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Materials for the
Seamless Communication
New materials hold the key to an efficient energy supply
Making information available when and where it’s needed
Pictures of the Future
The Magazine for Research and Innovation | Fall 2007
Virtual Production
Testing Products and Their Production Processes Before They Exist
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 3
Pictures of the Future | Contents
Seamless Communication
Materials for the
Factories of the
10 Scenario 2020 Surprisingly Realistic
13 Trends Rebirth in the Virtual Universe
16 UGS and Siemens
Journey to a Unified World
19 Facts and Forecasts The Buzz about Automation
20 Factory Planning Blending Realities
23 Product Development
Prototype for Perfection
26 Europe’s Best Factory
Simply the Best
29 Beijing Airport Designing the Belly of the Beast
30 Rail Systems
Trains of Bits and Bytes
33 Facility Simulation
Optimizing Throughput
35 Metal Making Smarter Smelting
37 Energy-Saving Technologies
Practice what You Preach
39 Interview with Roddy Martin
General Manager, AMR Research
Rethinking Manufacturing
40 Interview with Prof. Günter Voß
Wanted: Workers with Broad Qualifications
44 Scenario 2020
Invisible Revolutionaries
47 Trends Promising Particles 50 Optimizing Turbine Blades
Taking the Heat
53 Ceramic Heat Shields Precision-Made Protection
54 World’s Largest Gas Turbine
Unmatched Efficiency 57 Recycling
Circuit Boards Go Green
58 Renewable Materials
Plastics: A Growing Field
60 Wind Turbines
Catching the Wind 63 Lighting
Light-Emitting Developments
64 Analytical Chemistry
Catching Contaminants
67 Facts and Forecasts
The World Turns to Renewables
68 Interview with Prof. Wan Gang
China’s Minister of Science 70 Transportation
Road to a Lighter Future 72 Energy Demand
Pinpointing Costs 74 Energy Storage
Piggybanks for Power
178 Scenario 2015
Hot Tip
181 Trends New Social Network
182 Interview with Jarkko Sairanen
Nokia’s Head of Strategy 184 Nokia Siemens Networks
Billions Online
186 Networked Living Welcome to the Smart Home
189 Facts and Forecasts
Broadband Technologies Booming
190 Power Plant Management
Networked Power
192 Production
Factory Data Democracy
194 Security
Raising the Bar for Hackers
196 Healthcare Data that’s Always There1
98 Buenos Aires
The Music is Back
100 Transportation
Trouble-Free Travel
103 Control Centers On Call Around the Clock
4 In Brief Brainy Solution /Palm Reading /
New Era of Power in China /
Mission with Vision /
Higher Resolution CT
6 Siemens Venture Capital All-in-One Chip
1 7 Siemens Worldwide
Building a New Hungary
8 Energy Powerful Idea in the Bronx
42 Particle Accelerator at CERN
Solving the World’s Mysteries 1
76 Solar and Geothermal Plants
Power from Heaven and Earth
106 Feedback / Preview Pictures of the Future | Editorial
2 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
he second half of the 19th century was
an era of technical, economic, and so-
cial transformation. New nations were
formed, the middle and working classes
demanded their rights, and technical
achievements permeated every aspect of
daily life. Electric lighting came to cities,
which were connected by railroads, and for
the first time in history messages could be
transported within minutes by telegraph
across continents and oceans. One of the
driving forces behind all these develop-
ments was a man who established a small
factory in a courtyard in Berlin exactly 160
years ago, in October 1847: Werner von
Siemens. Peter Löscher is President and CEO of Siemens AG.
still focused on answering the big ques-
tions, one of which is: “How can we power
a planet hungry for electricity while mini-
mizing our impact on climate and the envi-
ronment?” You can find our answers in this
issue of Pictures of the Future (pp.44 – 77).
They range from special coatings for huge
gas turbines to new drive systems for
trains, and from highly efficient light
sources, solar-thermal and geothermal
power stations, to processes for making
one-piece, 52-meter blades that are so
robust they can generate electricity from
wind even when located far out at sea.
Equally important are questions result-
ing from the megatrends of urbanization
: The intelligent factory combines the virtual world of prod-
uct and process development — in
this case, the design of a high-speed
train at a Siemens plant in Germany
— with the real world of automated
manufacturing. Customers benefit
from faster and more flexible production and lower costs.
His recipes for success are still valid to-
day. He came up with answers to the big
questions of his time. For example, politi-
cians and businessmen needed a way to
communicate messages quickly. Werner
von Siemens invented the pointer tele-
graph, which he described as “ridiculously
simple and easy to use.” Today we would
say it’s user-friendly. What’s more, he
thought globally and mastered challenges
that nobody else had dared to face in his
day. For instance, his company used a spe-
cially designed ship to lay transatlantic ca-
bles from Europe to the U.S.A. But the greatest revolution of all was
triggered by his invention of the dynamo,
which laid the foundation for electrical en-
gineering. The dynamo made it possible to
convert mechanical energy into electrical
energy and thus make electricity widely
available, whether for lighting or new
types of motors. Siemens built the first
electric railroad in 1879, the first electric
elevator in 1880, and the first electric
streetcar line in 1881. What’s more, he pre-
dicted the development of power stations.
“Small machines that get their power from
large ones will become possible and use-
ful,” he wrote to his brother Wilhelm. “This
field has a lot of potential.”
And it’s true. Electric power is the basis
of our modern society — and technologies
for the clean and efficient generation,
transmission, and utilization of electricity
are still one of the pillars of Siemens’ suc-
cess. Today, as 160 years ago, research, de-
velopment, and innovation at Siemens are
and demographic change — questions
such as, “How can we achieve sustainable
development and the highest possible
quality of life in cities?” and “How can we
detect and treat diseases long before they
strike?” Here too, Siemens can offer solu-
tions, as shown in Pictures of the Future,
Fall 2006 and Spring 2007. Yet another question is posed by the
global distribution of labor and by growing
consumer demands — the question of
how production methods can help us to
make products faster, more flexibly, in
higher quality, more cheaply, and in ways
that more effectively conserve resources. Our answer is the “intelligent factory”
(pp.10 – 41). We develop the solutions
that make it possible to design products
in the virtual world and to design and test
their associated production processes there
as well. Through international collabora-
tive work, we examine new products in the
virtual world along their entire life cycles
and value chains before a single screw is
tightened in the real world. This enables
us to optimize products and production
processes while reducing their environ-
mental impact right from the very start. And let’s not forget that as we answer
all of these questions — whether they
have to do with energy supplies, health,
or industry — we’re also working on
an important cross-sector technology:
powerful information and communication
systems (pp. 78 – 105). In 1847, Werner
von Siemens laid the groundwork for this
development as well.
Answering the Big Questions
Pictures of the Future | In Brief
4 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 5
Higher Resolution CT
New Era of Power
iemens is building China’s
highest capacity long-dis-
tance direct current power line.
The link will transport power
1,400 kilometers to the Pearl
River delta in the province of
Guangdong, where it will sup-
ply Hong Kong, Shenzen, and
Guangzhou — megacities with
a total population of about 30
million. The high voltage direct
current transmission (HVDC)
system that Siemens and its
Chinese partners will build will
usher in a new era of power
transmission. It will be the first system to achieve a capacity of 5,000 megawatts and
reach 800 kilovolts. The high voltage makes it possible to transmit more power with
lower losses. The HVDC lines that Siemens previously installed operate at 500 kilovolts
and deliver up to 3,000 megawatts. As the energy for the HVDC line is generated by
hydroelectric plants in the province of Yunnan, no carbon dioxide (CO
) will be emitted.
Without the new line, it would have been necessary to generate the energy using new
fossil fuel-fired power plants. And that, according to predictions, would have meant
more than 30 million tons of CO
emissions every year. na
ngineers at Siemens’ Roke
Manor research center in
Romsey, UK, have developed a
new method that allows com-
puter tomographs to generate
data much more quickly. The
process enables an optical
transmission unit in the rotat-
ing part of a tomograph to
transfer the measurement val-
ues contained in the rotating
section to a stationary optical
receiver without making con-
tact. Siemens plans to use the
new method for its next gener-
ation of CT scanners, which will achieve a data rate of 8.5 gigabits per second, com-
pared to the current rate of five gigabits per second. “This innovation makes it possible
to transmit larger amounts of data in the same amount of time, enabling the genera-
tion of higher resolution cross-sections and ultimately improving data quality,” says
Roke Manor Marketing Director Paul Smith. The Roke Manor research facility was estab-
lished 50 years ago and has been owned by Siemens for the past 17 years. The center’s
approximately 400 employees are among the world’s leading specialists in the fields of
communications technology, acoustics, image processing, and sensor
A hand scanner supplements Siemens’ biometric access authorization software.
Non-contact identification. The scanner is suitable for
use in sterile hospital environments. S
iemens now offers a palm reading device
for biometric access authorization. The
new version of Siemens’ ID Center biometric
software supports the PalmSecure hand-sur-
face reader produced by Fujitsu, as well as all
major fingerprint scanners on the market and,
of course, SmartCards, making it a uniquely
versatile solution. The system is equipped with
an infrared scanner that reads palms within
seconds when a person’s hand is held at a dis-
tance of a few centimeters. The unit scans the
pattern of veins under the skin, after which a
computer compares the data with stored palm
samples, granting access to restricted areas
once an exact match has been made. The palm
reading device is generally used in conjunction
with a SmartCard. Unlike fingerprint reading
techniques, which require the finger to be
pressed onto, or dragged across, a special
surface, the reliability of the palm reader is
not affected by dirt or skin injuries. The system
can even “see” through gloves, making it par-
ticularly useful for sterile hospital areas, as it
does not require hand contact to identify an
with Vision
ince June 2007, the TerraSAR-X satellite
has been delivering images with a resolu-
tion of up to one meter as it orbits the Earth.
During its five year mission, the German satel-
lite will scan the entire planet with radar from
an altitude of 514 kilometers, unaffected by
clouds, weather, or lighting conditions.Terra-
SAR-X will increase the mapping detail of
roads, railways, and buildings, providing im-
portant information for planning infrastruc-
tures. In addition, the satellite will measure
changes to the Earth’s ice caps, thus providing
data on climate change. Siemens developed
key components of the satellite’s mission con-
trol center in Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany.
The control system, which was originally de-
veloped for the European Space Agency (ESA),
was adapted and expanded for the TerraSAR
mission by Siemens. The system controls and
monitors a five-meter-long, 1,200-kilogram
satellite on its mission. As part of the system’s
modification, experts from Siemens IT Solu-
tions and Services PSE in Austria installed a
special database solution, which documents
the satellite’s entire history and compiles all
data concerning the control, propulsion, posi-
tioning, and configuration of the satellite. The
database, which records every signal sent to
or received from the satellite, is set to grow to
seven terabytes over the next five years —
that’s equivalent to the information contained
on about 1,000 DVDs. Even before the Terra-
SAR-X lifted off in June, a consortium consist-
ing of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and
the space technology company Astrium used
the control system to test the satellite. na
The TerraSAR-X radar satellite offers a resolution of
one meter from 514 kilometers above the Earth.
HVDC lines transfer power from rural areas to urban centers.
Sharper medical images thanks to fast optical transmission. A
prototype medical scanner from
Siemens combines magnetic reso-
nance tomography (MR) and an imaging
process from nuclear medicine, providing
entirely new insights into the human brain.
Experts believe this unique tool will im-
prove the diagnosis of early-stage
Alzheimer’s disease and enable physicians
to more quickly assess the condition of
stroke patients and propose treatments.
The device combines MR (top) and positron
emission tomography (bottom). MR con-
tributes by displaying images of soft tissue
in high resolution and sharp contrast, while
PET highlights regions that display in-
creased metabolic activity in very fine de-
tail. Up until now, neurologists using PET
could not conclusively differentiate be-
tween low-grade cognitive disturbances
and the early stages of Alzheimer’s. They
have also been unable to simultaneously
measure the reduction of brain volume as-
sociated with Alzheimer’s. With MR-PET
(center), this examination can now be con-
ducted in a single step. Physicians can also
use the prototype scanner to better monitor
and investigate the progress of other neuro-
logical disorders, including Parkinson’s dis-
ease, epilepsy, depression, and schizophre-
nia. For a PET examination, a patient is
injected with a very small dose of a short-
lived radioactive liquid, which accumulates
in cells with an elevated metabolic rate and
releases positron radiation. When the
positrons collide with electrons, they are
annihilated, thus releasing gamma ray
quanta, which are registered by a detection
device that uses the data to generate a to-
mographic 3D image. Engineers at Siemens
Medical Solutions used extremely fast and
sensitive avalanche photo diodes (APD) to
serve as a PET detector. These diodes are
not affected by the magnetic field gener-
ated by the MR system, which operates in
tandem with the PET unit at a field strength
of three teslas, enabling it to deliver a reso-
lution of approximately 0.2 millimeters. The
images created by the two systems are then
superimposed on one another by a com-
puter to produce images containing an un-
precedented level of information.
Brainy Solution
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 7
Siemens Venture Capital | Combining RFID, WLAN, and Sensor Systems
6 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
iemens has traditionally been a pioneer
in Hungary, having built the first subway
on mainland Europe in Budapest in 1896. It
also provided the Hungarian capital with its
first electric street lighting system in 1911
and its first PET/CT imaging system in 2005. Twelve years ago, Siemens also partici-
pated in the implementation of a forward-
looking lighting concept designed by light-
ing planner Christian Bartenbach for
Budapest’s southernmost Danube bridge,
the Lágymányosi. There are no lamps above
the bridge that directly light the road; in-
stead, light emitted from below reflects off
mirror systems mounted 35 meters above
the ground on five poles. Each light reflector consists of two wings,
one of which is equipped with around 50
small mirror components. Each mirror wing
is illuminated by a one-kilowatt metal halo-
gen lamp from Osram. The advantage of this
lighting system is that the mirrors are posi-
tioned in such a way that light is reflected
onto the road in a completely even manner.
Additional light sources for pedestrians are
installed in the bridge parapet. Siemens is also helping Hungary with
parking. Back in 1999 and 2000, the com-
pany initiated a pioneering program to net-
ack in 2004, a team of experts with many
years of experience in identification and
tracking applications met in Sydney, Aus-
tralia. Their objective was to develop a chip
capable of dealing with both technologies.
One of the participants, G2 Microsystems
chairman John Gloekler, believed such a chip
could offer huge potential. Before moving to
G2, Gloekler had spent many years analyzing
and optimizing global supply chains as a
partner at Ernst & Young, an international
consulting firm. So, by the time he joined G2
Microsystems, which is based in Campbell,
California and has an R&D center in Sydney,
he already knew the main questions that
companies were asking: “Where is our mer-
chandise?” and, “What condition is it in?”
Identification systems are now an indis-
pensable part of logistics. They use reading
devices to track the contents of trucks pass-
ing through factory gates. Real-time locating
systems such as Moby R from Siemens use
RFID tags to find a specific automobile in gi-
ant parking lots for cars. The tags send radio
waves to reading devices, which take run-
time measurements of the signal in order to
calculate the location of the car in question. In addition to such systems, many compa-
nies also have WLAN. Tags that are equipped
with a corresponding chip can communicate
their position via a WLAN access point. The
advantage here is that an existing infrastruc-
ture can be used, thus eliminating the need
to purchase reading devices. In some cases RFIDs and WLAN operate in
the same environment. However, this has re-
quired the use of two separate tags. To get
around this, researchers have explored the
idea of combining these. “But,” says Gloeker,
“The WLAN tags that were used until recently
consumed too much energy, and their bat-
teries died after just a few weeks or months.” But a new chip from G2 systems known as
the G2C501 allows users to set up systems
that reduce total lifecycle costs by up to 75
work parking meter vending machines in Bu-
dapest and other Hungarian cities in order to
enable remote monitoring. Siemens deliv-
ered and installed nearly 1,250 advanced
vending machines, which are linked via GSM
modem with the operator’s control center, to
which they send information on proceeds,
battery power status, the amount of paper
left for printing, and functional defects. The
data is processed at the center with the help
of “Sity Control” software, which is able to
identify each machine based on the SIM card
in its GSM modem. The data enables opera-
tors to efficiently plan staff routes for collect-
ing money, refilling paper, and replacing bat-
LED Traffic Lights. Siemens’ pioneering
spirit is still alive and well in Hungary. In par-
ticular, the company is now participating in a
financing concept for new traffic light sys-
tems in Budapest that could become a model
for many cities around the world. Traffic
lights in the Hungarian capital are not only
set to get brighter in the future; they will also
be saving the city money and helping to pro-
tect the environment. Together with Hungarian signaling sys-
tem manufacturer Vilati, Siemens will be
Building a New Hungary All in One
Siemens can look back on
a 120-year history in Hungary. Back in 1887,
Siemens & Halske estab-
lished a company in Budapest to build the city’s
first streetcar line. Today,
Siemens has 2,100 employ-
ees in Hungary who gener-
ate annual sales of approx-
imately €420 million. Their
work focuses on providing
innovative product solutions for all Siemens
business areas.
G2 Microsystems has developed a chip that can
locate and identify objects.
It has interfaces not only
for WLAN and RFID but
also for special sensors.
percent. The chip switches from standby to
active mode very quickly, power consump-
tion in the standby mode has been reduced
considerably, and the entire power regula-
tion process has been optimized.
