesia were already at
work repairing damaged communications equip-
ment. In Thailand, the Siemens Industrial Solutions
and Services Group installed six mobile water treat-
ment units supplied by its Australian subsidiary
Memcor, which specializes in water filters, while in
India Siemens distributed medicine, clothing and
household appliances. “All of the regions hit by the
tsunami needed this type of assistance,” says Patrick
de Royer who coordinated at Siemens Corporate De-
velopment Strategy the aid activities in the affected
countries. “But we had to decide which of the various
types of technical support we could deliver most effectively to which region.” The top priority was
placed on geographical proximity to ensure that help would come rapidly. Memcor, for example, has
long been active in the water purification sector in
Australia, which meant that it was able to put its expertise to work quickly in nearby Thailand. “In Indonesia, on the other hand,” says de Royer, “we’re
the leader in communications systems, which is why
it made sense for us to repair the damaged telecom-
munications facilities in that country.”
It’s not often that the U.S. gets hit by as many hurricanes as it did in 2005.
Katrina was of course the most damaging of the storms, killing more than
1,000 people in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Tens of thousands
were left homeless, and large segments of the infrastructure were destroyed. Many power plants were flooded as well. But it’s precisely the
power supply that is critical for helping people in such situations — and for getting devastated economic sectors back on their feet. “That’s why the power plants needed to get back online as quickly as possible,” says
William Mertes, managing director of General Industry in the Water Tech-
nologies unit of Siemens Industrial Solutions and Services. “However, doing
that first required clean water, as many plants need steam to generate
electricity.” The problem was that Katrina had also wrecked the water supply system and polluted the water with tons of mud and garbage. “This
mixture would have damaged the plants,” explains Mertes. Siemens there-
fore supplied water treatment units to the devastated areas. “This enabled
us to clean up to 2,500 liters of water per minute at each plant,” Mertes
continues. “Industrial companies were able to start up operations again,
and the region slowly began to recover.” Other Siemens Groups also provided rapid assistance. Building Technologies, for example, delivered
generators to hospitals, while Medical Solutions provided portable X-ray
machines to help treat hurricane victims being sheltered in the Houston
Astrodome, one of the main refugee centers. High-speed radio networks
were also supplied to link the X-ray units with hospitals, where doctors
were able to analyze the X-ray images. And Communications provided tele-
phones that used the Internet and a satellite connection, because most of
the conventional telephone lines had been destroyed by the hurricane.
structures. To mitigate the effects of such
tragic occurrences, Siemens provides aid
through its international Caring Hands
program. For example, regional offices in
the affected regions make donations with
funds that are collected from Siemens
employees around the world and then
matched by the company. Almost 5 million
euros was collected for the victims of the
tsunami, and a sum of $3 million was do-
nated to the areas affected by Hurricane
Katrina. Siemens also provides technical
equipment, which is indispensable as an
interim solution in areas where the infra-
structure has collapsed completely. After
all, a damaged water supply system can
be just as dangerous as the disaster itself.
Sebastian Webel
Sept. 05:Hurricane Katrina
Oct. 05:Earthquake in Pakistan Dec. 04:Tsunami Siemens Caring Hands
according to Nguyen Thi Thu Huong from
Siemens’ branch office in Hanoi, who adds:
“Besides, in medical emergencies the villagers
can now quickly contact a doctor.”
Link to the World.The telecommunications
market is also growing by leaps and bounds in
some African countries. “In Nigeria the
number of cell phone users has grown from
zero to ten million within two years,” says
Mladen Risticevic from Siemens Ltd. Nigeria.
Siemens has been present in this western
African country since the 1950s and has built
70 percent of the country’s fixed-line net-
work, including a 6,000-kilometer glass fiber
network. Risticevic and his colleagues are currently
working to extend the cell phone network.
That’s no easy task. Says Risticevic, “The
northern part of the country is desert, while
the cities in the South are literally flooded
during the rainy season. Besides, the electric
grid collapses several times every day.” The
mobile radio towers need an emergency
power supply with air conditioning, and the
control boxes must be absolutely water-tight.
So far, Siemens has set up a million cell phone
connections. Telecommunication is also booming in
Kenya, whose capital, Nairobi, is developing
into East Africa’s biggest financial and busi-
ness center. Although this country has the
largest number of Internet users in Africa, it is
still not connected to the worldwide broad-
band network. This means that access to the
Internet and phone calls to the U.S. are possi-
ble only via satellite — at astronomical prices. But all that will change by the end of
2006. Kenya Data Networks (KDN) has com-
missioned Siemens to build a 1,140-kilometer
glass fiber network that connects the coastal
city of Mombasa with Nairobi and continues
on to Uganda. The high-speed network can
transmit up to ten gigabits per second. In
Mombasa, the Kenyan net is to be connected
with the East African sea cable, which will ex-
tend from South Africa to Sudan starting in
2007. “That will integrate Kenya into the
global broadband communication network,”
says KDN Managing Director Kai Wulff.
During its operations in Africa, which
started over a century ago, Siemens has al-
ways focused on one particular concern: “It’s
important to employ local people, train them
well and ultimately transfer responsibility to
them,” says Albin Schneider. That’s the only
way to keep well-meant initiatives from turn-
ing into costly mistakes — like the old diesel
generators of Antsia. Ute Kehse
I N F R A S T R U C T U R E S D e v e l o p i n g R e g i o n s AF R I C A’ S MOS T MODE R N HOS P I TAL
The Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALCH) near Durban, South Africa, can serve
patients with a wide range of ailments. This state-operated health center has a wide range of
specialized departments, including bone marrow and organ transplantation, plastic surgery,
reproductive medicine and the treatment of burn injuries. “IALCH, which was opened in 2003, is
Africa’s most modern hospital,” says Wolfgang Christian, Managing Director of Siemens Medical
Solutions in South Africa. That’s because most of the technical equipment in this 850-bed facility,
from the telephones and the IT system to the magnetic resonance tomographs and laboratory
equipment, comes from Siemens. “Our dream was to build a world-class hospital, says Professor
Ronald Green-Thompson, the Minister of Health of South Africa’s most populous province,
Kwazulu-Natal. It’s not only the ultramodern equipment of the IALCH that impresses visitors — it’s
also the hospital’s business model, a public-private partnership. The province provides the build-
ing and the medical personnel. But all of the non-medical work, such as building management
and the provision and maintenance of medical equipment is handled by a consortium of five
companies for a monthly flat rate. This solution benefits both parties. “Now we can focus all of
our energy on taking care of our patients,” says Fikisiwe Zondi, the hospital’s manager. The
consortium, whose largest partner is Siemens, is demonstrating at IALCH that it measures up to
customers’ toughest demands. “This hospital is setting the benchmarks for future projects,” says
Stuart Gray, Managing Director of Siemens Medical Solutions subsidiary Siemed. Gray is responsi-
ble for the delivery and maintenance of all of the hospital’s medical supplies and equipment. The
provincial government is particularly proud of the hospital’s
“paperless” manner of operation. All of the lab data, X-ray
images and medical reports are collected in an electronic file
that is quickly accessible from each of the 1,300 PCs and
notebooks in use at the hospital. At the heart of this paper-
less network is Siemens’ syngo platform, which makes it
possible to create images with a broad variety of equipment
and send those images electronically from one workstation to another. “The paperless system is making our medical care
much more efficient,” says Gray. The provincial government is also highly satisfied with the consortium’s work. “Thanks to
the commitment of all of its partners, this project is a com-
plete success,” says Green-Thompson.
conditions, have been specially developed for
use in Africa. “Our engineers had to fine-tune
the collectors for months until everything was
just right,” says Schneider. Today, all that’s
necessary to set up one of these solar power
stations is a screwdriver, a set of wrenches
and some muscle power. After all, there are
no cranes or power drills in the jungle. A spe-
cial paint protects the control cabinets, which
are as tall as a man, from the aggressive trop-
ical climate. The lead batteries in which the
electricity generated during the daytime is
stored have a very long service life. According
to Schneider, “After five years they still oper-
ate at up to 80 percent of their capacity.” So
it’s no surprise that there’s a lot of interest in
this equipment in the neighboring countries
of Cameroon, Congo and Equatorial Guinea.
They also have extensive jungle regions that
are cut off from the electricity network.
Calls from the Jungle.In many parts of
Africa, Asia and Latin America there is no
fixed-line telephone network. But a Siemens
project in Vietnam is demonstrating that even
the inhabitants of mountainous or jungle re-
gions can have access to a phone. Siemens
has been commissioned by the Vietnam Posts
and Telecommunications Corporation (VNPT)
to connect a total of 400 villages with the
fixed-line telephone network via a Wireless
Local Loop system by summer 2006. The “last
mile” between the villages and the fixed-line
network will be bridged by means of wireless
technology. Nguyen Ba Thuoc, Vice President
of VNPT, says, “We hope that access to
telecommunication will stimulate socioeco-
nomic development in the region.” Education
and tourism could reap particular benefits,
baskets or clean fish,” says Siemens project
leader Randriamanana, who was trained as
an engineer. “In addition, the lighting has
brought the villagers more security. In the
past, drug smugglers often used to come over
the nearby border with the Congo and terror-
ize the villagers. That has stopped.”
The government hopes that the solar units
will boost development. Electricity not only
brings light and clean water to the jungle. It
can also bring about dramatic improvements
in healthcare and education. In some of the
“solar villages” schools have been equipped
with electrical outlets that make it possible to
use computers, radios and DVD players. Even
Internet access is now possible by means of a
satellite connection. Some local clinics now
have electricity for operating a refrigerator or
a ventilator. Other villages use electricity for
interior lighting in their huts. That makes it
unnecessary to use the wick lamps that are
fueled with gas or petroleum and produce
emissions that are extremely damaging to the
users’ health. “Many African children have
damaged lungs because of these lamps,” says
Albin Schneider, regional director for Africa at
Siemens PTD in Erlangen, Germany.
The solar collectors that Randriamanana
and his team have installed in villages in
Gabon, in some cases under very challenging
In the jungles of Vietnam, radio technol-
ogy makes phone communication possible
A sound infrastructure is essential for meet-
ing the needs of every community, whether in
a big city like Bangkok or in remote regions in
Africa. And this poses major challenges, par-
ticularly for the world’s booming megacities.
Infrastructure is the key to securing industrial
production and commerce, and for providing
power, water, telecommunications and trans-
port. Siemens is the world’s leading provider
of innovative solutions for all of these areas.
(pp. 13, 15, 41)
Siemens’ power plants belong to the most
modern and environmentally friendly power
plants in the world. In Irsching, Bavaria, for
example, the company is building a combined
cycle power plant with an overall efficiency of
over 60 percent — a new world record. In
addition to generating energy, a Siemens-built
power plant in Abu Dhabi is also providing
drinking water. Here, a combined cycle power
plant and seawater desalination facility has an
output of 1,500 megawatts and supplies
450,000 cubic meters of water a day. And in
Unterhaching, near Munich, Siemens is build-
ing a geothermal plant that can supply thou-
sands of homes with environmentally friendly
electricity and heating. (pp. 16, 19)
Singapore is one of the world’s most dy-
namic and prosperous cities, but it has always
relied heavily on the mainland for its water
supply. Now, a water treatment plant from
Siemens is recycling Singapore’s waste water
into water pure enough to drink. The plant
supplies 40,000 cubic meters of drinking water
daily, and there are plans to expand the facility.
Singapore expects the plant to meet 20 per-
cent of the city’s water needs by 2012. (p. 22)
Siemens played a key role in providing the
public transportation system used by Bangkok’s
6.5 million inhabitants. The project included a
new subway and Skytrain that are helping to
relieve traffic congestion and improve air qual-
ity.And in Spain, Europe’s fastest train, the
Siemens Velaro, has cut the time needed for
the 650-kilometer Madrid-Barcelona route in
half to just two and one-half hours. (pp. 26, 29)
The World Cup will be a high-tech infra-
structure showcase. From tickets with RFID
chips to the latest building and security tech-
nologies and innovative traffic management
systems, Siemens technology is being used at
all 12 World Cup stadiums to enable fans from
around the world to conveniently and safely
follow the games and travel to them. (p. 34)
Irsching gas turbine,
Abu Dhabi power plant:
Dr. Martin von Hassel, PG
Geothermal energy:
Roland Lutz, I&S
Basslink project, Australia:
Dr. Günther Wanninger, PTD
Waste water recycling:
Dan Powell, SPL Singapore
Bangkok public transportation:
Reinhold Sarawinski, TS Thailand
Velaro high-speed trains:
Christian Schlegel, TS
Homeland Security:
Alla Heidenreich, CT
Technology for big events:
Reto-Wilhelm von Keller, Siemens One
Thomas Brodocz, RD
Infrastructure in Gabon:
Albin Schneider, PTD
Infrastructure in Nigeria:
Mladen Risticevic, Com
Infrastructure in Kenya:
Bernhard Rau, Com
Infrastructure in Vietnam:
Monika Brücklmeier, Com
Infrastructure in South Africa:
Gwen Ncube, Siemens South Africa
World Bank:
Infrastructure security:
Siemens solutions for big events:
Siemens I&S /water supply:
Siemens PG/PTD /power:
Siemens solutions for hotels:
In Brief
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE A L o o k i n t o t h e L a b
magine an ATM that can automatically
repair malfunctions within seconds and
without customers even noticing; a system
that almost never experiences faults because
it learns from its own mistakes and from
those of other ATMs; a system that is ready to
repel external attacks even before it knows
what those intrusions are,” says Christoph
König of Siemens Business Services (SBS).
For the last year or so, a ten-member team
has been working to turn this vision into real-
ity. Their ultimate objective is to ensure excel-
lent availability of secure IT systems. “Many of
the problems that afflict IT are self-inflicted,
you might say,” König explains. “And that’s in
spite of the fact that technology should really
be there to help people, not the other way
around.” In recent years, with business
processes becoming much more complex, it
has become increasingly difficult to ensure
the necessary transparency, controllability
and operating stability of the infrastructure
that supports these processes. It was in re-
sponse to these conditions that the idea of
“auto-immune systems” (AIS) first took shape.
This concept is not to be confused with the
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
medical sense of an auto-immune disease,
where the body fights against itself. Instead,
it refers to systems that automatically immu-
nize themselves. “They’ll allow us not only to
rapidly correct problems, but to prevent them
from happening at all,” says König. “That’s a
radically new approach in service manage-
ment. IBM had a similar idea with the self-
learning computer, although that didn’t go far
enough, in my opinion. Instead of a single
computer, we are working to create a fully
networked IT system that is self-learning.”
Initial Components. Although complete
auto-immune systems are still a vision, the
first three components of such a system have
been available since October 2005. The first
of these is Corporate Error Analysis (CEA),
which provides an overview of an IT system’s
availability and security. A Microsoft-based
software package gathers and evaluates
information in order to propose solutions
whenever memory capacity drops, updates
don’t function properly or programs crash.
CEA was installed last November at the SBS
location in Paderborn, Germany, which has
1,700 computers. “CEA gives us an overview
of the most common problems,” explains
project coordinator Fritz Greisinger from FSC. The second component is Remote Services
(RS). With RS, a server will report in “sick”
whenever it has a problem. If the temperature
is too high, memory capacity becomes
insufficient, or workload hits a ceiling value
over an extended period of time, the server
automatically transmits an alarm message. Finally, Advanced Patch Management (APM)
provides fast, effective software updates. This
third component is being used by the Landes-
bank Rheinland-Pfalz, a large German bank,
to supply 2,000 systems at one location with
security patches within two hours. In the
past, this would have taken up to two days.
These three components are just the be-
ginning. The SBS team is also planning to
complete development of a “Service Engine”
by Fall of this year. This provides the basis that
systems need to repair themselves and immu-
nize themselves against faults. As soon as a
fault occurs in an IT system, the Service
Engine carries out first-aid measures. A few
seconds later, normal operation resumes
without the user having even been aware of
the problem. The Service Engine also contin-
ues to inquire if the measures have fixed the
fault and if there have been any side-effects.
On this basis, it can determine if further ac-
tion is needed and automatically carry it out.
This continuously improves the tool’s quality.
The Service Engine learns from its mistakes
and steadily strengthens its immunity to at-
tacks. In doing so, it uses not only individual
solutions but also the databases of software
and hardware manufacturers, including
Microsoft, IBM and SAP. After all, many prob-
lems facing users have already been solved
elsewhere at some point. The Service Engine
works to exploit this know-how and searches
for possible solutions in many different loca-
tions. “Our aim is to network as many solu-
tions as possible,” says König. Auto-immune systems also bring big
changes to service management, which
usually employs a three-tier concept. First-
level support processes incoming inquiries
and receives assistance for complex problems
from second-level support; third-level sup-
port, meanwhile, takes care of any special
problems requiring expertise in specific areas.
With the advent of auto-immune systems,
employees at the first and second support
levels will be largely replaced by the Service
Engine — except, that is, when facing first-
time problems, which require human input.
And while there will still be employees work-
ing at the second level, their job will change.
They will be responsible for administering the
“policies” upon which the system is based. now it’s just days. And in the future it will be
only a matter of hours.” When an attack takes
place today, the software manufacturer releases
a patch, and hackers immediately begin to
look for the next security gap that will allow
them to create more havoc. It’s taking less
and less time to do this, because systems are
becoming more complex and networked.
“The entire IT industry dreads the day when
the next massive attack comes immediately
after a patch has been released,” says König. Defense Strategy.That’s why the AIS team
is working to develop a Cybernetic Defence
System that can rapidly deliver an appropriate
response. This will also be based on the Service
Engine, which will once again be networked
with the databases of major software and
hardware manufacturers. In addition to having
access to comprehensive information for the
right defense strategy, the Service Engine
must also be able to evaluate any possible
negative consequences of such action and
weigh them against the risk of an attack. “If
the system concludes that a defense measure
will generate more costs than the attack it’s
In the future, the computer industry will only
have a few hours to plug security gaps.
Immunization for Computer Systems
Many IT administrators dream of a network that not only repairs itself but also automatically immunizes itself against attacks. Wishful thinking? A project group from Fujitsu Siemens Computers
(FSC) and Siemens Business Services (SBS) is using all its know-how
to develop such “auto-immune systems.” Besides the Service Engine, the AIS group
has set its sights on another ambitious goal,
this time for fall 2007: to complete the devel-
opment of a Cybernetic Defense System,
which will be capable of providing compre-
hensive IT security. “It’s a vital task, because
the rate at which viruses and trojans are prop-
agating is increasing tremendously,” reports
König. “A few years ago, the IT industry would
have had several months to plug a gap, but
designed to repel, it will opt to accept the risk
— just as a person would, only much more
quickly,” König explains.
Auto-immune systems will pay off not only
for any company with an IT system but also
for manufacturers of complex technology
such as ATMs, ultrasound and MRI scanners,
security, telematics and robotic systems, and
control equipment used in power plants or
manufacturing. Embedded systems in these
technologies are sometimes susceptible to
problems that have long since been solved in
other sectors. AIS technology is of great help
in such cases, because it draws from a broad
range of information — which explains why
the group is working closely with Siemens
Communications, Medical Solutions and Cor-
porate Technology. “We’re in a unique position
here, with our access to know-how in IT and in
hardware,” continues König. And the advan-
tage for equipment manufacturers is that they
can ship their products at a relatively early
stage. “With AIS,” König says, “we’re paving
the way for far more reliable and secure busi-
ness processes — and that means processes
with much higher efficiency.” Gitta Rohling
Service Engine Auto Immune System
3rd Level Service
Diagnostic system,
data management
As the main line of defense against hackers, the Service Engine provides first
aid, makes use of databases, combines existing solutions and learns from its
mistakes — while learning how to strengthen its immunity to attacks.
Microsoft Services
Siemens Services
Service provider 1
Service provider 2
Cadarache, in the summer of 2015.
One year before commissioning of
the ITER fusion reactor, the energy
ministers of the countries participat-
ing in this major research project are
visiting the facility in France.
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
This Way to the Sun
Ships of the future will be powered by a new kind of drive: electric motors
driven by a generator with supercon-
ducting coils. What’s more, a small
gas turbine will replace today’s huge
diesel engines. Page 60
The ITER fusion research reactor in
2015 — a year before its opening ceremony. A delegation from the participating countries is visiting. The
energy manager in charge tells them
about his team’s efforts to maximize
energy savings during the reactor’s operation. All of the drives and other
electrical systems in the 2,000-square-
meter facility have been adjusted to
ensure minimum energy consumption.
Electric motors still have plenty of development potential. Electric drives
are becoming smaller, more powerful
and more flexible. Page 49
By simulating rainstorms and heat
waves, a test center in Nuremberg is
making sure that large electrical
drives are up to the job. Page 58
Piezo elements, polymers and mem-
ory metals — innovative concepts for
electric motors are opening up new
possibilities. Page 64
FINE TUNING THE HYBRID Robert Peugeot, a member of PSA
Peugeot Citroën’s Executive Com-
mittee, talks about the company’s
decision to combine hybrid drives
with diesel technology. Page 54
adies and gentlemen, this is the heart of
the facility,” says the ITER fusion reactor’s
energy manager, Dr. Günther Obermeyer,
pointing to the reactor’s closed outer shell,
which looms 30 meters above him into the
sunny sky of Cadarache in southern France. “In exactly one year, a plasma will be ignited
here for the first time ever. When that happens,
Wind turbine HTS ship generator
Hybrid vehicle Piezo motors Distributed drives
Pictures of the Future | Spring 2006
he electric motor was invented some 170
years ago and has been steadily refined
ever since. You might therefore assume that
its technological potential would have been
exhausted by now — but that’s not the case.
In fact, experts look more than a little sur-
prised when asked if major advances are still
possible. “Naturally,” says Rolf Vollmer, a
developer at Automation and Drives (A&D) in
Bad Neustadt, Germany, and a Siemens
Inventor of the Year in 2005. “Innovators are
constantly improving drive technology. For
example, we’ve been able to more than
double motor torque — without increasing
the size of the motor.”
“Our range of drive systems is huge,” adds
Dr. Gerd-Ulrich Spohr, head of the Technology
Strategy department at A&D in Nuremberg.
“Some of the motors are specialized devices
produced in small lots. Others, instead, are
poduced by the million each year.” The small-
est motors are about the size of a pack of
cards and are used, for example, to move the
Rolf Vollmer (top) and his team
have developed special high torque
electric motors without increasing
their size. Below right: The 65-
megawatt motors which Siemens is delivering to a gas liquefaction
facility in Hammerfest, Norway are
the most powerful electric motors
ever built. Below left: Large motors
are also integrated into special
Siemens ship propulsion systems.
examination tables in computer tomographs.
The largest are installed in ships or help to
transport gas from offshore platforms to land-
based facilities. The output of these devices
ranges from just a few watts to 100
megawatts, and generators at power plants
can produce over 1,000 megawatts. Motor
speeds range from a few rpm —for instance,
in wind turbines (see p. 52) — to 15,000 rpm
in gas compressors. Siemens motors propel
track-based trains at speeds of up to 350 kilo-
meters per hour (see p. 29, 62), while motors
in the Transrapid maglev power it up to 500
kilometers per hour. Electric motors also con-
trol the precise movements of welding robots
and drive the conveyor belts that transport
luggage at airports.
The market for electric motors is huge.
Sales in Germany alone totaled some 8.5
billion euros in 2005. Particularly innovative
segments, such as variable speed synchro-
nous motors, are posting annual growth rates
of ten percent worldwide. Although the last
Scenario 2015
the fire of the sun will burn here on Earth.”
Obermeyer pauses dramatically. “As you know,
ITER is the Latin word for ‘road.’ And our proj-
ect here is an important step on the road to-
ward the peaceful use of fusion energy...”
“And a very expensive and long road it’s been
too,” mumbles one of the participants to his
Russian colleague.
“Please excuse me, sir,” says Professor
Takashi Murase, the Japanese director of the
ITER research center, who has overheard this
remark. Obviously, he is the only one. The
ministers from China, South Korea, Japan and
some EU countries, as well as the observers
from the Arab League and the African Union,
continue to stare at the facility with awe as if
nothing had happened. Murase bows slightly. “Compared with the
cost of the space program, which has made
only a modest contribution to solving the
world’s energy problems, the nearly five billion
euros we’ve spent on the reactor is not extra-
vagant. We have a saying in Japan, ‘Nothing
comes for free,’” he says with a smile. “Thanks
to the efforts of Dr. Obermeyer, our facility’s
operating costs will be lower than the 270 mil-
lion euros per year that had been planned.”
At this point, Dr. Obermeyer continues his
speech. “We need a great deal of energy
here. To give you just one example, we have
gigantic magnets that confine the electrically
conductive plasma. In this way, we can bring
the atoms of the hydrogen isotopes deuteri-
um and tritium so close together that they
fuse. We’ve worked out a comprehensive
concept to save as much energy as possible.
Smart electric drives that use a minimum of
electricity are a key component of this con-
cept. Let me give you a few examples. Just
look out the window. The ship that brings us
components on the Cadence River is pow-
ered by a compact electric motor with
superconducting coils. Our vehicle fleet,
which includes many of our employees’ pri-
vate cars, consists of hybrid vehicles whose lat-
est generation consumes only two liters of
diesel per 100 kilometers. And the lifting plat-
form over there is driven bysmall piezo motors
that deliver extremely high torque and don’t
use any electricity whennot in operation. But
these are modest contributions compared to
the savings we’ve achieved with the electrical
systems here in the building.As you know,
ITER was not designed to supply energy.
That’s why it has no technology for generat-
ing steam that could drive turbines. As a re-
sult, we need additional heating of almost 75
megawatts to keep the plasma, whichhas a
temperature of several million degrees Cel-
sius, burning over a long period of time.”
“That’s enough energy for a small town,”
whispers someone in the group to the Russian
minister. “I beg your pardon, that’s enough energy
for a midsized city,” the director of ITER,who
clearly has very good hearing, breaks inand
adds with a smile, “at least where I come
Dr. Obermeyer interrupts in order to pre-
vent an embarrassing pause: “By the way, out
there you can see some of the most ad-
vanced wind turbines in the world. Each one
of them delivers more than five megawatts
of power, which we use for cooling the su-
perconducting magnet coils. Their output al-
so powers the thousands of drives we use in
our vacuum unit pumps and other systems at
ITER. Because the space around the reactor is
very limited, we’ve used special motors that
are decentrally controlled and can deliver
particularly high torques in a minimum of
space. They also have built-in frequency con-
verters that can alter their speed in response
to requirements. In this way, we can save more
than50 percent of the energy, because the
motors consume only the amount of energy
they need. In other words, they aren’t con-
stantly drawing power from the grid. Of
course, you’reonly seeing part of the facility,
which covers a total area of approximately
2,000 square meters. We use energy-saving
drive systems in all of our other buildings,
which are also full of sophisticated technolo-
gy. In fact, according to my calculations, our
operating costs will decline by more than 10
million euros a year,” concludes Obermeyer
Many of the ministers applaud at this
point, but one turns to his German colleague
and whispers, “But that’sjust peanuts, isn’t
it?” Professor Murase has heard this remark as
well. He takes Obermeyer off to the side and
starts talking to him quietly. “Ihave the feel-
ingthat we’ll probably have to deal with a
few awkward remarks in two weeks at the
G10 summit meeting in Marseille,” he says.
“Please make sure that you are as well pre-
pared then asyou’ve been today. We have a
saying in Japan: ‘Even if the river is shallow,
cross it as though it were deep.’”
Norbert Aschenbrenner
Even though today’s electric
motors are the product of
170 years of technology development, they still have plenty of potential for improvement. Siemens researchers are
finding out how to make
electric motors more powerful, economical and
flexible. Their objective is to combine individual components into a harmonized drive system.
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
For instance, suppose you have a machine
with a V-belt that’s integrated into a produc-
tion chain. Even if the belt tears, the motor
driving it will continue to run.” Other units
notice the problem, however, and enable the
system to react in a predefined manner. De-
pending on the safety level, the motor is
switched off automatically and a technician is
notified, or the unit is partially or completely
shut down. “If the individual components
don’t understand each other, the disruption
could escalate and cause the entire produc-
tion system to fail,” says Spohr.
A&D refers to this modular concept, which
involves the transfer of intelligent networking
arrangement. “We worked closely with
Siemens for years before the acquisition,” he
says. It was therefore easy to install 15,000
Flender gearboxes at Dubai’s new airport to
augment drive units for the luggage transport
systems, escalators and elevators (see Pic-
tures of the Future, Fall 2005, p. 36).
Decentralized Decision Making.Airport
luggage transport systems require thousands
of motors to work together in a precisely
aligned manner. Decentralized drive systems
from A&D are perfect for this task, since they
control functions exactly where the work is
taking place. They are thus more flexible and
Martin Kaufhold, head of development of
large-scale drive systems at A&D. For exam-
ple, Siemens produces a drive system family
named “Sinamics” in which the same soft-
ware and processors control motors whose
outputs range from a few to tens of thou-
sands of kilowatts. Sinamics will be ready for
use with all A&D motors by the end of 2006.
Saving Energy with Converters.“Many
people still don’t understand the principle
behind variable speed drive systems,” says
Kaufhold. Nevertheless, the benefits are
clear. In fact, by consuming less energy, such
systems pay for themselves in two years or
less. “Imagine having a motorized pump,”
says Kaufhold. “The motor’s always on and
you regulate water flow with a tap. If you’ve
got a converter, it will regulate the flow. As a
result, the motor only consumes as much
electricity as is needed.” Depending on the type of unit, energy sav-
ings can total 30 to 50 percent (see chart).
For instance, in a pump system at LW Baden-
Württemberg, one of Germany’s leading water
supply companies and a provider of drinking
water to three million people, Sinamics “varies
flow rates between 50 and 230 liters per sec-
ond as needed,” says Kaufhold. Calculations
indicate that this will cut the company’s elec-
tricity bill by almost 200,000 euros a year.
Frequency converters are semiconductor
components that are usually installed in
switchgear cabinets next to a motor. “A crucial
issue here is energy recovery capability,” says
Dr. Hubert Schierling, who is responsible for
and plug and play systems to the world of
industry, as Totally Integrated Automation
(TIA). Ideally, such a system can configure it-
self because it “understands” its own design.
Although such continuity across components
has its price, customers value it — especially
if they’ve ever purchased cheap, separate
system components, only to discover that
motors don’t work with converters, or that
the system can’t be controlled properly. A&D’s new Flender operation fits the TIA
concept perfectly. A company that specializes
in mechanical drive technologies, Flender
produces gearboxes that support A&D’s claim
of being able to provide drive system solu-
tions from a single source. “We began work-
ing with modular systems early on,” says
Georg Boeing, head of Gearbox Development
at Flender in Tübingen. Flender is well-known
for high-performance gearboxes that operate
quietly thanks to optimized gear-tooth
cheaper to operate. Today, data and power
usually flow through a central control unit
in a star-shaped circuit. Decentralized and
networked architectures consist of smaller,
intelligent units consisting of conveyor belts,
drives, sensors and logic components. This
reduces the amount of cable needed and sim-
plifies maintenance. Ultimately, it also means
that the only components in operation are
those that are actually needed.
A&D is also exploiting innovations in vari-
able speed drives. In such systems, a convert-
er alters the frequency of the alternating cur-
rent. Because the frequency determines the
motor speed, the latter becomes variable.
“This gives the motor intelligence,” says Dr.
Totally Integrated Automation is industry’s
answer to plug and play.
predevelopment of standard drives at A&D.
“For example, when a motor is braked
sharply, the excess energy often ends up in a
resistor in the converter, which then heats
up.” In elevators, around 30 percent of the en-
ergy is consumed in this way. “However,” says
Schierling, “we already have converters in our
decentralized automation systems that return
this energy to the power network. And that
puts Siemens in a unique position.” Schierling
believes that such systems will eventually be-
come standard. Another important task is to ensure that
the converter electronics and the power net-
work are compatible. For example, rapid
changes in switching operations should not
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Power consumption (in percent)
Energy savings
Pump control system based on
use of mechanical actuator
Regulation using a variable speed drive
Pump flow rate (in percent)
For applications like a motorized pump, motors based on
variable speed drives (blue line) are far more energy effi-
cient than mechanical actuator-based systems (red line)
E L E C T R I C MA C H I N E S T r e n d s
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC MOTORS Conventional electric motors* have a rotating magnetic field that causes a magnet (rotor) to
turn. Conductors in the stationary part of the motor (stator) generate the rotating field. The rotor
can be a permanent magnet or a magnet created by an electric current. A generator is the oppo-
site of an electric motor. Here, the rotor is moved mechanically, generating electricity in the stator.
The first useable electric motors were built by Hermann Jacobi in the 1830s, but his 700-watt
ship’s drive needed expensive batteries. The breakthrough that made the electric motor practical
was the invention of the generator (dynamo) by Werner von Siemens in 1866. In 1879, Siemens
presented the world’s first electric streetcar; this was followed in 1880 by the first electric elevator.
In asynchronous motors the rotor speed is slightly less than that of the field that drives it — i.e.
the rotor rotates asynchronously with respect to the field. Around 85 percent of all electric motors
are asynchronous; such motors require little maintenance and are inexpensive to produce. In synchronous motors the turning speed is equal to that of the rotational field, which means
there is no slippage. The permanent magnets used in such motors make them more compact and
powerful than asynchronous units.
A frequency converter is a device that can alter the intensity and frequency of a predefined alternating voltage. The new voltage then powers the motor. Frequency converters make motors
more flexible and also save energy.
Torque is the leverage effect of a motor; torque multiplied by motor speed equals power output.
Torque increases with the active rotor area and the strength of the rotating magnetic fields. These
variables can be influenced through a more compact design or the use of optimized materials. A gearbox uses mechanical gears to align motor speed and torque. If speed is cut to one-tenth,
for example, torque will be increased by a factor of ten. Particularly large gear ratios are required
for the extremely slow but powerful stirrers used in aeration tanks at water treatment plants.
fifteen years have been marked by tremen-
dous cost-cutting pressure, especially due to
competition from Asia, Siemens has been
equal to the challenge. Today, A&D, which has 60,000 employees,
is growing faster than the market, and is the
leader in most power classes. The group re-
cently improved its position by acquiring
Flender, a German firm that makes gearbox
and drive systems, and U.S.-based Robicon,
which specializes in converters for large-scale
drive systems in the oil, gas, and water indus-
tries. A&D’s motors are as varied as their uses
(see box); most are standard motors, operate
at constant speeds, and run on power from
the electric grid. These asynchronous motors
are the backbone of the industry and are used
to power pumps, conveyor belts and refriger-
ator compressors. However, even these sim-
ple devices, which are relatively inexpensive
to produce, can be improved — which is why
Siemens has developed motors that can sig-
nificantly cut electricity costs (see p. 66).
“Customers don’t really want a motor; they
want motion, power and performance — in
other words, torque and speed,” says Spohr.
With this in mind, A&D developers are not on-
ly making motors more powerful, but are also
using fewer or more economical materials to
produce them. Smaller units can be used more flexibly —
one of the trends experts are observing in
machine construction, logistics and large-
scale motor development. In the future, drive
systems will have to be smaller, consume less
energy and provide more power. For exam-
ple, a robot arm contains six high-tech motors
that control the arm’s precise movements
when welding a vehicle body.
Holistic Approach. The approach taken by
A&D goes beyond the optimization of motors.
The group is involved in complete power
trains, meaning energy supply, motor, con-
verter, gearbox and brakes. Here it is crucial
that all of the components work together
smoothly. For example, sensor data from one
part of the chain is used to optimize the oper-
ation of another part. A&D has assembled
teams that examine and improve the inter-
action of power train components in labs
located in Bad Neustadt, Erlangen and
Nuremberg. “We are the only company that
does this,” says Spohr. “And that gives us a
major competitive advantage.” Siemens ex-
perts also simulate motors and entire drive
systems on computers (see p. 79).
“By creating a big modular kit, we can of-
fer customers a drive system solution tailored
to their specific needs,” says Spohr. “The ben-
efits become clear when a component fails.
In Bad Neustadt, developers are getting more power from smaller motors with the help of new coil systems and computer simulations.
* Exceptions (permanently-excited and linear motors), see pp.62-63
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
Fine Tuning the Hybrid
Inspired by Toyota’s success, automakers around the world are working on hybrid vehicles that
offer high potential fuel savings — and a green image. Siemens is developing solutions that will
help automobile manufacturers fine tune this complex technology.
ver the past few years, hardly any technol-
ogy has been as underestimated as the
hybrid drive, which consists of an internal com-
bustion engine complemented by an electric
drive. Back in the mid-1990s, the Volkswagen
Group found it almost impossible to sell its
hybrid Audi 80 Duo because of its high price.
After that setback, it wasn’t entirely surprising
that no automaker reacted in earnest when
Toyota introduced the Prius in 1997, its first
mass-produced hybrid. The ascent of the
hybrid finally began with the introduction of
the second Prius generation in 2003. Today,
the word “hybrid” is on everybody’s lips —
although unit sales remain very modest.
The hybrid boasts several advantages. Fuel
consumption is significantly lower than that of
a vehicle powered exclusively by an internal
combustion engine, especially in city traffic.
To integrate the complex power
electronics in the Prius hybrid’s engine with its electric motor,
transmission and batteries, Toyota had to come up with a
completely new design.
Carbon dioxide emissions are also much lower.
When braking, the electric machine functions
as a generator and recovers energy, which is
stored. The electric motor can also deliver addi-
tional torque during acceleration. All major auto manufacturers are currently
focusing on this topic and showing their cars at
international exhibitions in versions ranging
from micro to full hybrid (see box on p. 56).
Suppliers are also being challenged. “Without a
doubt, this is a very interesting market,“ says
Norbert Bieler of Business Development for
Hybrid Vehicles at Siemens VDO (SV).
Experts predict that 1.5 million hybrid vehi-
cles will be sold worldwide in 2012. Compared
to other vehicles, that’s not much. In 2005, for
instance, DaimlerChrysler alone sold more
than four million automobiles, an increase of
nearly four percent. But hybrid sales are grow-
ing much faster. Toyota sold 230,000 hybrid
vehicles in 2005, around two-thirds more than
in 2004. Consultants at PricewaterhouseCoop-
ers anticipate a tripling of the model types to
74 by 2010. Nine of every ten hybrid cars are
currently sold in the U.S., where a tax break of
up to $3,000 is on offer until the end of 2006.
Ten models, ranging from small cars to pickup
trucks, are now available in the U.S.
Compared to economy cars with internal
combustion engines, the hybrids score with
their green image. In slow traffic, they can
switch to 100 percent electric power, and thus
emit less exhaust and make less noise. In
Europe, however, manufacturers’ enthusiasm
for hybrids is limited. The reason is simple: In
terms of fuel economy values, diesels are
roughly comparable to hybrids. An electric
motor makes the car heavier and requires a
E L E C T R I C MA C H I N E S T r e n d s
A giant windmill points the way to the
industrial park in Brande, Denmark, where
800 men and women work for Siemens
Power Generation’s Wind Power division
one of the world’s fastest-growing wind tur-
bine manufacturers. Last year, the division
sold some 350 turbines with a combined
output of more than 630 megawatts (MW).
This year, sales are expected to increase to
more than 500 units. PG recently acquired
yet another factory for the production of
rotor blades, and in February 2006 it won a
contract to build Sweden’s largest offshore wind park (output: 110 MW). In 2004, Siemens acquired
Bonus Energy, which was established in 1980. Since then, Siemens’ contacts around the world
have led to a run on windmills built in Denmark. Along with complete wind power facilities, Siemens
also offers the automation systems needed to run them. The range of products from Automation and
Drives (A&D) includes everything from generators with gearboxes to permanently energized genera-
tors without gearboxes. A&D offers components and systems for small and extremely large turbines,
such as the ones used in offshore wind farms. “We have an excellent reputation among our cus-
tomers,” says Henrik Stiesdal, head of Technology. Stiesdal recalls the acquisition negotiations, when
the head of the Siemens team wanted to see Bonus’ list of customer complaints
— a normal request
in such a situation. But there was no such list. “We notice faults before our customers do,” says Sties-
dal dryly. The division’s technological edge is apparent in its “Integral Blade” product. No other manu-
facturer can build such large and robust rotor blades as a single unit without gluing. Siemens also
collects basic data on its products regarding performance, availability, faults, and more. In addition, it equips selected wind generators around the world with sensors for measuring the loads on rotors,
for example. The facilities are monitored remotely from Denmark. Above all, Siemens seeks to maxi-
mize the electricity yield from such parks throughout the year, and that yield is dependent on a unit’s
reliability, says Peder Enevoldsen, who is responsible for rotor aerodynamics. The rotors’ robustness
can be clearly seen when they’re put on a test rig: The 16-ton, 52-meter-long rotors from a 3.6-MW
turbine are shaken so hard that their tips bend up to ten meters in both directions. A total of four
million oscillations over a period of two months simulate the stress of 20 years of actual operation.
Stiesdal doesn’t like to predict how much more power can be gained from a wind turbine. He’s be-
come careful after predicting a limit of half a megawatt 15 years ago. Today, he tells us that his
engineers are working on a turbine that will be much more powerful than the current 3.6-MW top
model. So how much output will it have? “Just wait and see,” he says.
Bernd Müller
lead to voltage fluctuations or the creation of
alternating fields — both of which can affect
electronic systems in other devices. Filters as
big as the converters themselves are some-
times installed to prevent this. “Silicon carbide
converters will soon solve this problem,” says
Schierling. “This semiconductor is more tem-
perature resistant than today’s silicon devices.
It can also handle higher current densities
and much higher switching frequencies.” As a
result, future filters could be much more com-
pact. SiCED, a joint venture between Siemens
and Infineon, has already developed silicon-
carbide diodes and transistors in the lab. In
five to ten years, it may be possible to mount
the converter directly onto the motor, which
would simplify cabling and cooling proce-
dures. “And that will provide another boost
for decentralized drives,” says Schierling.
Harmony Increases Output.Another trend
is the direct drive, in which the gearbox func-
tion is integrated into the drive unit. This type
of motor is based on permanent-magnetic
synchronous machines. These are more
compact than other motors and generate
more output for the same power. A special
variant of such devices is the harmonic motor
developed by Rolf Vollmer and his team. The
motor’s stator, which generates a rotating
magnetic field to drive the rotor, is fitted with
two copper strands located opposite one
another — a sort of north and south pole.
Normally, a two-pole magnetic field is used to
provide rotation. However, the stator also
generates fields with more poles. “We use ten
poles,” says Vollmer. “This means we have to
design the motor cross section so that these
special magnetic waves are amplified and
others are attenuated.”
Because the magnetic field is distributed
across several waves, only one-fifth of the
magnetic flux is present in the stator. Much
less iron is therefore needed to conduct the
magnetic field. “In other words, without
increasing its size, the motor can generate
more than twice the torque,” says Vollmer,
who holds 43 patents. Because harmonic
motors have slightly higher losses, they are
not suitable for all applications, but are ideal
for those requiring very high torque, such as
plastic-injection processes for CDs. At the end of 2005, A&D presented anoth-
er innovation: the combination drive. Here,
development engineers from Siemens and
printing press manufacturer MAN Roland suc-
cessfully combined a rotary and a linear drive
in a single housing. This unique innovation
will be used in offset printing presses. Here,
the rollers must not only rotate but also move
sideways to ensure that the ink is distributed
precisely and evenly — and thus guarantee
high print quality. Up until now, manufactur-
ers have met this challenge by using an in-
flexible and fault-prone mechanical system.
The combination drive can shift the thick
rollers, which are 1.5 meters long, weigh sev-
eral tons and rotate at 1,850 rpm, some 2.5
centimeters sideways — opening up com-
pletely new possibilities for printing process-
es. The motor has been designed to run for an
impressive 50,000 hours. By comparison, af-
ter only 5,000 hours of operation, a passen-
ger car will have traveled at least 200,000
kilometers. Prototypes of the combination
drive already exist, and it could also be used
in other machines and industries. A&D also plans to further improve per-
formance using superconducting coils. For
example, the world’s first fast-rotating gener-
ator with high-temperature superconductors
will propel ships in the future (see p. 60). The
use of special materials will ensure that even
though it is smaller and more economical to
operate than conventional generators, it can
still generate four megawatts. “As you can
see, the electric motor still has a lot of poten-
tial that’s just waiting to be exploited,” says
Spohr. Norbert Aschenbrenner
Combination drive: New print possibilities
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
that it has a gasoline hybrid on its stand. It’s
good for marketing, but we believe that gaso-
line hybrids have a potential market only in
countries where the diesel isn’t properly repre-
sented — as in the U.S. Of course, a gasoline
hybrid is more efficient than a gasoline car.
But the diesel is an even more efficient engine.
So we don’t see a business case for gasoline
hybrids. After all, you get the same CO
sions but the costs are much higher. European
consumers are ready to spend extra money for
a diesel car compared with a gasoline car. But
the cost difference between a gasoline hybrid
versus gasoline, compared with a diesel versus
gasoline, is significantly higher. That might be
different for niche cars or in other markets.
But for our markets, and as a large-volume
manufacturer, we don’t see many customers
willing to pay a considerable amount of extra
money for this technology.
What are advantages of your technology?
Peugeot: Our planned diesel hybrid uses a
1.6-liter HDi engine. In tests it used only 3.4
liters of fuel per 100 kilometers. In addition, it
emits only 90 grams of carbon dioxide per kilo-
meter. We plan to introduce this car because we
believe that Europe’s automotive tax system and
people will want to bring about a significant cut
in carbon dioxide emissions, and that combin-
ing a diesel’s performance with the efficiency
of a hybrid is the best way to achieve that goal. What are current average CO
Peugeot: The average in Europe is roughly
160 grams per kilometer. And the common
voluntary target of European manufacturers is
140 grams by 2008. But I’m not sure that this
will be easy to reach.
You plan to enter the hybrid market in
2010. Isn’t that too late? Toyota has had
hybrid cars on the road for years.
Peugeot: No, that’s not too late. We don’t
believe there’s a business case for gasoline hy-
brids in Europe. So we’re not losing money by
not having these cars in our showrooms. Our
business case assumes two things. First, that
there is a real trend to reduce CO
Second: The present technology is not ready
for the market. A significant research effort
must be made to substantially reduce costs.
What developments are necessary?
Peugeot: Our project is based on using exist-
ing technology from our platform. We are
using an existing diesel engine and a auto-
mated mechanical gearbox.
Is the gearbox a prototype?
Peugeot: No, it will be available in one of our
next cars, an MPV that will be introduced in
late 2006. It’s an electronically managed
gearbox with a hydraulic control and no clutch
pedal. It is very efficient and fast, and is there-
fore ideal for our diesel hybrid because it of-
fers the best trade-off between fuel economy,
acceleration, braking, driving comfort and pol-
lution control. Other features, including the
batteries, the electric motor and the motor
management system, require more research.
In these cases we won’t be able to use existing
parts. The costs are still too high, and must be
significantly reduced.
How much more would a diesel hybrid
car cost?
Peugeot: We assume that European customers
would be prepared to pay roughly the same
premium they now pay for a diesel car com-
pared with a gasoline car. Obviously, it depends
on the car in question. For example, our 1.6-
liter diesel Peugeot 206 costs about 2,000
euros more than its gasoline counterpart.
How big is the team behind your hybrid?
Peugeot: It has been a medium-sized team for
quite a few years. But when we move forward,
we will be embarking on a major project that
will probably cost a few hundred million euros.
How many cars do you expect to sell after
Peugeot: We are convinced that we can sell
tens of thousands of cars per year. That’s not
comparable with a full blown model, which is
more in the range of 100,000 units per year.
But it’s a start at a credible level. It reminds me
of the start of the particulate filter. There we
had exactly the same incremental approach.
Now we have a three-year lead over every-
body else. When we introduced the system in
2000, we didn’t want to sell it to just a few
opinion leaders. But we also didn’t want to go
from zero to several million systems overnight.
So we chose a middle path. This allowed us to
bring all the suppliers together and achieve a
real automotive solution. Today, there are
more than one million cars with particulate
filters on the road, and everyone agrees that
the strategy worked.
Interview by Nobert Aschenbrenner
Peugeot’s hybrid concept includes a 1.6-liter diesel engine (1), particulate filter (2), start-stop system (3), 16 kW electric motor (4), automatic transmission (5), power electronics (6), 12V battery (7), power train management (8), cabling (9) and clutch (10).
which are higher than those found in today’s
electric components. ”Electric motors and
power semiconductors have been optimized
for a wide range of applications, but not for
automotive ones,” says Prof. Eckhard Wolf-
gang, Director of the Center for Power Elec-
tronics at Siemens Corporate Technology (CT)
in Erlangen, Germany.
The Toyota Prius, for example, works in the
power train with voltages up to 500 volts, says
Dr. Martin März, head of the Power Electronics
Department at the Fraunhofer Institute for In-
tegrated Systems and Component Technology
in Nuremberg. The currents reach peak values
of several hundred amperes. “To ensure system
reliability, the Prius has its own cooling water
circuit for the electronics,” says März. Then too,
the environment in an automobile is anything
E L E C T R I C MA C H I N E S H y b r i d D r i v e s
high-performance, long life battery. As a result,
European automakers prefer to view hybrids as
a supplement and are focusing on existing
technology. “Internal combustion engines have
a lot of development potential, even with gaso-
line, “ says Bieler. Direct gasoline injection with
piezo technology cuts fuel consumption by up
to 20 percent compared to the common intake
injection method. In 2005, Siemens and Bosch
won the German Future Prize for the further
development of piezo injection technology.
In Europe, the market share of diesel vehi-
cles is 50 percent; in France, it is 70 percent. So
it’s no wonder that the second-largest European
automobile manufacturer has taken a different
path. “We’re focusing on diesel hybrids,“ says
Robert Peugeot, board member responsible for
innovation and quality at PSA Peugeot Citroën
in Paris (see interview). ”We don’t see any
market for gasoline hybrids in Europe.” The
company therefore combines a diesel engine
with an electric drive, thus drastically reducing
carbon dioxide emissions. A prototype con-
sumes 3.4 liters per 100 kilometers. PSA’s goal
is to reduce costs to such an extent that by
2010 a mass-produced diesel hybrid vehicle
will cost no more than a comparable diesel, or
about 2,000 euros more than its gasoline
equivalent today. “A great deal of research will
be required to achieve that goal,“ says Peugeot.
”The deeper we delve into this topic, the
more we discover that hybridization goes far
beyond the electric drive system,” says Bieler.
According to Bieler, it is obviously important to
ensure perfect interplay between a hybrid’s
internal combustion engine and its electric
drive. However, just as important is the inter-
play with the transmission, the valve timing,
the auxiliary units and the battery, as well as a
host of electrical devices. For a hybrid vehicle
to function optimally, important decisions
must be made in milliseconds. For example,
should the electric motor be switched on and,
if so, for how long? Or:Can the electric motor
handle braking on its own or should the disc
brakes be engaged? One challenge associated with hybrid sys-
tems is how to deal with voltages and currents,
Heading for Diesel Hybrids
Robert Peugeot, 55, is a
member of the Executive
Committee of PSA Peugeot
ën, the second-largest
European passenger car
manufacturer. He is responsible for the areas of
innovation and quality. PSA Peugeot is the market
leader in diesel technology.
In February it presented a
prototype of a diesel full
hybrid car that is due for
market launch in 2010.
Have you already driven a hybrid car?
Peugeot:Yes, I’ve been driving hybrids for
years. One car has already gone to market: the Citroën C3, which has a start-stop system.
Here, an automatic system shuts down the
motor when the car stops and reignites it with
the help of an electric motor. I drove that car
quite a few years ago and even then I felt that
this technology has potential.
Can you imagine a day when we will have
a fully electric drive and no more internal
combustion engines?
and we have many issues, such as how to
increase safety. But to get to the point, the
main goals are to preserve freedom of move-
ment and better protect the environment. This
is why we are convinced that the diesel is im-
portant. Diesel engines are more fuel-efficient
than gasoline engines. For roughly the same
performance, we produce 20 percent less CO
emissions. Because we must continue to reduce emissions, we must strengthen the
role played by diesels — at least in Europe,
where they already have a market share of 50 percent.
Peugeot: I have difficulty imagining that — although PSA is one of the leaders in electric
cars. Our market share is huge, but there is virtually no market. There are many obstacles:
costs, low performance and reluctance on the
part of administrations, enterprises and private
customers. People are used to the freedom
cars provide — including the freedom to make
different sorts of trips, and not be restricted to
cities or 100 kilometers a day. Anything that
limits autonomy and raises costs, such as the
extra cost of electrical equipment and batteries
ensures that believers stay believers and don’t
become buyers.