In order to support tracking, the G2C501’s
system platform consists of a processor with
radio interfaces for RFID and WLAN. But a G2
chip can do more. “In many cases, customers
not only want to know where their assets
are, but also how the local environment is af-
fecting them,” says Gloekler. They need to
know about temperature, humidity, and
lighting conditions, for example, and also re-
quire data on whether merchandise is sta-
tionary or in motion. All of this data can be
provided by sensors linked to the system.
Text Messages from Containers. Although
only recently introduced, early birds such as
Finland-based Ekahau, are already working
with the chip. Siemens also plans to get in on
the action. “By merging RFID, positioning
systems, and the properties of wireless sen-
sor networks on a mobile platform, the new
chip makes it possible to create applications
that go far beyond simple identification and
asset tracking,” says Marcus Bliesze from
Siemens Automation and Drives. Consider, for example, a container hous-
ing refrigerated items in a storage building.
Equipped with a G2C501 tag, the container
can be located in real time via WLAN. The tag
in the refrigerated container is equipped
with a temperature sensor — and the
G2C501, with its integrated processor, can
be programmed in such a way as to enable it
to send a message via WLAN if the tempera-
ture exceeds a predefined level. By linking
the chip with a GSMmodule, it could in the
future even send a text message. The idea of integrating several technolo-
gies onto one chip was so convincing that
Siemens Venture Capital (SVC) decided to in-
vest in the start-up. “We expect the market
for identification and positioning systems to
grow rapidly,” says Dr. Uwe Albrecht from
SVC. New applications are already being cre-
ated, such as employing WLAN-enabled
transponders to make it easier to locate mo-
bile machines in hospitals. Frost & Sullivan, a
market research company, expects the asset-
tracking market to grow at an annual rate of
23 percent over the next five years, reaching
a volume of $1 billion by 2010. For his part,
Gloekler firmly believes that the G2 chip will
form the core of many of the systems in this
market.Katrin Nikolaus
equipping all the city’s traffic lights with
light-emitting diodes (LEDs) between now
and 2008. In all, some 33,000 LED systems
are to be installed at more than 815 traffic
light intersections. The new light sources
consume about 80 percent less electricity
than the conventional 230-volt light bulbs
they will be replacing. What’s more, the LEDs
also have an operating life of up to 100,000
hours — much longer than current light
bulbs. As a result, they only need to be re-
placed once every ten years or so. Despite the large investment required, Bu-
dapest won’t face a financial crunch with the
traffic lights, as system costs will be paid off
in monthly installments that are lower than
the savings the system will achieve through
reduced power consumption and mainte-
nance costs. “According to calculations by
the city of Budapest, more than €800,000
can be saved each year on electricity alone
because the LED traffic lights use 7.6 million
kilowatt-hours less energy than normal
lights,” says Péter Üveges, head of Intelligent
Traffic Systems at Siemens Hungary. “Main-
tenance costs for the lights will also decline
by around ten percent.” The project has a to-
tal volume of €34 million and includes a
maintenance contract that runs until 2013. Elegant lighting. Mirror systems 35 meters above the ground evenly illuminate the road. Testing the G2C501’s sensors during development. The chip integrates a number of sensing technologies. | Siemens in Hungary
Siemens Worldwide | Siemens in Hungary
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 98 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
The former PSE (Program and System En-
gineering), which became a part of IT Solu-
tions and Services in January 2007, is an-
other major Siemens outpost in the region.
With the help of its 500 employees in Bu-
dapest and Szeged, the company focuses on
worldwide information technology services
for Siemens sales and service organizations. Projects are spread across several loca-
tions. In addition to its offices in Hungary
and Vienna, Austria, the company has
branch offices in the Czech Republic, Slova-
kia, Romania, and Croatia. “A typical project
involves three or four countries,” says Martin
Nedved, the company’s managing director
in Hungary. “In Szeged, for example, we
Powerful Idea in the Bronx
With help from Siemens, a
residential community in
New York City’s northern
borough has increased the
capacity of its power plant
to such an extent that it
will be able to sell surplus
energy to the local utility
at market prices, thus gen-
erating substantial profits.
Future revenues will be
channeled into improve-
ments for the complex’s
16,000 housing units.
n June 27, 2007 — a scorching, humid
day with temperatures topping 32 de-
grees Celsius — parts of Manhattan and the
South Bronx lost power for 45 minutes.
Many New Yorkers recalled the epic blackout
of four years ago, when their city and large
parts of the northeast and midwest were
without power for days. Consolidated Edison (Con Ed), which pro-
vides power to 3.2 million customers in New
York City and surrounding areas, is fighting
an uphill battle. Its infrastructure is in decline
while load and demand are up. Correspond-
ingly, Con Edison is encouraging its major
customers to consider independently in-
stalling power stations to support their own
Co-op City, a large residential complex lo-
cated in the northeast of the Bronx, will soon
become an independent customer because
Siemens is providing the equipment for the
re-powered power plant, which will have a
capacity of 40 MW. The $65 million plant will
provide some 16,000 housing units with
electricity, heat, hot water, and air condition-
ing. And in addition to meeting the needs of
all 60,000 residents, it will also provide a sur-
plus that can be sold back to the grid. The facility is scheduled to go online in
December 2007 — two months ahead of its
original target. When it does, it will be more
efficient, more powerful, and less polluting
than its predecessor. “You put a dollar of gas
into an average gas turbine, and it produces
35 cents of electricity; the other 65 cents is
wasted,” explains Co-op City power plant di-
rector Brian Reardon, using his favorite
metaphor. “In our system, we’re getting 76
cents out of every dollar.”
That’s because the steam produced by the
waste heat of the combustion turbine ex-
haust is used to power a steam turbine that
generates additional electricity. Part of that
turbine’s waste heat is then used to create
hot water for the entire complex. Additional steam produced by the com-
bustion turbine exhaust will also be used to
power the plant’s “steam drivers” and
“chillers,” which create heat and air condi-
tioning for the entire complex.
At maximum capacity, the plant can pro-
duce 40 megawatts of electricity, about
twice the amount needed at Co-op City on
an average day. If it chooses, Co-op City can sell its excess
electricity back to Con Edison at the prevail-
ing market rate. Between efficiency up-
grades and potential sales, RiverBay Corpora-
tion, the company that manages Co-op City,
expects to save $15 million to $25 million a
year. At the same time, it hopes to pay off
the cost of the plant in three to five years and
create a new revenue stream for future im-
As a bonus, the modernization allows Co-
op City to use cleaner-burning fuels, mean-
ing that despite the expansion, the complex
plant will wind up emitting fewer pollutants. Siemens is the main equipment supplier
for this challenging project. The scope of
supply for Siemens PG comprises two gas
turbines, a steam turbine, and the control
system. In addition, Siemens is supplying
medium voltage controllers and turnkey
manufacturing and installation of medium
voltage switchgear.
One of the reasons Reardon is extremely
satisfied with this project is that Siemens is
able to provide the customer with a single
point of contact for all commercial negotia-
tions as well as coordinating support from
different Siemens divisions. “I am the primary contact who provides
the customer with a seamless Siemens inter-
face, allowing the customer more time to fo-
cus on more important issues” says John
Sprance, Siemens’ key account manager for
New York City. “Projects like this require
many talented people from many Siemens
divisions and contractors. In order to stay on
schedule, such a project needs to be well or-
chestrated and it all starts with careful plan-
ning and experienced project managers.”
“There’s no doubt about it, this is one of
the best run projects I know,” confirms Jeff
Torbitt, who is the contractor project leader.
Torbitt is also convinced that completing a
project of this size ahead of schedule is a rare
achievement. Twice as Much Power as Needed. The idea
of over-sizing the plant came up after the
first calculations were completed and every-
one was asking, “Where should this money
come from?” One big item on the list was Con Edison’s
back-up power. “The information showed
that we would have to spend a lot of money,
not for electricity, but just for the assurance
that we might get it if we were in trouble,”
recalls Reardon
He came up with the great idea of not
spending money for Con Edison but selling
power instead. “Building a plant twice as
large as needed and selling the surplus elec-
tricity was the break-through idea,” he re-
calls. With this, the project became not only
feasible, but also profitable. In a few years,
after paying back the current debt, the plant
will provide a comfortable stream of revenue
for further enhancements of the whole com-
plex, and with electricity prices on the rise, it
may become profitable much sooner than
originally expected. ”As established mega cities like New York
continue to expand, the revitalization of
their critical infrastructure helps residents
and businesses function optimally. This
unique infrastructure improvement project
not only supports the future power needs of
Co-op City residents, but also provides a
mechanism by which lower income citizens
can be empowered to improve their quality
of life,” says Randy Zwirn, president and CEO
of Siemens Power Generation USA and mem-
ber of the PG Group Executive Management.
RiverBay management agrees. “Years ago,
when we looked at the plant and the condi-
tion it was in, we knew we had to put money
in it and had to do major work,” says Herb
Freedman of Marion Scott Real Estate, which
manages Co-op City for RiverBay.“And if
you’re going to do major work, why not do it
right?” he asks.Harald Weiss
The Bronx’s Co-op City wants to use its power plant as a spring board to local economic renewal. New LED traffic lights (left) save power; parking ticket vending machines (right) can be remotely monitored.
take advantage of things like online forms
and tax returns that save them time and
money. By the spring of 2007, about 10,000
Internet subscribers in Szeged had signed up
to use the new electronic services offered by
the city government. Another project — this one with the Euro-
pean Space Agency (ESA) — focuses on the
analysis, storage, and processing of data col-
lected by earth-monitoring satellites. IT Solutions and Services archives all soft-
ware tools and expert knowledge in detail on
its intranet, access to which is open to all
employees. Staff can log in and discuss new
technologies, ideas, and concepts with col-
leagues. The platform is also used to recruit
worked with colleagues from China, who
came to learn about our system solutions.”
Electronic Authorities. Siemens develops
solutions for industrial automation, informa-
tion and communication systems, the en-
ergy sector, traffic and transport applications
(including toll collection systems), building
systems technology, medical systems, space
programs, and biometric applications. More
than 90 percent of its project volume is ac-
counted for by Siemens Groups, with the re-
mainder consisting of services for local com-
panies, government authorities, and various
public facilities. In February 2007, Siemens
delivered an IT system to the city of Szeged
(population: 200,000) that now enables
authorities to carry out administrative
processes more efficiently. Local residents
who register with the city government can
experts to new projects, which is how devel-
opers from Szeged found themselves sup-
porting colleagues in Jakarta, Indonesia, for
example. The company has also been working with
Budapest University of Technology for many
years. One joint project is the Mobile Innova-
tion Center established two years ago. The
center — a consortium of companies, uni-
versities, and research and development in-
stitutes — is working on a cross-system mo-
bile radio infrastructure.
Siemens contributes its expertise in com-
munications here, giving Nedved reason to
be optimistic about the future. “The integra-
tion of PSE offers us the possibility to globally
market our expertise in areas such as embed-
ded software. We expect this to result in nu-
merous business opportunities, which we
plan to exploit,” he says.Sylvia Trage
| Energy Economics in New York City
13 Rebirth in the Virtual Universe
Translating virtual products into
their real-world counterparts is
still a challenge. But as Siemens
closes this gap, a universe of
possibilities is materializing. 16 Journey to a Unified World Siemens’ acquisition of UGS has
given its Automation and Drives
Group the tools to merge the real
and virtual worlds of production. 23 Blending Realities Simulated factories contain
thousands of parameters for real
machines. Their models are being
used to calculate optimized
arrangements and ergonomics. 26 Simply the Best Siemens’ components plant in
Amberg, Germany, has been
named Europe’s Best Factory. The
keys to its success are innovation
and highly motivated employees. 30 Trains of Bits and Bytes
Siemens and its international
partners are using virtual reality
to design, assemble and test
entire trains.
33 Optimizing Throughput
Workflow simulation learned
from developing factory
environments is helping to opti-
mize a radiation therapy center.
39 Rethinking Manufacturing
Interview with Roddy Martin, gen-
eral manager of AMR Research.
A company that specializes in producing vir-
tual prototypes of products and their related
production processes is asked to design a car
seat that can double as an independent, au-
tonomous vehicle. Working closely with the
customer, machine manufacturers and sup-
pliers, engineers design and test every as-
pect of the new product and its production
line in the virtual world — right to the point
that it is ready to be translated into reality.
10 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 11
By 2020 manufacturers will be able to move from idea
to finished product in a fraction of the time that is now
required. The reason: even the most complex products
— and their associated production processes — will be
designed and tested to perfection in the virtual world. Surprisingly Realistic
Fa c t or i e s of t he Fut ur e | Scenario 2020
f you can describe it, we can design it.” That’s
our motto. We’re a mid-sized company that
specializes in industrial simulations. Example:
Two months ago a major automotive manufac-
turer came to us with a request that forced us
to put our thinking caps into high gear. They
wanted us to come up with a robotic car seat
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 13
Products and manufacturing processes are already being developed and tested in virtual environments. But translating them into their real-world counterparts is still a challenge. As Siemens draws closer to bridging this gap, new possibilities are materializing, including factories that design themselves and walk-in Websites in which consumers build their own products.
Virtual worlds allow planners to visualize and test future production processes. The same goes for individual products. T
iny components proceed relentlessly down
automated production lines. One line as-
sembles circuit boards for automation systems.
Another produces the contactors that will
switch motors on and off. A third manufactures
that most emblematic of automation devices:
the push button. The devices are produced around the clock
in three shifts at a plant operated by Siemens
Automation and Drives (A&D) near Amberg, an
autobahn-hour east of Nuremburg. The plant is
one of 23 similar Siemens installations around
the world that produce components for the 121-
billion-euro-per-year automation market. It is a
market that — thanks to its ability to save time,
money and energy — is virtually insatiable.
To meet demand for current and future
products, the Amberg plant is creating a digital
copy of itself. Ten engineers led by Project
Manager Holger Griesenauer are using sophis-
ticated process and plant simulation and opti-
mization tools from UGS — now a division of
A&D known as Siemens PLM Software (see
p.16) — to digest the specifications of every
product produced in the plant, every machine
used in production, and every connection be-
tween those machines. “When we’ve completed this process at the
end of 2007,” says Griesenauer, “we’ll be able
to assemble production processes in the virtual
environment, test them in detail, and ensure
that we can respond to customer requests be-
single, seamless database. Today, this process
is gathering steam. According to A&D Group
President Helmut Gierse, “formerly isolated,
stand-alone solutions in product design,
production and service software are being
molded into what will eventually be an inte-
grated system.” But to be comprehensive, a product’s PLM
view must be supplemented by its supply chain
management (SCM) view. SCM provides a cor-
responding overview of a product’s financial
and logistical data. Siemens’ vision — accord-
ing to Gierse — is that by 2020 the software
needed to produce a product’s PLM-SCM view
will be so holistically integrated that “every
facet of its lifecycle can be simulated, thus
fore making changes in our physical plant (see
p. 20). This will save time and money as it will
allow us to optimize our actual production
processes while minimizing down time. What’s
more,” he adds, “engineers in all 23 facilities
will be able to tap into the same product and
production database to develop and test indi-
vidualized solutions for their own customers
(see p. 23) regardless of where they are.”
Joining Lifecycles and Supply Chains. The
advanced technology that is allowing plants
like the one in Amberg to transition from old-
fashioned paper diagrams, excel documents
and localized CAD (computer aided design) so-
lutions to databases that allow interactive,
multi-site use of 3D functional images is built
on a concept called product lifecycle manage-
ment (PLM). PLM involves the integration and documen-
tation of all the information associated with a
product — from raw materials and suppliers to
design and manufacturing, and from customer
delivery to maintenance and disposal — into a
interlinked. Our production planners super-
vised this, cross-checking the programs’ sug-
gestions with plant energy requirements, as
well as scheduling, cost, service, and product
lifecycle management considerations. Analyz-
ing the simulations of the seat’s production
line, the designers were guided by expert pro-
grams that helped them to choose the ma-
chines and software that would best fit the
process as a whole in terms of its lifetime value
for the customer.
Production machine manufacturers got in-
volved in the process too, as did suppliers of
parts for the seats. Specialized nozzles for
spraying self-cleaning coatings on parts, opti-
cal analyses of machined surfaces, audio analy-
ses of mini-motor sound company
after another optimized parts or programs by
tapping into our centralized file, conducting
simulations and upgrading their respective
data to the point that it could be flawlessly re-
produced in the real world. What’s more, every
part was designed to be recycled, and every al-
teration was automatically documented.
Virtual prototypes of mechanical assemblies
were tested, as were the machining steps re-
quired to produce them. Nothing was left to
chance. After 60 days — just as the customer
had requested — virtual prototypes of the seat,
its production process, and its supply chain, in-
cluding packaging and delivery schedule, were
ready for simulation. The prototypes were, for
all practical purposes, identical in every detail
to what would ultimately be built. The customer’s project manager, a smooth-
talking fellow by the name of Carson who had
been involved in the product and production
development process from the word go, visited
our walk-in Website — a prototype service in its
own right that uses 3D virtual presence soft-
ware to create the illusion of real time interac-
tivity in a simulated environment. Once in the “site,” Carson examined the
seat’s appearance in one of his company’s top-
of-the-line cars; he walked along the produc-
tion line studying the rapid movements of ro-
botic arms, noting the hum of conveyer belts,
the crisp sounds of components being snapped
together by avatars in the distance. Stopping
next to the thick acrylic cover shielding a pow-
erful press, he distractedly slid his hand along
its corner as he watched the machine’s arm
hurtle downwards, exhaling a muted pneu-
matic hiss. A pale sheen of red appeared where
his hand had passed along the translucent sur-
face. “Ouch,” he exclaimed, suddenly looking
down at his index finger where a bead of blood
was forming. “Surprisingly realistic,” he mur-
mured, almost to himself. “Yes,” I said, “more
so than one might expect.” Arthur F. Pease
that could detach itself with the user in it, plot
a course through a mall or airport, be operated
based on verbal or internet commands and/or
joystick controls, be capable of traveling up to
ten miles and, if necessary, be able to return to
its home vehicle on its own or be sent on inde-
pendent errands. Deadline: 60 days for a pro-
duction-compatible virtual prototype.