What are the automobile industry’s most
important goals?
Peugeot: A car is of course a complex machine
What about pollution from soot particles?
Peugeot: A lot of progress has been made in
this area. For example, regulated polluting
agents have been reduced tenfold in the last
ten years. Today’s soot pollution stems from
old cars, not from Euro 4 cars. If all our vehicles
fulfilled this emission standard, local pollution
would be dramatically reduced. The particulate
filter system launched by PSA Peugeot Citroën
represents a major innovation that dramatically
enhances air quality by eradicating particles.
You decided to develop a diesel hybrid.
Peugeot: The answer is very simple. Today,
“hybrid” is a buzzword —at least in relation to
gasoline hybrids. At car shows around the
world, every exhibiting company makes sure
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
The Drive for Growth
tudies of the market development of elec-
tric drives always focus on individual indus-
tries and regions or different performance
classes (several watts to hundreds of mega-
watts). Generally, the markets for electric
drives are growing at rates of between three
and more than 10 percent. Especially in Asia,
strong demand is driving growth. In Germany,
according to the German Electrical and
Electronic Manufacturers’ Organization (ZVEI),
the sector’s sales of electric drives and acces-
sories amounted to approximately 8.6 billion
euros in 2005. A December 2004 study by IMS Research
depicts global development using the example
of alternating current (AC) and direct current
(DC) motors operated with low voltages of up
to 700 volts (graphic below). Including soft-
ware and services, the worldwide market in
this area amounted to about $5.2 billion in
2003; by 2008, the figure should be $6.9
billion. Growth is strongest for high-end alter-
nating current drives, but also for direct current
drives, for example in mining, the chemical
industry and the pulp and paper industry.
According to IMS Research, standard alter-
nating current drives with outputs of between
25 and 500 kilowatts account for over 50
percent of this market. The highest growth
rates (6.5 percent on average) are in compact
alternating current drives (outputs under 25
kilowatts). Here, sales should amount to $1.1
billion in 2008. The drives discussed in the
study are used especially in sectors such as
food processing, heating, ventilation, air condi-
tioning and in the packaging industry.
Of all regions, Asia is posting the highest
growth — particularly in China. There, accord-
ing to a Frost & Sullivan study from 2004, the
market for multi-speed drives will grow from
$1.2 billion in 2004 to $1.9 billion in 2010.
That’s more than 50 percent. This growth is
due to factors including rapid industrialization,
large construction projects and a growing
number of potential users from sectors such as
heating, ventilation and air conditioning tech-
nology. In Europe, wind energy is driving
strong growth in drives and generators. ”Instal-
lations of wind turbines will increase by nearly
15 percent per year on average until 2011,”
says Harald Thaler of Frost & Sullivan.
Market researchers of the ARC Advisory
Group trace growth for high-performance
drives back to increasing investments in pro-
duction facilities. In the future, this growth will
be driven by demand for user-friendly features
F a c t s a n d F o r e c a s t s
North America
Number of models with hybrid drive
2004 2010
2004 2010
2004 2010
384,000 490,000
and energy-efficient products. According to
IMS Research, in the future, the market
chances for electric drives will depend largely
on whether they can make a contribution to
reducing energy consumption. Hybrid vehicles are a case in point. They are
showing enormous rates of increase, although
estimates vary regarding exact figures. In
2005, approximately 300,000 hybrid vehicles
were produced worldwide; by 2010, that num-
ber should more than triple. Pricewaterhouse
Coopers anticipates nearly one million units;
more optimistic estimates assume 2.4 million.
The most important markets will be North
America and Asia. Toyota, the largest manufac-
turer by far, is planning to produce one million
full hybrids in 2010.
Sylvia Trage
Source: IMS Research
Chemicals & petroleum
Cranes &
Elevators &
Food & beverages
Machine tools & robotics
Metals &
Pulp & paper
Rubber &
Textile machinery
Compact AC Drives
Standard AC Drives
Premium AC Drives
DC Drives
Software & Services
$ million
5,165.8 5,710.3 6,057.3 6,176.3 6,368.7 6,586.6
number of units
E L E C T R I C MA C H I N E S H y b r i d D r i v e s
The smallest hybrid solution is the micro-hybrid (1). Here the internal combustion engine is
coupled with energy storage (3) via a small starter generator (2) (Pictures of the Future, Spring
2002, p. 24). This configuration makes it possible to switch off the internal combustion engine at
traffic lights or in traffic (stop/start function). In the mild hybrid version (4), the electric motor (5)
produces up to 25 kilowatts and, in addition to the start/stop function, also provides additional
torque for acceleration. In addition, as a generator it can recover braking energy (regeneration),
which it feeds into the energy store (6). The most significant savings in fuel consumption can be realized with the full hybrid (7). Here the electric motor produces 50 to 75 kilowatts of power
—enough to ensure complete electric operation, even when all the other functions are in operation. With its power electronics and a high-performance battery (8), the full hybrid features extremely sophisticated technology. The Toyota Prius, currently the most successful hybrid automobile, is a full hybrid.
but electronics-friendly. Sensitive components
must endure icy cold and intense heat as well
as powerful vibrations. And in the future,
many components will have to get a lot
smaller. “Today, a 100-kilowatt industrial fre-
quency converter sits in a large switchgear cab-
inet,” says März. “In an automobile, it has to fit
into a shoebox.“ Toyota solved the space prob-
lem with a new vehicle design, which is ori-
ented toward the hybrid. For the future, März
is working on converters that can be installed
directly in the electric motor (see p. 52). ”We
want to make the technology ripe for imple-
mentation within two generations of hybrid
vehicles — in other words, by 2012 to 2015.”
For several years, Wolfgang and his team
have been striving to make electronic compo-
nents tough enough to withstand higher tem-
peratures. In the EU’s HIMRATE and HOTCAR
projects, which have now been completed,
researchers modified silicon power semicon-
ductor modules and parts of the control elec-
tronics so that they could withstand up to 150
degrees Celsius — some 25 degrees more than
was previously possible. Siemens is playing the
leading role in the EU’s HOPE project, which
started this year. Here, 13 partners from
industry and research are investigating the
possibility of using silicon carbide (SiC) in fuel
cells and hybrid drives. SiC components can
withstand much higher temperatures and have
lower losses than silicon components. ”The
advantage would be a more compact, simpler
and lighter construction,” says Wolfgang.
Another important building block for a
future hybrid vehicle would be an innovative,
fully electric transmission that could replace
the mechanical transmission. “We are currently
investigating the feasibility of such a power
train,“ says Markus Wilke of Corporate Technol-
ogy in Erlangen. It would have to be better
than the automatic transmissions and drive
systems used in full hybrids — both of which
are very complex. In the Toyota Prius, for
example, two electric devices are linked to the
internal combustion engine via a planetary
gear. This configuration, however, reduces
efficiency because the gasoline engine’s torque
has to be converted several times before it
reaches the gearbox.
Fun to Drive.“The electric transmission would
be a revolution, “ says Heinz Schäfer, Project
Director at SV Automotive. “Simulations have
shown that the system may be ready to com-
pete,” adds Wilke. In any case, it would offer
high efficiency, and would be ideal for hybrid
vehicles since it could serve as a combination
clutch, transmission, electric motor, generator
Electric transmissions could revolutionize automobiles and be ideal for hybrids. and starter. The transmission consists of two
connected electric motors and two frequency
converters. Basically, the internal combustion
engine sets one of the electric motors in
rotation. The rotor of the second electric motor
is also set in motion. Via the converters, the
electric machines are regulated so that their
speeds are independent. The internal combus-
tion engine can thus transfer its torque variably
and steplessly to the driveshaft. To save space,
the motors are built together. They thus share
a part of their copper windings, which are
needed to induce the magnetic fields. The
electric control of this system is very sophisti-
cated. “A prototype could be ready by the end
of 2007,” says Schäfer.
Much earlier, perhaps even by the end of
2006, SV plans to have a full hybrid demo car
available for customers. ”We are building a
sports coupe with a 2.3-liter supercharged en-
gine. This will be augmented by a 75-kilowatt
electric motor, an automatic transmission and
a high-performance battery, which will enable
electric driving,” says Bieler, who believes that
hybrid technology can enrich the vehicle spec-
trum. For small cars, the main attraction will be
economy; for larger and heavier vehicles, it will
be the additional torque and functions such as
electric all-wheel drive. “We want to demon-
strate that in addition to reducing fuel con-
sumption, hybrids are also a lot of fun to drive,“
says Bieler. Norbert Aschenbrenner
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
M o t o r T e s t i n g
ed warning lights flash and blue barriers
block access to forbidden areas. Protec-
tive screens surround the test stand with all of
its instrumentation and display screens.
Such precautions are justified, because
hazardous electrical voltages lurk beyond
these obstacles. The venue is the Siemens Automation and
Drives (A&D) test center for large electrical
drives in Nuremberg, Germany. On the stand
is a frequency converter destined for use in a
freight double locomotive in China. “This
particular test takes three days,” explains
manager Robert Aust. The drive unit involved
has a rated output of 4.8 megawatts, roughly
the power of 80 mid-size passenger cars. Both in terms of size and equipment, the
A&D system test center is unrivaled. It opened
for business in January 2003 and cost 17
million euros. At present, some 30 people
Set up in an adjacent wet cell is a subway
drive unit that will soon transport people be-
neath the busy streets and avenues of Man-
hattan. This drive unit is being sprayed with
water from all sides repeatedly, ten minutes
at a time. In this way, it is possible to simulate
the sort of wind-driven water that will strike
the train’s underbelly when it rains heavily.
At the system test center, specialists
extensively test all kinds of large electric
drives under conditions that are as realistic as
possible. Here, experts focus their attention
not only on motors and frequency converters
for locomotives, trains and trams, but also on
electric motors for use in chemical and steel
plants, in oil or gas production, or aboard
ships. They also test prototypes from Siemens’
research and development departments, such
as the world’s first superconductive generator
for marine use (p. 60).
In many cases, the intended users visit the
center to watch tests in person. As far as ship
propulsion systems are concerned, it is actu-
ally common practice to have an inspector
from the ship’s owner attend the test. Even
Microsoft’s Bill Gates sent an emissary to the
acceptance-test for the two Siemens motors
Gates had ordered for his yacht. Customers
are especially amazed by the way test results
are recorded and displayed. “I’m really im-
pressed by the quality of the documentation,”
says Jeff Saldivar, an engineer at Dow Chemi-
cal, who attended the acceptance test of an
extruder drive. Some of the tests are conducted to meet
legal requirements. Electric motors must
comply with regulatory limits concerning
maximum temperatures, noise levels or vibra-
tions — and these limits vary, depending on
the location. What’s more, many users want
the drive systems they have ordered to be
tested to the fullest extent. “Especially in crit-
ical applications, customers really want to
play it safe,” explains Aust. Systems tests here
seem to bother the young technician who is
watching the monitors and the instrument
panel. In fact, he is taking off his orange-
colored ear protectors. He can read all the
essential data on his control console: power
level, voltage, torque and revolutions, as well
as oscillatory behavior, temperature and
noise level. That’s a very adequate range of
parameters in most cases for testing the
operational readiness of a drive — at least
for temperate zones and interior industrial
facilities. The Arctic or Tropics.The test center also
has a climate chamber for testing drives un-
der more extreme conditions. Here, test ob-
jects can be subjected to temperatures rang-
ing from -55 degrees Celsius to +85 degrees
Celsius and to humidity levels as high as 98
Aust’s group tests about 600 industrial
drives in projects covered by customer
contracts. That’s slightly over five percent of
the production volume of the Siemens plant
for large drives in Nuremberg. Of course, in addition to these special
tests, every product that leaves the plant
undergoes routine final testing right after
final assembly. In addition to development
projects and around 600 machines that un-
dergo special testing annually, the system test
center also tests seven or eight complex drive
systems for railroad customers based around
the globe.
In the case of industrial motors, a simple
product test may take half a day, whereas a
systems test under load might require four
weeks, depending on customer require-
ments. But a test of a train drive system may
Testing a complex drive system can take an entire year.
A superconducting shipboard generator
undergoes endurance testing at the system test center. Technicians monitor its operation at computer terminals (large picture). The hardest part was rigging and installation.
work there. “Our team includes engineers and
technicians as well as electricians and metal-
workers,” Aust reports. Its two large depart-
ments — Rail Systems Testing and Systems &
Machines Testing — include five test bays and
occupy an area of 4,000 square meters.
Up to six tests can be set up concurrently in
Rail Systems Testing. “But then we’d be
running two shifts,” says Aust.
Alongside the converter, Aust’s employees
are also testing the motor for one of the
Chinese locomotives in one of the test bays.
These tests simulate actual trips down to the
last detail: A virtual train travels along uphill
and downhill grades, and negotiates tight
turns. A load machine simulates the weight
the drive must propel at a specified speed.
The test system also factors in the train’s
aerodynamic characteristics and the resulting
also include the software. That’s especially
important for converters and control systems
for train motors, because every rail project
differs in some essential details from its pred-
ecessor when it comes to software. A total of 32 transformers, stacked two
stories high along one of the sides of the
building — plus even more transformers in
the basement — provide the test center with
electric power at any required voltage. In Rail
Systems Testing, individual machines can be
operated under load at levels of up to 1.6
megawatts. The maximum speed is 6,000
rpm, and available voltages range from 400
volts to 30 kilovolts a.c. In the adjacent de-
partment for industrial drives, the maximum
power level is as high as five megawatts, the
equivalent of 6,800 hp. The machine in Test Bay 2 is emitting a
piercing whine. But this noise level doesn’t
percent — in other words, from bitter arctic
cold to the sweltering heat of the tropics. In many cases, the harsh operating condi-
tions under which Siemens drives have to
operate can be very accurately mimicked in
computer models. As a result, there are few
surprises in actual endurance tests. “Devia-
tions from the computed data are very small,”
notes Aust. But once in a while, a motor may
exceed a specified noise, heat or vibration
level, in which case it is returned to the plant
for reworking. In addition, experts from R&D
and design engineering use the measure-
ments to adapt their computer models.
go on for several months, sometimes even for
a whole year, because software development
for a rail vehicle is very time-consuming. And
so is test setup. To ensure that the test closely
simulates reality, the drive unit must be
installed in such a way that it experiences the
conditions it will later encounter in real oper-
ation. As Aust explains, “We fully commission
the drive system here, just as the customer
does later on.” Thoroughness and attention to detail are
of the essence, because electric drive systems
have to withstand especially demanding op-
erating conditions. “An automobile operates,
on average, perhaps 250 hours per year,
while an electric motor often has to run for
more than 8,000 hours,” says Aust. “And in
many industries our machines run 24 hours a
day, seven days a week, and 52 weeks a year.”
Günter Heismann
The Toughest of Tests
Whether destined for use in locomotives, ships or conveyor belts, all of Siemens’ large electrical
drives are extensively tested by experts at the system test center in Nuremberg before shipping. Even
the motors for Bill Gates’ yacht were subjected to their first challenging workout in this unique lab.
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
Superconducting Generators
Cruising on Cold Power The world’s first generator with a high-temperature superconductor (HTS) is designed for marine propulsion. Smaller, lighter and more powerful than conventional systems, HTS systems are suitable
for use in a range of vessel types — and even on drilling platforms.
hen Georg Bednorz and Alex Müller
discovered the high-temperature super-
conductor (HTS) properties of rare-earth ceram-
ics back in 1986, the response was ecstatic.
Right away there were visions of a host of
new applications, especially in the fields of
power transmission and advanced electronic
components. Superconductivity is the prop-
erty of having zero electrical resistance; that
is, being able to conduct electricity with prac-
tically no loss. It’s a property found in certain
substances at temperatures close to absolute
zero (-273 degrees Celsius). Although this
phenomenon had been known for a long
time, the need for a complex helium-based
cooling system made its use impractical for all
but very expensive equipment such as parti-
cle accelerators. By contrast, the new class of
HTS substances discovered by Bednorz and
“We want to determine the operating char-
acteristics of the HTS generator and gauge its
reliability,” says Nerowski, whose team de-
signed the generator. This involves intention-
ally short-circuiting the system, for example,
or letting it race with no load. So far, it has
come through its endurance tests without a
hitch. Although it has an output of four mega-
voltamperes (MVA) —enough for thousands
of households — it’s much smaller than stan-
dard generators. Like its conventional counter-
part, the HTS generator has a rotor within a
cylindrical housing called a stator. When the ro-
tor is turned by a drive shaft, its magnetic field
generates a voltage in the coils of the stator.
This electrical energy can then be harnessed. “In the HTS generator, the rotor winding is
made of HTS ceramic,” Nerowski explains.
When cooled to a sufficiently low temperature,
the HTS winding can carry much more current
than the copper wire traditionally used. As a
result, the 4 MVA HTS generator’s weight and
volume are only about 70 percent of those of
its conventional equivalent. Similarly, energy
losses are halved, which improves efficiency.
“At these dimensions, the advantages are
pretty amazing for this power range,” says
Bernd Wacker, project coordinator at Corpo-
rate Technology (CT) in Erlangen. “With a
conventional generator, the only way to boost
efficiency is to use more material and greatly
increase mass and volume.”
Slimline motor yachts. HTS generators are
being designed primarily for use in “all-elec-
tric” ships (AES). In such vessels, the screws
are not driven directly by diesel engines.
Instead, the fuel is burned to power a gas tur-
bine, which drives the generator. The power
says Wolfgang Rzadki, who works for Marine
Solutions — part of Siemens’ Industrial Solu-
tions and Services (I&S) Group — in Ham-
burg. Rzadki is the man responsible for
launching this technology. And there is an-
other good reason for the system’s popularity.
Cruise ships and luxury yachts mostly move at
a leisurely pace, stopping at many ports, with
an occasional burst of speed. Since larger AES
craft are equipped with three or so small elec-
tric motors per screw, an optimum number of
turbines and generators can be switched on,
depending on need. This is more efficient
than running one large diesel engine at a re-
duced load. Another likely application for the
new technology will be in military craft. But
the diesel engine remains (at least for now)
the system of choice for large container ships,
because they travel at a constant speed for
long periods.
reliability. And even a short downtime of the
cooling unit wouldn’t affect overall operation,
since the system has a large thermal reserve
and the rotor is well insulated. In addition to marine propulsion, re-
searchers are also looking at other potential
uses. These include a compact unit compris-
ing a fuel tank, turbine and generator that
could be packed into a container and used to
generate power on a remote island, for exam-
ple, or on container ships or drilling plat-
forms. It would also be possible to combine
the unit with the powerful, lightweight gen-
erators used in wind-power plants.
Naturally, an HTS generator requires a
high-quality superconductor. Here, Siemens is
working with Hanau, Germany-based Euro-
pean Advanced Superconductors, which can
supply the HTS wire in the requisite quality
and length. According to Managing Director
Burkhard Prause, large HTS generators will
grow in importance in coming years. “They
provide savings on two fronts,” Prause
explains. “First, they use much less primary
energy as they’re more efficient and flexible
than conventional generators; and second,
they can be up to 75 percent smaller, which
means savings on raw materials such as
copper and iron.” First of its Kind.But there’s still work to do
before an HTS generator can go into commer-
cial operation. To begin with, the system
must undergo additional testing, so the re-
search engineers can get to know its idiosyn-
crasies, especially under simulated operating
conditions. “In some areas, we’re still involved
in basic research,” Nerowski explains. “After
all, this is the first generator of its kind.” To
ensure that the system is suitable for marine
engineering purposes, engineers are also
working with Germanischer Lloyd (GL) in
HTS generators are an ideal power source
for the all-electric ships of the future.
Many of today’s cruise liners still use huge
diesel engines and generators to provide
electricity. In the future, though, much
smaller gas turbines and HTS generators
(see graphic) could be used to power a
ship’s propulsion system and onboard
equipment. Siemens engineers are con-
ducting extensive tests with an HTS generator (pictured at right).
Müller were superconducting at temperatures
above -196 degrees Celsius, making it practi-
cal to use an inexpensive liquid nitrogen-
based cooling system.
Twenty years later, a research team at
Siemens is developing one of the first com-
mercial HTS systems, although it has little in
common with the visions scientists had in the
‘80s. “Our goal is to use HTS for marine
generators,” explains Dr. Georg Nerowski of
Automation and Drives (A&D) in Nuremberg.
“If we’re successful, such generators will soon
be providing electricity for ship propulsion
and onboard electrical systems.” The principle
works, and over the last six months, the
world’s first high-speed HTS generator has
undergone extensive testing at A&D in
Nuremberg (p. 58). The system is the size of a
small car and runs at 3,600 rpm.
thus generated is fed via cable to smaller elec-
tric motors for the propellers, which saves
space. Instead of using a massive diesel en-
gine, the vessel is powered by a number of
smaller generating units, which can be better
accommodated in the ship’s hull. This will
mean sleeker designs for motor yachts, signif-
icantly reducing water resistance and there-
fore energy consumption.
Only a few of today’s ships are all-electric,
although this alternative type of propulsion is
increasingly found in cruise liners, an area
where almost every new craft is an AES. This
is also because electric drives are much qui-
eter than chugging diesels. And the electricity
produced can be used to power onboard sys-
tems for passengers, with about one third of
the power used for cooking, lighting and
amenities. “We expect this trend to continue,”
Three Siemens teams — from A&D, I&S
and CT — worked on the development of the
HTS generator. In addition, researchers at CT
also came up with a new cooling system that
can chill the high-speed rotor to -248 degrees
Celsius. Their ingenious solution uses the
generator shaft as a tunnel for the cooling
agent — the noble gas neon. The gas is first
liquefied in two bucket-sized containers and
then flows via the hollow shaft to the rotor,
thus cooling it to the requisite operating
temperature. As the neon becomes warmer, it
reverts to a gas and flows back via the same
route to the cooling chamber. “The neon
flows back and forth fully automatically,”
Wacker explains. “No pumps are needed, and
the system is hermetically sealed and mainte-
nance-free.” This is ideal for a marine applica-
tion, where simplicity of design increases
Hamburg, which determines and verifies
standards for shipping. The generator will
have to withstand a range of adverse condi-
tions, including the effects of seawater,
having to operate at a tilt, and taking on jolts
and vibrations as a ship’s hull plunges into
foaming seas. According to Rzadki, it will be five to ten
years before a commercial product is avail-
able. “Sure, a 4 MVA generator can propel a
handsome motor yacht,” he says, “but larger
ships require a system with 30 to 40 times as
much torque.” Nevertheless, Rzadki is confi-
dent that this can be achieved. “It takes time
to develop, optimize and dimension a com-
pletely new system, but there’s no doubt that
we’ll get there.” Tim Schröder
temperature super-
Gas turbine
The Transrapid magnetic-levitation train
has a special drive without wheels. It levitates
on a load-bearing and guide system, which
consists of electromagnets distributed along
the entire length of the vehicle and ferromag-
netic rails underneath the track. Electronically-
regulated bearing magnets lift the vehicle up
to approximately one centimeter above the
track while lateral guide magnets keep it on
the track. A non-contact linear motor, which
can accelerate the Transrapid to approximately
500 kilometers per hour, serves as drive and
brake. The motor works like a rotating electric
motor whose stator has been cut open and stretched out lengthwise underneath the track sys-
tem on both sides. The result is a traveling magnetic field that is converted into propulsion by the
bearing magnets on the vehicle — so the magnets correspond to the rotor of an electric motor.
The drive, including the power supply and control electronics, is not installed in the vehicle, but
built into the track system itself. Since December 31, 2002, the Transrapid has been running be-
tween the Shanghai airport and the city, a trip of about 30 kilometers. An extension of the line to
Hangzhou, 160 kilometers away, is being planned. 63
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
E L E C T R I C MA C H I N E S Rail Propulsion Systems
The Competitive Drive
Rail systems have to compete with airplanes and cars. That’s why only the most economical, reliable, fastest and comfortable trains will attract passengers. With its versatile, high-performance drives, Siemens is ensuring a competitive future for rail travel.
and there are no more electrical switchgear
cabinets in the carriages. All of which makes
the train 20 percent more spacious. It also of-
fers technical advantages: Half of all the axles
now have their own drive. This gives the train
powerful acceleration, thanks to optimal
wheel-rail contact. “And it also makes it possi-
ble for the train to climb grades of up to four
percent,” explains Moninger. “That’s twice the
performance of conventional passenger
trains.” What’s more, the train’s maintenance-
friendly construction, with easily replaceable
modules and parts with long service life,
make the Velaro platform very economical.
No Gearbox Needed. TS is also developing
innovations for local trains. One example is a
project with the Automation and Drives Group
on “a very energy-efficient drive system,” as
“We’re conducting the first tests on a sub-
way vehicle,” Löwenstein reveals. Here, engi-
neers have built the world’s first completely-
integrated, encapsulated and water-cooled
direct drive without gearbox on the vehicle’s
bogie. The encapsulation protects against dirt
and moisture and reduces noise and interfer-
ing fields. Except for two roller bearings, the
motor has no parts that can wear out. Permanently-excited motors have the dis-
advantage that losses occur as soon as the
motor is moved, even with a switched-off
drive. But passive cooling does a very good
job of discharging the heat that’s produced.
“Permanent excitation has the advantage of
being fail-safe, which means that we can use
the motor as a safe, second electric service
brake,” says Löwenstein. No second mechani-
cal service brake is required.
Direct drives can also ensure optimal con-
struction of bogies, which are mounted under
the train’s main frame. This summer, Siemens
will present the Syntegra chassis concept,
Without Sitrac, precise, dynamic measure-
ment of the motor rotation speed would be
necessary. Today, this is done by wheel speed
sensors consisting of a wheel on the motor
shaft and a magnetic sensor. These are subjected to high temperatures and mechan-
ical loads, which limit their reliability. Sitrac
doesn’t require any sensors. “That’s a big
advantage,” says Moninger. “Dispensing with
the wheel speed sensors and their wiring cuts
costs and boosts reliability.” Sitrac can be ad-
justed to any rail car. It only needs to “know”
all the relevant parameters. Sitrac was used
for the first time in early 2003, on the Renfe
Tren Civia in Spain — and today it’s installed
on several subway systems.
Storing Braking Energy.Power supplies for
trains are also becoming more reliable. “In the
future, passengers won’t even notice a power
outage if the contact wire or the contact to it
is interrupted briefly,” explains Dr. Andreas
Fuchs, Development Manager for drives at TS.
Siemens is developing an “integrated auxiliary
converter” that gets power for all auxiliary
devices, such as interior lighting, not from a
transformer connected to the overhead line,
but from the drive’s power supply. This allows
the motors to also serve as generators, which
means all electrical auxiliary systems can
function even if the overhead line fails.
Researchers also are studying gas-
powered locomotives, which emit fewer pol-
lutants. And diesel-electric drives can be more
efficient too. A large share of motion energy
is lost to resistance while braking. Some of it
could be stored by flywheels or supercaps
(high-performance capacitors) and released
during acceleration. With such capacitors, the
diesel can even be shut off entirely in stations
allowing trains to pull away on stored energy,
without emissions. In several cities, Siemens
has already installed Sitras SES, a similar sys-
tem for temporary storage of braking energy
(Pictures of the Future, Spring 2004, p. 57).
Bernhard Gerl
Dr. Lars Löwenstein shows off a stator plate for a gearbox-free direct drive. Layered into a package, these plates bear the copper winding of the drive, which clearly outperforms previous motors (graphic right).
man is listening to classical music on
headphones while his wife reads in a
leather armchair and their son watches a
video on a flat-screen display. This family isn’t
sitting in their living room. Outside, the land-
scape is rushing by at more than 300 kilo-
meters per hour. The scene is from 2007, and
the trio are passengers on the Velaro E train
from Madrid to Barcelona (p. 29). “With the Velaro concept, which is based
on Deutsche Bahn’s ICE3, we have a platform
for high-speed trains that can be used world-
wide,” says Friedrich Moninger, Innovation
Strategist at Siemens Transportation Systems
(TS) in Erlangen. There is lots of room in the
air-conditioned train, because all the technol-
ogy is installed “below the floor,” that is, un-
der the passenger compartment. There are no
heavy traction units, as in the ICE1 and ICE2,
which fully integrates drive, bogie and brak-
ing technology. “With Syntegra, we’ll save lots
of weight and open up new possibilities in rail
car structures,” promises Löwenstein. This
means rail cars can be built longer and wider,
giving passengers more room. And wear and
energy consumption will be reduced.
Greater comfort — especially due to quiet-
er motors — will be provided by a new type of
controller. “We have developed a compact
module for the control and regulation of the
drives and current converters,” reports Mo-
ninger. The Sitrac (Siemens Traction Control)
system calculates the voltage for the electric
motors with a precise computer model in-
stead of requiring complicated measure-
ments. It thus controls the inverter module,
which supplies the drives with current and
quickly regulates torque and acceleration.
Dr. Lars Löwenstein of TS Advanced Develop-
ment reports. Today’s rail vehicles usually
have three-phase asynchronous motors,
which work most effectively at high rotational
speeds. Transfer of force to the slower-
running wheels therefore requires a gearbox,
which increases energy consumption, as a
result of frictional losses. A gearbox also gen-
erates noise, needs maintenance and must be
replaced occasionally. “The new drive doesn’t have these disadvan-
tages,” says Löwenstein. “It has no gearbox
and forms a single unit with the wheelset
axles.” Its rotor’s magnetic field is generated
by strong permanent magnets made of rare
earth materials, which have recently become
economical to use. And this kind of motor
also delivers high torque, even at very low
engine speeds. Dampers
Bogie frame
Direct drive
Direct drive
synchronous motor)
Syntegra concept:
the complete integration of drive,
bogie and braking technology New gearbox-free drive with PM motor:
Noise..................90 dB(A), i.e. 80% quieter
Spur gear gearbox..........................omitted
Asynchronous motor with gearbox:
Noise..........................................105 dB(A)
Spur gear gearbox..................oil-lubricated
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
I n n o v a t i v e D r i v e s
Future Motors Take Shape
Siemens researchers are de-
veloping new kinds of drives
made of piezoceramics,
plastics and nickel-titanium
alloys. Voltages or tempera-
ture changes can be used to
deform these smart materials
in a controlled fashion. This
characteristic enables them
to power motors while also
acting as sensors.
t’s a stroke of genius small enough to fit in
the palm of your hand. Dr. Bernhard Gott-
lieb, a physicist at Siemens Corporate Tech-
nology (CT), displays an object that could be
the corner of a modern picture frame. But the
device is actually a new kind of motor and
piezoelectric drive in a compact steel casing.
It is strong enough to close a car window, but
can also detect the slightest mechanical re-
sistance. Known as a PAD (Piezoelectric Actu-
ator Drive), the device has other advantages
over conventional electric motors: It needs no
gearbox, revolves smoothly even at low
speeds, and runs almost noiselessly. What’s
more, it responds very swiftly and stops with
a precision of a few fractions of a second of
arc, or about one centimeter over a distance
of two kilometers. And that’s not all: The PAD
also saves energy, because it consumes no
power when stopped. Gottlieb can think of many uses for this
idea. The new motor could almost noiselessly
open and close windows and air vents or po-
sition welding lasers with pinpoint precision.
It would be small enough to serve as a med-
of the order of a hair’s width, power the mo-
tor. Conversely, the slightest mechanical pres-
sure causes a shift in electric charges —
which can be detected as a change in voltage.
Piezo materials consequently function both as
a motor and as a pressure sensor. “The real
challenge was how to translate the micro-
scopic expansions of the piezo elements into
macroscopic movements,” says Gottlieb. To
achieve this, the researchers mounted two
almost match-sized piezo elements — each
capable of exerting 220 kilograms of force —
at right angles to each other on a steel ring.
When out-of-phase a.c. voltages are applied
to each of the two piezo elements, their com-
bined movements cause a ring to follow a
slightly oscillating orbital path around a
tightly fitting motor shaft. As a result of the
motion, the shaft and the ring come into con-
tact. The revolving contact point between the
ring and the shaft causes the shaft to rotate.
The process is a bit like inverting the principle
of the Hula-Hoop. Using a laser, the scientists
also carved tiny gear teeth into the shaft and
the ring. “With these miniature gear teeth we
can achieve torques of up to seven newton
A Siemens team under Prof. Hans Meixner
originally developed the piezo elements for
piezo-controlled fuel injection in diesel and
gasoline engines. Suitable materials and
process technologies were provided by ceram-
ics experts headed by Dr. Carsten Schuh. And
the latter was no simple task. To move a
single valve using a modest 160 volts, for
instance, several hundred ultra-thin piezo
sheets had to be assembled into a single
stack. Hans Meixner, Dr. Klaus Egger of
Siemens VDO and Friedrich Böcking of Robert
Bosch GmbH were jointly awarded the German
Future Prize 2005 by the German president
for their piezo injection technology. Good-bye Gearboxes.Michael Mönch, who
works in Strategic Marketing at Siemens CT,
also thinks piezo technology is a winner.
“There is broad agreement that drive systems
based on molecular forces will be key for
of its length and support a weight of 100
grams. These metal alloys are already in
common use in household appliances, such
as dishwashers and coffee makers made by
Bosch and Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH (Pic-
tures of the Future, Spring 2003, p.12). But
they can also be used to widen human arter-
ies or unfold solar arrays in outer space.
“We also intend to use these smart actua-
tors in drives,” says Dr. Heinz Zeininger of
Siemens CT in Erlangen. Zeiniger combines
wires and springs into powerful motion de-
vices. One such device is made from two
wires that are tied together. When current is
passed through one wire, it heats up and
stretches the second wire. Current is then
passed through the stretched wire, which
contracts, stretching the first wire as it does
so. The sequence is then repeated. In the lab-
oratory, this two-wire drive is already setting
crankshafts in motion. A suitable sheathing
material ensures rapid cooling during the
stretching process. However, Zeininger adds,
more work is needed to fine-tune the physical
interplay of the wires. He envisions future
SMA actuators and drives capable of control-
ling a car’s rear-view mirror or air vents — or
to pump geothermally heated water from the
depths of the earth. The required heat, in that
case, would be available for free.
Plastic Hearts. A similar expansion in length
is a feature of plastics known as electroactive
polymers (EAPs). In a liquid, these long mo-
lecular chains stretch or contract when a cur-
rent passes through them. This is due to a
chemical reaction in which the polymers are
oxidized or reduced. During these transitions,
their molecular bond angles change. Such
polymers could, for instance, be used in arti-
ficial muscles. Dr. Frank Arndt heads the elas-
tomer actuator project at Siemens in Berlin.
“We apply a voltage to two thin metal layers,
between which a layer of resilient silicone is
sandwiched,” he says. If these metal plates
are oppositely charged, they attract each other
electrostatically and squeeze the silicone.
When the voltage is removed, the silicone
expands and pushes the plates apart. Such a
“plastic heart” would be inexpensive. The
design has achieved expansions of 30 percent.
“We’ll demonstrate that this plastic heart
really beats before the end of the year,” says
Arndt. Andrea Hoferichter
Siemens researcher Gottlieb
with his powerful piezo motor.
Such motors could one day replace conventional electric motors in cars (right photo).
ical robot that could distinguish between ar-
teries and bones thanks to its high sensitivity.
What’s more, the touch of a finger would suf-
fice to move it aside when the surgeon wants
to take over manually. PADs are being consid-
ered as drives for SIPLACE automatic place-
ment machines that insert electronic compo-
nents into printed circuit boards. They may
also compete with electric motors in automo-
tive applications. “They’re suitable for use as
drives for electromechanical parking brakes,
as power-window lifts with pinch protection,
for seat adjustment, or as air vent actuators,”
says Roland Keller, PAD project manager at
Siemens VDO. “They could also adjust the air
volume in an airbag precisely to the occu-
pant’s weight.” He adds that there are already
some 30 potentially interesting automotive
applications, and that initial negotiations with
automakers are already under way.
The operating principle of the new motor
is based on piezoceramic materials, which
can be made to expand or contract by apply-
ing an a.c. voltage (Pictures of the Future, Fall
2005, p. 102). These minuscule movements,
meters,” says Gottlieb. This arrangement
makes the PAD much stronger than the piezo
motors currently available for such mundane
tasks as moving doll eyes or actuating toy
train components.
Thanks to this breakthrough design, Gott-
lieb was honored as one of 12 Siemens In-
ventors of the Year 2005. Others who made
significant contributions to this development
include Dr. Tim Schwebel, Carsten Wallen-
hauer and project manager Dr. Andreas Kappel,
as well as a group headed by Joachim Heinzl,
Professor at the Technical University of Munich.
future motor generations,” he says. The tech-
nology’s potential derives above all from its
integral sensory capabilities and its capacity
to exert forces large enough, in many cases,
to eliminate the need for a gearbox.
These materials also include metal alloys
with shape memory. Wires or spring coils
made of Shape Memory Alloys (SMAs) can be
cold-formed into a wide range of shapes,
which they return to when heated — no mat-
ter how much they may have been deformed
in the meantime. A hair-thin titanium-nickel
wire, for example, can change by one-twentieth
Expanding wires and molecular chains: two exotic motors for new drive systems
I n d u s t r i a l Mot o r s
Energy Misers Worldwide, there are approximately 20 million industrial motors
— with vast potential for saving energy. Siemens is developing
solutions to protect the environment and reduce costs.
hey move escalators and ventilators,
trains and paper machines. Without elec-
tric motors, our high-tech world would stand
still. But all of this takes a lot of electricity.
In 2004, industrial electricity consumption in
Europe alone was around 950 terawatt-hours
(TWh) — which is approximately equivalent
to the output of 400 fossil-fueled generating
units with a carbon dioxide output (CO
) of
418 million tons. Drive technology accounts
for two-thirds of this amount.
Rising energy prices are forcing industry to
optimize processes, while concerns about the
environment are reflected in a growing deter-
mination to meet the obligations of the Kyoto
Protocol. Between 2008 and 2012, the EU
intends to reduce CO
emissions by eight per-
Hochbrückner. “The armature — that is, the
rotating part of the motor — also offers
savings potential. Here copper instead of alu-
minum is a very promising material because it
has a lower loss resistance. Thus we can build
motors more compactly with the same
output. We are nearly ready for mass produc-
tion,” he says. In addition, an improved venti-
lation system dissipates more heat. The lower
thermal load increases the life span of the
motor, and the lubricant remains effective
longer. This is an important aspect for cus-
tomers. Less maintenance is needed, and the
system enjoys more up-time.
“The exchange of drive components and
the use of frequency converters are impor-
Siemens solutions range
from motors with frequency
converters (left) to innova-
tive copper armatures
(right). Many of Siemens’
high-efficiency motors are produced in a factory in Guadalajara, Mexico (middle).
air conditioning. In the paper industry, for
example, a medium-sized operation will have
more than 3,000 motors running 24/7.
Quick Amortization.The technology for
saving already exists. According to the Ger-
man umbrella organization for the electrical
industry, frequency converters (see p. 50)
alone account for about 90 percent of the en-
ergy savings potential. The rest can be
achieved with energy-saving motors. How-
ever, high acquisition costs frighten off many
managers — which is a paradox, given a serv-
ice life of ten years. After all, when you have
2,000 hours of operation annually, the pur-
chase price accounts for less than three per-
Free software from A&D offers a differentiated comparison of the total costs of various
motors. For example, Sinasave calculates the savings that can be achieved by using an EFF1
energy-saving motor — and the amortization of the investment. The amortization happens more
quickly than some purchasing managers think. Fred Hochbrückner of A&D clarifies this using the
example of a 75 kilowatt motor of the highest efficiency class, whose acquisition price is approxi-
mately 2,500 euros: “At 4,500 hours of operation per year, the change from EFF2 to EFF1 creates
annual savings of approximately 340 euros — calculated for assumed energy costs of 0.10 euros
per kilowatt-hour. Thus the additional costs for acquisition are amortized after approximately
2,300 hours of operation —
that is, after just half a year.”
cent of total costs. Energy costs, by contrast,
account for over 95 percent. Decision-makers at Volkswagen have un-
derstood this fact. For over two years now,
they have consistently been replacing defec-
tive standard motors with Siemens motors of
the highest efficiency class (EFF1). “Energy
costs accumulated over a motor’s service life
far outweigh the price of the motor itself,” re-
ports André Prätzel of VW Plant Service. Even
with low industrial energy prices, the addi-
tional costs of a high-efficiency motor are
amortized after 12 to 18 months (see box),
which explains why VW is using only EFF1
motors for newly installed systems.
The latest generation of energy-saving
motors from Siemens A&D can reduce power
loss — the power converted into heat — by
up to 45 percent as compared to conventional
electric motors. For a 1.1 kW motor, that in-
creases its efficiency from 77 to 84 percent.
A&D achieves this by paying plenty of atten-
tion to the ventilation, housing and motor
winding. This includes a higher percentage of
active materials, such as aluminum, copper
and electric sheets.
“We’re working on optimizing the winding
system by using a modified manufacturing
process,” explains A&D Product Manager Fred
tant. But systematic energy optimization pro-
duces even better results,” says Michael
Schweinle of Siemens Industrial Solutions
and Services (I&S). With this in mind, I&S of-
fers a three-level concept for optimizing exist-
ing systems that ranges from the calculation
of the theoretical savings potential and
energy analysis to the optimization concept
and its implementation. “The costs, including
motors and frequency converters, are amor-
tized by the energy savings after 24 months
at most,” explains Schweinle, referring to a
pilot project at a box manufacturer.
But costs aren’t the only element in the
foreground. “For Siemens, CO
reduction is
part of its social responsibility,” says A&D
expert Zwanziger. That’s why the company is
a partner in the EU’s voluntary Motor Chal-
lenge Program. Participating companies are
obligated to save energy or to actively
support increased energy consciousness and
promote highly efficient technologies. A&D
and I&S have committed themselves to an
action plan for energy-saving solutions and
agreed on it with the EU Commission. Every-
body will profit: the drive operators, the drive
technology manufacturers, and ultimately
the environment and the people.
Evdoxia Tsakiridou
cent (as compared to 1990). That means that
when it comes to electric drive technology,
emissions should be reduced from 270 mil-
lion tons (in 2000) to 240 million by 2010.
The EU member countries must implement
these EU guidelines in national laws by 2007.
The potential is there — “especially for
auxiliary processes that do not serve produc-
tion directly,” explains Dr. Peter Zwanziger,
who focuses on the topic of saving energy at
Siemens Automation and Drives (A&D). “Such
processes include, for example, the prepara-
tion and transport of auxiliary materials, air
conditioning and waste removal.” The largest
industrial consumers are compressors, con-
veyor belts, and mixing and milling systems,
as well as pumps for heating, ventilation and
Motors are becoming more powerful while
being built with less — and less expensive —
materials, allowing them to be smaller in size.
Siemens has developed electric motors that
have more than doubled the torque as previ-
ous versions, although they are the same size.
Combination drives rotate at the same time
that they move in a linear direction. A new
motor designed for use as a generator on ships
is equipped with superconducting coils, which
helps to save space. (pp. 49, 60)
Drive systems come in a wide range, from
specialized devices built in small lots to motors
with annual production runs of more than a
million units. Their output ranges from just a
few watts to 100 megawatts; generators at
power plants can produce 1,000 megawatts.
Motor speeds range from a few revolutions per
minute (rpm) to 15,000 rpm. (p. 49)
Siemens has acquired German gearbox and
drive systems manufacturer Flender and the
U.S. company Robicon, which specializes in
converters for large-scale drive systems in the
oil, gas, and water industries. (p. 49)
Siemens is focusing on the smooth interac-
tion of all drivetrain components: energy supply, motor, converter, transmissions and
brakes. A&D calls this Totally Integrated Automation (TIA), transferring the plug-and-
play approach to industry. Before they’re delivered, large motors are extensively tested
at the system test center. (pp. 49, 58)
Variable-speed drives use a frequency con-
verter, which means the motor speed is inde-
pendent of the network frequency. Depending
on the facility in question, this can lead to energy savings of between 30 and 50 percent.
Switching to such converters pays off in two
years at the most. (pp. 49, 66)
Besides developing high-performance elec-
tronics for hybrid vehicles, Siemens is testing
an electronic transmission and building a hybrid
sports coupe for demonstrations. Siemens also
offers its Velaro concept for high-speed trains
and is developing a direct drive for local trans-
port that is more efficient, more compact and
has a longer service life. (pp. 53, 62)
Siemens researchers are developing alterna-
tive drive systems with piezo ceramics, plastic,
and nickel-titanium alloys. By applying a volt-
age or changing the temperature, these mate-
rials can be reshaped. (p. 64)
Drives in general:
Dr. Martin Kaufhold, A&D
Dr. Hubert Schierling, A&D
Dr. Gerd-Ulrich Spohr, A&D
Harmonic motor:
Rolf Vollmer, A&D
System test center:
Robert Aust, A&D
Hybrid vehicles:
Norbert Bieler, SV
Prof. Eckhard Wolfgang, CT PS 2
Dr. Heinz Schäfer, SV
Superconducting motor /generator:
Dr. Heinz-Werner Neumüller, CT PS 3
Dr. Georg Nerowski, A&D
Wolfgang Rzadki, I&S
Drives for trains:
Friedrich Moninger, TS
Dr. Lars Löwenstein, TS
Wind power plants:
Henrik Stiesdal, A&D
Energy-saving motors:
Dr. Peter Zwanziger, A&D
Piezo motors:
Dr. Andreas Kappel, CT PS 8
Dr. Bernhard Gottlieb, CT PS 8
Memory metals:
Dr. Heinz Zeininger, CT MM 3
Siemens Automation and Drives:
Introduction to electric motors:
Hybrid cars:
Miller, Rex and Miller, Mark Richard
Electric Motors, Audel, 2003
In Brief
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE Research Cooper at i on
an you have a hot head and cold feet at
the same time? Test dummies in aircraft
cabins indicate that the answer is yes. Will
that make you feel uncomfortable? Ab-
solutely. Although a dummy’s face can be
blasted with hot air from a ventilator nozzle,
its feet as cold as blocks of ice. “Achieving
exactly the right comfort level with air condi-
tioning is a highly complex science,” explains Dr. Christoph van Treeck. “Why is it
that we can freeze at a room temperature of
23 degrees Celsius, yet still be sweating at 17 degrees Celsius, like the driver who has
the air conditioning on but is still getting the
full force of the sun through a sunroof?” Dressman, a new type of test dummy de-
veloped by the Fraunhofer Institute of Build-
ing Physics (IBP) near Munich, may have the
answers. Part of a research project know as
ComfSim, Dressman also involves the Techni-
cal University of Munich (TUM), engineering
consultants Müller-BBM, the Leibniz Comput-
ing Center, and Siemens Corporate Technol-
ogy (CT). “The goal of the project is to develop
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
Entering the Comfort Zone
Together with the Technical University of Munich and other partners, Siemens is developing a unique
system that simulates air-conditioning comfort — interactively and in real time. a new air-conditioning comfort model to sim-
ulate a whole range of scenarios in real time,
interactively and in 3D,” explains van Treeck,
project manager for ComfSim at TUM’s De-
partment of Computing for Civil Engineering.
Each partner has a specific area of responsi-
bility. IBP, for example, analyzes the impact of
air currents, temperature, clothing and hu-
midity on comfort levels in buildings, aircraft
and its own flight lab, which features a sec-
tion of a real plane. This involves the use of
special sensors attached to Dressman, which
measure a range of parameters, thereby
simulating the sensitivity of human skin.
“Conventional models only apply to the
body as a whole and don’t take local differ-
ences such as cold feet and a warm head into
account. With the new setup, however, we
can determine the comfort of individual parts
of the body,” says van Treeck. “On the basis of
the models developed by IBP, our team pro-
grams the algorithms for our simulation
model. Engineering consultants at Müller-
BBM then provide us with a set of realistic
boundary conditions, such as how the surface
temperature of components changes through
the day.” ComfSim has funding from the
Bavarian Research Foundation. Huge Data Volumes. As of mid-2006, a new
Federal Supercomputer at the Leibniz Com-
puting Center will begin crunching the huge
data volumes involved in the simulations
generated by the ComfSim project. “The new
mainframe from Silicon Graphics is around 30
times faster than the current HITACHI SR-
8000,” explains van Treeck. “That makes it
one of the ten fastest computers in the
world.” It will initially be able to process 33
trillion floating-point operations per second
(33 teraflops) and will reach 69 teraflops
once it reaches full capacity in 2007. For the
first time ever, it will be possible to carry out
complex simulations of air-conditioning com-
fort in real time and to modify the scenario
interactively. This will bring major benefits for
the construction industry as well as manufac-
turers of cars, aircraft and rail vehicles.
To simulate the air conditioning in a passenger train compartment, a corresponding CAD
model is first analyzed into a lattice with several million nodes. In principle, physical equations
(Navier-Stokes) can then be used to determine the air currents. By contrast, ComfSim employs a
new method known as Lattice-Boltzmann, which is also good for calculating turbulent convective
air currents. This utilizes methods from statistical mechanics — the Boltzmann equation describes
the interactions of microscopic particles. The Lattice-Boltzmann method considers the distribution
of particle density functions at lattice nodes, rather than individual particles in space. This corre-
sponds to the Navier-Stokes equations on a macroscopic level but is more suitable for efficient
computer programming. Indeed, it enables for the first time simulations in which the geometry of the space under calculation is constantly changing , e.g. when a design engineer alters the position of an object that is obstructing the airflow in real time.
“Thanks to ComfSim, engineers, designers
and architects will already have access to sim-
ulations during the planning and design
phase. This will help eradicate errors and
therefore significantly enhance the reliability
of the draft plans,” explains Barbara Neuhierl,
project manager for ComfSim at Siemens CT. Airflow simulations have long been a
standard tool in the design of heating, air-
conditioning and ventilation systems. “Today,
simulation is common practice in many areas
of design,” Neuhierl confirms. “But it’s never
been possible before to move things around
onscreen — a desk in a virtual office, for
example — to see what effect this has on air
currents and to evaluate the results at the
same time. With ComfSim, you get real-time
simulation with interactive capability. And
that’s unique.” What are the benefits for users? “At the
press of a button ComfSim can generate the
kinds of simulations that it takes days or even
weeks to produce with conventional meth-
ods,” says Neuhierl. “Speeding up operations
and reducing development times means that
industry can produce more efficiently and
earn more money.” “When tenders are submitted in the ship-
building industry — say, for the ventilation
system in the engine room of a ferry —
design engineers only have seven days to put
together an offer,” says van Treeck. “As a rule,
it’s impossible to create a simulation model
within a week.” Yet planning errors can result
in huge costs by the end of the development
phase. “With ComfSim, engineers have a tool
that can test right away whether the pro-
posed cooling system for an engine room is
properly designed.” Comfort in the VR Lab. Another objective of
the ComfSim project is to develop a simula-
tion model for use in conjunction with a new
virtual reality environment under develop-
ment at Siemens (see p. 76). “In our VR lab,
we can literally plunge into the world of vir-
tual reality,” says Neuhierl. “Three years from
now, we will be able to sit here with decision-
makers and design the interior of a new high-
speed train. Or we’ll be able to see what im-
pact structural modifications have on a glazed
building and how this affects air currents and
fire safety in individual rooms . The system
will be able to tell us immediately where there
is turbulence, where the air is motionless,
how an open window changes the airflow,
and where the building is losing heat.” And that’s not all. The ComfSim team at
Siemens is also looking to develop an open
platform by 2008 which can be accessed by
company personnel around the world.
“Siemens operates on a decentralized basis. In
the future, a team of employees in different
locations — one from China, one from the
U.S. and one from Germany, for instance —
will be able to meet in a VR room and design
new products all the way up to a complete
power plant,” says Bernd Friedrich, head of
the Digital Products competence area at CT.
Depending on project requirements, they will
be able to work from their own PCs or in a
local VR room. “We’re getting closer all the
time to actual physical reality. The ComfSim
model takes into account not only tempera-
ture, humidity, airflow and turbulence but
also radiant heat issues such as how much
the sun heats up the surface of, say, the desk
in my office.” So, in the future, will the office
atmosphere be perfect? “As far as the air
conditioning and ventilation are concerned,
definitely!” says Friedrich with a grin.