When my boss asked me to take charge of
the project, all I could say was “Wow!” Our en-
gineers were on the road — Dubai, Paris. You
name it. But hey, what else is new? I assembled
a team of specialists and alerted everyone to
the new file I had opened in our online project
database. The file, which I called “XtraSit,” in-
cluded all of the customer’s specifications, as
well as 3D interactive models of the vehicles it
would be an option on. No sooner was the file activated, than a pro-
gram automatically began scouring all of our
suppliers’ databases for everything from self-in-
flating, luminescent tires to special-order
scooter wedge brake systems. Within minutes a
list of potentially-applicable components, com-
plete with specs, prices, availability, earliest de-
livery dates, and 3D interactive models had
been assembled. This information, along with
everything each team developed, was instantly
available to everyone on an interactive basis
using a secure data backbone.
Design was divided along classic lines: me-
chanical engineers, electrical engineers and
software and automation experts, plus of
course production planners. But as the design
took shape, a mechatronic program integrated
the data from these specialists into a holistic
functional object. When a few lines of software
were altered, for instance, the guys working on
related mechanical and electrical systems
could see how the change affected their work. Of course, a lot of the stuff was strictly off-
the-shelf-easy. The vision, radar and navigation
components, for instance, were standard issue
for every shopping cart on earth. After all, why
go to the trouble of pushing a heavy cart if you
can get one to follow you? But airports, for in-
stance, are more complicated. The customer
wanted XtraSit to be able to take users through
millimeter wave security checks without even
having to stop, meaning that every part had to
be wave transparent — in other words, made
of bio-plastics, composites, etc. As design of the virtual prototype pro-
ceeded, programs automatically assembled a
corresponding virtual prototype of the produc-
tion process that would produce it. Photo-
graphically realistic functional digital models of
robotic arms and weld guns, complete with
hardware and software specifications, could be
called up on each engineer’s display device and
12 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
Fa c t or i e s of t he Fut ur e | Scenario 2020
Rebirth in the Virtual Universe
Products and manufacturing processes are already being developed and tested in virtual environments. But translating them into their real-world counterparts is still a challenge. As Siemens draws closer to bridging this gap, new possibilities are materializing, including factories that design themselves and walk-in Websites in which consumers build their own products.
| Trends
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 15
Manufacturing Matters at Siemens
With over 300 large factories,each of which has sales above 50 million euros, Siemens is one of the world’s largest manufacturers. Indeed, at Siemens, over 150,000 people (55% in Europe, 22%
in North America, and 23% in Asia) are involved in producing everything from LEDs to lithotriptors. In
view of this, the company recently established an “Innovation and Manufacturing Joint Initiative” that
interfaces with representatives from all company Groups. “Working with the Groups, we are identify-
ing the hot topics, the best practices, and the best ways of sharing results,” says Reinhold Achatz
(photo), head of Corporate Research and Technologies, who leads the Initiative. “Our goal is to drive
technology-related and process-related innovation in manufacturing.” That makes a lot of sense, con-
sidering the fact that improvements in manufacturing productivity at Siemens translate into about
one billion euros in savings per year, according to Dr. Robert Neuhauser, who works closely with
Achatz on the Initiative and heads key parts of Siemens’ Corporate Supply Chain and Procurement ac-
tivities. “Manufacturing has changed fundamentally in recent years,” he says. “Ten years ago long-
term planning was everything. Today, the secret to success is flexibility. As a result, we are training a
new crop of factory managers who understand R&D, supply chain management, and of course
virtual world. “The result of the interactions
between such forces is an explosion in
complexity,” say Dr. Albert Gilg, who heads
Siemens CT’s Virtual Design Department.
Will Siemens be able to meet these chal-
lenges? Already, major pieces of the company’s
integrated vision are coming together. Without
a doubt, the biggest of these is the recent
addition of Siemens PLM Software to A&D. In
addition, the new division’s extensive product
offering will soon be complimented by Simatic
Automation Designer, a multifaceted tool suite
from A&D that will, according to Project Leader
Dr. Wolfgang Schlögl, “allow mechanical, elec-
trical and automation engineers to work collab-
oratively on the same planning and engineering
activities.” When added to simulation tools from
Siemens PLM Software, this technology could
result in a new way of developing products in
which manufacturing information is automati-
cally generated from a product’s specifications. “For example,” explains Schlögl, “if a de-
signer specifies a product’s surface characteris-
tics, the system will automatically choose the
right production process to meet the require-
ment. Put it all together and you could eventu-
ally have a technology that, based on ex-
tremely accurate product and production
simulations, automatically generates the fac-
tory layout as well as the processes needed to
produce the product exactly as simulated.”
Answers in the Making. Many more pieces
are coming together to build Siemens’ vision.
At CT’s Software and Engineering (SE) Division,
for instance, researchers are exploring how
manufacturing-related information can be
structured so that it can be seamlessly trans-
ferred without having to be input more than
once. “As a result of our research, we can now
determine how well different software tools
will work together,” says Dr. Ulrich Löwen, who
heads SE’s Systems Engineering Department. And at Siemens Corporate Research (SCR) in
Princeton, New Jersey, Dr. George Lo and
coworkers are examining how centralized soft-
ware hierarchies in manufacturing systems can
be reconceptualized to make them survivable.
“What we are developing,” says Lo, “is a system
that is characterized by highly distributed con-
trollers that are capable of reconfiguring them-
selves after a catastrophic event in order to
maintain critical operations.” In addition, with a view to creating open,
yet seamless information environments in
which simulations and real machines can inter-
act, SCR and A&D are testing a software plat-
form based on common semantic models.
“Suppose everyone in a room was asked to
draw a picture of a house; you’d have as many
models as people. Well, it’s the same with the
software used by our business units. But if we
can standardize the semantics, then communi-
cation will be much more efficient,” says Lo.
Where will all these developments take us
over the next twenty years? “What we’re mov-
ing toward is a virtual representation of the en-
tire value chain — everything from raw materi-
als to lifetime maintenance, remote service and
product and production planning in a holistic,
seamless product lifecycle and supply chain man-
agement environment,” says Paul Camuti, pres-
ident of Siemens Corporate Research. “In twenty
years the real and virtual worlds will be seam-
lessly integrated. Our simulations will duplicate
reality down to the last detail. The result will be
virtually limitless manufacturing flexibility.”
The result could also be a revolution in re-
tailing and consumer purchasing. Already,
some clothing stores provide “mass cus-
tomized” personalized items. But as simulation
technology matures, high-tech kiosks and
“walk-in Websites” that link us to manufactur-
ers and their suppliers may allow us to pro-
foundly and realistically individualize, test and
even experience the appearance and personali-
ties of everything from phones and scooters to
clothing and the design and decoration of our
homes. We may even venture into virtual
worlds ourselves.Arthur F. Pease
Simulations will become precision copies of reality
– but with virtually limitless production flexibility.
14 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
locomotives and windmill turbines that are pro-
duced in relatively small lots. “Since every proj-
ect order is unique, simulation plays an impor-
tant roll in terms of minimizing ramp-up time,”
comments Dr. Robert Neuhauser, who heads
key parts of Siemens’ Corporate Supply Chain
and Procurement and is a leader in the com-
pany’s Innovation and Manufacturing Joint Ini-
tiative (see sidebar).
As these trends take shape, Siemens fore-
sees that today’s production plants will evolve
into intelligent digital factories. “Digital repre-
sentations of plants will make it possible to
modernize their physical counterparts much
more quickly and accurately than is now possi-
solution so accurately that it will automatically
generate the software to alter a machine’s be-
havior to meet the new specification. We see
this becoming a single, integrated process re-
quiring very few manual interactions. That is
our vision, and we expect it to be realized
within the next 10 years.”
Meeting the Mechatronic Challenge. Be-
fore Siemens’ collective vision of a fully
integrated virtual / real production-informa-
tion landscape can be realized, however, it will
have to overcome what experts call the
“mechatronic challenge” — a kind of techno-
logical Mount Everest in which the data cover-
leading to virtual commissioning and the auto-
matic generation of a production solution in
the real world.” Although PLM-SCM-based simulation tech-
nology is still young, it is profoundly changing
the way companies do business. Already, ac-
cording to AMR Research, the leading advisor
on the optimization of supply chains, about 20
percent of all product and production changes
are performed in the virtual world (see p. 39). And with good reason. Studies by Ger-
many’s Fraunhofer Institute indicate that
advanced simulation technologies such as
those being implemented in Amberg and at
Siemens Transportation Systems in Krefeld,
Germany (see p. 30) result in a 15 percent re-
duction in product ramp-up time, a 10 percent
improvement in productivity, a 20 percent cut
in the cost of planning new production facili-
Factories of the Future | Trends
ties, and a 15 percent improvement in product
quality (see p. 19). Not only is simulation attractive because of its
economic advantages, but because it represents
the only realistic response to the major trends af-
fecting most businesses. These trends include
increasing product individualization, increas-
ingly distributed value chains, rising product
complexity and functionality, and the relentless
pressure to move from product idea to market
introduction in the shortest possible time. Self-Configuring Factories. In addition, as it
has moved away from commodity businesses
in communications and automotive parts,
Siemens has witnessed another trend that de-
mands enhanced use of simulation: a sharp in-
crease in project-related business — items like
ble,” says Ralf-Michael Franke, president of
A&D’s Industrial Automation Systems Division.
“Then, when components are installed in the
physical plant, they will configure themselves
and establish communication with each other,
thus eliminating start-up time. Once in opera-
tion, production processes will optimize and
even heal themselves. The key point is that the
virtual and real worlds will be increasingly
Dr. Gerd Ulrich Spohr, head of Strategic
Technology at A&D, explains just how inter-
meshed these worlds are likely to become: “We
want machines and processes on the factory
floor to generate information that will preci-
sion tune their counterparts in the virtual
world. Then, when an alteration in the real
world is required, we will be able to simulate a
Whether applied to visualizing automotive production lines (left) or planning entire factories, (right), simulation can optimize virtually every aspect of production.
Already, approximately 20 percent of all product and
production changes take place in the virtual world.
ing the mechanical and physical characteristics
of objects is combined with their electrical and
software functions in real-time, dynamic,
virtual prototypes. Achieving this will involve overcoming the
fact that mechanical, electrical and software
engineering “grew up as separate disciplines,
each with its own set of design tools,” points
out Dr. Bernhard Nottbeck, head of Siemens
Corporate Research and Technology’s (CT)
Production Processes Division. “But if we can
combine these three disciplines, it will be a
major breakthrough.”
In addition to the challenges of combining
systems into a holistic prototype, developers
must deal with the real-time interactions of
multiple physical parameters such as tempera-
ture, pressure, and magnetic fields in the
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 17
Factories of the Future | UGS and Siemens
Journey to a Unified World
Siemens’ recent acquisition of UGS has given its Automation and Drives Group —
the leader in the 121-billion-euro world automation market — the tools to merge
the real and virtual worlds of production.
With simulation technology, even the most complex
production processes can be visualized in detail, resulting in optimized configurations and the ability
to rapidly adjust to customer demands.
Developed from the ground up in the virtual world,
Eclipse Aviation’s very light jets are flying high
thanks to product and production optimizations that
allow them to be produced at half the cost of others.
16 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
he real and virtual worlds of production are
morphing into one. Long before they see
the light of day, many of the parts, products,
production facilities and entire supply chains
that are the progenitors of everything from
PDAs and airplanes to power plants and bot-
tling processes are conceptualized, visualized,
tested, operated and maintained in the virtual
world. Driven by advances in computing and simu-
lation, virtual representations are drawing ever
closer to accurately duplicating their real world
counterparts. Meanwhile, in the real world, the
machine tools, robots, programmable con-
trollers and communication systems used by
production facilities are becoming increasingly
digital, intelligent, and software-driven, mak-
ing them easier to be accurately represented in
the virtual world.
On May 4, 2007, these two worlds moved
significantly closer to forming a single, seam-
less information and communications environ-
ment. That was the day that UGS of Plano,
Texas — a leader in product lifecycle manage-
ment (PLM) software — became A&D PL
(Siemens PLM Software), a division of Siemens
Automation and Drives (A&D), “the world mar-
ket leader in the 121-billion-euro automation
market,” according to Group President Helmut
Gierse. Including the new Siemens PLM Soft-
ware division, A&D now employs over 80,000
people, and has annual sales of well over 14
billion euros.
The new Siemens PLM Software division,
with 7,750 people in 62 countries, 3,000 of
whom are in R&D, has 47,000 customers and
4.3 million licensed users — more than its top
ten competitors combined. Siemens PLM Soft-
chines and their associated control systems.
“The combination of the PLM Software portfo-
lio and A&D’s hardware and software will pro-
vide our customers with the decisive benefit of
making the design and production of their
products more efficient,” says Gierse. “In tech-
nological terms, this combination requires
seamless integration between data from prod-
uct design, plant design and physical produc-
tion. This was exactly what we had in mind
when we acquired this leading software com-
pany: To make our Totally Integrated Automa-
tion portfolio more powerful by reducing the
number of system interfaces.”
To this end Siemens A&D has launched Pro-
ject Archimedes, an initiative designed to de-
velop new software solutions that unify the
product and production lifecycles and thus en-
able Siemens to realize its software vision. Says
Siemens PLM Software Chairman and CEO
Tony Affuso, “Our customers are really excited
about having brought Siemens and UGS to-
gether because they know we have the horse-
power to close the loop between what the en-
gineering and marketing people want to
design and what the production team is actu-
ally capable of manufacturing.” Adds Siemens
PLM Software President Dr. Helmuth Ludwig,
“The good thing about all this is that although
we were not the ones to invent the idea of how
to close the loop, we are — given A&D’s lead-
ing position in automation technologies and
our leading position in PLM — the only com-
pany that’s actually able to do so.”
Rapid Growth. According to a consensus of
research organizations, including Frost and Sul-
livan and AMR research, the world market for
PLM products such as those produced by
Siemens PLM Software and its competitors is
expected to increase to $24 billion by 2012
from its current level of around $13.4 billion.
That market, according to Siemens PLM Soft-
ware Executive Vice President of Global Market-
ware is a leader in technologies such as UGS
NX — its digital product development solution
— and UGS Tecnomatix — its digital manufac-
turing solution — products that allow users to
design and dynamically simulate the functions
of everything from a sunroof on a new car to
the design and operation of an entire factory,
complete with vibration, stress, heat and flow
dynamics, to name a few parameters. And they
can do so collaboratively, securely, in 3D and in
real time from any PC using the unique UGS
Teamcenter digital lifecycle management soft-
ware, the de facto standard in collaborative
product data management (cPDM) — the enter-
prise backbone for all other products.
By plugging UGS into A&D, Siemens has set
its sites on closing the loop between the virtual
world of product and production design and
the nuts and bolts world of factory floor ma-
ing David Shirk, is divided into three segments.
The first segment, computer-aided design,
manufacturing and engineering (CAx), where
Siemens PLM Software is number two and
holds 18 percent of the market with NX soft-
ware and other products, is expected to grow
from $8 billion to about $12 billion between
2005 and 2012. The second product category
is cPDM. This market, which includes Teamcen-
ter portfolio and where Siemens is the market
leader, is set to move from $5 billion per year in
2005 to approximately $11 billion by 2012.
Here, Siemens holds 14 percent of the market.
The third segment, “which is particularly attrac-
tive because of our Tecnomatix line,” according
to Shirk, is the digital manufacturing market.
This market, which is growing at about 20 per-
cent per year and where Siemens, with a 31
percent share of the market, currently holds
the number one position, is expected to move
from its current level of around $400 million
per year to over $1.3 billion in 2012.
Demand in these three markets is strong
across the board. For instance, between 2006
and 2012, says Shirk, European demand for
PLM products is expected to average about 7 to
level PLM to mid-size manufacturers in an easy-
to-use, preconfigured portfolio with a low total
cost of ownership.
Considering the size and scope of the PLM
market, there’s plenty of competition. But
what’s different about Siemens PLM Software’s
portfolio is that the company has taken its ex-
perience in 3D computer-aided product and
factory design (NX and Tecnomatix software)
and tied it to its Teamcenter collaboration data
management system, thus plugging informa-
tion from a multifaceted virtual world into a
collaborative development environment.
“Thanks to Teamcenter technology we tie these
elements together better than any of our com-
petitors can,” says Ludwig. “Its multi-site capa-
bility is something no one else offers, and it’s
the core of our tremendous advantage.”
For major companies such as GM — a
Siemens PLM Software customer — multi-site
collaboration capability means that they can
work with 3D dynamic data in real time at their
own sites while accessing supplier sites to get
updates on evolving products. As a result, they
can see what’s going on at all of their sites
every single day. “When changes are made to a
8 percent per year, moving from $5.6 billion to
about $8.7 billion. Growing at about the same
rate, the Americas are expected to head from
$6.3 billion to $9.7 billion during the same pe-
riod. And Asia, which is growing at 13 to 14
percent, is expected to move from $3 billion to
about $5.6 billion per year.
In addition, Siemens PLM Software offers
the UGS Velocity Series, a portfolio of software
products that specifically addresses the require-
ments of mid-size companies. The Series is the
first software solution to provide enterprise-
design, they can see them in real time thanks
to Teamcenter,” says Affuso. For instance, if a problem is discovered in a
product, the original data — say from a sup-
plier in Japan — can be called up immediately
and revised collaboratively by designers, pro-
duction people and the supplier. “This can cut
downtime compared to conventionally-run op-
erations from weeks and months to days and in
some cases hours,” says Ludwig.
But the real beauty of collaborative simula-
tion technology is that it helps to keep costly
Siemens is closing the gap between product design and production design experts. D
epending on who’s doing the arithmetic, the world
market for electronic automation technology is val-
ued at between €120 billion and €230 billion. In 2006, ac-
cording to the German Electrical and Electronic Manufac-
turers’ Association (ZVEI), it grew six percent. According to the ARC Advisory Group, a consultancy
specializing in manufacturing and supply chain solutions,
globalization is the driving force behind this increase. In-
deed, globalization demands that manufacturing compa-
nies live by the motto “faster, cheaper, better.” In order to
survive in such a competitive environment, manufacturers
need to respond to market demands in an agile and flexi-
ble manner. They also have to cut their costs, boost their
productivity and performance, and shorten product lifecy-
cles. All of the above require standardized platforms and
protocols. What’s more, production lines must not only be
scalable and adaptable, they also need to be characterized
by the lowest possible maintenance costs. The automation industry’s key market segments are
motor systems consisting of a drives, controllers and mo-
tors; numerical controllers; and programmable logic con-
trols. According to ARC, global sales of motor systems
added up to $5.2 billion in 2005, with an expected in-
crease to $6.9 billion by 2010. Yaskawa is the leading
company supplying motor systems, with a global market
share of 13.9 percent, followed by Mitsubishi Electric with
9.7 and Siemens with 9.3 percent.
Computer numerical controllers (CNCs) control fast,
high-precision working steps on machine tools. According
to ARC, the global market volume for such controllers is
around $4.5 billion, with Siemens holding a leading mar-
ket share of 33.3 percent, followed by Fanuc and Mit-
subishi Electric with 32 and 12.4 percent respectively.
Thanks to their robust and reliable nature, programmable
logic controllers (PLCs) play a key role in factory automa-
tion. These products undergo continuous improvement in
terms of functionality, communications, diagnostic capa-
bilities, scalability, and software. ARC expects sales of programmable logic controllers
to rise from $7.5 billion in 2005 to $10 billion by 2010.
This area’s leading supplier of hardware, software, and
services is Siemens, which holds a 28.7 percent market
share, followed by Rockwell with 21.8 percent and Mit-
subishi with 14.9 percent.
Demand for information technology (IT) that not only
synchronizes production processes, but also simplifies
such processes and increases their flexibility is rising in
parallel. Users plan to efficiently link all product-relevant IT
The Buzz About Automation
| Facts and Forecasts
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 19
solutions by means of PLM (product lifecycle manage-
ment). According to a study by consulting company AMR
Research, the worldwide market for PLM products
amounted to around $11 billion in 2006 and is forecast to
hit $16 billion by 2010.
With a market share of 13 percent, Cadence, which
specializes in CAD systems, was the number one company
in the PLM market in 2005, followed by Dassault Systems
and UGS — now part of Siemens — both with 11 percent.
The largest PLM market is the U.S., which accounts for 47
percent, followed by Europe (36 percent) and the Asia-Pa-
cific region (15 percent). The objectives of PLM are product and process opti-
mization, reduced time-to-market, lower costs, higher flex-
ibility, and improved planning and process quality. The
U.S. National Institute of Standards & Technology supports
the Aberdeen Group’s conclusion that manufacturing
companies have a lot to gain from PLM. Implementation
can cut development time and boost productivity by at
least 20 percent. According to the Aberdeen Group’s study, companies
that implemented PLM solutions, enjoyed a 19 percent in-
crease in sales, while their production and development
costs fell by 16 percent.
Evdoxia Tsakiridou
Sales (in billions of dollars)
Demand for shorter product lifecycles
World PLM marketFour forces driving the installation of PLM solutions
Key technologies for automation
World process automation
Source: AMR Research, 2006
Source: ZVEI-Fachverband Automation, 2007
Source: ZVEI-Fachverband Automation, 2007
Source: Aberdeen
Group, 2006 2005
Globalization of markets and / or supply chains
More complex design or a decentralized design environment
More complex products
Complete vertical
Software & modeling
Control &
management layer
Networking & communications
Wireless sensor
Cooperative robot
Lab on a chip
Sensors for
2005 20102010 20152015 20202020
Intuitive user
Virtual power
Open software architecture
Open standards
Sensors for
image processing
Remote-readable electricity meters
Asset management
Data processing for
proactive ideal/real
Sensors for plant administration
Sensors for
Assistance systems
for automation
Mining, stone, earths
and natural gas production
Food, beverages
and tobacco
Iron and steel
Machine manufacturing
Paper and cellulose
Other users
Total world market:
€61 billion 18 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
errors from ever seeing the light of day. At
Caterpillar, for instance, Siemens PLM software
produces functional virtual prototypes. “They
try everything out on a virtual level before go-
ing to production,” says Affuso. What’s more,
thanks to Tecnomatix production simulation
software, the development and testing of a vir-
tual production line in Teamcenter to produce a
new or upgraded product reduces errors and
saves time and money. “This knocks 30 to 50
percent off the time-to-market part of a prod-
uct’s lifecycle costs,” says Affuso, who points
out that this has helped Nissan significantly
slash average vehicle development time. Real Presence in the Virtual World
Siemens PLM Software (A&D PL) recently an-
nounced the launch of its “Innovation Connec-
tion” within Second Life, a 3D virtual world en-
tirely built by its residents. Second Life is
inhabited by more than four million representa-
tions of real people. The launch makes Siemens
the first pure PLM company to establish a pres-
ence in the mainstream online virtual world.
Siemens will use its Second Life presence to
collaborate with customers and partners, host
virtual conferences and provide a more immer-
sive way to experience its solutions as they are
used by customers. Siemens PLM Software cus-
tomers and partners showcased in Second Life
include Hendrick Motorsports (HMS) - the only
NASCAR racing organization to win a Cup Se-
ries championship for four straight years, and
the JCB DIESELMAX — a car that, in 2006,
achieved a stunning average speed of 350.092
mph (563 kph) to break the land speed record
for diesel-powered cars. Siemens PLM Software recently launched updates for its NX, Tecnomatix and
Teamcenter product portfolios in Second Life. To join the action, visit
Engineering the Future in China UGS entered the China market in 1987,established its first representative office in Beijing in 1990,
and set up an R&D center in Shanghai in 2004. Today, Siemens PLM Software employs about 250 peo-
ple in China, about 100 of whom are based at the company’s Shanghai R&D center. The center focuses
on user interface design for the Chinese market; product lifecycle management (PLM) for Asian cus-
tomers, computer aided design for customers in the automotive, aviation, and shipbuilding industries;
research in computer aided engineering, and collaborative research projects with Chinese universities.
On June 4, 2007 the company opened a number of PLM training centers at leading Chinese universities
through its in-kind software grants. The centers will certify thousands of students annually, thus en-
abling universities to support local manufacturers with engineers trained in the latest industrial soft-
ware. Siemens PLM Software’s Global Opportunities in Product Lifecycle Management initiative provides
PLM technology to more than 915,000 students annually at nearly 9,000 educational institutions.
Factories of the Future | Product Lifecycle Management
Flying High. Eclipse Aviation is another great
example of why Siemens PLM Software is fly-
ing high. The Albuquerque, New Mexico-based
company has introduced a revolutionary new
category of products called “very light jets.” In
an industry in which selling 100 planes per
year is considered successful, Eclipse is aiming
for 1,000 planes per year — a goal that is
clearly within reach given the fact that it has
more than 2,600 orders. To accomplish this
while selling its six-place, twin-turbofan air-
craft for one-half the cost of similar small jets,
Eclipse designers modeled the entire aircraft,
down to the last rivet, in NX software, man-
aged all product information, from digital mod-
els to the last scrap of paper documentation,
on Teamcenter, and designed and optimized
their factory in Tecnomatix. Says Dr. Oliver
Masefield, senior vice president of engineering
at Eclipse, “Our ability to meet our targets de-
pends on digital mock-up and validation.”
What’s the technology secret to Eclipse’s
success? “Using NX, Teamcenter and Tecno-
matix, the user can bring in data from multiple
suppliers, roll it up into an integrated system,
create 3D visualizations, and ask questions in
the virtual world about how a new product will
perform and how it can be manufactured,” ex-
plains Chuck Grindstaff, executive vice presi-
dent of products, who heads research and de-
velopment at Siemens PLM Software. “With
Teamcenter, users can take 3D models, cross-
section them, analyze distances between parts,
and perform interference detection to see if all
the parts fit together properly.”
Siemens PLM Software simulation tools not
only allow users to visualize the components
that go into an assembly, but to dynamically in-
teract with them. “For instance,” says Grind-
staff, “we can run a vibration analysis on com-
ponents, assemblies, entire power trains, the
body of a car or the structure of an aircraft. So
this technology is ideal for comparing models,
analyzing them in terms of stress, vibration,
heat and fluid dynamics, and integrating the
results to make informed engineering decisions.”
Capturing Knowledge. What all such simula-
tions have in common is that they represent
virtually unfathomable quantities of informa-
tion. But to make that information useful it has
to be distilled into knowledge. With this in
mind, Siemens PLM Software researchers in
the U.S., England, Israel, and China are expand-
ing Teamcenter’s capabilities in the area of
knowledge-based engineering. “By this we
mean that Teamcenter will increasingly be fo-
cused on learning about and adapting to each
customer’s requirements,” says Grindstaff.
“Teamcenter will also improve in terms of cap-
turing knowledge, searching databases, and
reapplying knowledge to new designs. Over
the next two decades, we will capture each in-
dustry’s best practices and inject the resulting
knowledge into the design process.” For the resulting designs to be meaningful,
however, they will have to exactly duplicate
their real world counterparts — a challenge
that will demand the seamless integration of
data from hardware, software and electronics
between the virtual and real worlds — a chal-
lenge, in short, that Siemens’ combined offer
in automation and PLM is uniquely suited to
fulfill. Arthur F. Pease
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 21
Factories of the Future | Factory Planning
Blending Realities
Siemens experts simulate new factories on computers long before anything is
built. These 3D virtual models contain thousands of parameters, most of which
are from real machines. The models are used in calculating optimal machine
arrangements, component transport routes, the risks associated with transferring
production to another location, and even the strain on a worker’s back.
A virtual depiction of a future production location
enables planners to optimize manufacturing
processes and ergonomics. Pictured here is the
Siemens motor plant in Tianjin, China.
Siemens A&D’s SmartAutomation system allows new components and all of their parameters to be tested in a virtual model
(left). The resulting optimized data are then
downloaded to a real-world copy of the
model (right), which includes a robotic arm (center), to be used for quality
control in a future bottling facility.
20 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
ith eight factory halls, each as big as a
soccer field and as high as a five-story
building, the Siemens Electrical Drives Ltd.
(SEDL) motor production facility in Tianjin,
China (a two-hour drive from Beijing) is ex-
tremely imposing. Electric motors the size of a
grown man are built here, as are wind turbines
as big as small trucks, switching cabinets, and
control units. Plans call for the Tianjin plant to
be expanded even further and take its place as
the leading facility for electric motor produc-
tion in China. But when the facility was originally built, it
posed a major challenge because it had to be
planned and built from the ground up within
only two-and-a-half years. And, of course, you
can’ t simply design a production location of
such magnitude on the drawing board. Because of the tremendous scope of the
project, the Production Processes (PP) depart-
ment at Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) in
Munich was called in to help. The department
specializes in creating three-dimensional fac-
tory computer models. Long before the first bulldozer broke
ground, components were moving along vir-
tual assembly lines. The objective was clear:
The more realistically a factory can be depicted
in the planning phase, the more rapidly errors
can be detected and avoided when actual con-
struction begins. Siemens specialists have been producing
digital versions of factories for around 20 years
now, and if they’ve learned one thing it’s that
the best digital tools are useless if planners fail
to understand factory processes in detail. “You
first need to thoroughly review the entire plan-
ning process before you can begin using virtual
tools,” says Dr. Bernd Korves, head of the Pro-
duction Networks & Factory Planning compe-
tence center at CT PP. The key here is to com-
pletely understand the entire lifecycle, from
design all the way to suppliers and production.
Experts refer to this as product lifecycle man-
agement (PLM). The result of the design process — a digital
product — is the bridge to the digital factory
(see p. 23). “Extensive interlinking of these two
process blocks offers huge potential,” says Dr.
Albert Gilg, head of the Virtual Design compe-
tence center. “That’s because product design
ultimately determines whether you create ob-
stacles to production or enhance the efficiency
of the manufacturing process.”
Design data is thus the point of departure
for the extensive analysis of a future produc-
tion system. Specialists determine which pro-
out this process, planners make extensive use
of digital libraries to visualize individual work-
stations, machines and processes. With the Tianjin plant, virtual models en-
able planning teams around the world to “fly
into” the factory halls at the push of a button.
Large gray tubes can be seen in the halls — the
motor stators. Next to them are avatars — sim-
ulated humans who grab copper wires and in-
sert them into the tubes. The virtual flight al-
lows employees at SEDL to quickly identify
whether each workstation has enough space to
move large motors around in, for example.
Changes can be incorporated at any time, and
their impact is immediately shown in the simu-
lation. One special challenge in the Tianjin
project was the fact that the virtual facility
went through a simulated development of
more than five years, which means production
capacities had to be expanded as time went by
and changing demand for products had to be
taken into consideration. Degrees of Abstraction. The art of simula-
tion mainly involves being able to figure out
which locations require detailed information
from the real world. “A lot of beginners try to
precisely reproduce reality, which is a mistake,”
says Korves. It’s also counterproductive be-
cause it requires way too much effort and ex-
pense. Success here depends on determining
the proper degree of abstraction. “If you’re sim-
ulating material flows to come up with a lay-
out, you don’t need to have everything down
to the smallest bolt — but you do need this
kind of information for complex assembly sim-
ulations,” Korves explains. Korves did in fact have to get very detailed
in another project he worked on with Siemens
VDO that involved production of a new vehicle
dashboard. The job required detailed depic-
tions of manufacturing cells as a means of sim-
ulating their ergonomic properties. Here, CT
used software from UGS, which is now part of
Automation and Drives (A&D) and is known as
Siemens PLM Software (A&D PL — see p. 16).
The software utilized standard values to record
the size and stature of a worker and the num-
ber of times he or she repeated certain move-
ments. This made it possible to optimize work-
duction steps will be necessary and the optimal
sequence and speed of those steps. They deter-
mine the kinds of workstations needed for
each step and how a factory should be laid out.
Planners then work with the relevant Siemens
Groups, often coming up with several alterna-
tives. Each proposal is depicted on a computer
as a 3D factory whose operations, including
material flows, is simulated in detail. Through-
stations by adjusting things like bench heights
and arm-length distances to neighboring ma-
chines. Most virtual models today are created using
objects from digital libraries. The CT team’s ex-
pertise lies in its ability to come up with the
best solution for each application, even em-
ploying its own user interfaces in some cases.
For instance, in cooperation with Munich Tech-
The best 3D tools are useless if you don’t understand factory processes in detail.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 23
Prototype for Perfection
Planning and designing technically sophisticated products was, until recently, a
long, drawn-out process. Today, however, Siemens relies on digital product devel-
opment, which involves planning all steps — from the first model sketches to pro-
totypes — in virtual reality. This makes it much easier for experts to coordinate
their activities and often shortens the product development process by months. Simulations developed by Siemens researchers at
the Virtual Design Center show how to build an instrument for measuring the stiffness of letters in mail sorting machines.
ail sorting machines have an insatiable
appetite. In just one hour, they can
process up to 40,000 items, which fly through
their sorting gates at lightning speed, whereby
soft pressure is applied at each gate to send en-
velopes along on their proper track. A rigid en-
velope, for instance, one with a CD inside, can
do great damage in such a high-speed system,
as it can get stuck in one of the gates, causing a
huge backup of hundreds of letters in just a
few seconds. The machine then has to be shut
off, resulting in costly downtime. Giant sorting units are therefore equipped
with precision mechanical instruments for
measuring letter stiffness. Like a small finger,
such instruments briefly tap each letter to
measure its resistance. Envelopes deemed to
be too rigid are removed before they can cause
damage. The stiffness measuring instruments
have to be both sensitive and fast in order to be
able to touch each envelope as it flies past
without damaging it.
Around a year ago, engineers responsible
for the production of sorting machines at
Siemens Industrial Solutions and Services’ (I&S)
Postal Automation division in Konstanz, Ger-
many, found that they needed a particularly
| Product Development
22 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
research centers in Nuremberg and Karlsruhe
that will be used to develop automation solu-
tions virtually and in real life. Researchers have
set up a bottling facility in Nuremberg and a
chemical processing unit in Karlsruhe, both of
which enable new ideas to be rapidly imple-
mented in actual equipment for the first time.