Ulrike Zechbauer
With the help of a special test
dummy and a supercomputer, engineers can calculate in real time
the airflow in aircraft and trains so
as to optimize passenger comfort. At the press of a button ComfSim generates
simulations that used to take days or weeks.
May 2020. A tour of a future virtual automobile production cen-
ter reveals the extraordinary scope
of simulation and optimization —
as well as a case of hidden identity.
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
’m what you call a car guy. Show me any-
thing with four wheels and a motor, and I’ll
start dreaming about how fast it can lap the
north circuit of the Nürburgring, the Indy su-
per speedway or the tri-oval Daytona — some
of the toughest tracks in cyberspace. Sure, it’s
all virtual now — everything from materials
and parts design to engine, tire and vehicle
testing, not to mention the races themselves.
Whether it’s flying with air and soot
particles through a sensor or visiting
a factory before the shell has been
built — researchers are already
building the future at Siemens’ Virtual Reality Lab. Page 76
Mr. Sonn, an automotive technology
expert, demonstrates the extra-
ordinary capabilities of an advanced
simulation and optimization facility to
Research Director Bunsen. Of particular
interest to Bunsen is a visualization of
the combustion process inside a motor
that has not yet been built, and the effects of minor changes in the motor
on materials flows and logistics in the
plant where the motors will be built. TRIP THROUGH A GAS TURBINE By depicting flow behavior accu-
rately, simulation experts could
shorten the development times of
windmills, gas turbines and chemical
micro reactors —and reduce the
need for expensive tests. Page 79
The German city of Fürth has an unusual airport. Not only is there no
runway, there are no planes either.
Otherwise, the facility boasts every-
thing customers need to put state-
of-the-art systems through their
paces. Page 84
Learning software made by Siemens
is a key ingredient in products ranging
from rolling mills to water treatment
plants and dishwashers. Page 90
The simulator has long played a key
role in pilots’ training. Doctors too
are now discovering the value of simulation —for example, in learn-
ing cardiac catheterization. Page 95
But there are still plenty of real customers out
there and they still need real cars to get
around in.
Take this baby here. She’s going to be the
world’s first hybrid-electric multi-fuel-pow-
ered car equipped with a micro HCCI — that’s
a homogeneous charge compression ignition
engine — a very small yet impressive power
plant that combines near-zero emissions with
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
dvanced simulation systems are set to
usher in an era of virtual prototypes,
virtual testing, virtual training, and knowl-
edge-guided optimization that will eliminate
errors, cut costs and vastly accelerate the
development of everything from engine parts
to entire factories.
How close are we to this vision of the future?
In some cases, such as virtual training (see
page 95), the basic technology is already well
established. Other applications, such as the
use of existing software on virtual prototypes
— a new dimension in simulation that prom-
ises to accelerate development of particularly
complex systems — are just beginning to en-
ter the mainstream. Two to three years away,
depending on the complexity of the applica-
tion and on advances in computing speed, we
will see the introduction of so-called “mixed
simulation” — the combination of different
parameters, such as acoustics, flow dynamics
and function, possibly in real time. And be-
tween five and ten years from now, experts
foresee the first applications of “multi-scale
modeling” — the melding of nano level data
with entire virtual objects, thus nudging
simulations closer to reality while bridging
the gap between two categories of simulation
that are worlds apart today. Along the way,
new algorithms, some based on neural net-
works, will learn to harness the immense in-
formation content released by the simulation
of previously invisible worlds, thereby open-
ing novel ways of optimizing the objects and
systems we simulate and build. Eventually, by
2015 or so, all of these trends are expected to
converge. “At that point,” says Dr. Wolfgang
Rossner, head of the Ceramic Materials de-
partment at Siemens Corporate Technology,
Simulation takes many shapes — from the
development of a new turbine and the optimization of an entire production line
(above), to the visualization of air currents
driving the blades of a windmill (below). S I M U L A T I O N S c e n a r i o 2 0 2 0
outstanding fuel efficiency. Once develop-
ment is complete — and by the way, there’s
nothing like simulation and optimization for
accelerating that process — and the assembly
plants are humming, it’ll be bye-bye Oil Age. This car will be able to run on anything
from switch grass juice to Grand Marnier, not
to mention hydrogen. What’s more, accord-
ing to my own calculations, it will be 27.32
percent more fuel efficient than any other
internal combustion engine tested to date.
Sorry, I tend to get a bit carried away when
it comes to numbers. But numbers are what
make this business buzz. Just look at this
place, it’s nothing but numbers. I mean it’s all
simulated — the engines, the cars, the fac-
tory, the sounds, the interactions… It’s even
amazing for Prof. Bunsen, our head of world-
wide R&D. In fact, Bunsen was here just a few min-
utes ago to see how things were going. We
toured the entire plant — a virtual fly-through
you might say. We slowed down the mobile
production lines from their high-speed real
time values long enough to witness how a
simple change in a new engine component
would alter the movements and coordination
of the robots, the performance of software,
and even the associated logistics. It was a
great example of what we call “parallel engi-
neering.” Every now and then one or two engineers
from remote sites literally popped in to run
software on a virtual prototype, simulate a
remote maintenance routine, or conduct a
virtual meeting. Surprisingly for me, Bunsen
did not seem to notice any of them. But when
I pointed this out, he just gave me one of his
knowing looks and said “Mr. Sonn, it’s all in
your head.” What did he mean by that?
When we got to the control center and
saw existing software being tested on banks
of virtual monitors, Bunsen looked impressed.
But then he asked, “Are we really going to
need on-site presence?” “At the beginning, yes,” I said. “But the
system will get better and better each day.
Eventually, remote presence will be more
than adequate. You see, sir, the plant will be
equipped with hundreds of thousands of
sensors that will respond not only to local
processes, but to what other sensors are
reporting. At first, they’ll use networked gaming to
compete against each other to see which
parts of the plant can achieve the highest
efficiencies. But eventually — since they are
a learning system — they will achieve an
optimized equilibrium. If errors are detected,
they’ll be instantly corrected and the resulting
information will be used to improve processes.
Yes, sir, I expect the resulting quality levels
to be exceptionally high. Our customers will
surely love it!”
We moved on, and after a while Bunsen
stopped in front of one of the new HCCI cars,
its dirt- and scratch-resistant chameleon coat-
ing glowing like a desert sunset in a perfect
simulation of its future appearance. “And this
is the car that’s going to change the world,”
Bunsen said, giving me one of those knowing
smiles again from over the rims of his narrow
glasses. I was not sure what he meant. “Sir,”
I said with pride, “would you like to meet the
As I pronounced the last three words, the
hood grew as transparent as cellophane and
the engine, which we could now see in cross-
section, came to life with the soothing purr of
a stroked cat. I slowed down the simulation with a voice
command so that we could watch the indi-
vidual cylinders moving in perfectly choreo-
graphed rhythm, barely visible mists of fuel
spraying into the space left by each receding
head, then igniting at exactly the right
moment and with exactly the right heat
distribution pattern as each piston neared its
zenith. We were able to zoom in on these patterns
and “walk through” the mist of fuel droplets,
experiencing how the patterns changed in
response to simulated alterations in the car’s
speed, altitude and load. By reaching into the simulation I was able
to separate and enlarge individual sections of
it, and demonstrate the interactions of flow
dynamics and acoustics as algorithms neatly
optimized the outlines of each color-coded
“Thrilling,” said Bunsen, finally stepping
back from the vehicle as if the hyper reality of
the demonstrations had left him breathless.
Then, abruptly changing gears, he looked at
me and asked. “What’s it like being, well, vir-
tual?” “I don’t understand, sir. What do you
mean?” I said. “Mr. Sonn, don’t you know? Hasn’t anyone
told you? Why your very name… it means
Self-Optimizing Neural Network.”
Arthur F. Pease
Paths to
Less than two decades from
now we will be able to see,
hear, and interact with hyper-realistic products,
processes, materials and environments in their full dynamic diversity long before they exist. Simulation
and optimization will make it all possible.
optimization hold the potential to open fun-
damentally new avenues of human explo-
ration. “Simulation and optimization will
enable us to explore areas beyond any that
were accessible before,” says Prof. Albert Gilg,
head of the Simulation and Risk Management
department at Siemens Corporate Technol-
ogy. Gilg points out that the first step these
fields are making possible is virtual engineer-
ing and the transition from physical experi-
ments to virtual prototypes. “But looking
ahead,” he says, “they will enable us to work
with computers in new ways, and to detect
new principles, including things we have not
even thought of.”
To get to that point, says Gilg, it will be
necessary to develop new classes of algo-
rithms that can take today’s fundamentally
separate fields of mathematics into account.
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
ciency values of a proposed turbine blade de-
sign for a jet engine required running
“months of simulations,” says Gilg. But a new
class of patented algorithms developed at
Siemens Corporate Technology that combine
ideas from stochastics with numerical algo-
rithms “reach the same results with less than
a tenth of the effort of previous methods,” he
says. “It’s a real breakthrough because the
system, which we call RoDeO (Robust Design
Optimization), not only works much faster,
but delivers a more accurate representation
of reality. As a result, for example, we can
now guarantee with accuracy of at least 99
is already developing simulation tools for
ceramic materials that will combine the atom-
istic level with the micro structural level. Such
a convergence of capabilities will be crucial
for the development of ceramic coatings
capable of maximizing the extent to which
industrial gas turbine blades are thermally in-
sulated from hot gasses. “While detailed mod-
eling of thermo-mechanical loading and de-
gradation mechanisms has already led to a
significant extension of operating tempera-
tures of turbine blades — resulting in turbine
efficiency increases of several percent — the
next generation of thermal insulation will
These fields are:
➔ numerical simulation, which uses physics-
based models (formulas) to describe phe-
nomena, such as the combustion dynamics
associated with a proposed turbine design; ➔ discrete optimization, which specializes in
mathematical solutions to complex decision-
making processes, such as the shortest paths
for signals to travel in a dynamic network;
➔stochastics, which uses a probability-based
approach to predicting variables, such as esti-
mating the amount of water in a reservoir
based on the random distribution of rainfall
and water usage; ➔ and neural networks, a class of learning
systems based on a brain model, that are de-
signed to solve problems such as figuring out
the amount of cash that customers will with-
draw from an ATM on a given week.
Efforts to combine these disciplines are
bearing fruit. For instance, until recently,
estimating the maximum and minimum effi-
percent that an engine will deliver a value
within a predetermined range.” What’s more,
he adds, “In bridging two of the key fields of
mathematics, we’ve solved a set of problems
much more efficiently than ever before. And
these new algorithms have a huge variety of
potential robust design applications.”
Sky’s the Limit? While new algorithms are
turbo charging the visualization of gigantic
industrial systems, others are helping scien-
tists to peer inside nanoscopic worlds. For
instance, in Dr. Wolfgang Rossner’s laborato-
ries, researchers are investigating how to
build a virtual object from the ground up.
“One of our goals is to begin with virtual
materials, define their microstructures, shape
them, assemble them into a device, and
simulate the device’s behavior,” say Rossner.
Although researchers are still a decade
away from such ready-to-use advanced multi-
scale modeling technologies, Rossner’s group
need ceramics that optimize the atomic com-
position and specific nano-scaled micro struc-
tural characteristics of these coatings. This
goal can be achieved only through the inten-
sive application of multi-scale modeling,” says
Of course, much “bigger” adventures are in
store. “In the near future we will combine pa-
rameters such as acoustics, magnetic fields,
flow dynamics and function,” says Heinz-Si-
mon Keil, head of Virtual Engineering at Cor-
porate Technology. “I expect that within two
or three years it will be possible to simulate a
six-cylinder engine in real time, complete
with sound and flow dynamics.” And, as sim-
ulations of production environments are
bound to keep pace, the parallel engineering
of products and their related production lines
— including associated software — will be-
come a routine matter of clicking data sets
back and forth between groups of engineers. Simulation and optimization.These two
words will shape the industrial landscape of
the 21st Century. “In just fifteen years it will
be possible to design a new car, test it, opti-
mize it, and send the simulation to produc-
tion without ever building a physical proto-
type,” suggests Keil. Sure. Perhaps the sky is
the limit. But there are still skeptics. “I think
there are some things we’ll never be able to
simulate,” cautions Dr. Johannes Nierwet-
berg, who heads the Discrete Optimization
department at Siemens Corporate Technol-
ogy. “For instance, how do you write a pro-
gram that can accurately predict the weather
at your home several weeks from now?”
Arthur F. Pease
What kind of sound does an ICE train’s pantograph make? Simulations tell the story
S I M U L A T I O N T r e n d s
“we will be able to develop virtual engineer-
ing prototypes based on everything from the
nano to the functional level in a virtual real
environment — and have it accurate.” Where are we today? The articles that fol-
low provide impressive examples. In China,
where Siemens plans to build a production
facility for small electric motors, expensive
planning errors will be avoided thanks to a full
scale, 3D simulation of the entire facility,
complete with material flows and control
electronics. (see p. 76). And thanks to simula-
tions now being conducted by Siemens, the
eight million residents of Brooklyn and
Queens will benefit from faster commission-
ing of a planned direct current line that will
deliver an additional 750 megawatts of
power to Long Island by 2008 (see p. 82).
Formulas for Efficiency.Although simula-
tion and optimization often go hand in hand,
optimization can be applied as a stand-alone
solution in many cases. For instance, opti-
mization algorithms have improved the
through-put of assembly lines in the micro-
electronics components industry by 13 per-
cent and have considerably improved the effi-
ciency of steel production lines (see p. 87).
Postal authorities and parcel delivery com-
panies also stand to benefit from optimiza-
tion algorithms. For instance, thanks to a de-
vice called an Intelligent Singulator, which
Genc, who heads SCR’s 3D Vision and
Augmented Reality program in its Real Time
Vision and Modeling Department. Thanks to
Siemens technology, the Cologne facility can
sort some 110,000 packages per hour.
Unmatched Precision. Optimization algo-
rithms are also set to improve the efficiency
of medical imaging systems. At SCR, for in-
stance, Leo Grady, Ph.D., has developed and
patented a groundbreaking algorithm that
will soon make it possible to quantify tumor
size with a previously unheard of combina-
tion of speed and precision. After a radiolo-
gist identifies one spot on a medical image as
being part of a tumor (object one) and other
holds the broader potential of providing valu-
able feedback for patients by measuring the
extent to which a tumor has changed in size
between tests.
But optimization may have a broader field
of applications. Looking to the future, Prof.
Martin Greiner, a theoretical physicist with
Siemens Corporate Technology, says: “My
vision is a form of distributed optimization in
which complex networks function as if they
were intelligent societies.” An example is an
invention Greiner recently patented that will
allow the rotors in wind parks to optimize the
positions of their blades in response to infor-
mation provided by the first towers affected
by a change in wind speed or direction “This
will help to reduce power fluctuations and
will allow an entire wind park to function as if
it were a single entity,” says Greiner.
spots as being background (object two), the
algorithm, called “Random Walker,” defines
the probability that each pixel will belong to
one or the other of these regions by defining
an affinity between pixels based on estab-
lished biases. Essentially a segmentation opti-
mization question, the key, explains Grady, “is
to identify some relevant quantity, and mini-
mize or maximize it. The algorithm then dis-
tinguishes between tumor and non-tumor ar-
eas by weighing the affinities of each pixel.”
Siemens Oncology Care Services expects to
deploy the algorithm in its COHERENCE radia-
tion planning package to help physicians pre-
cisely see the 3D contours of tumors as well
as those of sensitive areas, such as the eyes,
that must be avoided. In addition, the product
Such networks — whether made up of
windmills, motors or molecules — will learn
from experience and will become inter-
connected in a virtually biological and social
alliance. “Understanding these networks,
their dynamics and architecture will be a
major focus of learning systems and neural
networks for the next ten to twenty years,”
predicts Prof. Bernd Schürmann, head of
Siemens Corporate Technology’s Learning
Systems department. “Forms of cooperation
take place in cells, among ants and wasps
that will have implications for the Internet, for
traffic management, for logistics and much
more. As we learn to extrapolate knowledge
from natural systems, we will use it to opti-
mize human systems and society itself” (for
more, see p. 90).
Engines of Tomorrow.Like the knowledge
revolutions triggered by the development of
the telescope and microscope, simulation and
Distributed networks of windmills, motors and
molecules will learn from experience.
New algorithms reduce the effort needed
for precise simulations by 90 percent.
was developed at Siemens Corporate Re-
search (SCR) in Princeton, New Jersey in
collaboration with Siemens Dematic and the
Siemens Technology-to-Business Center in
Berkeley, California, a bulk stream of parcels
can be separated into a single file for sorting.
The Singulator uses a multi-camera vision and
control system to provide parcel locations and
orientation in real-time to a motion control
optimization algorithm that controls the
speeds of conveyor belts to rotate and sepa-
rate parcels into single file. “The system has
been operational at UPS Cologne since
January 2006 and has already proven that it
improves collision-free parcel extraction and
eliminates carton wear-and-tear, while signif-
icantly reducing noise levels,” says Yakup
MR imaging will benefit from optimization algorithms that separate bone from tissue
V i r t u a l R e a l i t y 76
Visit to
A Virtual
World Global competition is forcing manufacturers to develop and make better
products — and to do so faster and at
lower cost. Simulation technologies and
virtual reality have a key role to play here,
as they make it possible to virtually create
products and entire production lines long
before any real machines or parts exist.
train being driven by locomotive engi-
neer Armin Richter has left the station at
the Virtual Engineering lab, and is now trav-
eling through the Tauern region of Austria.
The train is not really moving, however, as
Richter is actually sitting in a life-sized model
of the locomotive cab in the Virtual Reality
lab operated by Siemens Corporate Technol-
ogy (CT) in Munich, Germany. Overhead pro-
jectors display the route as a realistic stereo
image on a giant curved screen, and Richter
thus sees tracks, stations, and tunnels racing
toward him as he continues his trip. It’s not
as easy as it all sounds, however, since
Richter has never been in this locomotive
cab; nor have any of the other 38 test drivers
from 13 countries, who are here to put a new
model for a European-wide standardized
locomotive cab through its paces at the
Selke still isn’t completely satisfied with
the simulation tools, however. “The digital
factory could actually be further refined to
include functional control of individual
machines,” he says. A&D experts are already
simulating the behavior of numerically con-
trolled machine tools, but have not yet linked
them with other elements of the production
process. “There are still too many different
data models from the various manufacturers
of software tools,” says Selke. That means
that methods and interfaces must be stan-
dardized across all industrial sectors, which is
why Siemens participates in standardization
bodies such as ProSTEP, an association con-
sisting of 200 leading companies in the auto-
motive, aerospace, and plant construction in-
dustries, alongside representatives of other
industrial sectors.
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
Siemens facility as part of the “European
Driver’s Desk” project.
“The train drivers and the participating
train manufacturers were thrilled by the sim-
ulation,” says Bernd Friedrich, head of Virtual
Product Development at Siemens. Rail sys-
tems specialist Uwe Mades, who is working
on the project on behalf of Siemens Trans-
portation Systems in Erlangen, Germany, is
also excited, as European Driver’s Desk “en-
ables us to test various conditions and situa-
tions. Each locomotive engineer drives his or
her train under the same conditions, which
makes it very easy to compare results. This
wouldn’t be possible if we used real trains.”
The standardized cab, which was tested for
the first time two years ago, doesn’t really ex-
ist yet. However, its new control unit has al-
ready been integrated into the MODTRAIN
project that will design a modular train con-
cept for the European Union by 2007.
Friedrich’s guests in the VR lab aren’t al-
ways train drivers, of course. Some 90 per-
cent of the facility’s customers are from
Siemens groups such as Medical Solutions,
Automation and Drives (A&D), and Siemens
VDO Automotive. “They come to us because
we can support both their product develop-
ment and production planning activities with
the help of digital, numerically based tech-
niques,” says Friedrich. “Here they can test
prototypes in the early development stage be-
fore actually building them as hardware.”
Even entire power plants can be digitized —
complete with machinery, pipe systems,
wires, cables, process technology, major com-
ponents and production processes. Experts
refer to such a system as a “digital factory.” Observers in the VR lab embark on a fascinating virtual flight through a power
plant (large picture). Locomotive cabs
(above left) and entire electric motor pro-
duction plants (right) can be simulated.
ures air mass. Tiny black particles can also be
seen — diesel exhaust particulates that are
also sucked in, and that can collect as dirt on
the sensor. Friedrich clicks again to turn the
sensor and alter the air-flow direction. “This
visualization is based on sophisticated fluid
mechanics calculations whose results we con-
vert here in real time into stereo images that
run in the simulation,” he explains. “Our
colleagues at Siemens VDO want to know, for
example, what the flow field will look like,
how much air will actually flow through the
sensor, and how many dirt particles will hit it.
In other words, they want to examine and test
The projectors are turned on and the 3D
image of a head-up display mirror appears on
the screen. Forces depicted as vector arrows
impact the component and deform its sur-
face. “This animation enables our engineers
to intuitively determine where the weak
points are and where they need to optimize
the component’s design,” Friedrich explains,
and then mentions one of the most impor-
tant benefits the VR lab offers: “Our simula-
tions reduce development times by up to
30 percent.” This not only means that new
products reach the market sooner than was
previously the case; such products are also
more mature and reliable because the simula-
tions help to uncover errors at an earlier
stage. And since the required manufacturing
resources and materials have already been
precisely simulated beforehand, production
Friedrich’s colleague Carsten Selke built a
complete digital factory for electric motors to-
gether with experts from A&D in Nuremberg.
The assembly line, with everything from ma-
terial flows to plant control systems, was
planned in 3D and tested with a process sim-
ulation system. The plant is now being built in
China, and although only the structural works
have been completed to date, Siemens plan-
ning engineers can already predict how the
materials will flow during production opera-
tions, and what has to be done to ensure that
the processing steps are coordinated.
“We’re very satisfied with the support
we’ve received with our planning activities for
the new plant in China,” says Dr. Georg
Nerowski, head of the Global Motor project at
A&D. “The structured approach to process
analysis was particularly important, as it en-
abled us to obtain a very clear overview of the
plant’s resource arrangement. This, in turn,
speeded up the layout work considerably, and
the layout visualization and subsequent simu-
lation provided us with planning security
regarding the necessary investment levels.”
Flying Through a Sensor.Friedrich has pre-
pared a new simulation in the VR lab. “Get
ready for a flight through an air-mass sensor
no bigger than a penny,” he says, and then
hits a few keys on a computer that controls six
others located in an adjoining room. These, in
turn, provide the six projectors on the ceiling
of the Virtual Reality lab with image data. The
projectors use vertically and horizontally
polarized light to display the calculated stereo
images on three screens. When the engineers
or visitors put on polarization glasses, they
see everything in 3D. In this manner, they can
watch as air — depicted as flow lines —
moves through a sensor in the intake port of
a passenger car engine. A click of the mouse makes observers feel
as if they themselves are being carried along
with the air flow into the sensor, which meas-
complete system functionality.” And they
want to do so long before the sensor is built.
Mirror, Mirror on the Screen. Another sim-
ulation example involved the testing of de-
sign and mounting tolerances in the VR lab
for a new type of head-up display for vehicle
cockpits. Here, various mirrors for the display
were simulated to determine their effective-
ness in projecting high-contrast speed and
navigation data onto the windshield.
Friedrich’s colleagues at Siemens VDO in
Babenhausen were interested in finding out
which tolerances with regard to the shape
and position of the mirrors would be permis-
sible to ensure an optimal image on the wind-
shield. If, for example, the mirror were placed
in a slanted position, the result might be a
distorted image in the display.
Simulations in the VR lab reduce develop-
ment times for products and manufacturing
equipment by up to 30 percent.
Current Events
Computer simulations are an indispensable tool in industry.
They replace many physical tests, accelerate development
times and cut costs. Dynamic systems that can be visualized
in this manner range from wind and gas turbines to micro
reactors, magnetic resonance tomographs and airbags. 79
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
ometimes physics is really simple. Last
summer, for instance, during a holiday in
South Tyrol, Italy, Dr. Arno Steckenborn’s chil-
dren threw leaves into the “Waale” — chan-
nels that have irrigated the orchards in Meran
since the 13th century. At the shores, the
leaves tended to rotate without really going
anywhere, and only continued on their way
when the children helped them along with
sticks. Steckenborn, a physicist with Siemens
Corporate Technology (CT) in Berlin, is also
familiar with the phenomenon of dancing
Simulations illustrate how turbulence helps two liquids
(red and yellow) to mix better
at a high flow velocity (right)
than at a lower velocity (left). S I M U L A T I O N V i r t u a l R e a l i t y 78
launches can also be implemented more
rapidly in the factory.
Friedrich’s team requires a huge amount
of data from designers to carry out their sim-
ulations. Along with the information on the
geometric shape of the CAD models, they also
need to know which materials the product is
to be made of and under what conditions it
will operate — for example, details on the
electrical and mechanical properties of the
surrounding environment. Using this data, as
well as off-the-shelf software tools, specialists
draw up a numeric simulation model. “We
don’t develop the software ourselves,” says
Friedrich. “Our job is to make very good use of
existing complex tools.” FROM PC TO VI RTUAL MACHI NE TOOL
A personal computer as a virtual machine tool? Thomas Menzel, product manager at Siemens
Automation and Drives in Erlangen, doesn’t see this as a problem. His Sinumerik Machine Simulator
program demonstrates how this amazing transformation can be achieved. In this system, a com-
puter is hooked up to a numeric control unit — a common feature for machine tools. Menzel then starts his program on his PC, which begins acting out all the functions performed by a real
machine connected to such a control unit. Conversely, the automatic control unit reacts as if it
were communicating with an actual machine. “Our customers, who are mechanical engineers, can use the system to test and improve new machines in the design phase, and such a procedure
offers huge benefits,” says Menzel. With the Sinumerik Machine Simulator, Siemens can offer de-
signers a type of kit that already contains many machine components in virtual form, for example
delay elements. These are typically used to depict machine tool feed processes. Designers can also flexibly generate additional components and store them in a model library,
from which they can be accessed at any time. All these elements can be used by designers to cre-
ate their machine drafts in a drag & drop process, whereby a virtual depiction of the machine is
gradually generated and this depiction simulates the actual behavior of the planned machine tool
or production machine before anything is even built. Questions can thus be answered at an early
stage regarding whether the mechanical systems and software will interact properly, or whether
the future machine will actually do what it has been designed to do. Designers can find out how
fast machines will drill or mill and also determine the quality of the products they will manufacture.