Among other things, researchers are now
building a robot that grabs bottles as they pass
by, takes them to a quality control station,
exmines them, and returns them to exactly the
right spot on the production line. All of this was planned and tested in the vir-
tual world. To do so, A&D developers inserted
the virtual robot into its future real position in
an image of the existing facility. All bolts,
measurements, electrical connections, data
communication and pressure systems were
verified before actual implementation. The re-
searchers even ran a realtime simulation of the
robot’s operating parameters. On the other
hand, the initial data entered into the system
for simulating the bottle-picking robot came
from the physical bottling unit. “The fascinat-
ing thing about SmartAutomation is that you
can directly link reality and a simulation,” says
project manager Bernd Opgenoorth.
Despite the excellent performance of the
simulation system, there is still room for im-
provement, especially with regard to the com-
prehensiveness of the planning process. That’s
because data from the entire process chain
does not pass seamlessly from the first draft
design to the finished factory model. In many
cases, data has to be transferred manually from
one program to the next — for example, from a
3D drawing to the visualization software, or
from a virtual model to the language used by a
computer controlled CNC milling machine. “What we need to do now is eliminate the
discontinuities and automate the transfer of
data from the beginning to the end of the
process,” says Opgenoorth. Researchers from
his team are working with A&D PL to solve this. Lego for Factories. A similar approach is em-
ployed by the “SmartFactoryKL” project man-
aged by the German Research Center for Artifi-
cial Intelligence (DFKI) in Saarbrücken. The
center is a consortium of companies and re-
search institutes that is also working on a
miniaturized version of a real production facil-
ity. A founding member of the consortium,
Siemens A&D also provides funding for the
SmartFactory, which, like SmartAutomation,
simulates production in the virtual world. One
of the factory’s purposes is to demonstrate
how components from different manufacturers
can be combined. It’s a visionary idea that fore-
sees having factories built from standard mod-
ules much like giant Lego blocks. This would re-
quire that each producer’s modules be
equipped with standard interfaces. In addition, all SmartFactory plant compo-
nents for the miniaturized production facility
are to be equipped with radio frequency identi-
fication labels (see p. 92), thereby making it
possible to automate inventory registration
and precisely pinpoint machine locations. This,
in turn, will make it easier to expand or convert
existing factories. Machine locations could be
fed into virtual models to enable planners to
determine exactly where new equipment
should be installed. “A lot of work — and infor-
mation — goes into virtual factory models,”
says DFKI project coordinator Eric Pohlmann.
“So it makes sense to use this great variety of
data over and over again.” Tim Schröder
The Factory that Comes to You
The planning of a factory by
no means ends when the keys
are handed over to the client
— after all, new product gen-
erations replace older ones and
machinery has to be upgraded
or replaced at some point. As
time goes by, factory halls of-
ten take on a different appear-
ance, as new cables are laid
and machines are reposi-
tioned. It is therefore difficult
for planners to gain an
overview as a means of com-
paring the real situation with a
virtual model, especially when
facilities are located far away from research centers. The Visual Service Support system (VSS) developed
by Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) in Munich can greatly simplify the factory modernization
process. VSS is a mobile remote data transmission system (see Pictures of the Future, Spring 2005, p.
54) that sends live pictures and sound to service centers via mobile radio. To this end, a worker at a fac-
tory wears a headset equipped with a camera and microphone. VSS is currently being used as the first
commercial application of its kind for maintenance activities at a Finnish steel plant. The service center
for the factory is able to view the facility live if a machine fails, and specially trained service technicians
can then guide a worker wearing the headset to the best location for viewing the machine. It’s like be-
ing there yourself — and the technician can even take a photo of the machine, mark areas where the
worker should move to next, and then send the photo to the worker’s portable PC. Among other things,
the system can be used to quickly evaluate the situation at a factory from afar before rebuilding work
commences. “Our experience has shown that after several years, you can hardly depend on a factory’s
original plans anymore,” says Joachim Häberlein, who is responsible for the development of customer-
specific VSS solutions at I&S in Erlangen. The virtual model doesn’t help much here either. “It’s only as
good as the original information, after all,” Häberlein explains. “But VSS makes it possible to quickly vali-
date the model on site and register any changes made in the interim.” The system works with the inter-
national GSM mobile radio standard, and tests carried out in Egypt, China, and other countries have
shown that VSS functions reliably in different regions. Specialists therefore no longer have to take long
trips to distant plants. Thanks to VSS, the factory comes to them instead.
Factories of the Future | Factory Planning
nical University, the team came up with Plant
Calc, a sophisticated planning tool. Plant Calc
software can compare production locations us-
ing a systematic assessment of various alterna-
tives, which also takes into account planning
uncertainties. In a study conducted by CT for a
Siemens plant in northern Germany, Plant Calc
determined that under certain conditions, ex-
panding production in Germany would be bet-
ter than transferring it to Eastern Europe. The
study found that although wage costs in Ger-
many are higher, the potential for optimization
in the country made it a more economical pro-
duction location.
True-to-life Virtual Testing. Reality and the
virtual world are moving closer together at
A&D, which operates two “SmartAutomation”
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 25
Robot Sharpens Medical Images
As computed tomography scanners provide images characterized by higher spatial and
temporal resolution, they rely on ever more sensor boards — assemblies of components that
detect X-rays and convert them into electrical signals that are reconstructed into anatomical
images. It has therefore become impractical to manually insert sensor boards in related test
facilities. Indeed, the newest Siemens computed tomography scanner family, which will be
introduced by the end of 2007, will have up to 150 sensor boards. Now, however, with the
help of Siemens Corporate Technology (CT), Siemens Medical Solutions (Med) has come up
with an automated sensor board testing technology that, according to Project Manager Dr.
Marcus Wagner from Med’s Computer Tomography Detector Center, “achieves a placement
accuracy of 0.1 mm or better.” Known as AutoSETA (Automatic Sensor Test Facility), the tech-
nology involves the use of a robot arm to place sensor boards in a section of a detector mod-
ule for testing under X-ray conditions. This not only replaces manual placement and testing
with a high-precise automated process, but cuts operator work time for the entire process
from 80 minutes to just five, or from about 150 seconds down to about 2.5 seconds per sen-
sor board, respectively. Developed by CT’s Josef Pössinger, AutoSETA involves locking the sen-
sor boards into position before they enter the test space. “To the best of our knowledge, this
system is the fastest and most precise test facility of its kind,” says Wagner. Arthur F. Pease
machining the blade surfaces. This cutting
force calculation enabled engineers to accu-
rately design the dimensions of the clamps that
hold the blade in the milling machine while it’s
being processed.
CT mathematicians are also looking at natu-
ral fluctuations — conditions in a gas turbine
combustion chamber, for example, that are not
always the same. Changing gas compositions,
temperatures, and component tolerances have
a major impact on the optimal geometry of the
blades. The mathematical optimization ap-
proach takes into account precisely these fluc-
tuations, including all uncertainties in the cal-
culation, thereby enabling an optimal design.
Mathematicians refer to this as Robust Design
Optimization — or RoDeO (see Pictures of the
, Spring, 2006, p. 75). “This probability
approach borders on pure mathematics,” says
Friedrich. “That’s something that’s never been
done before in product development.”
Global Turbine Development. Work carried
out by experts at Siemens Power Generation
(PG) in Berlin involves turbine blades for com-
plete gas turbines. These machines, which are as
heavy as several locomotives, consist of thou-
sands of components, including several hun-
dred precision blades that must be joined to-
gether exactly. Recently, engineers in Berlin
used virtual planning tools for the first time on
a major scale while developing the brand-new
340-megawatt turbine for a new gas and
steam facility in Irsching, Bavaria (see p. 54).
The most important goal here was to reduce
development time through better coordination
of staff working in departments housed at sev-
eral locations, such as designers in Orlando,
design engineers in Mülheim, Germany, and
production specialists in Berlin. Up until recently, design drawings were
sent back and forth by courier, with engineers
writing down comments on the documents. In
other cases, sketches were scanned and sent
electronically. Experts also frequently had to
travel to meet with colleagues in other loca-
tions. Today, development project participants
conduct videoconferences. In the case of the
Berlin-based turbine project, each of the three
locations was equipped with a Powerwall VR
system, which was used for presenting the vir-
tual turbine model, and which was linked via
data connections. This enables participants to
view and discuss the same model simultane-
ously. “Development discussions have im-
proved tremendously as a result, and the entire
process has been accelerated,” says Michael
Schwarzlose, who introduced virtual turbine
development at PG. Unlike abstract design
sketches, virtual models enable joint communi-
cations that enhance understanding of the sit-
uation at hand. Component installers, for ex-
ample, recognize very quickly whether some
components might collide during the assembly
process. Virtual models also make the entire
development process more vivid and dynamic,
says Schwarzlose.
The product development process for a new
turbine is generally a difficult undertaking that
consists of many different steps. It basically be-
gins with a draft design in 3D-CAD programs.
These 3D models are created before detailed
2D drawings are made and mainly serve as a
means of assessing the availability of required
components, and the feasibility of production
and assembly processes. Production sketches
are not drawn up until later on in the product
development process. “We don’t need this re-
dundancy in producing drawings or sketches
anymore,” says Schwarzlose, “because we can
now go directly from CAD to a virtual model.”
The virtual reality (VR) software used here is
from ICIDO, a spin-off of the IPA Fraunhofer In-
stitute in Stuttgart that specializes in planning
Videoconferences supported by virtual reality
tools are replacing sketches sent by courier.
24 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
Munich refer to this design model as FINE
(functional and integrated engineering of
mechatronic systems). FINE is used to simulta-
neously develop mechatronic components,
whereby specialists from many fields, such as
mechanical, electrical and software engineers,
work together on virtual models. Such activi-
ties make it clear at a very early stage whether,
for example, motors and control units will op-
erate together harmoniously. “In the past, mechanical components were
built first, then the electronics were added, and
quests can be taken into account right up until
shortly before the conclusion of the develop-
ment process. “We’ve found that this approach
cuts development time by about one-third,”
says Friedrich. “It doesn’t matter whether it’s
automotive components or power plants —
new products can be brought to market more
rapidly, and this shortening of time-to-market
is crucial for sales success.”
The stiffness measuring model for postal
automation systems was developed less as an
effort to cut development time than to achieve
fast module that could measure stiffness in just
five milliseconds. What was required here was
a high-tech device whose electric motor would
move the sensor probe back and forth very rap-
idly and with extreme precision. Siemens specialists in Konstanz knew that
developing such a a sophisticated piece of
equipment would be a tricky assignment,
which is why they called in experts from
Siemens Corporate Technology’s (CT) Virtual
Design Center in Munich to work with them on
the planning process. The Center designs com-
plex products on computers and brings them to
life in the virtual world, where they are then
tested before even one prototype is built.
Among other things, you can hear the sound of
washing machines running at the center, even
before any such machines have been built.
Concurrent Engineering. The ability to bring
products to life as realistic 3D computer models
is nothing new. Computer-aided design (CAD),
for example, has long been a workhorse in in-
dustrial design departments, and the simula-
tion of flows and acoustic oscillations is stan-
dard technology today. “What we’ve done here
at CT is to link all these virtual modeling and
simulation tools to create an integrated ap-
proach,” says Bernd Friedrich, head of the Vir-
tual Design Center. Friedrich’s work focuses on mechatronics
systems development — i.e. designing and
linking mechanical components and electronic
control systems in parallel. Engineers in
at the very end the control system was tested
with the finished hardware,” Friedrich explains.
“But that approach simply takes too long.”
That’s because errors such as a motor with in-
sufficient power or a slow control unit gener-
ally aren’t discovered until all the components
are operating together in a finished machine —
by which time it’s too late. “It was often the
case that several prototypes were built and
tested before a production-ready design was
ready,” says Friedrich. The new parallel — or
“concurrent engineering” — approach has en-
gineers from all disciplines working together
from the beginning, which means a fully func-
tional product model is stored on a computer
before anything is built. The computer can thus
be used to simulate and run through several
product variations. Moreover, customer re-
Detailed simulations of gas turbines such as this one can uncover errors before anything is built.
Fully functional simulated models are making
physical prototypes practically unnecessary.
the necessary dynamic performance of the
product in question. Engineers in Munich were
able to demonstrate this performance with
their virtual model, in which all components
worked perfectly with one another at the re-
quired speed and precision. “What’s really re-
markable is the linkage between the various
mechatronics aspects,” says Dr. Thomas Baud-
isch, who is responsible for Mechatronics Prod-
uct Development at CT. “Ultimately, it was our
interdisciplinary approach that enabled us to
design the unit in an optimal manner.” Multi-Physical Construction. All of this inte-
gration is backed up by mathematical knowl-
edge, because an approach as complex as the
one pursued here is only possible if you are ca-
pable of developing the necessary algorithms
yourself. That’s why the Virtual Design Center
team includes several mathematicians who de-
veloped the so-called “multi-physical approach”
together with engineers. The concept takes
into account many different physical proper-
ties, such as temperature distributions within
materials, oscillation characteristics, and
strengths. Parameters that determine a real
product’s future functionality and quality are
therefore incorporated into its virtual model.
This is the only way to determine in advance
whether, for instance, a washing machine will
actually spin quietly after it’s built. The multi-physical approach even goes be-
yond the product itself, as it takes into account
the entire process chain from the first design
drafts all the way to future production. It there-
fore starts with CAD and CAE (computer-aided
engineering), moves through simulations and
modeling of the products, and ends with CAM
(computer-aided manufacturing). For example,
when planning the production of turbine
blades, CT experts calculated the amount of
force the milling and cutting tools apply when
Factories of the Future | Product Development
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 27
Precise facility planning (below), 100 percent
quality achievement (center), and continual
process control (right) helped ensure that the
Amberg plant was named Europe’s Best Factory.
Siemens is — by a wide margin — the world
market leader in electronic controls for indus-
trial automation, What’s more, its market share
has been growing by one percentage point per
year for some time. This achievement is in no
small part due to the Amber plant’s 870 em-
ployees, who produced 11 million Simatic
modules last year. “And this year, we plan to
build more than 12 million,” says plant man-
ager Hans Schneider.
Amberg’s factory hall is as tall as a two-story
building and covers an area the size of one-
and-a-half soccer fields. A gallery offers a view
of the production floor, which is as clean as a
whistle. Wide aisles can easily accommodate
three workers walking side by side, and with
most machines no higher than 1.4 meters
there’s no problem making eye contact. Cost Effective. The EMP is living proof that it’s
possible to manufacture products in Europe at
the same low cost as at a sister factory in Nan-
jing, China on a daily basis. What’s more, this
year the facility captured first prize in Ger-
many’s Best Factory/Industrial Excellence
Award 2007. The two organizations that pres-
ent the award — the INSEAD Business School in
Fontainebleau, France, and the Department of
Production Management at the Otto Beisheim
School of Management in Vallendar, Germany,
also named the plant Europe’s Best Factory.
The awards jury assessed operational strat-
egy, product development, supply chain man-
agement, organization, human resources, serv-
ice, partner management, and continual
improvement and awarded the EMP top marks
in nearly all categories. The plant’s success is
partly due to its use of the best machines avail-
able, its low-cost procurement sources, and its
mastery of the production process. Still, other
downtime, and inventories. Our flexible order
logistics system also ensures that the material
logistics and production departments are not
negatively affected by fluctuations in order vol-
ume. This supports efficient capacity planning
and high machine-capacity utilization.”
The EMP, which produces exclusively on a
made-to-order basis, has an amazing delivery
reliability rate of 99 percent, meaning that 99
out of 100 customers receive their exact num-
ber of ordered units within 24 hours at the req-
uisite quality. Flawless from the Furnace. Production
processes at the EMP are synchronized and per-
fectly aligned with one another. Practically
nothing is done by hand at the plant, with the
exception of machine setups and repair and
maintenance work. Men and women in blue
overalls at the facility plan production, make
decisions, and coordinate and monitor activi-
ties. Snapshot: A worker carefully examines a
module under a magnifying glass. The module
has just emerged from a soldering furnace,
where printed components are mounted on
circuit boards at a temperature of 250 degrees
Celsius. The worker is responsible for ensuring
that the circuit board is stable, and that noth-
ing is missing or incorrectly mounted.
plants can boast the same virtues — so what
makes a champion a champion? “We use com-
prehensive information and communications
technology that provides us not only with basic
production data but also the coordinates for
the insertion machines,” Schneider explains.
“These systems collect, analyze, and assess
manufacturing data — so we always know
what’s going on at the plant, and we also have
up-to-date information on production figures,
Ulrich Brück, who is responsible for Em-
ployee Initiatives and the Siemens top
agement Program, refers to this employee
check as statistical process control. Here, a
computer randomly determines which mod-
ules should be examined. Brück points to a
monitor at the testing station. “Our colleague
here sees an interactive model of the selected
module on the screen, and the functional units
she needs to check are marked in color. If she
| Europe’s Best Factory
Simply the Best Siemens’ electronics plant in Amberg, Germany,
demonstrates that even supposedly expensive manu-
facturing locations can be competitive. The facility
boasts low-cost production, brings innovative prod-
ucts to market, and is always striving to improve. As a result, it was recently named Europe’s Best Factory. 26 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
ack-tack-tack-tack…” — it’s practically im-
possible for the human eye to follow the
extremely rapid movements of the machines in
the Amberg Electronics Manufacturing Plant
(EMP) as they stamp chips, transistors, resis-
tors, and capacitors onto blank circuit boards
that fly by on conveyor belts. Here at the EMP,
Siemens Automation and Drives (A&D) pro-
duces “invisible intelligence” for industry and
everyday applications. The associated devices
are part of Siemens’ Simatic line of program-
mable logic controls — a product family used
in regulating just about every kind of produc-
tion machine, from welding systems and ce-
ment manufacturing facilities, to bottling
equipment, automated car washes, dairy prod-
ucts processing systems, and ski lifts. The EMP
itself has 16 production lines operating around
the clock, each of which processes 150,000
electronic components per hour. Factories of the Future
large machines and even entire factories.
Schwarzlose introduced this tool at PG in 2003,
at a time when the 340-MW high-performance
turbine for the Irsching power plant was still at
an early development stage. In 2005, a further element was added: a VR
system for gas turbine final assembly. Since it
takes weeks to assemble a giant turbine, and
the process is almost as complex as building an
aircraft, VR technology has accelerated the as-
sembly process. The technology allows special-
ized mechanics to practice manual assembly
maneuvers in advance using virtual final as-
sembly programs — something that would
have been inconceivable just a few years ago.
Schwarzlose recalls how things used to work
during the early stages of work on the Irsching
turbine. Back then, in order to test assembly
operations, a full-scale model of a turbine com-
bustion chamber had to be built in Berlin.
What’s more, it took months from the moment
an order was place until a model could be fully
assembled. And, of course, it wasn’t possible to
test the assembly process during that time.
Tremendous Savings. The amount of time
gained through the use of new virtual tools is
tremendous. Depending on the complexity of
individual turbine components, it used to
sometimes take weeks or even months before
researchers could determine whether it would
even be possible to install or manufacture cer-
tain components. “While it’s true that virtual re-
ality can’t replace a real operation in every sin-
gle case, the fact remains that an actual model
cannot depict or make noticeable the smallest
tolerances,” Schwarzlose explains. All in all, the
virtual planning process can reduce develop-
ment times by several months, according to
Schwarzlose. The Irsching turbine will be oper-
ational next year after only seven years of plan-
ning and construction. Projects in the past took
much longer to complete. VR is is set to become a key part of product
lifecycle management at PG. A roadmap for es-
tablishing a PLM process is currently being
worked out. The goal here is to permanently in-
corporate all development processes, combine
various development platforms, and simplify
the exchange of data. New simulation tools,
such as those made by UGS (a major PLM
player recently acquired by Siemens — see p.
16), will further develop virtual reality into a
key development component whose depiction
of reality will become increasingly exact. Such
precision has long since moved beyond individ-
ual products to include entire factories that are
developed in computers (see p. 20), allowing
industrial companies to save oceans of time
and money. Tim Schröder
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 29
| Beijing Airport
Designing the Belly of the Beast
Simulation has made it possible to build and test complex baggage handling facilities
— including Beijing’s new dragon-shaped terminal — before construction begins.
To ensure trouble-free construction and commission-
ing of Beijing Airport’s 50-km-long baggage handling system (left), Siemens first built and tested
the complex facility in the virtual world (right). W
ith the Olympic Games coming to China
in August 2008, preparations are now
running at full steam, including construction of
Beijing Capital International Airport’s Terminal
3, a vast, dragon-shaped complex. Beginning next spring, some 60 million pas-
sengers and 500,000 planes will arrive and de-
part from the terminal each year. High-tech so-
lutions — such as a baggage handling system
from Siemens — will help ensure that the facil-
ity can accommodate this colossal volume.
With some 50 kilometers of conveyors, the
baggage handling system can transport and
sort more than 19,000 pieces of luggage per
hour, making it one of the world’s biggest —
and fastest — systems of its kind. Equipped
with a complex network of sorting machines
and sorting gates, and with a top speed of 40
kilometers per hour, the Siemens baggage han-
dling facility requires less than 25 minutes to
move a piece of luggage from the check-in
counter to the furthest parked plane at the
terminal. Beijing Capital International Airport (BCIA)
specified a number of requirements that the
system was to meet. For instance, it should not
only make use of the terminal’s basement
down to the last meter but also meet tough re-
quirements regarding maximum luggage size,
throughput, and baggage travel time. The
company also wanted the facility to be devel-
oped, installed, and tested within 32 months
— and to function fault-free afterwards.
In order to plan and build such a vast facility
in such a short time, a team of engineers from
Siemens Industrial Solutions & Services (I&S) in
Offenbach, Germany had to dig deep into their
virtual reality toolkit. Long before the first com-
ponent was manufactured, these experts built
and tested the entire baggage handling system
using 3D software. Indeed, they utilized some
of the same procedures they had developed in
designing similar facilities in Seoul and Madrid. Virtual Luggage on the Move. The engi-
neers downloaded key data on the airport’s
catacombs to their PCs and utilized software
modules from the Seoul and Madrid projects
that had been stored in digital libraries. Their
3D simulation and optimization software al-
lowed them to examine even the smallest ar-
eas of the baggage handling system and its
building in order to determine if planned sys-
tems would fit into the available space, and to
ensure that sub-systems would not interfere
with one another. A simulation of the initial conveyor belt
setup revealed areas of congestion. A second
test indicated that the distance between some
junctions was so tight that it could lead to de-
lays and shutdowns — problems that would
make it impossible to achieve the target of a
maximum 25 minutes of travel time for any
given bag. Ultimately, the planners were able
to eliminate all of the errors in the huge system
before construction began. This virtual planning and simulation led to
huge cost benefits, as changes could be made
and tests carried out without expensive proto-
types. Planners knew at each process stage
which components (and how many of them)
would be needed for a given solution. After
planning was completed, the software pro-
duced assembly lists containing everything
that needed to be procured. Before the facility could be built, the control
software responsible for smooth operation of
the actual system had to be extensively tested.
To ensure smooth interaction between soft-
ware and hardware, Siemens experts tested
the software at the Siemens Airport Center
(SAC) in Fürth, Germany, which serves as the
company’s simulated airport. SAC actually has
the largest baggage handling facility in Ger-
many, after Frankfurt and Munich. It’s a com-
plete airport — the only things missing are the
control tower and planes. SAC also serves as a
training center, which is why Chinese staff
from Terminal 3 were sent there to learn to use
the sophisticated system.
BCIA gave its preliminary approval of the
baggage facility in July 2007, two years after
the project was launched and eight months be-
fore the new terminal is scheduled to open, at
which time Beijing Airport will become one of
the world’s busiest destinations. The city will
then be ready for the Olympic Games, and the
last thing visitors will have to worry about will
be their luggage. Sebastian Webel
28 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
finds one to be defective, she clicks its virtual
counterpart on the monitor, automatically
identifying the real part and generating a mes-
sage that is sent to the Production Planning de-
partment.” Since each circuit board has a bar-
code, “fishing out” defective modules is not a
problem. But when defects are identified, an
analysis is performed to determine the cause of
the problem. “If necessary, we’ll even go to the
lab and examine circuit board components un-
der a microscope,” says Brück. “No matter what
the error, we’ll find its cause.”
The Amberg team is renowned for its ability
to bring innovative products tailored to its cus-
tomers’ needs to market faster than its com-
petitors —a feature that significantly influ-
enced the Best Factory jury. The EMP also
stands out thanks to its employees’ great com-
mitment to quality. “Things can always be done
better,” says Schneider, whose office door —
which is just a two-minute walk from the pro-
duction hall — is always open. Schneider pulls
out a chart that shows error rates for the past
wheels that displays key issue areas (Keys) at
the EMP. There are a total of 16 Keys covering
everything from quality and waste to cleanli-
ness and machine setups. Each Key also has a
description of its ideal state and the abilities re-
quired to achieve it. Managers and experts up-
date these Keys every year in the form of mas-
ter charts. “Employees compare the ideal with the ac-
tual situation, draw up proposals and measures
for reconciling them, and then put these on the
pin boards,” says Brück. One working group can
address 25 percent of the Keys in one business
quarter. All results are presented to supervi-
sors, who support staff with implementation. The “champion” of industrial plants is thus
now much more than just a production facility.
“Modern factories need to have a clear strategy
for moving forward — one that involves enter-
ing new markets and assuming responsibility
for achieving sales and profit targets,” was the
judgment of the jury, which added that “the
EMP comes very close to this ideal.” Schneider has a humble explanation for the
plant’s success: “We simply utilize all the levers
at our disposal.” In its systematic search for hid-
den potential, the EMP has achieved average
productivity increases of ten percent per year.
That’s why EMP workers are not afraid of com-
petition from Asia. “Our advantage lies in hav-
ing the best-trained employees, proven engi-
neering know-how, and an outstanding
infrastructure,” says Brück. For example, if a
machine fails, our machine supplier shows up
right away to fix the problem.” This year’s Best Factory award has served to
motivate the team even further. Recently,
Schneider and Brück set themselves the goal of
improving quality by a factor of ten and thus re-
ducing EMP’s error rate to the unbelievably low
level of only 3.4 pieces per million units pro-
duced. Evdoxia Tsakiridou
few years. This year, only 28 of the one million
units produced were defective, a very low
number for electronic components. However,
it’s still not low enough for Schneider and his
team, who want to reduce that figure to less
than 20.
Ideas and Ideals. Every year, EMP employees
— from line workers to managers — submit an
average of 15 improvement suggestions per
person that are implemented; the norm for the
electronics sector is one suggestion per em-
ployee and year. Plant management actively
encourages this commitment. For example, it
allows staff to meet any time they want in cre-
ative offices in the factory hall. These meetings
are used to discuss issues, depict ideas on flip
charts, or directly enter ideas into special data-
bases. This improvement process has nothing to
do with coincidence, as it’s based on a specific
methodology. Brück displays the CIP (continual
improvement process) mobile — a pinboard on
Each employee submits an average of 15 implemented
improvement suggestions per year; the norm is one.
Incorporating all employees into quality assurance
processes (left) and making use of their numerous
suggestions for improvement (right) helps make the
Siemens Amberg Electronics plant so successful.
Factories of the Future | Europe’s Best Factory
Simatic: Synonymous with Success
The origin of the Siemens Simatic system dates back to the 1950s.But it wasn’t until 1979 that the big breakthrough came. That was when the S5 series was launched. The S5’s small electronic control units not only managed automation but also documentation. What’s more, they could also be
programmed. Before Simatic, machinery and production lines were controlled by large and expensive
process computers that could only be operated by experts. This situation changed radically with the introduction of the S5 series, which was designed from the ground up with non-specialized operators in mind. In fact, anyone can learn how to use the system.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 31
Factories of the Future | Rail Systems
Trains of Bits and Bytes
To make high-tech products you need a high-tech development environment.
That’s why Siemens in Krefeld, Germany, relies on a purely virtual product and production development system that allows it to design entire trains on computers.
What’s more,it expects to digitize the complete production process by 2009.
Comprehensive 3D simulations.At Siemens, new
trains are developed and tested down to the last detail by international teams in virtual reality before a single physical component is assembled.
30 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
he engineer running a Velaro high-speed
train adjusts the controls on his instrument
panel. Suddenly a flap opens in the floor, the
angle of vision swings to the space under the
train and components fly apart. Miraculously,
however, the train reassembles itself. Welcome to the virtual reality laboratory at
Siemens Transportation Systems (TS) in
Krefeld, Germany. Neither the train nor the en-
gineer are real — they’re animated virtual ob-
jects. There are no flip charts in the conference
room. Instead, there’s a power wall on which
true-to-scale prototypes in a spatial environ-
ment generated by a computer can be ob-
served with the help of 3D glasses and dis-
cussed. “This is a big help, for example when
we’re planning installation, analyzing ease of
maintenance, and conducting ergonomic stud-
ies,” says Reinhard Belker, head of Engineering
Process Management at TS. The Virtual Reality (VR) system is an integral
part of the development process at TS. Here,
designers meet regularly to study new trains in
virtual space as they are being developed and
need now are innovations, not only in terms of
products but also in our production and devel-
opment processes,” says Belker.
Step by step, engineers at TS have achieved
a unique level of technical sophistication. Since
1999, developers have designed their products
using 3D technology from start to finish. In
2000 they introduced a uniform 3D administra-
tion system as well as the Virtual Reality sys-
tem. In 2003 the “paperless factory,” which
uses virtual assembly instructions, was already
a reality. In other words, before assembly work-
ers begin to work in and on trains, they take a
look at the individual work steps in animated
virtual form. SAP’s Product Lifecycle Manage-
ment module, which controls and documents
the entire product creation process, was intro-
duced in 2004. And in 2006 the company put in place at all
of its locations a comprehensive 3D process
chain that creates digital animations during the
initial design phase on the basis of 3D CAD
data and carries out initial simulations. Devel-
opers design individual assemblies in 3D,
which are then made available to partners
worldwide. This is done using a uniform prod-
uct data management system — even before a
single screwdriver is picked up in the real
world. To date, parts of these processes have
run in parallel, allowing the initial development
steps to be immediately included in planning
processes at other units. Virtual Reality Meetings. Because 3D CAD
data requires lots of memory, it is not used in
all process areas. Some developers work with
“viewing data,” which requires less memory
and is cheaper and simpler to use. Here, all of
the data is automatically converted to a view-
ing format. This is a feature that enables de-
signers to have virtual worldwide meetings in
which they can share their ideas about the cur-
rent state of a project. Such meetings eliminate
the need for time-consuming travel. What’s
more, they make the entire development
process faster and less prone to error because
every developer knows exactly what his or her
colleagues are doing. Of course, data provided
by suppliers and external design partners has
to be reviewed, converted, and integrated, be-
cause in some cases partners work with differ-
ent systems. But here too, TS’s technology spe-
cialists are working on solutions.
On the basis of 3D data from the develop-
ment team, production preparation experts
can plan and simulate manufacturing and as-
sembly processes by, for example, visualizing
different assembly sequences The production
units, in turn, use the 3D data as a basis for var-
ious work steps. Despite the comprehensive use of 3D data
in all units, 2D drawings are still required in the
production and assembly areas. That’s because
in some cases the drawings contain informa-
tion that is too complex to be incorporated into
3D models without a great deal of time and ef-
fort. According to Belker, “we’ve proved that in
principle we can do without the 2D drawings.
However, there’s still no IT tool that effectively
supports this process. We’re now working on
reducing the time and effort required to create
the 3D models.” Animated assemblies make it easier for
workers to do their jobs, “because they can in-
discuss them with their colleagues from adjoin-
ing units. They also meet in “collaboration
meetings” with their unit’s sister production
plant in Prague, in the Czech Republic, where
the same system is used. At the moment, the
systems are the only ones of their kind in the
world. But the VR system is only one of the innova-
tive tools that support the purely virtual prod-
uct and production development process at TS.
Today, rail vehicle design proceeds from start
to finish in an unbroken 3D CAD (computer
aided design) process chain. Every step, from
the initial concept through development, pro-
duction preparation, manufacture, assembly,
and documentation, is worked through in
three dimensions using CAD systems. Everyone involved works together in this
virtual environment. That makes it possible to
align, in real time, the stages of development
reached in the main production plant in Krefeld
with those in Erlangen and Kassel (Germany),
Graz and Vienna (Austria), and Prague and Os-
trava (Czech Republic). In addition, suppliers
and service providers are integrated into the
process of developing rail vehicles of all kinds,
from subway systems to high-speed trains. High-tech tools are absolutely essential in
Krefeld because market demands are increas-
ing steadily. Customers all over the world are
demanding shorter development times with
equal or even better product quality and a high
degree of technical sophistication. “A few years
ago we developed and produced a high-speed
train in three years. Today, our customers are
asking us to do the same thing in two and a
half years,” says Martin Olbrich, head of the TS
Work Preparation Assembly unit. In addition, prices have dropped dramati-
cally as a result of fierce competition in the rail
vehicle market. “These demands can no longer
be met using conventional methods. What we
High-speed trains can now be developed and produced within two and a half years.
The simulation of development and production processes is especially worth-
while for rail vehicles, which are generally
produced in small batches. Using simulations,
rail technology specialists at Siemens can run
through all of the optimization possibilities in
the digital world at an early stage in the development process, whether they’re working on the nose section of a train (left) or the ergonomics of the driver’s cab (right). Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 33
Optimizing Throughput
In 2008 the heavy-ion therapy center in Heidelberg will begin treating cancer
patients. Siemens configured the facility and optimized its workflows using simulation expertise gained in designing manufacturing processes for factories.
A particle therapy facility (right) is a complex system
designed to destroying tumors with high precision.
Configuration and workflows are simulated to ensure that treatment (left) is optimized. A
t first blush, factories and hospitals don’t
have much in common. Yet both are com-
plex systems that must operate rapidly and effi-
ciently. With this in mind, Siemens has tapped
its expertise in simulating and optimizing au-
tomation systems, and has applied this knowl-
edge to visualizing the configuration and work-
flow of — and ultimately realizing — a new
heavy-ion therapy center at the University of
Heidelberg Medical Center. The center, which will open in 2008, will
specialize in treating patients with tumors that
are either too difficult or too risky for a surgeon
to remove. The tumors will be bombarded with
carbon ions — the atomic nuclei of carbon —
from a particle accelerator. The particles pene-
trate a patient’s body and destroy growths with
extraordinary precision, and without signifi-
cant damage to surrounding tissue (Pictures of
the Future, Spring 2004, p. 36). Heavy ion therapy was developed and
tested by the Gesellschaft für Schwerionen-
forschung (society for heavy ion research or
GSI) in Darmstadt. GSI’s mission is basic re-
search, not commercialization, so it sought a
partner in industry — and found one in
Siemens. In 2003 Siemens purchased key
heavy-ion therapy patents from GSI and the
German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg
and then invested a significant effort in bring-
ing the method to market.