Thresholds can also be tested without any danger. For example, designers can find out what will
happen if a sensor fails. In the worst case, even if a virtual machine breaks down, the “damage”
can be repaired with just the push of a button. “The investment in the simulator pays off after less
than a year,” says Menzel. “The quality of the customer’s machine tools and production machines
increases, and they can also be delivered
and put into operation much more rap-
idly.” One of Menzel’s main customers confirms this. Bernd Zapf is head of development at Heller Maschinenfabrik in
Nürtingen, Germany, one of the leading
manufacturers of machine tools and pro-
duction equipment in the automotive in-
dustry. He says his company’s experience
with the machine simulator has been so
good that “we will use it to simulate all of
our new machines.”
The original CAD model is usually first sim-
plified by the team and then freed of details
not pertinent to the simulation. This mini-
mizes computing times. After this simplifica-
tion process, the model is broken down into a
network frequently consisting of several mil-
lion tiny triangular bodies known as finite ele-
ments. Numeric procedures are then used to
compute physical conditions such as temper-
ature, pressure and force for the finite ele-
ments. Because each value can be changed
with just the push of a button, it is very easy
to run through various scenarios. The simula-
tion becomes more complex, however, when
values from different physical realms interact
with one another. For example, simulation
specialists have already succeeded in linking
procedures for fluid mechanics and acoustics,
thus enabling them to study the sound prop-
agation of air vortices created by the current
collectors on high-speed ICE trains. Holistic Simulations. “The highest form of
linkage that we’re trying to achieve is a
mechatronic simulation in which a product’s
mechanics, electronics and software inter-
act,” says Friedrich in describing his vision of a
virtual prototype. Up to now, the mechanical
aspects of a component have generally been
developed first, and then the suitable soft-
ware system. “We could speed up product de-
velopment if we could develop the software
in parallel with the design and then test both
together,” Friedrich explains. The pioneers in
this field are Friedrich’s colleagues at A&D in
Erlangen, who have already taken a step in
this direction with their Sinumerik Machine
Simulator (see box). “We will need another
two years in order to achieve complete inte-
gration, however,” says Friedrich, “We’re cur-
rently working on the development of the re-
quired methods and calculation procedures.”
Rolf Sterbak
Simulation helps engineers avoid errors from the start —be it in an air-mass sensor (left) or an automotive head-up display (right)
blade mounting on the shaft. Today, wind-
mills can transform 45 percent of the wind
energy into power. “Two to three percentage
points more efficiency could be achieved with
the new rotor shape,” Laursen suggests. That
translates into 500 megawatt hours more
energy yield in a year — and that’s what really
interests customers. Designing Turbines that Don’t Resonate.
Efficiency is also vital to gas power plant op-
erators — especially since the price of natural
gas have skyrocketed. Power authorities like
Siemens because combined-cycle power
plants made by Siemens have an energy effi-
ciency of just under 60 percent, and thus are
the most efficient in the world (see p. 16).
This achievement is largely due to the shape
of the turbine blades. In close cooperation
with Siemens Power Generation (PG), the
Simulation and Risk Analysis Competence
Center at Siemens Corporate Technology in
Munich simulates gas and steam turbine
blades in order to squeeze additional
efficiency out of them. In doing so, team
members, who are all engineers and mathe-
maticians, work in much the same way as
their colleagues in Denmark who have been
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
designing wind turbines. The rotor blades are
described mathematically by a tightly woven
net, and the computer solves the Navier-
Stokes equations. Here, the target function is
efficiency. Once a mathematical model has been cre-
ated, a cluster of workstations requires a
week to compute parameters that include
blade curvature and twist, and to find the op-
timum blade geometry. “Flow simulation
takes the lion’s share of the time,” says the
Competence Center’s Dr. Utz Wever. The spec-
ifications, however, are narrow because not
every ideal mathematical solution can be pro-
duced in a PG plant. After all, the blades have
to withstand extreme gas temperatures in ex-
cess of 1,500 degrees Celsius, which limits
the selection of materials and the range of
practical shapes.
And there’s another problem that causes
headaches. The combustion chamber of a gas
turbine, which can contain up to 24 gas burn-
ers and the housing, behaves like the strings
and body of a violin — the rhythmic oscilla-
tion of the gas flame can cause loud hum-
ming sounds at between 90 and 500 hertz. If
their frequency is in harmony with the reso-
nant frequency of the housing, the vibrations
can build up to the point where they can dam-
age the turbine. It’s a phenomenon that all
gas turbine manufacturers have to contend
with. Before things go too far, however, the
gas turbine is shut down. But that’s not exactly a satisfactory solu-
tion for operators. In order to combat this
problem right from the design phase of a new
gas turbine, PG started to develop simulation
tools to silence humming turbines. That was
three years ago, and they were supported in
their efforts by CT’s Simulation and Risk
Analysis Competence Center. In the meantime experts have managed to
recreate the ring combustion chamber in a
computer using a two-step simulation. They
can also predict why and at which frequency
the vibrations are created in different gas tur-
bines. The first step, an acoustic simulation, is
carried out in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany.
This phase simulates the pure acoustics of the
Computer simulations determine how air
currents are affected by a change in the
shape of rotor blades. What’s the optimum shape for a turbine
blade?How much does the pressure in a
combustion chamber oscillate? Computer
simulations provide the answers.
S I M U L A T I O N A p p l i c a t i o n s
leaves — especially when it comes to
channels. The only real difference is that the
channels Steckenborn works with are as fine
as a hair and are designed for micro reactors,
minuscule devices in which chemicals and
drugs will be manufactured in the future.
(Pictures of the Future, Fall 2002, p.16). To the fruit-growers of Meran the foliage is
a nuisance because it blocks drainage filters.
But the same process is at work in the chan-
nels of the micro reactors being tested in
Steckenborn’s Berlin laboratory, where chem-
icals tend to anchor themselves in spots. But
because it’s impossible to look inside a micro
reactor, Steckenborn and his colleagues make
the currents visible with the help of a simula-
tion program in which all physical parameters,
such as material characteristics, the geometry
of the micro channels and the viscosity and
temperature of the fluid are defined. The CFD program (computational fluid
dynamics) then provides current profiles,
temperature distribution — and sometimes
surprises, as in the case of a micro mixer that
was designed to mix two fluids warmed to
different temperatures. Here, a simulation showed that the two
chemicals were flowing parallel to one
another, like honey in a glass of cold milk.
While vortexes are generally frowned upon,
in this case they were the solution — the
spoon in the milk, so to speak. Steckenborn’s
team solved the problem by having one fluid
flow in slightly under the other so that it over-
shot the target somewhat and mixed with
the other fluid. The simulation showed that
this resulted in completely equalized temper-
atures in two channels at the other end of
the mixer.
Programmed Reality. ”Simulation saves
time and money, and it shows us which pa-
rameters we can adjust,” says Steckenborn.
The advantages are worthwhile even if de-
signing a model in a computer takes months.
After all, manufacturing numerous proto-
types would be even more expensive and
time-consuming. But there’s one thing simu-
lations can’t do right now: replace experi-
ments. Instead, they help researchers to
We don’t know if California’s Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was examined using
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) after his motorcycle accident in January 2006. What is certain,
however, is that the high-frequency power absorbed by the former Mr. Universe would have been
relatively high, for “muscles have a high electrical conductivity and warm up more,” says Dr. Dirk
Diehl, a physicist with Siemens Corporate Technology in Erlangen. Because a specific absorption
rate (SAR, in watts per kilogram body weight) may not be exceeded, MRI personnel have to enter
the height and weight of each patient prior to an examination. The machine then limits the high-
frequency electromagnetic pulses that stimulate tissues, causing the tissues to emit signals from
which an image can be generated. Because height and weight reveal relatively little about the ac-
tual physical condition of the patient, however, MR tomographs adhere to a generous safety mar-
gin, which — on the other hand — increases examination time and reduces the sharpness of the
image. To better utilize the leeway stipulated by statutory limits, Diehl is modeling an MR tomo-
graph with Microwave Studio software. He is also placing virtual people of varying sizes in it. In to-
tal, 40 different types of tissue have been simulated. A red color immediately tells Diehl where the
fields and the SAR values — and thus the temperature — are especially high. There are hotspots in
the tissue, for instance, near the wall of the MR tube and also in many muscles. Heavy people
have an advantage, says Diehl, because “fat absorbs less high-frequency power.” He’s also keeping
an eye on the homogeneity of the electromagnetic fields. In the newest MRI systems, which have
a magnetic flux density of 3 tesla or
higher, the intensity of the magnetic field
fluctuates greatly depending on tissue
penetration, making it necessary for a
control program to compensate for this.
But thanks to simulation, the program can
be tailored to each patient, thus making it possible to make the field distribution
more homogeneous and further improve
image quality. prepare practical tests and make decisions re-
garding where changes are worthwhile. “Like
a basketball player, we make a lunge and look
at the model to see in which direction to play
the ball,” explains Steckenborn. The micro
mixer model is thus first given the character-
istics of known agents, like nitrogen and
water. Only when the model and reality are in
agreement are other fluids sent through the
micro reactor virtually. But by then nearly any
change to, for example, the mixer’s geometry
or the temperature of the media flowing in,
can be made with a mouse click. The actual role of CFD software is to solve
the Navier-Stokes equations, which describe
fluid and gas flows. Much to the delight of
physicists, these equations are so universal
that they are as valid for hair-thin channels as
they are for a 50-meter rotor blade on a wind
turbine (see p. 52). That’s why Jesper Laursen,
an engineer with Siemens Wind Power in
Brande, Denmark, also uses the CFD soft-
ware, which, incidentally, costs tens of thou-
sands of euros. Using the software, a rotor
blade’s contours emerge on Jesper’s monitor,
Computer simulations point the way to higher efficiencies — in wind farms and combined-cycle power plants. surrounded by lines depicting computed
paths of air molecules. The air flows evenly
onto the outer two-thirds of a blade, is slowed
by it and creates suction that moves the blade
sideways, driving the generator. “Wind blade manufacturers have paid too
little attention to the inner part of the rotor
until now,” says Laursen as he points to the
area where the blade is attached to the shaft.
The flow makes a sharp bend there and
breaks off — and that costs energy. Laursen
needed several weeks to model the rotor
blade in a computer, but the effort has been
worth it. With a few mouse clicks he can now
change the position of the two million dots
that envelop the surface of the rotor like a
tightly-woven net and are stored on a 1-giga-
byte file. It then takes a day before a cluster
of several PCs has re-calculated the flow at
each point.
Laursen has saved his most promising re-
sults for an improved blade form with an even
flow from root to tip. In his simulations, the
sharp back blade edge no longer gently
changes to a cylindrically shaped base, but
runs, slightly flattened, all the way into the
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
rector of the Test and Simulation Center.
“After all, the operator wants to earn money
as quickly as possible. In addition, potential
shortcomings and project planning errors can
be eliminated at an early stage — and that
will also save time and money.” The control system for the project is
housed in 25 electronics cabinets, which are
redundantly laid-out control and safety sys-
tems, and alarm, diagnosis and communica-
tion systems. “First we check the functional
capability of all the components. Then we in-
tegrate them into the control center,“ says
Paul-Heinz Esters from Industrial Solutions
and Services (I&S), who is in charge of start-
up operations. Esters then points to the
control panels. Fifteen meters of switchgear
cabinets for Long Island are located on the
right; the cabinet for Sayreville is on the left.
That’s also where the power will feed in. The
operator’s interface, which consists of about
20 workstations, is located in the center.
Last winter, Ester’s six-person team put the
preliminary system into operation. Here, par-
allel computers simulate power transmission
in real-time — including the conversion elec-
tronics, switching systems, transformers,
filters, lines and networks. During the current
testing of the system’s behavior, technicians
and engineers can train on the complete sys-
tem. With 300 tests they have plenty of scope
for simulating operating conditions and
examining short circuits, network faults or a
generator failure. The simulation should also
show that the system transmits power stably,
reliably and without interruption — even if
the networks are disrupted or a failure should
arise in one of the redundant control systems. In July 2006 the electrical cabinets and
workstations will be disassembled in Erlan-
gen, packed up and shipped to New York,
where they will be reassembled. The engi-
neers who developed the design software
trols. Accordingly, they need to fulfill high
safety requirements. The development of
such a high-performance chip usually costs
from 1 million to 3 million euros and takes up
to a year. That’s why customers want to en-
sure that the components will fulfill desired
functions — before mass production begins.
That’s possible, however, only if simulation is
used. In addition to Siemens Groups such as
Medical Solutions, Automation and Drives
and Communications, customers of the ASIC
Design Center and its 40 employees include
small and medium-sized companies. The complete ASIC design phase takes
place on a computer. To ensure that the
virtual product is given the desired properties,
semiconductor producers supply the ASIC
Design Center with models of circuit ele-
ments, which developers put together using
software. In the process, customer specifica-
tions, such as housing type, voltage supply,
permissible temperature range and maxi-
mum power consumption are specified. The
functions are also defined and the circuits
then created and simulated virtually. “We repeat the simulation steps as long as
necessary until the chip exhibits exactly the
properties the customer has requested and
has been optimized,” says chip designer
Helmut Wirth. “If an error occurred during the
design phase, it would be necessary to make
a new chip later. And that would cost be-
tween 100,000 and 1 million euros and delay
production by up to six months. Twenty years
ago we had to evaluate simulations manually,
as the results were only available in printed
lists.” Today, the output is in graphic form,
and comparisons with target values are auto-
mated. “That’s essential because of the huge
increase in data,” says Wirth, referring to the
number of logic elements as an example. In
the 1980s each chip had 3,000 to 4,000 logic
elements. At the end of the 1980s that figure
had increased to about 50,000, before reach-
ing one million in 2000. Today, we’re talking
about tens of millions. “The main challenge is dealing with the
constant reduction in the size of structures,”
says Wirth. “We’re now facing significant
quantum effects for the first time.” However,
the effects that are dependent on details,
such as material, alloy or transistor structure,
still have to be described exactly by semicon-
ductor manufacturers. These insights will then
flow back into future simulation programs so
that experts from the ASIC Design Center will
be able to design the best and most effective
testing methods for tomorrow’s chips too.
Evdoxia Tsakiridou
Whether it’s complex systems
for transmitting power or de-
veloping microchips — simula-
tions and extensive advance
tests shorten commissioning
time and eliminate errors at
an early stage.
and checked the control technology in Erlan-
gen will then carry out a few last acid tests at
the customer’s installation. These will include
short circuits and load disconnections. Even as recently as the mid-1980s, the on-
site commissioning of a control system took
up to one and a half years. Integration tests at
the plant cut this to a year. Thanks to simula-
tion, it is now possible to do the job in six
months. Naturally, some of this progress is
due to the digitization of the control technol-
ogy and the resulting reproducibility of oper-
ations and failure conditions.
Optimizing Chip Designs. In the ASIC De-
sign Center at Siemens Program and System
Development in Vienna, Austria, developers
simulate the electrical and physical behavior
of chips known as ASICs (Application Specific
Integrated Circuits). ASICs are special micro-
chips that are used in electronic systems in
aircraft, medical instruments, and motor con-
Siemens engineers simulate power supply
networks in detail. The idea is to eliminate
problems before systems are built.
S I M U L A T I O N A p p l i c a t i o n s
ong Island fits easily into a hall in Erlan-
gen, Germany —at least that’s the case
as far as researchers at Siemens Power Trans-
mission and Distribution (PTD) are concerned.
There, experts are exploring how to augment
the power supply of the New York boroughs
of Brooklyn and Queens, which have a popu-
lation of 4.7 million energy-hungry inhabi-
tants. The boroughs require additional energy
because local power plants can no longer
cope with demand. The extra power is to be
provided using high-voltage direct-current
transmission technology (HVDC, see p. 20).
Specifically, planners expect 750 additional
megawatts of power to flow to Long Island
via a 500-kilovolt undersea cable connection
in about two years. The electricity will be gen-
erated by a network of power plants near
Sayreville, New Jersey.
Before that can happen, however, the en-
tire control system will be built and tested,
and the 105-kilometer transmission distance
will be simulated in Erlangen. “That way we
can shorten on-site commissioning time as
much as possible,” says Peter Bermel, the di-
with Simulation
combustion chamber under the thermal
conditions that are present during operation.
Here, a finite element method is used and the
flame isn’t taken into account. In this way, the
resonances in the combustion chamber can
be determined — just as in a concert hall in
which the acoustics are measured. CT researchers then combine these
acoustic data with the characteristics of the
burners and flames in a 3D stability analysis,
which computes the pressure changes in the
combustion chamber. The geometry can be
easily changed and, for example, the gas in-
jection point can be moved in the software.
The simulation shows when the coupling of
combustion instabilities reaches its lowest
acoustic level. That’s when the turbine re-
mains silent. “The simulation matches the experiment
very closely,” explains Dr. Sven Bethke, a ther-
moacoustics expert at Siemens in Mülheim an
der Ruhr. Until recently, Bethke and Wever
computed only existing gas turbine types in
order to figure out how to interpret the results
of simulations. This year individual burners
and combustion chambers will be put to the
test, evaluated with the help of an acoustics
simulation, and optimized even further. And
in 2007, in Irsching, Bavaria, the first gas tur-
bine with a thermoacoustic design that takes
the new 3D stability analysis into account is
expected to be operational. Output will change
as a result because the turbine’s decreased
tendency to hum will give it a markedly in-
creased operating range. “It will be one of the
most powerful gas turbines in the world,” pre-
dicts Wever. Indeed, this combined-cycle
power plant with its modified turbine is expect-
ed to reach the magical figure of 60 percent
energy efficiency — a first. Bernd Müller
The wire mesh skull slowly moves forward and nestles into a plastic pillow. Then a computer
simulation makes the dummy’s head spring back gently. “And this is what it looks like in reality,”
says Gerd Scholpp. In a video, the dummy’s head crashes against the vehicle’s A-pillar like a cannonball. If it had been a person rather than a dummy, the head would nevertheless only be
bruised — if a simulation program developed by Siemens Restraint Systems in Alzenau, Germany
had optimized the A-pillar. Otherwise such an impact would be fatal. Siemens’ Alzenau Develop-
ment Center tests restraint and safety systems, such as seatbelts, airbags and pedestrian protec-
tion systems for the automobile industry. Nothing happens without simulations, because sim-
ulations save time and money. Recreating the model of a crash in a computer requires several
months for two of Scholpp’s coworkers. But at a cost of up to a million euros, crashing a real pro-
totype into a wall is considerably more expensive. In addition, the simulations can be repeated,
and the parameters can be modified any number of times, in order to determine the best protec-
tion system. Even so, crash tests or sled experiments continue to be conducted in the 160-meter-
long hall under Scholpp’s office on a daily basis. “We need the genuine tests to check the com-
puter model,” says Scholpp, a mechanical engineer. Software tools are so sophisticated these
days that the forces exerted on passengers and belts can be pre-defined, and the simulation then
computes how the restraint system must be designed. The vehicle’s geometry is provided by the
car manufacturers, and the Alzenau team provides the virtual dummies. At the same time, the
trend is moving away from inflexible dummy models and toward simulated humans fashioned
using the finite element method, which permits the simulation of tissue deformation and the
breaking of bones. Rollover trials with dummies indicated significant need for further develop-
ment in this area. Until now a virtual dummy behaved like a sack of sand and simply slid to one
side. In such a case, the side airbag would have to trigger as soon as possible. In reality, however,
passengers would instinctively tense their muscles and try to counteract the movement of the
vehicle. Says Scholpp, “That gives us a few more fractions of a second.”
Si emens Ai rpor t Center
An Airport that’s Ready to Fly
Demonstrating system solutions for airports is difficult. You can’t just let third parties move at will through passport
checkpoints, past baggage handling systems, or over taxi-
ways — and possibly disrupt operations as they go. With its
Airport Center, Siemens is now providing a globally unique
facility for planning, testing and improving these systems
— in the form of a full-scale airport simulation center. he world’s most unusual airport is located
in an unremarkable building complex on a
secondary road outside Fürth, near Nurem-
berg, Germany. Passengers checking in here
are identified using sophisticated biometric
methods. An SMS serves as a boarding pass,
while luggage is transported by Germany’s
most advanced baggage handling system.
But where are the passengers flying to? There
are no planes here, no runways, and there’s
no tower. The Siemens Airport Center (SAC) is a
globally unique simulation and training facility
covering the entire technological infrastruc-
ture of a real airport. Here you can operate
baggage conveyors, parking guidance sys-
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
tems, or docking facilities for an airport the
size of London’s Heathrow. Altogether, it took
Siemens just eight months to build SAC. The
facility opened at the end of 2005. Many customers were more than ready to
use its services. “The number of visitor re-
quests is enormous,” says Helmut Pawlischek,
who heads the SAC. Most of them want to
learn how time and money can be saved by
optimizing the interactions among different
new systems. Others are interested in innova-
tive technologies from Siemens, such as mo-
bile check-in. Frequent Flyers can download a
small program to their cell phones, which
they can use to check in before they even get
to the airport. The airline company can then
send them the boarding pass as a barcode in
an SMS.
At the gate, the passenger simply places
the cell phone on a reading device and the
boarding pass is printed out — or the passen-
ger is identified by previously stored biomet-
ric data and granted paperless access to the
plane. In wide-body jets, such as the A380
from Airbus, as many as 800 passengers may
be boarding at a time — so experts have to
work under considerable pressure to develop
a high-speed check-in system.
By 2015, the Boston Consulting Group pre-
dicts that worldwide investment in airports —
many of them new projects in Asia — will
reach $200 billion. “However, many airports
At the Siemens Airport Center, visitors can
try out innovations, such as the 3D facial
scanner and the parking guidance and
baggage handling systems — either virtually in the Operation Center or on
real systems (left to right).
in the U.S. and Europe also intend to modern-
ize,” says Pawlischek. They are all looking for
integrated solutions based on seamlessly interacting systems. Siemens is the world-
wide market leader in this field. “Many small
and midsized airports lack the expertise to
configure an optimal combination of the
manifold individual components that are
available,” notes Pawlischek. But the SAC can
also help operators of large airports make better use of synergies.
“Here we can demonstrate that systems
work at peak efficiency only if they interact
flawlessly,” says Günter Menden, spokes-
person of the Sector Development Board for
Airports and head of the Airport Logistics
Division of the Industrial Solutions and Ser-
vices (I&S) Group in Nuremberg. Any user of
Siemens airport technology is a customer of
several Siemens groups. Biometric methods,
security systems and facilities automation, for
instance, are provided by Siemens Building
Technologies (SBT), flight information systems
by Siemens Business Services (SBS), power
supply systems by Power Transmission and
Distribution (PTD), baggage handling systems
by I&S, related components by Automation
and Drives (A&D), and the airfield lighting
system also by I&S.
ment at the AOC is automatically in the loop
and may immediately decide, for instance, to
lower the temperature in that part of the
building by several degrees,” says Menden,
pointing out an example of the synergies he
can simulate in the AOC. Luggage on the Fast Track. If the AOC is
the brain of this airport, the baggage han-
dling system is its gut. Just three meters from
the AOC, conveyor belts glide along noise-
lessly at several levels in a large hall. The SAC
contains the largest such system in Germany
— followed by the airports in Frankfurt and
Munich. It can sort 5,000 pieces of luggage,
hour after hour, but right now the transport
trays hold only a few well-worn specimens.
“To simulate full-capacity operation we don’t
need any suitcases — the RFID tags will do,”
says Pawlischek. RFID tags are equipped with
a chip containing luggage destination data.
At check-in, each bag is given a barcode
before being placed in a tray on the conveyor
system. A tag attached to the tray contains a
Pawlischek. “When you build an airport it’s
important to minimize total space in order to
keep costs down.”
To ensure the flawless choreography of all
the conveyor belts, switches and tilt trays,
1,200 proximity switches and light barriers
were installed at the SAC, which also has 545
drives. This system may resemble a graceful
ballet, but its operation makes an enormous
difference to an airport’s bottom line. That’s
because airlines want their aircraft to be in
the air, where they make money. And passen-
gers want to get to their connecting flight fast
— with their luggage, of course. “Baggage
that’s delayed or gets lost drives up costs and
has a negative impact on an airline’s image,”
explains Pawlischek. The “minimum connect-
ing time” (MCT) is therefore one of the most
important variables in this business. At the
Munich airport, for instance, the MCT is less
than 30 minutes, thanks to Siemens technol-
ogy — yet another worldwide record. To save time and money, baggage han-
dling systems also need to be highly reliable.
Menden points at the 27 display screens in
the Airport Operation Center (AOC) — the
control and information center for all logistics
and infrastructure segments of the SAC. This
is where all the activities that keep the airport
running are monitored and controlled. Every-
thing from fleet management and facility au-
tomation to flight information and baggage
handling systems might be affected by the
change of a single variable in highly complex
flight operations. A plane that arrives, say,
two hours behind schedule necessitates the
redirection of maintenance vehicles, reassign-
ment of security personnel and recalculation
of storage capacities in the baggage system.
“The person responsible for facility manage-
microchip to which the barcode data is auto-
matically transferred as it passes through a
scanner gate. The tag reports the suitcase’s
destination to the higher-level information
technology. The system transports the lug-
gage at a maximum speed of ten meters per
second — a world record. The Siemens con-
veyor system also features ramps as steep as
17 degrees — another world record. “Such
facilities are operated below ground,” says
Thanks to a new Siemens system at Terminal
3 of the Beijing airport, for instance, the air-
port will be able to more than double its
capacity from 28 million to 60 million passen-
gers. Development engineers are continually
testing the interaction of the software and
hardware for this enormous facility at the
SAC. And that’s good news for China’s capital
city, which will be able to celebrate the termi-
nal’s commissioning much sooner. The SAC
also comes in handy as a training center for
customers. Dozens of Beijing Airport employ-
ees, for instance, will be able to practice vari-
ous scenarios and gain their initial experience
right here in the Franconia region of southern
Germany. SAC —
a facility that simulates and optimizes
a complete airport infrastructure —
is unique.
he rules are clear. When the traffic light is
red, you stop. When it’s green, you go. But
on yellow? Impatient drivers invent different
shades of yellow — like amber or saffron —
so they can feel better about running the
light. Their action can have very different con-
sequences. They may get there faster, pay a
fine, or wind up in the hospital. For mathematicians, this traffic light situa-
tion is a classic optimization problem. The
savings in time must be weighed against the
cost of the ticket. Companies also constantly
have to make decisions. But those decisions,
if wrong, can cost a lot more than a traffic
Optimization by the Numbers
Most managers dream about finding ways to boost productivity while cutting costs. But very few
of them know that many decision processes and automation tasks can be optimized using math-
ematics. Siemens has established a Technical Center at Corporate Technology for just that purpose.