Siemens is supplying all the patient-related
technology for the Heidelberg center, including
the equipment for guiding the ion beam to the
patient, patient positioning and treatment con-
trol — “everything that goes on at the business
end of the accelerator,” says Klaus Staab, proj-
ect manager of the Heidelberg ion therapy cen-
ter, who welcomes the close cooperation with
Siemens. At another therapy center, the Rhön-
Klinikum in Marburg, Siemens is supplying
everything except the building itself, including
the particle accelerator. The groundbreaking
ceremony for the center took place in August
2007. Visualizing New Terrain. GSI researchers
have already proved that the new therapy
works as intended. “But what’s missing is expe-
rience with regard to how the design of individ-
ual treatment steps will affect the performance
of the center as a whole,” says Thomas Lepel of
Siemens Corporate Technology (CT). Particle
therapy is an entirely new element in clinic op-
erations. That’s why Lepel and his colleagues
have developed a simultation that depicts the
ion therapy center’s entire workflow. This
makes it possible to analyze the effects that
specific customer requirements can have on
patient throughput — and on the facillity’s op-
erational costs.
With a price tag of about €150 million — at
least €100 million for the irradiation unit, plus
roughly €50 million for the building, depend-
ing on how it is equipped — patient through-
put is set to play a key role in the facility’s eco-
nomic health. Current projections foresee
about 1,300 patients per year, with treatments
funded in equal parts by the state and federal
governments. But a typical hospital or health
care facility that relies exclusively on private
funding would have to treat at least 2,000 pa-
tients per year to cover the facility’s estimated
capital costs. And this equation also would
have to include payments of about €20,000
per patient from health insurance providers,
which corresponds to the agreement between
insurers and the Heidelberg Medical Center. By comparison, health insurers pay only
€8,000 for conventional radiation therapy.
Nevertheless, the ion therapy center’s higher
| Facility Simulation
32 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
tuitively understand them much faster than 2D
drawings with their countless positioning num-
bers,” says Olbrich. The 3D data serve as virtual
assembly instructions. Assembly workers are
provided with a rapid overview of the entire sit-
uation, as well as more precise information
about how to integrate the components to be
assembled. It takes less time to learn the as-
sembly steps, fewer questions are necessary,
and there are fewer errors. The 3D data are also very valuable for prod-
uct descriptions and maintenance instructions
at the end of the process chain. But 2D draw-
ings are used here as well, first because 2D ve-
hicle documentation is customary, and second
because as yet there is no recognized format
that makes long-term implementation of 3D
data possible. However, one of the priorities at
TS is to convince everyone involved of the ad-
vantages of 3D vehicle documentation.
Taken together, TS’s system allows the en-
tire process chain to be depicted in virtual
form. “Our customers are impressed by the way
we’ve integrated these innovative technologies
into our development processes,” says Belker.
Andy Neuschulz from trans regio Deutsche Re-
gionalbahn GmbH agrees. “Virtual product de-
velopment makes the production process eas-
ier to retrace and monitor. As a result, at an
initial vehicle presentation we were able to of-
fer visiting politicians a fairly realistic and very
impressive picture of our trains at a very early
stage of production,” he says. Currently, trans regio operates 20 trains
running on three lines in Germany. After its
next change of train schedules, it will begin to
operate along the route from Cologne to Mainz
needed to realistically simulate processes. But
in this sector in particular, comprehensive sim-
ulation of a product’s life cycle is crucial. This
point is made very clearly by Dr. Robert
Neuhauser, Director of Manufacturing & SCM
at Corporate Supply Chain and Procurement at
Siemens, who heads a company-wide program
on the future of manufacturing. “For products
that are manufactured in large numbers over a
period of years, we can steadily improve and
optimize production processes over long peri-
ods of time. By contrast, the project and small-
batch business is characterized by short startup
times and short manufacturing runs. That
means everything has to work optimally the
first time around, because the manufacturing
process will be over before any significant opti-
mization can take place. Simulation makes it
possible to run through all the possible opti-
mization measures digitally before production.
That way, we can detect problems long before
they reach the real world.” Simulation also benefits the Krefeld plant,
which produces an average of 450 rail vehicles
per year. A preliminary study and an efficiency
analysis carried out by Siemens Transportation
Systems in cooperation with the Fraunhofer In-
stitute for Manufacturing Engineering and Au-
tomation (IPA) demonstrated the advantages
of the digital factory. Its potential benefits in-
clude faster and better-quality planning. Inte-
grated tools relieve planners of routine activi-
ties and give them more time to plan less
expensive and qualitatively more sophisticated
products and to make their production as cost-
effective as possible from the very start. Belker is looking forward to the advent of
the digital factory. Surveying a long row of
gleaming trains that are ready for shipment, he
predicts that, “In the future we’ll be able to de-
liver them to our customers even faster.” Gitta Rohling
Factories of the Future | Simulating Trains
via Koblenz, for which it will use a total of 16
Desiro ML trains manufactured by Siemens.
Back in Krefeld, Reinhard Belker walks
through the TS production hall, past rows of
railroad cars draped with cables. Everything in
the hall is clean and tidy. “Now that we’ve mas-
tered virtual product and production develop-
ment,” he says, “the next step is what we call
the digital factory. We’ve been rolling it out
since last April.” Plans call for TS to be ready by
the end of 2009.
Simulating Entire Life Cycles. The digital
factory is a concept of a production facility in
which not only the physical plant is visualized
and simulated on a computer, but also its
processes. The concept includes the entire
product lifecycle, from planning, development
and production to service, maintenance, sales
and marketing. TS’s goal is to integrate development and
production even more closely, make coopera-
tion even more efficient, and align even larger
portions of product and process development
along parallel paths. The digital factory is an
ideal way to coordinate process and layout
planning and capacity analyzes. Here, all plan-
ners have access to the same database as the
basis of their work. That enables them to signif-
icantly reduce errors and associated costs in
production startup processes, as well as the
time required for coordination. Unlike the automotive sector, which has
embraced the digital factory concept, other in-
dustries have generally avoided it because of
their low production volumes, which did not
seem to justify the large investments that are
As of 2009, product life cycles will be simulated
— from design to service and maintenance.
Simulations are replacing paper diagrams of assem-
bly instructions.3D graphics of individual work steps
make assembly work simpler, faster, and more pre-
cise (left). Right:Velaro trains in the assembly hall.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 35
Smarter Smelting
Finex, a technology developed by Siemens and Korean steel company Posco, is revolutionizing the iron smelting industry. The new technology is more efficient,
more environmentally friendly, and less expensive than any previous process.
Posco’s Finex test facility has already demonstrated
its advantages. The plant produces 90 percent less air pollution and 98 percent less water contamination than conventional blast furnaces.
ohang doesn’t look like a place for launch-
ing a world revolution. The South Korean
port city, which has 300,000 inhabitants, was a
fishing village up until the early 1970s, when
the government decided to make it the home
of the Posco steel company. Operations began
with a workforce of only 39 people. Today,
Posco has more than 50,000 employees, and
with an annual production volume of 30 mil-
lion tons, the company is now the world’s
fourth-largest steelmaker. Everyone in Pohang
has some kind of connection to Posco.
This may also soon be the case for anyone
involved in the steel industry worldwide, be-
cause in April 2007, a facility went into opera-
tion at Posco that has solved a decades-old iron
smelting problem. Extracting pig iron from iron
ore in a blast furnace requires sintering the ore
and producing coke from coal, both of which
are extremely labor- and energy-intensive
processes. Sintering involves partially melting
the millimeter-large crumbs of ore dust known
as “fines” at around 1,200 degrees Celsius to
form lumps of ore. Otherwise, the ore fines
would clog up the gas channels in the furnace
through which carbon monoxide passes. The
latter reduces the iron oxide in the ore to ele-
mentary iron. Coke is produced by heating coal
to 1,000 degrees Celsius in the absence of air.
The process releases tar and other gaseous by-
products, leaving only the coke as a solid
residue. Pure coal cannot be used in a blast fur-
nace because its tar by-products would also
clog up the gas channels. Without sintered ore
and coke, the furnace can’t be heated to the
more than 2,000 degrees needed to make pig
That was the case until recently. Now, how-
ever, a technology called Finex, which was de-
veloped by Posco and Siemens, has eliminated
the need for sintering furnaces and coking
plants. “For the first time ever, we have a
process that enables us to directly use ore and
coal fines,” says Johannes Schenk, who played
a major role in the development of Finex as the
project manager at Siemens. “Substances cre-
ated at one point during the Finex process are
reused in the process via internal recycling sys-
tems,” he explains. As a result, Finex is not only
more environmentally friendly and energy effi-
cient than conventional processes; it’s also
much more economical. “Production costs are
around 15 percent lower than with a conven-
tional blast furnace,” says Lee Hoo-geun, the
Posco manager responsible for operation of the
Finex facility. “Our competitors are very jealous
of our new technology, of course,” Lee adds.
Their envy is justified, as the Finex facility has
passed its practical tests with flying colors. Lee
originally expected it to take until the end of
2007 to fine-tune the processes at the facility.
However, 95 percent of all parameter targets
(mainly with regard to availability, consumption
values, and quality) had already been met by
July. “We’re extremely satisfied with the re-
sults,” Lee says.
Testing a New Technology.A perfect example
of how to combine resources and expertise in a
worldwide network, Finex confirms many of
the benefits of globalization. Its development
started more than 15 years ago, when the eco-
nomic boom in emerging Asian markets led to
a rapid increase in demand for steel. Posco,
which was the main supplier of body panel
| Metal Making
34 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
“One strength of our control system is that it al-
lows physicians and medical personnel to de-
vote more time to their patients,” says Gunzert-
Marx. Instead of being concerned with the ion
beam in the accelerator, the physician is free to
focus entirely on the patient — who is simu-
lated as a part of the workflow, but treated as a
human being.
In front of each of the three radiation
rooms, for example, is a room where a patient
is prepared for treatment and immobilized on a
treatment table, while still another patient is
undergoing radiation in the treatment area.
Fed with patient data from an oncology infor-
which is both strong and light. The table is as
suitable for planning computer tomograph
treatments as it is for ion treatment itself. Once
an immobilized patient is on the table, a robot
arm grasps the table and automatically moves
it into the right position. The table makes it
possible to prepare patients outside of the
treatment room. The patient positioning system can also be
used in the clinic’s computer tomographs, mak-
ing treatment planning easier and more pre-
cise. This development can be used with con-
ventional radiation and diagnostic systems, as
growing numbers of clinics are demanding pa-
tient positioning and transport systems when
selecting contractors. Siemens developers in Erlangen gained in-
sight into the needs of hospitals and clinics by
interviewing doctors and clinic administrators.
Med employees visited the Harvard Medical Cy-
clotron in Boston, for instance, and the Mid-
west Proton Radiotherapy Institute in Bloom-
ington, Indiana — always asking the same
question: What do physicians and their patients
really need? Answers revealed that the simula-
tion developed by CT was very close to what
was needed. “When it comes to taking into account the
entire system and the analysis of its associated
workflow, Siemens is years ahead of everyone
else,” says Gunzert-Marx. Other suppliers are
trying to develop similar components and an
integrated work process for particle therapy,
but none can offer this flexibility, combined
with imaging processes and IT integration. That’s why the Siemens system — which is
unique worldwide — was designed for several
types of ions. In addition to carbon, oxygen
ions and protons, the nuclei of hydrogen, can
also be alternately used in the system at the
Heidelberg center — and that’s a very attrac-
tive feature for investors around the world.
Plans call for more particle therapy centers to
be opened in the years ahead. Bernd Müller
costs seem justified, given that total cancer
treatment costs, including surgery, chemother-
apy, and radiation therapy, often exceed
€100,000 per patient. What’s more, clinical studies have shown
that the new therapy appears to be linked to
significantly fewer recurrences of some tu-
mors. To Dr. Konstanze Gunzert-Marx, sales di-
rector at Siemens Medical Solutions (Med) in
Erlangen, particle therapy has what it takes to
be a success. “Extrapolating the numbers of
new cancer diagnoses shows that this type of
center pays off for a catchment area with be-
tween eight and ten million people,“ he says.
Economic efficiency is not the only criterion —
physicians will now have more time for patients. Ions are accelerated to as much as 60 percent of the speed of light, stored in a synchrotron (left)
and delivered to the patient via a complex beam guidance system (right).
Treatment Simulation. That conclusion is
confirmed by the treatment center’s business
plan, which factors in its investment and oper-
ating costs, as well as the health insurance
providers’ payments. To calculate cost-effec-
tiveness, patient throughput is simulated and
automatically optimized. “Essentially, we apply
the know-how we’ve gained from analyzing
production processes,” says Lepel. “As with fac-
tories, where you have thousands of compo-
nents that must be handled differently, there
are a range of different processes at work in a
hospital.” The simulation differentiates be-
tween types of tumors, for example, and takes
into account the different preparation times
To define a patient who is in considerable
pain as a work-process element may sound
heartless, but Siemens developers have en-
tered such classifications into their simulation
to come up with a treatment control system
that optimizes workflow in line with criteria
that take individual patient needs into account.
mation system, sophisticated Schedule Opti-
mizer from Siemens optimizes the rooms’ occu-
pancy and also the use of the ion beam to en-
sure as little interruption as possible. This
reduces costs while shortening waiting times
for patients. If it becomes clear that the preparation of a
patient will take longer than planned, another
patient can be informed in time and moved
ahead in the treatment schedule. Preparation
and treatment are seamlessly integrated, thus
shortening the entire process for each patient
to an average of less than 30 minutes. As Le-
pel’s simulation indicates, this process — and
thus patient throughput — is optimized with a
configuration comprising three or four treat-
ment rooms. Robots at Work. A production plant can oper-
ate efficiently only if work processes are coordi-
nated. The same holds true for hospitals. With
this in mind, Siemens Med developed a high-
tech treatment table made of carbon fiber,
Factories of the Future | Workflow Simulation
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 37
Practice What You Preach
Companies that offer environmentally friendly solutions should implement them
themselves. At Siemens, the principle of sustainable business extends from reducing the company’s own energy consumption to refurbishing used equipment
and working with the EU to promote the use of energy-saving industrial motors. Since 2005, Winfried Mayer (right) has been tracking down ways to save energy at Siemens locations. He also provides environmental tips — like the use of this heat pump.
rom the seventh floor of Building 33, em-
ployees of Siemens Corporate Technology
(CT) in Munich’s Neuperlach district can see the
Alps in the distance. Often, the air is so clear,
that researchers can plan their next hiking trip
from here. No wonder then, that this floor is
where Corporate Environmental Affairs & Tech-
nical Safety (CT ES) — the experts in company-
wide environmental topics — is based. Winfried Mayer works here and he’s respon-
sible for environmental protection at Siemens
facilities. An engineer, Mayer has plenty of
work to do, especially since sustainability be-
came a major factor in the decisions of stock
market investment firms. His work includes
helping Siemens attain leading listings in the
Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and the
Climate Leadership Index, which is compiled by
the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). These in-
dices list the major companies most committed
to sustainability worldwide. Siemens has been
listed on the DJSI for eight consecutive years
since 2000.
Inclusion in these indices requires, among
other things, publication of data on global en-
ergy consumption and a list of energy-saving
products. Mayer’s department collects this data
in the form of the annual environmental re-
ports issued by all Siemens locations, evaluates
it and then passes all relevant information on
to the compilers of the DJSI and the CDP. The reports show that electricity consump-
tion alone accounts for approximately 60 per-
cent of total energy costs at Siemens. With
electricity prices constantly rising, this adds up
to a lot of money, which is why Mayer estab-
lished a one-day workshop for passing on en-
ergy-saving tips and recommendations, such as
the idea of using heat pumps.
Since 2005, Mayer has visited many of the
approximately 300 Siemens production loca-
tions worldwide and inspected their facilities.
In many cases, he has been able to make effec-
tive recommendations after just a few hours.
“Sometimes it’s enough to just compare tem-
peratures in warehouses and offices,” he says.
“If they’re the same, it often means that the
warehouse is overheated.” Mayer can also help out with complex prob-
lems, however, as he’s gained a great deal of
technical expertise since his first workshop. “I
even look at ads for energy-saving technolo-
gies now to see if we can use them,” he re-
ports. His efforts have proved successful, as it’s
estimated that a production location that takes
part in one of Mayer’s workshops can reduce its
electrical energy consumption by an average of
five percent and its primary energy consump-
tion by ten percent.
And that’s just the beginning. Siemens has
launched a program at its production locations
that aims to increase energy efficiency in rela-
tion to the sales and product portfolio by 20
| Energy-Saving Technologies
36 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
compact this hot sponge iron into lumps that
are fed into a melter gasifier. The gasifier is sim-
ilar to a blast furnace, the difference being that
only iron and slag need to be melted in it. The
temperature of over 2,000 degrees Celsius re-
quired for this is achieved by gasifying coal with
oxygen, whereby the resulting gas mixture con-
sisting of carbon monoxide and hydrogen is fed
into the fluidized bed reactor as reduction gas.