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
ticket — and can amount to the corporate
equivalent of going to the hospital. What’s
more, in the case of business solutions many
interacting variables, which are often difficult
to sort out, have to be considered. “In com-
plex, networked and dynamic situations our
brains make mistakes,” warns Prof. Dietrich
Dörner, a cognition expert at the University of
Bamberg, Germany. Fortunately, electronic systems are avail-
able to make things easier. Guided by mathe-
matical algorithms, computers can help opti-
mize many processes. One of the pioneers in
this discipline is Prof. Ulrich Lauther at Sie-
mens Corporate Technology (CT) in Munich. A
graduate electrical engineer who has taught
at Berkeley and the University of Stuttgart,
Lauther was given a tough assignment at
Siemens in 1992: Optimize the telephone
network of Poona, a city in India with a popu-
lation of three million. The backbone of this
network was to consist of fiberglass, although
the last 300 meters to user locations had to
be copper cables. Multiplexers in between
would have to handle up to 60 lines each. An
important goal was to minimize the total cost
of the lines, multiplexers, trenching work, etc.
Lauther’s algorithms enabled him to solve the
S I M U L A T I O N Si emens Ai rpor t Center
The SAC’s elegant test lounge is usually
deserted. But airports around the globe are
becoming increasingly crowded. That’s a big
challenge, particularly for security systems.
Travelers must be positively identified during
check-in and boarding, and personnel must
always be able to prove that they have access
rights to specific areas. Facial ID.The 3D facial scanner at the SAC
shows how fast and reliable identification can
be. Several years ago, researchers at Siemens
Corporate Technology developed this innova-
tive biometric identification system, which is
now being introduced to the market in a
collaborative venture involving U.S.-based
Viisage. (Pictures of the Future, Spring 2003,
p. 38). The system works by projecting a mul-
ticolored grid onto the face of the person to
be identified. Using the grid, a video camera
then records the distances between specific
facial points — points that are unique to each
individual. The system compares these refer-
ence points with previously stored data. This
technology substantially reduces disturbing
effects, such as those caused by lighting or an
unfavorable head position, that often reduce
the effectiveness of 2D methods. Although the SAC has no mall, planners
know that airports are increasingly turning
into adventure worlds, complete with shop-
ping and recreational areas. “People in air-
ports should spend as little time as possible
waiting at check-in counters, and more time
shopping or relaxing,” says Pawlischek. And
people must feel secure. At the SAC, develop-
ment engineers are testing new monitoring
systems that automatically recognize poten-
tial risk factors. Here, they use specialized
software that constantly compares data from
surveillance cameras with previously learned
risk situations. Examples of what cameras
may look for include abandoned suitcases or
a person who has just collapsed. Processes on the taxiways are changing as
well. Today, pilots follow a path marked by
light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which are con-
trolled from the airport’s AOC. During docking
to the gangway, a video camera films the
plane and a software program continuously
recomputes the remaining distance. The data
is projected onto a monitor for the pilot to
see. To be on the safe side, the SAC team
demonstrates the airfield lighting using only
a motor vehicle in the parking lot. Given that
the real airport at Nuremberg is just a few
kilometers away, experts want to make sure
that no aircraft tries to land at the wrong ad-
dress. Katrin Nikolaus
Locating the Customer
Siemens researchers are simulating the operation of the
Galileo system — before the satellites are launched.
ave you ever hurried to an important
meeting with a new customer and
suddenly realized you were lost? Don’t
worry, it’s the year 2010 and your mobile
is picking up signals from 54 satellites and
the phone operator’s base stations. Hav-
ing located your position, your trusty de-
vice can also “see” that the customer has
already arrived at the restaurant, as he
has turned off a “privacy” function and ac-
tivated a “rendezvous” function on his
mobile. So, after plotting a map to the
restaurant, your phone hails the nearest
taxi and you’re on your way.
Location technology will
show people how to get
to their nearest
restaurant, hotel,
bank or parking
lot. Galileo — a
new 3.4 billion
euros European
satellite system
— should provide
much more accu-
rate positioning infor-
mation than is currently
possible, so a receiver will
be able to locate itself to within a
meter of its actual location. The first test
satellite was launched in December 2005,
and all 30 satellites will be fully deployed
by 2010. But it’s not too early to be devel-
oping positioning systems for Galileo; and
that’s exactly what Siemens is doing. For
example, researchers at the Siemens-
owned Roke Manor Research facility in
the UK have designed an innovative sim-
ulation tool to test the accuracy of the
Galileo system — even before the satel-
lites are launched. Simulations are based
on anticipated Galileo signals, but also in-
corporate signals from the 24 existing
global positioning system (GPS) satellites.
Simulations can also predict whether a
receiver can pick up navigation signals in
less favorable environments. To do so,
they use software that predicts signal lev-
els by analyzing architectural drawings of
cities and building floor plans, as well as
satellite and aerial images of cities. “We
don’t just need to know whether we can
receive a signal; we also need to know
how accurate it will be and how the sig-
nal’s strength will change over time,” says
Zoran Dobrosavljevic, a senior consultant
engineer at Roke Manor Research. “We
have developed software that shows how
the signal will be affected — in other
words, how accurate the obtained posi-
tion will be in any environment.”
The simulation tool is to be
integrated into a system
being developed by en-
gineers from Siemens
Communications in
Berlin. This sys-
tem will use the
Galileo satellites
as well as GSM
and UMTS base
stations to deter-
mine the user’s
exact position. Dr.
Heiko Schmitz, who is in
charge of the project, says,
“The information we get from
Roke Manor’s simulation system is very
hard to obtain from field tests because
the Galileo satellites are not yet in opera-
tion and the existing GPS satellites are in
motion. Simulations allow us to vary pa-
rameters such as the number of satellites
visible, signal distortion due to nearby
objects, and signal degradation resulting
from low-cost receivers, and get all the
data for an optimal solution.
“Simulations have greatly speeded up
development and put us ahead of the
competition when it comes to helping
mobile phone operators deliver location-
based services. These services will bring
major benefits for consumers and I think
they will become an important business
area — especially if they help people to
locate their customers .” Rob Simpson
Dr. Johannes Nierwetberg
illustrates how the best
possible path to a distant
target (thick yellow line)
derives from the use of al-
gorithms that identify the
best possible local paths
(narrow yellow lines). OPTI MI ZATI ON — FROM GREEDY TO TABOO The cook in a hospital kitchen may find it a challenge to plan a balanced diet with a limited se-
lection of foodstuffs and a tight budget. This puzzle is a classic example of mathematical optimiza-
tion, and is referred to as a linear task because there are simple relationships between the vari-
ables, without discontinuities. Twice as much orange juice provides twice the vitamins. The cook
might be able to solve that puzzle just by wading through dietary charts and foodstuff price lists.
But optimization problems lurking in production processes are much more complex. In the 60-year
history of mathematical optimization, mathematicians have devised many useful algorithms. The
first linear algorithms were put to work in World War II to plan equipment and food logistics. To-
day, off-the-shelf software is available for solving linear problems.
More recent are algorithms for discrete optimization, in which variables change only in discrete
steps. A boiled egg, for instance, is usually consumed entirely or not at all. That makes it more dif-
ficult for the cook to maintain the right balance between protein and cholesterol. An important part of the know-how at Siemens’ Discrete Optimization Department is the ability to
search all existing algorithms to find the one that fits the problem. To avoid having to re-invent the
wheel, Professor Ulrich Lauther, a world-class specialist in Discrete Optimization, has established
the C
++ TURBO class library, a toolbox containing pre-existing as well as further developed algo-
rithms for discrete optimization in the C
++ programming language. “These algorithms have been
tested over and over and are essentially flawless, which can generally not be taken for granted in
such complex mathematical tools,” notes Lauther. Lauther knows of no other organization that has
such a well-equipped optimization toolbox. There is no such thing as a “panacea algorithm” that
accomplishes all tasks at the same time, but many optimization tasks can be broken down into
their constituent parts and then solved using the algorithms of the TURBO library. As a rule, 70
percent of the program code is derived from the library and only 30 percent needs to be newly
generated to fit a project. In the Profinet IRT optimization algorithm, for instance, nearly three-
fourths of the 23,000 lines of code come from the library. Below is a small selection of “discrete
optimization” strategies:
Greedy: The greedy algorithm defines a specified starting state and then selects — step by step — the next state so that gain is maximized. This algorithm is well suited to defining the best itinerary of a business traveler by finding the shortest route through several cities, or to laying out
conductors on microchips. But a greedy algorithm doesn’t always lead to the best solution. In placing cellular transmission towers, for instance, it may be best to position some towers at a less-
than-optimal spot to get the best possible network coverage overall at the lowest possible cost.
Taboo search: Unlike the greedy algorithm, a taboo search does permit some changes for the
worse — though to the smallest extent possible. To prevent this process from becoming circular,
the most recent steps taken are declared “taboo,” meaning that they can’t be undone. This ap-
proach can be used to find solutions beyond the scope of the greedy method. ➔
Simulated annealing: This algorithm can be used to find the “global minimum” of a system. A function that depends on many parameters generally resembles a hilly landscape. A marble, on its way down, will rarely wind up in the global minimum, because it gets stuck in one of the
many local minimums. The annealing algorithm is based on an analogy from solid-state theory —
the thermal vibrations of atoms can be used to escape from local minima. When subjected to slow
cooling, the system will tend to end up at the global minimum — analogous to the annealing of
metals. This method is used, for example, to minimize mutual interference of mobile communica-
tions frequencies in adjacent regions.
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
M a t h e m a t i c s
notes Dr. Johannes Nierwetberg, who heads
the Department. In most cases, the percentage
of cost and time savings is in the double digit
range. Nierwetberg’s department has develop-
ed an entire tool kit of algorithms for this work. One such tool, for instance, optimized the
queuing of components for insertion into a
printed circuit board, thus increasing through-
put by 13 percent. But even though Nierwet-
berg can calculate the resulting benefits down
to the last euro and cent, many managers re-
main skeptical. Making them understand that
many of their problems can be solved mathe-
matically isn’t easy. As a case in point, Sie-
mens was engaged by a customer in the steel
industry to take a close look at rolling crude-
steel ingots. Since the rotation of the rolls, the
transport times, the cooling of the ingots, the
processing time and the operator actions
aren’t exactly predictable, a control program
designed to increase the throughput of the mill
must include all these uncertainties in its cal-
culations. “Like a chess player, our software re-
calculates the best strategy every few seconds,”
says Nierwetberg. Usually there’s enough time
for a “best move.” If not, the software executes
a “safe move” and controls the process to en-
sure that no problems arise. Today this software
program is running at several steel mills, where
it has substantially increased throughputs. The same mathematical principles can also
be used to achieve faster data transmission
rates via landlines or wireless links. In auto-
mated production systems, for instance, large
data volumes are constantly interchanged be-
tween sensors, actuators and computers. To
coordinate these elements perfectly, the right
data must be available at the right place and
at the right time. In a new approach, special
bus lines are being replaced by standard Ether-
net cables. However, using the conventional
Ethernet protocol could cause delays when too
many data packets have to be accommodated
by the bus. This, in turn, would interfere with
the synchronization of the drives in a produc-
tion line. As a result, the routing and timing of
the data packets must be planned in advance. Everyone is familiar with such scheduling
problems.Builders, for example, know all
about having the roofers show up before all
the walls are in place.
Efficient Data Traffic Planning.One appli-
cation that had to overcome such constraints
was Profinet RT, an automation solution from
Siemens’ Automation and Drives Group. For
the Profinet IRT version, Ulrich Lauther devel-
oped a new software tool for planning real-
time messages in a network composed of
Ethernet cables and time-synchronized
nodes. The tool is aptly named Isochronous
Real-Time (IRT). It computes how and when
data must be sent through the network in order
to ensure that the clock pulse is maintained
and the required time per cycle is minimized.
The time intervals freed up by such efficient
planning can be used for conventional TCP/IP
traffic, such as browser or software down-
loads. The key principle is this: Time-critical
data get priority. They are consistently fed
into the dataflow at the same point in the
cycle and reach their destination reliably and
nearly in real-time. Less important data share
the remaining bandwidth. task brilliantly. They produced a solution that
cut costs by 15 percent compared to a manu-
ally developed plan. Lauther’s result was also
technically correct — unlike the conventional
paper plan, in which one multiplexer was er-
roneously connected to 70 households.
Competitive Advantages. Word got out
about this achievement. At the Discrete Opti-
mization Department at Siemens CT, a staff of
20 — mostly mathematicians — is available
to tackle anything that can be optimized
mathematically. “What’s so fantastic about this
kind of optimization is that, at the customer
level, it is seen as a competitive advantage,”
By way of comparison, in Profinet IRT an
instruction cycle takes less than one millisec-
ond. In its precursor, Profinet RT, it took ten,
and in standard Internet connections it takes as
long as 100 milliseconds. Optimization is now
accomplished in the blink of an eye. A net-
work of 124 nodes (e.g. drives), 465 messages
and 576 recipients requires less than one sec-
ond to compute when, and over what route,
which message must be sent to what recipient. Profinet IRT is already being used success-
fully at a pilot customer: MAN Roland, a man-
Acceleration by a Factor of 200. Wireless
data transmission is even more critical, be-
cause it’s more cost-intensive. In a satellite-
based road toll system like the one in Ger-
many, new software must be downloaded
every so often to onboard units (OBUs) on
vehicles — for instance, when new toll roads
are added. In the past, trucks had to visit a
shop to have this done. In the future, new
software will be downloaded automatically
via mobile communications. Nearly half a mil-
lion OBUs are now on the road in Germany.
smallest possible difference between the old
and new program codes — and that can be
proven mathematically. Lauther has also completed a similar
project for BenQ Corporation, the new owner
of the Siemens mobile communications busi-
ness. Today, the software in a typical mobile
phone amounts to 25 megabytes. But up-
dates that correct faults or support new func-
tions should amount to just a few kilobytes,
since it should be possible to download them
automatically via the wireless network. The Discrete Optimization Department
also works on mobile communications net-
works themselves. Dr. Hans Heller, a mathe-
matician, develops algorithms that find the
best locations for cellular transmission towers
to assure complete network coverage at the
lowest cost. Heller is confident that “there is
still a lot of room for further improvement.” In developing UMTS networks, Siemens
prefers to use existing GSM towers to help its
customers keep their costs to a minimum.
However, an optimally located GSM base
station isn’t necessarily optimally located for
UMTS. But time is of the essence — Siemens
is now building a UTMS network in Shanghai.
So Heller is running the network through his
algorithm as a test case. If the results are satisfactory, Heller’s optimization algorithm
will be integrated into the site selection program, which the Siemens Communica-
tions Group will be using for the first time in
Bernd Müller
ufacturer of printing machines near Frankfurt,
Germany. The cylinders of a rotary press for il-
lustration printing revolve so fast that they
can print 90,000 pages per hour. Yet they are
so precise that they can superimpose color
dots with a precision of five micrometers.
Signals throughout the system vary from the
specified timeline by less than half a micro-
second, which increases the printing speed
and precision while eliminating paper tears.
All future automation solutions from Siemens
will be based on Profinet IRT, which has been
on the market since the spring of 2006. The
product will be sold with an engineering tool
based on Lauther’s optimization algorithm. And there will be even more in other coun-
tries that are planning to charge passenger
car tolls. The cost of exchanging all of that
software — around 2.5 megabytes apiece —
would be enormous.
Lauther has developed a method that
compresses such software updates by a factor
of 200, to a minuscule 12 kilobytes, allowing
the data transmission to be accomplished in a
matter of seconds. How did he do it?
Lauther’s algorithm limits the transmission to
the difference between two files. And his al-
gorithm doesn’t seek out just any difference,
such as only those bits of code that have
changed. Instead, it consistently selects the
Siemens researcher Prof.
Albert Gilg demonstrates
how unstable a state can
be at its mathematical optimum. For example, you
can slide off a mountain
pinnacle in any direction.
One algorithm shrinks software updates from
a hefty 2.5 megabytes to just 12 kilobytes.
earning systems have suddenly become
big business. “Internet companies such as
Google and Yahoo are hiring lots of people
who know how to handle these systems,”
says Dr. Volker Tresp. Together with coworkers
from the Competence Center for Learning
Systems at Siemens Corporate Technology
(CT) in Munich, Tresp develops software solu-
tions for steel mills, washing machines, and
data mining — the analysis of large volumes
of data — in other words, precisely the kind of
technology that’s needed in order to enhance
search engines. And yet this research group
has been around a lot longer than any of the
Internet giants. In fact, it was established 18
years ago. That made it one of the first indus-
trial research groups in the world to take an
interest in learning software. “But we’re just
as much involved in the academic world as in
industry,” says Prof. Bernd Schürmann, Direc-
tor of the Competence Center. Besides devel-
oping software for pretty much all of the
Groups at Siemens and applying for a variety
of patents, the 30 researchers in the Compe-
tence Center have also published around 200
papers in scientific journals. The department was set up in 1988, back
when the promise of so-called artificial neural
networks was at its peak. Neural networks are
computer systems that process data accord-
S I M U L A T I O N L e a r n i n g S o f t w a r e
Formula for Efficiency
It’s been 18 years since Siemens first started developing learning software. Over that period, the
company has assembled a library of methods that boost the efficiency of systems, ranging from
rolling mills and power plants to genetic engineering, dishwashers and logistics.
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
Whether used for producing iron (left),
for rolling steel or for analyzing the relation between genes (below) —
learning software developed in Prof.
Schürmann’s department generates
substantial competitive advantages
for Siemens’ Groups. L
ing to principles similar to those that govern
neurons, or nerve cells, in the brain. In con-
trast to conventional systems, no fixed rules
are programmed for neural networks, be-
cause they are able to learn from experience
and adapt on their own. This occurs in the
course of a special training phase involving
different examples. If, for example, the net-
work has to learn to identify cars on the road,
then it can be trained to do so on the basis of
images of different vehicles.
Machine Learning Library. In fact, the idea
of neural networks is 50 years old, but it was
not until the mid-1980s that their properties
were extensively researched. Back then, even
the first, primitive networks looked so promis-
ing that scientists were soon persuaded that
they could be used for just about any applica-
tion, ranging from pattern recognition to
autonomous robots and even weather fore-
casts. Yet the euphoria soon died down with
the recognition that neural networks often
had only limited utility in practice. This was a
result of, among other things, the lack of
sufficient training patterns. Today, researchers know that the networks
tend to perform best when combined with
other procedures, such as fuzzy logic, for
example, which recognizes not only binary
values but also intermediate ones. Statistical
methods also help performance in that they
generate predictions on the basis of probabil-
ity theory. “All of this suites us fine because
our strength lies in the breadth of methods
that we have at our disposal,” explains Volk-
mar Sterzing, who is head of the Advanced
Control, Prognosis and Diagnostics team at
Learning Systems. These methods are assem-
bled in the so-called Siemens Machine Learn-
ing Library (SML), developed by engineer
Bernhard Lang. SML has already played a key
role in 10 products and systems from five
Siemens Groups. One such product is SIMELT SIMPAX, a so-
lution used in the direct reduction of iron ore
to pig iron. Instead of being smelted, the iron
ore is chemically reduced — that is, it’s de-
oxidized by a flow of hot natural gas, which
strips off oxygen compounds. The process is
difficult to control and demands a lot of expe-
rience, since parameters such as temperature
and the removal of the iron have to be pre-
cisely set in order to ensure metal of a requi-
site purity. Moreover, the quality of the end
product can be determined only at the end of
the process, by which time it is too late to
modify the parameters. Lang therefore devel-
oped a prognosis model based on learning
networks and thermodynamic formulae that
simulates the process in real time. Based on
experience and examples, the network has
learned which input values — concentration
of added gases, temperature and throughput
rates — result in the purest iron. Using the model, parameters can be ad-
justed in a matter of minutes. The model was
tested in 2002 with real data from a plant in
Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia. According to Midrex, a
Siemens partner company, use of the SIMPAX
solution has resulted in an increase in annual
profit of around $1 million for the plant’s
three units. Today, Siemens supplies the
process model with all its new plants.
Improved Rolling Power. Although there is
nothing new about the idea of process con-
trol, what sets these solutions apart is that
they aren’t static but are adaptive and capable
of learning. “The system itself finds out how
much energy the facility requires, when the
temperature has to be raised, and what the
optimal pressure is, rather than having these
values programmed in,” says Sterzing about
an application for power plants. “The soft-
ware then automatically discovers the best
configuration between the various parame-
ters.” Engineers at the Power Generation
Group (PG) are full of praise for the applica-
tions developed by Sterzing and his col-
leagues. “This software makes us the techno-
logical leader,” says Uwe Gerk at PG, who
helped set up the learning software project. The breakthrough for Learning Systems
came in the early 1990s with a solution for
rolling mills used in the steel industry. A vital
parameter in this process is the hardness of
the steel, since this determines the force with
which the metal has to be rolled. Thanks to a
neural network — first introduced in 1993
and continuously enhanced ever since —
rolling power can now be gauged with 30
percent greater accuracy than before. “It’s es-
tablished itself as the industry standard,” says
Dr. Einar Broese from Siemens Industrial
Solutions and Services. The control software is now so advanced
that it is based upon the precise physical char-
acteristics of the rolling process so that the
neural network can determine the yield stress
on the basis of the chemical composition of
the steel. What’s more, it learns on the job,
modeling its future performance on the best
results. Neural networks are now also used to de-
termine other physical parameters in rolling
mills, for example to calculate the requisite
temperature or to predict the width of the
steel band produced by rolling. The latter is
important, since customers demand a mini-
mum width, and steel producers are naturally
anxious to avoid any overhang, as this uses
up more material. At a plant in Duisburg, Ger-
many, it has been shown that the use of a
neural network enhances width prognosis,
S I M U L A T I O N L e a r n i n g S o f t w a r e
Simulation and optimization techniques have become indispensable in many fields. Yet given
the wide range of sectors, products and manufacturing processes for which they are used — not
to mention the varying periods to which they apply — there are hardly any universally applicable
studies with reliable figures on their savings potential. To take a few examples, Ford says its pro-
totype optimization model has cut expenses for design and testing by $250 million (source: Op-
erations Research Center, MIT), and over the last 10 years BMW has used simulation processes to
slash the time needed to develop a new model series from five years to 30 months. Cost pressure
and the trend toward simultaneous engineering have increased demand for simulation software.
The savings potential of such technology is in shorter development cycles, reduced consumption
of materials for building prototypes, and computer-enhanced design. The Association of German
Engineers (VDI) estimates that an investment in simulation technology saves around six times as
much on development costs. The same is true of planning new production facilities. According to
Prof. Bernd Noche of the University of Duisburg-Essen, using simulation techniques in this field
cuts costs by up to 20 percent. The design configuration of the Airbus A380 also originated on a
computer — and the test pilots had already conducted 47,000 flights in a flight simulator before
the world’s largest passenger aircraft’s maiden flight in April 2005.
Andreas Beuthner
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
Mathematics is the Key to Visualizing
and Optimizing Complex Processes
Prof. Martin Grötschel, 57,
teaches at the Technical University in Berlin. He is Vice
President of the Konrad Zuse
Center for Information Tech-
nology and spokesperson of
the DFG research center
MATHEON, which focuses on “Mathematics for Key Tech-
nologies.” An active supporter
of dialogue between research
and industry, Grötschel is a
member of the Executive Committee of the International
Mathematical Union and
holder of the Leibniz Prize, the
most heavily endowed German
research award. He also has
won the Karl Heinz Beckurts
Prize, which honors innovative
services to industry. What is it about mathematics that
makes it such a fascinating subject?
Grötschel:No other science is so brutally
precise. The smallest mistake produces a
false result. On the other hand, it’s complete-
ly wrong to equate mathematics merely with
exact arithmetic and the skilful manipulation
of formulas. Good mathematics also requires
reflect the waves. In other words, we have to
find out which marginal factors can be neg-
lected without forfeiting precision. Another
example is in local public transport, where
we can calculate the minimum number of
buses required for a network, for example,
and draw up bus routes and schedules tai-
lored to actual demand and also determine
the most cost-efficient use of employees.
These methods are already in use in Berlin
and Bonn, as well as in the Milan subway
How can we increase the effectiveness
of computer simulations?
Grötschel:There’s a basic choice here be-
tween modeling, simulation and optimiza-
tion. Engineers often think it’s enough to repeat a simulation a few times in order to
get an optimal result. But that’s not true at
all. Simulation simply involves entering vari-
ous parameters into a mathematical model
and then running the model. Optimization,
on the other hand, is all about finding the
best combination of parameters. Take the ex-
ample of a container terminal. A simulation
won’t provide you with the optimal deploy-
ment of the containers that offer the most
efficient access. What you need for that is an
accurate model of the total storage area and
access routes plus clearly defined perform-
ance functions. That’s what tells you how
best to arrange and handle the containers. Where can mathematics help to make
Grötschel:At MATHEON, a part of the DFG
(German Research Foundation) research cen-
evolutionary algorithms, or ant colony optimization, particle swarm optimization or agent methods are the solution to every-
thing, then that’s got more to do with prod-
uct marketing than any serious problem-solv-
ing. Sure, nature can provide ideas, but it’s
nonsense in my opinion to look to nature for
ready-made theories. Ants may well be able
to find the shortest way to food, but try ask-
ing an ant for the longest route. Yet that’s
exactly what interests the project planner,
who needs to estimate the total time it will
take to implement a measure. Given that computing power doubles
every 18 months, what will mathemati-
cians be working on in 10 years?
Grötschel:The topics of the future for
mathematics include optimizing how highly
integrated chips function and calculating
quantum effects. Another is the design of
more effective medicines, an area where we
are still far from an adequate understanding
of all that’s involved. Likewise, mathematical
models for forecasting weather and climate
change are still very crude and don’t take a
lot of effects sufficiently into account. An-
other problem is how to construct a highly
efficient engine with the lowest possible
emissions or an aircraft that only requires a
minimal input of energy? Today, we can cal-
culate optimal bus routes for public transport
and driver schedules. But what we will need
to do in the future is combine the route plan
and driver schedule in a single integrated
model. Today you need a supercomputer for
this, but in 10 years maybe a laptop will do. Interview by Andreas Beuthner
a lot of creativity, both for mathematical
proofs and for the discovery of new struc-
tures and theorems. Moreover, it’s also fun
to use the abstract world of mathematics for real applications. Can you give us some examples?
Grötschel:In a project at the Konrad Zuse
Center, we’re working on a model to gener-
ate a simple but nonetheless effective simulation of wave propagation in GSM and
UMTS networks. It’s not vital here to take into account every tree or bush that might
ter, we’re optimizing a variety of real objects
and processes. This ranges from risk assess-
ment for insurers to chip manufacturing. An-
other complex area is route planning in the
transport sector, which takes into account a
host of factors. In fact, mathematics makes
many fundamental contributions to the
world we live and work in, although people
don’t generally notice this.
To what extent do processes from na-
ture serve as a model for mathematics?
Grötschel:If someone says that genetic and
process, including those at power plants,
rolling mills and paper mills. What’s more, it is
also suitable for completely different applica-
tions, such as predicting the demand for a
particular product (Pictures of the Future, Fall
2003, p. 27). “Advances in modeling have
now made it possible to predict complicated
systems,” explains Dr. Hans-Georg Zimmer-
mann, whose developments include a model
to forecast electricity prices. In the past, this
was easy to predict. Power was cheap in the
summer, and expensive in the winter. Today,
however, the market has become fragment-
ed, and companies have to buy at least a
month’s worth of electricity in order to obtain
a favorable price. Besides using the model it-
self, Siemens markets it via Siemens Business
Services. “Learning systems allow us to pre-
dict every stage of the power-generation
process. First, what price the power plant has
to pay for coal or oil; second, the production
conditions, for example the amount of pollu-
tants produced by the power plant; and, third,
the price at which the power can be sold,”
Zimmermann explains. Focusing on Genes. Meanwhile, Siemens
researchers are working on other applica-
tions, including the recognition of cancer
genes by means of biochips that analyze a
person’s genetic makeup. Interpreting the re-
sults is complicated when lots of genes are in-
volved. Dr. Martin Stetter has developed a
model that relates individual gene activity. In
short, it can track down gene clusters and
predict the probability with which a gene will
be activated when two other genes are also
active. This, in turn, enables faster detection
of key genes. A pharmaceutical company has
already tested the software in a pilot study
(Pictures of the Future, Spring 2005, p. 14). Learning systems will soon be helping at
home too. Sterzing’s team is now working on
a contract for household appliance manufac-
turer Bosch and Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH
to improve dishwasher performance. They’re
developing a dishwasher that can gauge the
amount of dirty dishes — like modern wash-
ing machines that automatically regulate
water and detergent amounts in line with a
load’s weight and how soiled it is. This is
important, because a half-full machine uses
less water and electricity than a full one.
Sterzing won’t divulge precise details, of
course, because rival manufacturers have also
started to use learning software in this field.
But the Learning Systems researchers have
one major advantage: They’ve been in busi-
ness for 18 years. Jeanne Rubner
SWARM INTELLIGENCE — LEARNING FROM ANTS AND WASPS Neural networks are genetic algorithms
that are modeled on the human brain.
Siemens researchers also turn to nature in
other areas. Ants, for example, are fasci-
nating creatures — not so much because
they are particularly intelligent on their
own, but because in a colony, much like
bees, they display what is known as
swarm intelligence. This is something that
can also be exploited in logistics, as Dr.
Thomas Runkler from Siemens Corporate
Technology explains: “When components
of a delivery arrive too late or have been damaged in transit, the warehouse manager has to
reschedule orders and decide which one has priority.” With today’s just-in-time production,
punctual delivery — not too early, not too late — is crucial for companies. Yet conventional logis-
tics programs are inflexible and only reschedule orders, if at all, according to rigid if/then rules. By
contrast, Runkler’s swarm program operates without any fixed rules. It simply reclassifies the or-
ders and advises the warehouse manager how best to assign individual components and when to
send out which delivery. “It’s like ants gathering food,” Runkler explains. Initially, they all wander
off randomly. But after a while, the shortest route develops more or less spontaneously, as it is
where the most ants travel and the concentration of pheromones is therefore the strongest. This,
in turn, attracts even more ants and a broad “ant avenue” is the result. Runkler’s program func-
tions in similar fashion to assign components rapidly and efficiently to individual orders. Mean-
while, when it comes to deciding which order should leave the warehouse first, wasps provide a
clue. In a colony, each wasp has a specific job — defending the nest, for example, or searching
for food. The more important the task, the more resolutely the wasp goes about accomplishing it.
Translated to a mathematical model that employs fuzzy logic, each order corresponds to a wasp.
Factors that determine an order’s importance include the number of missing components or a
possible delay. Once an order reaches the top of the hierarchy, it is dispatched. “In experiments,
we have almost perfected the system, with orders being delivered on time in 97 of 100 cases,”
says Runkler. This improves order punctuality by 50 percent and practically eliminates the possi-
bility that deliveries can arrive late by seven days or more. These algorithms have already been
used in a number of projects with Fujitsu Siemens Computers and Siemens Industrial Solutions
and Services. thus leading to a reduction in material re-
quirements of almost 10 percent. At a current
price of several hundred euros per metric ton
of steel, this means annual savings of millions
for the Duisburg plant, which produces
around four million metric tons of steel a year.
Neural networks from Siemens are now in
operation at around 60 rolling mills.
Learning software can be used profitably
to control almost any kind of industrial
hen pilots climb into the cockpit of an
airplane for their very first flight, their
every move is sure to be perfectly executed,
because flight simulators have prepared them
thoroughly for taking on this demanding re-
sponsibility. “Regular simulator training has
been an integral part of pilots’ training and
careers for years,” says Professor Wolfram
Voelker, Medical Director at the University
Medical Clinic in Würzburg. “That’s how they
learn to master emergency situations and
other challenges.”
Now, medical doctors are also venturing
into the world of simulators, not to keep
planes in the sky, but to keep patients out of
trouble. In an effort to avoid beginners’ mis-
takes or to familiarized themselves with new,
advanced surgical techniques, some doctors
are turning to simulations that can be prac-
ticed without human patients. But in spite of
its practical benefits, medical simulation
training is still rare. “There are only a handful
of training facilities in Europe that offer simu-
lation technology,” Voelker explains. One such facility is the Siemens Medical
Solutions Training Center in Forchheim, Ger-
many. Siemens has been conducting work-
he massive building located in Berlin may
not look high-tech from the outside, but
it offers a peak into the future of how gov-
ernments will streamline their services. The
building is the home of Siemens’ eGovern-
ment Laboratory, and it is where traditional
administrative processes are being trans-
formed from the world of filing cabinets and
paper into the world of bits and bytes. “In our
showroom we give people a glimpse into the
digital administration of tomorrow,” says Pe-
tra Winkler, head of technology at the lab.
She explains that typical applications include
an electronic funding form for processing un-
employment benefits in the European Union
and a Trust Center for digital signature cards. eGov Lab has been a model for the Trust
Center that Siemens recently set up for the
German Pension Insurance Association, for-
merly known as the Federal Insurance Institu-
tion for Salaried Employees. The Association’s
multifunctional smartcards grant access to
certain areas, record working hours, log em-
ployees onto computers and permit them to
sign documents digitally in order to handle
business processes completely electronically
and therefore more efficiently and quickly.
Approximately 30,000 cards were issued
within the framework of this project.
e G o v e r n m e n t
Why Simulation Saves Lives
Public Services on a Chip
A Siemens training center that specializes in simulating complex interventional procedures on
the heart helps prospective as well as experienced cardiologists hone their skills. Bits and bytes instead of
mountains of files. The
Siemens eGovernment Lab in
Berlin reveals how the public
services of the future will work.
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
Doctors learn how best to handle a cardiac
Asylum applications and income tax returns
will be processed more quickly and efficiently
in the future thanks to digital technology. W
shops for prospective cardiologists at the
facility since the fall of 2004.
“The workshops are specifically designed
for physicians who want to gain more expert-
ise in surgical heart procedures,” explains
Voelker, who developed the course concept in
cooperation with his colleagues and Siemens.
“One of the things doctors practice at the
facility is to insert a stent — a small tube of
metal mesh — into a constricted coronary
blood vessel,” he adds. The curriculum of the
two-day training course contains practical
exercises and seminars. In addition to simulation facilities such as
the Cathi simulator, the Training Center
provides a functional heart catheterization
laboratory including an X-ray system — i.e. an
operating room especially equipped for heart
examinations and surgical procedures. Here,
doctors undergo training utilizing genuine
X-rays, the only difference being that instead
of a human patient lying on the operating
table, there’s a silicone heart that rhythmi-
cally pumps water instead of blood through
narrow silicone veins, which permit authentic
catheters, wires, balloons and stents to be
passed through them. But before they prac-
tice here, course participants gain experience
at the Cathi simulator. Dr. Lotte Possler from the Julius Hospital in
Würzburg is under pressure there right now.
Her “patient” — a full-sized medical dummy
— has suffered a heart attack. But which
coronary vessel is blocked and where? The
affected vessel must be widened quickly to
save the patient’s life. Under Voelker’s tute-
lage, Possler selects the best guide catheter
and guide wire. Then she tries to push the
thin wire through the coronary artery to the
point of constriction. The pushing-forward
maneuver is in fact genuine, but the position
and the movement of the wire in the blood
vessels are calculated by a simulation pro-
gram and displayed on a monitor. Possler
even feels the actual rubbing of the wire
against the blood vessel walls, and the move-
ment of the patient’s heart . Navigating the catheter is by no means
easy. The wire curvature isn’t quite right, so
Possler has to withdraw it and start over
again. She uses virtual X-rays to illuminate the
dummy’s heart in order to follow the path
through the vessels on the screen. Which set-
ting is the best, and which radiation angle is
eGov Lab’s servers, which were set up in
2004 by Siemens Business Services, Siemens
Communications and Fujitsu Siemens Com-
puters, have at their disposal the operating
systems normally available to government
authorities. All of the eGovernment security
software and applications are installed on
them. In addition, there are PC workstations
just like the ones that government employees
work on. Because Siemens specializes in the
integration of diverse components, the soft-
ware and hardware come from a variety of
companies, including Intel, Open Text,
Microsoft, Oracle and Sun. A project carried out at the Federal Agency
for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) clearly
demonstrates how complex eGovernment
can be. Siemens has digitized the agency’s
entire application procedure for political asy-
lum. The objectives here were to develop an
electronic filing system with a document
management and workflow system, to con-
nect 24 field offices with headquarters and to
set up a secure communication infrastructure
with several state and local authorities. It took
five years, says Marc Niedenzu, head of Soft-
ware Development at BAMF, for all 1,200
partial processes to be recreated and adapted
electronically. In 2005, BAMF employees created about
43,000 initial and follow-up applications
based on the system developed by Siemens.
“Some employees had reservations about the
IT to begin with,” Niedenzu reports. “But we
were able to win them over, and today people
really like using the system.”
The BAMF project is now being presented
to eGov Lab visitors as a prime example of the
successful digitization of a government
authority. “Our laboratory is a facility where
Siemens can demonstrate its high level of
expertise with eGovernment,” explains Mar-
keting Director Dr. Johannes Dotterweich. In
addition, Petra Winkler’s team uses the eGov
Lab to try out new things — for example,
when software is launched or a customer
wishes to have a specific type of software.
Then eGov technicians test these interactively
with other components. Take the case of the virtual mailroom. This
is a complex program for authorities that —
just like a real mailroom — accepts docu-
ments and forwards them to the right people.
If digital documents are to be dispatched, the
virtual mailroom checks their authenticity
and integrity. Only then does it encode and
sign the documents. “Before utilizing the vir-
tual mailroom at the customer’s office, we
built a model solution here in the laboratory
and tested it,” Winkler says. Siemens specialists are now developing
solutions for electronic business between
government authorities and industry, such as
2 emissions trading. Interested visitors representing foreign
countries are of course also welcome at the
Berlin lab. And they like what they see. For
example, the government of Macao has pro-
vided its citizens with smartcard-based ID
cards from Siemens Business Services, and
Italians and Britons now also have compara-
ble citizens’ cards. Werner Pluta
S I M U L A T I O N T r a i n i n g
the most appropriate? As in reality, the aspir-
ing cardiologist has to position the X-ray
equipment in the simulation with great skill,
so that she can see a good X-ray projection on
the screen. An assisting course participant injects a
contrast medium into the dummy’s synthetic
artery at Possler’s instruction. Immediately,
the monitor shows X-ray images of the vascu-
lar system. But no one has to be concerned
about excessive radiation exposure for the
patient or the team of doctors, or about an
overly high dose of contrast agent. Although
the X-ray system is genuine and is really put
into position, the X-rays themselves are simu-
lated by the Cathi system and the contrast
agent is only water. Now that the wire has passed the point of
constriction, Possler’s next task is to push a
balloon catheter over the wire in such a way
that the tiny balloon is placed at the catheter’s
tip in the constricted area. An assistant pumps
up the balloon and releases the pressure
again after 30 seconds. Following the widen-
Technical systems are becoming ever more complex,and the demands on service employees
are constantly growing. Technicians can update their knowledge in the areas of automation, drives
and systems technology with the Sitrain training program from Automation and Drives (A&D).
A&D is currently trying out a new learning model that is based on virtual reality (VR). “Thanks to
VR, products and customer-specific facility situations can be displayed in 3D and different service
scenarios can be acted out interactively with virtual models,” says Klaus Königbauer, VR Project
Manager at Sitrain. In the future, technicians will also be able to learn on a PC, for example, how
a circuit breaker works and how maintenance or repairs can be performed on it.To do that, the
switch is displayed in perspective and can
be rotated and zoomed in, for instance.
The vivid 3D depiction provides a valuable
and lasting learning effect. That’s why
plans now call for making VR a permanent
component of Sitrain educational pro-
grams worldwide within Siemens’
“Blended Learning” concept. According to Königbauer, “in Blended Learning we
supplement traditional hands-on training
with electronic learning components, in-
cluding VR. That way we can make knowl-
edge available to our customers all over
the world in a shorter amount of time.”
ing of the vascular wall, Possler has to select
and insert the appropriate stent that will
stabilize the widened point of constriction
permanently. But which is the right one?
Should it be 25 millimeters long? Or would a
30-millimeter stent with a 3.55-millimeter
diameter be better? Luckily, Possler has an
expert standing at her side to offer advice.
The stent is inserted and the procedure is suc-
cessful. The virtual patient has been saved.
Database Heart. “With Cathi, experienced
as well as junior cardiologists can perfect their
catheter procedures on coronary vessels,“ ex-
plains Ulrike Kornmesser, a physics Ph.D who
the actual position of the wire in the model
and appears to display the heart environment
on the monitor as an X-ray image: “That’s a
company secret,” she says.
Stress-Free Practice. “As a university profes-
sor and member of the Interventional Cardiol-
ogy Work Group of the German Cardiac Soci-
ety, I have a special interest in optimizing
education for our physicians,” says Voelker.
“The Siemens Training Center is ideal in this
regard. State-of-the-art X-ray systems, a very
good infrastructure and outstanding support
from the Siemens team all play a role. What’s
more, the ambience provides a pleasant
learning environment that more traditional
university clinics don’t always offer.” In conventional hospital training pro-
grams, aspiring cardiologists learn new oper-
ating techniques by watching and copying.
But often the lessons take place on the fly,
because the daily hospital routine is hectic
and the heart catheter laboratory has to
handle a tremendous workload each day. “At
the center in Forchheim, on the other hand,
workshop participants can take their time
working with the different functions of the
X-ray system and handling the catheter mate-
rials,” states Voelker. The learning concept is bearing fruit. Fol-
lowing two days of intensive training, course
participants are highly satisfied with what
they’ve learned. “I enjoyed the workshop very
much, especially the combination of theory
and practical exercises on the model,” says
Possler. “Before this I had carried out about
300 catheter examinations in the clinic,
whereby the emphasis was on making a diag-
nosis. I’ve performed only a few interven-
tions, such as widening a blood vessel, and
never completely on my own. But here, I was
able to calmly watch how my colleagues carry
out a surgical procedure, and I received
individualized instruction from experienced
professors as to how to perform it myself —
something that just isn’t possible in a busy
hospital environment.“
“In the future, simulators will mean that
physicians will be able to go into their first
catheter examination with a certain amount
of experience — and without having to gain it
on the patient first,” predicts Voelker. “And a
simulator certificate for certain surgical pro-
cedures could become a standard require-
ment in as little as five years,” he adds. The
cooperation between Siemens and medical
partners results in a high level of training —
and ultimately, patients will benefit most of
all. Ulrike Zechbauer
Physicians focus their attention on a simulated balloon catheterization procedure (left), and on a silicone model of a heart (right). is the General Manager of Cathi GmbH, a
cooperation partner of Siemens Medical Solu-
tions. “They learn how to use instruments and
X-ray machines correctly and efficiently, and
they gain experience in optimal dosing of
contrast agents and X-rays.” The models of
beating hearts are realistic and the database
that supports the heart model on which sim-
ulations are based is constantly expanded. The vascular constrictions integrated into
the simulation program can be adapted to
varying levels of training. The more the cardi-
ologist practices, the more complex the vas-
cular constrictions become. “We can also sim-
ulate complications, such as a contrast agent
allergy, dissections — when an artery’s tissue
layers split — or perforations of the vascular
wall,” says Kornmesser. “Doctors can then
practice how to handle these situations,
which rarely occur in reality.” But Kornmesser
doesn’t want to reveal how Cathi determines
Computer simulation and knowledge-based
optimization are increasingly replacing costly
practical testing, cutting development times,
and yielding cost savings. Examples can be
found throughout the entire range of Siemens
products,including wind and gas turbines,
microreactors, magnetic resonance tomo-
graphs and airbags. Experts predict that by
2015 there will be virtual engineering at all
levels from nanostructures to complex 3D imagery in real time. (pp. 73, 79)
Simulations conducted in Siemens’ virtual
reality laboratory are helping to cut develop-
ment times of products, systems and entire
plants by as much as 30 percent. And they
can prevent errors while projects are still in
the planning stages. Current examples of this
include locomotive cabs in trains, develop-
ment of head-up displays, airflows in a passenger car air-mass sensor, and simulation
— complete with materials flows — for an engine plant in China. (p. 76)
Simulation also cuts months off the time
needed to get complex power-transmission facilities up and running — and iron out faults
in good time. Even the design and testing of a
microchip can be done on a computer. (p. 82)
Mathematical algorithms are used to optimize real-time data transfer, telephone
network structures, circuit boards and the production of steel ingots. (p. 87)
In the field of learning software (e.g., neural networks and fuzzy logic), Siemens research teams are among the best in the
world. Their solutions have been in service for
years in about 60 steel rolling plants world-
wide, yielding material and cost savings. They
also optimize paper plants, sewage treatment
plants, power plants and even dishwashers.
Observations from the worlds of ants and
wasps are inspiring concepts that significantly
improve logistics processes and inventory
management. (p. 90)
Everyone knows that pilots have been train-
ing on simulators for decades, but now physi-
cians are beginning to use simulation technol-
ogy — to practice and perfect interventional
techniques. And with the Sitrain training program, technicians can update their knowl-
edge in the areas of automation, drives and
systems technology. At the Siemens Airport
Center, customers can train and study using
simulations of a full-scale airport. (pp. 84, 95)
Simulation and optimization:
Dr. Johannes Nierwetberg, CT SE 6
Prof. Martin Greiner, CT IC 4
Prof. Albert Gilg, CT PP 2
Prof. Ulrich Lauther, CT SE 6
Materials simulation:
Dr. Wolfgang Rossner, CT MM 2
Medical imaging processes:
Dr. Leo Grady, SCR,
Virtual engineering:
Heinz-Simon Keil, CT PP 6
Virtual reality lab, Media Center:
Bernd Friedrich, CT PP 6
Wind power plants:
Jesper Laursen, A&D
Airbag, occupant and crash simulations:
Gerd Scholpp, SV
HVDC test center, Erlangen:
Peter Bermel, PTD
ASIC chip design center:
Helmut Wirth, PSE
Siemens Airport Center (SAC):
Helmut Pawlischek, I&S
Learning software, neural networks:
Prof. Bernd Schürmann, CT IC 4
eGovernment Lab:
Dr. Johannes Dotterweich, SBS
Prof. Martin Grötschel, Konrad Zuse
Center for Information Technology, Berlin,
Siemens Restraint Systems:
Siemens Medical Solutions, Education:
SITRAIN – Training for Automation:
Grötschel, Martin, et al., Online Optimization
of Large Scale Systems, Springer, 2001
In Brief
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
P i c t u r e s o f t h e F u t u r e | S p r i n g 2 0 0 6
P r e v i e w F a l l 2 0 0 6
Without people like Osman Ahmed, Siemens
would never be able to call itself a “Global
network of innovation.” Ahmed develops
micro-electro-mechanical systems for build-
ing automation technologies. It’s thanks to
imaginative developers like himthat Siemens
is among the leaders worldwide in patent
registrations. But there’s more to innovation
than invention. What really counts is trans-
lating ideas into market-ready products and services. How do you do that? And what’s
the best way to develop an innovation cul-
ture that supports imagination and profit?
They say that a picture is worth a thousand
words. But how can a computer figure out
what’s important in a picture? Or which
image out of the thousands from a CT, MR or ultrasound scan contains decisive information? These are some of the most crucial questions now being explored by
researchers and developers in the field of
machine vision. Application areas for this
extremely promising technology include
high-speed quality control in production environments, medical image analysis, security, and help for the visually impaired.
In China, small towns are being transformed
into huge cities. And around the world mil-
lions of people are moving to urban centers.
Cities such as Moscow, Mumbai, São Paulo
and Buenos Aires have over ten million inhab-
itants each, as do others such as Shanghai,
Peking, Seoul and Tokyo. Sustainable devel-
opment of such immense urban environ-
ments is a challenge not only in terms of
energy, transportation and sanitation infra-
structures, but also in terms of building and
automation technologies for high-rises,
shopping centers, airports and sports facili-
ties. Equally important is the ability to supply
cities with essential goods ranging from food
and pharmaceuticals to fuels, steel and
cement while protecting resources – all areas
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PI CTURES OF THE FUTURE Feedba c k a nd Ser v i c e
Publisher:Siemens AG
Corporate Communications (CC) und Corporate Technology (CT)
Wittelsbacherplatz 2, 80333 München
For the Publisher: Dr. Ulrich Eberl (CC), Prof. Dr. Dietmar Theis (CT) (tel. +49 89 636 33246),
Editorial Office:
Dr. Ulrich Eberl (ue) (Editor-in-Chief) Arthur F. Pease (afp) (Executive Editor, English Edition)
Dr. Norbert Aschenbrenner (na) (Managing Editor)
Florian Martini (fm) (Editor)
Ulrike Zechbauer (uz) (Editor)
Additional Authors in this Issue:
Bernhard Bartsch, Andreas Beuthner, Bernhard Gerl, Björn Gondesen, Günter Heismann,
Andrea Hoferichter, Ute Kehse, Andreas Kleinschmidt, Katrin Nikolaus, Bernd Müller,
Werner Pluta, Gitta Rohling, Dr. Jeanne Rubner, Tim Schröder, Rob Simpson, Rolf Sterbak,
Robert E. Tevis, Dr. Sylvia Trage, Dr. Evdoxia Tsakiridou, Sebastian Webel, Nikola Wohllaib
Picture Editing: Judith Egelhof, Vera Ferrarotti, Publicis München
Photography:Kurt Bauer, Kurt Fuchs, Erol Gurian, Jochen Hähnel, Bernd Müller, Bobby Oh,Frank Rothe, Volker Steger
Internet ( Volkmar Dimpfl
Illustrations:Natascha Römer, Stuttgart
Layout /Lithography: Rigobert Ratschke, Büro Seufferle, Stuttgart
Graphics:Jochen Haller, Büro Seufferle, Stuttgart
Historical Information:Dr. Frank Wittendorfer, Siemens Archives
Address Database:Anke Kimmling, Susan Suess, Publicis Erlangen
Translations German – Englisch: Transform GmbH, Köln
Translations Englisch – German:Karin Hofmann, Publicis München Printing: Bechtle Druck&Service, Esslingen
All articles in Pictures of the Futureare also available at:
Picture Credits: Archiv für Kunst und Geschichte (13 t.r.), Mauritius images (13
b.r.), Transrapid International (14 l.), Geoff Kuchera/ istockphoto (17 b.r.), Pic-
ture-Alliance / dpa (33, 34 t., 36 b.r.), Osram /Siteco (35 t.), EE & K Architects
(38), Intel Corporation (44-45 t.r.), Nysted Offshore Wind Farm (52 l.), private
(53, 93), PSA Peugeot Citro
ën Direction de la Communication – Legros (54, 55),
NSA Norwegische Schiffahrts-Agentur GmbH (60), comfsim: Siemens AG/ TU
München (68, 69), mauritius images (79 t.), Mark Moffet/Minden Pictures (92) Copyright for all other images is held by Siemens AG. Pictures of the Future,syngo, Auto Immun Systems and other names are registered trademarks of Siemens AG. ICE is a registered trademark of Deutsche Bahn AG. FIFA
World Cup and similar terms are registered trademarks of the Fédération Internationale
de Football Association (FIFA). Other product and company names mentioned in this
magazine may be registered trademarks of their respective companies. The editorial content of the reports in this publication does not necessarily reflect the
opinions of the publisher. This magazine contains forward-looking statements, the
accuracy of which Siemens is not able to guarantee in any way. Information about
some products is preliminary. Some of the products are under development and are
not commercially available in the U.S. and their availability cannot be ensured.
Pictures of the Future appears twice a year.
Printed in Germany. Reproduction of articles in whole or in part requires the permission
of the Editorial Office. This also applies to storage in electronic databases, the Internet,
and reproduction on CD-ROMs.
© 2006 by Siemens AG. All rights reserved. Siemens Aktiengesellschaft
Order number:A19100-F-P103-X-7600
ISSN 1618-5498
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