The Finex method also creates a valuable
byproduct in the form of an export gas that is
used to fire a power generation plant. The iron
and slag are tapped from the melter gasifier in
the same way as from a blast furnace.
produce wastewater containing large quanti-
ties of hydrocarbons and cyanide, and this wa-
ter has to be purified in a lengthy and costly
process. In 2001, Posco decided to build a
demonstration facility with an annual capacity
of 600,000 tons — around half the output of
an average plant. By May, 2003, the plant en-
tered service and has since reached 800,000
tons per year.
Transcontinental cooperation was the right
move. “VAI is totally reliable,” says Joo. The
Austrians have also benefited from this inter-
cultural cooperation. “It’s impressive how Posco
never wavers in pursuit of its goals,” says
Schenk, who is impressed by the Korean’s dedi-
cation. “Everyone worked around the clock in
the weeks leading up to the facility’s commis-
sioning.” In 2004, Posco and VAI began jointly build-
ing the first major Finex facility, which went
into operation in April 2007 with a rated capac-
ity of 1.5 million tons per year. “Construction
costs were around 80 percent of what you’d
spend on a comparable blast furnace facility,”
says Lee. “I can’t imagine Posco building any-
thing other than Finex facilities in the future.” The company is now planning to build facili-
ties in India and Vietnam — and steel manufac-
turers from other countries have expressed in-
terest. China’s Baosteel, for example, is
designing its newest plant near Shanghai in a
manner that will enable it to be expanded later
on into a Finex facility. Finex engineers have
long ceased to worry about the success of their
invention and have instead focussed on finding
ways to further improve it. “Right now we’re
looking at how to better combine the fluidiza-
tion bed reactor and smelter gasifier, and we’re
also trying to find a way to forgo the process of
drying out the ore,” says Schenk. Joo also be-
lieves there’s potential for improvement. “We’re
far from having fully exploited the process;
after all, technological development never
stops,” he says.Bernhard Bartsch
sheets for Hyundai, wanted to use each expan-
sion of its capacity to develop new technolo-
gies. The search for new techniques led the Ko-
reans to Voest-Alpine Industrieanlagenbau
(VAI) in Linz, Austria in 1991. VAI, which be-
came part of Siemens in 2005, had developed
a new smelting procedure known as Corex that
required no coking but was nevertheless un-
able to directly process ore fines (see Pictures
of the Future, Fall 2006, p. 38).
“Corex was the best technology back then
— but we knew it would be possible to develop
an even better system,” recalls Joo Sang-hoon,
who headed the team of engineers that built
The first Finex demonstration facility exceeded
its annual production target by one third. The Finex facility in the South Korean port city of Pohang (left) is a pioneer in the global steel industry. The plant’s construction costs were around
20 percent below those for a conventional facility.
the first Finex facility in Pohang. This assess-
ment was shared by VAI, which had already de-
veloped a concept that would eliminate the
need for sintering and coking. “Of course, our
idea was only one of many,” says Schenk. How-
ever Posco had faith in the VAI approach, and
the two companies signed a development
agreement in 1992. VAI provided its facility
construction and process development expert-
ise while Posco contributed its experience as a
plant operator and the muscle to carry out and
finance such a complex project.
After years of development work and the
registration of over 100 patents, construction
began in Pohang in 1998 on a test facility with a
capacity of 50,000 tons per year. The facility’s
principle new feature was the inclusion of a flu-
idized bed reactor in which carbon monoxide
stirs up ore fines at a temperature of around
800 degrees Celsius. The system utilizes four re-
actors in series. By the time the process is com-
plete, the fine particles of ore have been trans-
formed into small pieces of sponge iron. Rollers
But it’s a long way from theory to practice.
Success can only be attained by precisely align-
ing hundreds of parameters — starting with the
properties of raw materials, the setting of tem-
peratures and gas pressures, and the efficient
use of by-products. “There are many potential
sources of problems,” says Schenk, “and it’s of-
ten peripheral defects that cause shut-downs.
Engineers love to make jokes like ‘The process
works but the facility doesn’t’ in such situations,
but in reality this is never a laughing matter.”
Great Expectations ——
and Results. In the
case of Finex, both the process and the test fa-
cility worked. The plant quickly achieved 95
percent availability, and the quality of its pig
iron was just as good as that from a blast fur-
nace. In addition, gaseous emissions such as
dust and sulfur and nitrogen oxides were 90
percent lower than those produced by a con-
ventional facility. Water contamination was
also reduced by up to 98 percent; conventional
facilities — especially coking plants — tend to
Factories of the Future | Metal Making
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 39
| Interview
Rethinking Manufacturing
Roddy Martin (50), is general manager
and vice president of
AMR Research Value
Chain Strategies
Group, the world’s
number one advisor
on the optimization of
supply chains, enter-
prise applications, and
infrastructures. After
completing a degree in
engineering, Martin
worked for a consult-
ing engineering com-
pany and later became
chief engineer for
electrical infrastruc-
ture, process control,
and automation for
South African Breweries. At AMR, he leads value chain research across all in-
What are the major trends driving production automation?
Martin: The most important long-term trend
is our evolving ability to holistically model and
simulate the complete product value chain —
everything from the product to be produced to
the processes and resources that will be used
in producing it, whether it’s a car or a couple
of tons of iron ore. We are not yet able to
model value chains as broadly as we would
like, or in a holistically integrated manner; but
we’re getting there. The ability to model and
simulate product value chains opens the door
to improved collaboration between R&D and
manufacturing, which is another very impor-
tant capability. Once you can simulate prod-
ucts and processes in a holistic value chain,
you can optimize manufacturing processes so
that they can be modified in response to actual
external demand. And once you’re that far, the
next capability is the integration of manufac-
turing operations into the supply chain to pro-
vide the visibility that enables agility. Can we simulate products and processes
in their full complexity today?
Martin: Not together as a holistic system or in
the same language. What’s missing is an archi-
tecture for modeling and simulation that can
be implemented across heterogeneous appli-
cation architectures. What we have today is si-
los of different technologies and applications. What’s the economic value of simulation?
Martin: In most environments we could cut
the cost of design in half if design and portions
of execution were done in the virtual world.
Do you need to see an operation as a
whole to see the value of simulation?
Martin: Yes. If you measure the value of simu-
lation at a project level, you won’t necessarily
see the total scope of savings. But if you’re
modeling at an overall cost-to-performance
level it is definitely cheaper to simulate. Are many companies doing this?
Martin: No. Companies can be divided into
those that have an internal or “inside-out” focus on manufacturing — one that pushes
rather than pulls — and those that are moving
to an “outside-in” focus. Here, customer re-
quirements are translated back from need and
use into manufacturing and operations. As you
can imagine, this is a huge cultural change for
manufacturing operations. In inside-out-driven
operations I produce as much as I can and rely
on sales and marketing to sell the product. This
is where most companies are today. But the
most advanced organizations are starting to
implement outside-in-driven manufacturing.
These companies are driving for value from the
customer’s side. This amounts to a strategic
joint value creation relationship between the
manufacturer, suppliers, and the customer.
Is Siemens heading for an outside-in
manufacturing architecture?
Martin: Following its recent acquisition of
UGS, Siemens Automation & Drives announced
a project called Archimedes that is designed to
provide an integrated systems engineering ar-
chitecture for products and production
processes. The goal is to create an environ-
ment in which Siemens, non-Siemens and UGS
components plug into a process-based archi-
tecture to achieve overarching automation and
process integration. So in my opinion, the fact
that Siemens has identified such a systems-in-
tegration architecture bodes well for Siemens’
Strategy and the future.
Where will we be in 15 years?
Martin: We will move toward much more so-
phistication and holistic modeling in the vir-
tual world. Modeling will include not only me-
chanical components, but human and network
components, and even the behavioral aspects
associated with operations. We will be in a po-
sition to simulate opportunities to a very late
stage, right up to the point that virtually all of
the questions have been answered. To accom-
plish this, we will conduct at least 80 percent
of development in the virtual world. Today it’s
just the opposite. Why will we move in that di-
rection? Because in the physical world we
make mistakes and generate waste that costs
time and money. In the virtual world, simula-
tion allows us to structure experiments, test,
detect errors, and try innovations that ulti-
mately optimize products and processes. That’s
my vision of the future, and it’s only ten to fif-
teen years away.
Interview conducted by Arthur F. Pease
38 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
ment and sold worldwide with the “Proven Ex-
cellence” seal of quality.
But it’s not just Med that has learned to take
advantage of the environmental standard. Ac-
cording to Quella, Siemens now has so many
efficient products that it’s high time the eco-
portfolio was recognized with some form of
certification. He’s therefore looking into having
an external institute conduct an audit. “That
would really set us apart from most of our ri-
vals and spur competition,” he says.
Boosting Awareness. Despite all the benefits
offered by environmentally friendly products,
many companies are still hesitant about pur-
chasing systems that, although offering more
energy efficiency than conventional solutions,
alone if older motors could be replaced with
energy-efficient ones. What’s more, this could
cut CO
emissions by up to 60 million tons per
year — not to mention the savings on electric-
ity costs,” he says. But because many compa-
nies aren’t aware of this potential, the technol-
ogy often remains on the shelf. To correct this
problem, Siemens has joined a campaign es-
tablished by the European Union to raise
awareness of this issue.
The EU Motor Challenge Program, which
was established in 2003, promotes sustainable
economic development by publicly honoring
companies that are particularly energy effi-
cient. Any company that chooses to join the
program — either as a partner that strives to
save energy, or as an endorser that recruits
new partners, which is what Siemens does, has
to identify energy savings potential at its
plants and draw up a plan of action to achieve
it. Such companies are then bound to this plan
for the duration of their membership in the
program. “Siemens’ plan of action is to inform
as many companies as possible about the pro-
gram — for example, at industrial trade
shows,” says Zwanziger, who serves as a proj-
ect liaison officer to the European Commission.
Since becoming an endorser, Siemens has
recruited 70 companies, including Ferrero and
Johnson & Johnson, and has even gotten cities
such as Hamburg on board. The new members
may use the Motor Challenge logo in public
and are also given official status as a company
or city committed to sustainable development. Zwanziger doesn’t deny that all of this pub-
licity also amounts to an excellent marketing
tool for Siemens. “Still, you have to keep in
mind that wherever energy-saving Siemens
products are used, there’s a proven benefit to
the environment,” he says. Such environmental
benefits are already common within Siemens,
and sustainability is set to become increasingly
significant in terms of Siemens’ external activi-
ties as well. As Zwanziger points out, the EU
Motor Challenge is just a harbinger of more
stringent and comprehensive efficiency regula-
tions to come. Sebastian Webel
percent between 2006 and 2011. Mayer’s
workshops will play a key role here.
Just a few doors down from Mayer’s office,
CT colleagues are less concerned with saving
energy at factories than they are with ensuring
an environmentally friendly design for Siemens
products. For 12 years now, Dr. Ferdinand
Quella and his team in the Product-Related En-
vironmental Protection department have been
addressing the issue of “ecological design.” There’s even a standard for this, which is
known as SN 36350 (see Pictures of the Future,
Spring 2007, p.102). The 11-page document
for this internal standard has been required
reading for all developers planning a new prod-
uct since 1999. The standard, which contains
guidelines for product design and a list of toxic
Variable speed drives pay for themselves in a very
short time — thanks to the savings they generate.
Sustainability in action. Light optimization (left) and heat recovery (center) reduce power consumption, while recycling used tomographs conserves resources (right).
and avoidable substances, has a total of 40 reg-
ulations that cover a product’s entire lifecycle.
Adherence to these regulations has enabled
Siemens to comply with new environmental
legislation and design rules.
The significance of SN 36350 goes beyond
environmental protection, however. “We’ve re-
peatedly seen that environmentally friendly so-
lutions also make a great deal of business
sense,” says Friedrich Koch, who is responsible
for environmentally friendly product design.
“That’s because environmentally-focused pro-
duction leads to better resource conservation,
which in turn means that improved economic
efficiency begins as early as the initial storage
of parts and materials.”
A key element of resource conservation is to
re-use as much equipment as possible.
Siemens Medical Solutions (Med), for example,
has a Refurbished Systems unit that takes back
used computer and magnetic resonance tomo-
graphs, which are refurbished according to the
same quality standards as those for new equip-
cost more. The Automation and Drives (A&D)
Group is only too familiar with this story. “Lots
of customers still don’t realize that an invest-
ment in efficient solutions would very quickly
be amortized by associated savings in energy
costs during operation,” says Dr. Peter
Zwanziger, head of the Associations and Regu-
lations department of A&D’s Large Drives divi-
sion in Nuremberg, which manufactures vari-
able speed drives for industry (see Pictures of
the Future, Spring 2006, pp. 49, 66).
There’s tremendous need to boost aware-
ness in this area. A&D is doing its part by manu-
facturing special Sinamics frequency convert-
ers for variable speed motors. Depending on
how they’re used, motors outfitted with such
converters can consume up to 60 percent less
electricity than fixed-speed drives. Procure-
ment costs for such devices can be recouped
within two years. But although the converters
are selling well, Zwanziger says that the market
could be much bigger. “There’s potential for
around €1.5 billion in sales per year in Europe
Factories of the Future | Energy-Saving Technologies
Factories of the Future | Interview
Wanted: Workers with
Broad Qualifications
Dr. G. Günter Voß,
57, a professor of Industrial Sociology
and Sociological
Technology Studies
at Chemnitz Univer-
sity of Technology, discusses the social impact of automation.
40 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
In your opinion, will increasing automation lead to the elimination of
manual labor in factories?
Voß:That depends on how you define the
term factory. If we’re talking about a press
shop in the automotive industry, such facilities
are already highly automated. But that’s very
different from an assembly line in the same industry, where fewer people work than used
to be the case, but where the proportion of
unskilled workers is still surprisingly high. but not enough jobs to offset very high
levels of unemployment in some coun-
tries. Are our educational and training
systems failing to provide the human capital we need?
Voß:The advent of new technologies has repeatedly shown that attempts to replace hu-
man labor with machines lead to the creation
of new jobs. The question is what kind of jobs
are being offered. It’s very often the case that
those who lose their jobs through rationaliza-
duction problems. That’s because quality is a
function that everyone is responsible for; it’s
not something only production units need to
worry about. What I’m talking about here is
the value chain, and it’s becoming more and
more important. Put simply, skilled workers in
production have to keep the customer in mind
as well, and when they do this, they become
more than just workers who know their jobs.
In this situation, they take a step toward be-
coming service providers who take the needs
of customers into consideration when it comes
to quality, price and on-time delivery. Let’s look ahead and talk about the year 2020. Many experts predict down-sized factories and highly flexible production systems with lot sizes of one — in short, truly personalized products. Given these innovations, do you expect customers
to eventually become part of the production process?
Voß:Many industrial sectors already have production planning and control systems. Although the early euphoria that surrounded the introduction of computer-integrated man-
ufacturing — or CIM — has largely dissipated, research in this area is moving forward. Interestingly enough, there are increasing attempts these days to incorporate consumers
into the production process through instru-
ments like mass customization, whereby customers formulate individual product demands and can even intervene in produc-
tion by entering these demands into Internet
systems. The goal here is to develop technical
and organizational procedures that enable
products to be industrially manufactured at an affordable cost — and at the same time tailored to the needs of customers. “Crowd sourcing,” which has been the subject
of much discussion lately, goes even further by
envisioning an interactive Web 2.0 that allows
customers to be incorporated into business
processes by contributing their wishes, ideas,
and even suggestions for improvement and
new designs. This is also known as Pro-Am cooperation, which means professionals and
amateurs working together — and doing so
even in the production of complex products
such as automobiles and electronic equip-
ment. We’re talking about much more here
than selecting models, colors, seat coverings
or optional equipment. In this approach the
product is manufactured down to the last de-
tail in accordance with the customer’s wishes.
In some cases, this could have an impact on
the entire production process as well.
Interview conducted by Evdoxia Tsakiridou
Manual labor will continue to exist — not only
in the automotive industry, but also in the
electrical and electronics industry, where people are needed to mount components on
printed circuit boards or assemble cell phones.
Manual labor is also required in the textile industry and in parts of the mechanical engi-
neering sector, especially when machines have to be individually configured for each
Is the vision of an automated factory
Voß:What we will see — and what already exists — are sections of complex manufactur-
ing facilities that operate with very few people.
Certain flexible production systems today already have fully automated areas where
processes have been standardized through implementation of networked computer nu-
merical control machines. Still, even here there are people in the back-
ground, such as technicians in control centers
who monitor facilities and manage operations,
waiting to intervene if something goes wrong.
You may not see these people in the plant, but
when there’s a problem, you’d be surprised
how quickly they appear! I’d also like to point out that a large proportion
of simple functions are invisible in many places because they’ve been outsourced
around the world. Such so-called extended
workbenches demonstrate that manual labor
continues to exist.
Advanced technologies have created millions of new jobs around the world —
tion are unable to carry out the newly created
functions, and this is especially true of people
who have few qualifications. What’s more, ad-
ditional training is no help in many instances
— and this applies to highly qualified people
as well in some situations. That’s because human capital cannot be bent into any desired
shape; it is not an abstract production factor.
Instead, it is a type of capital that is linked to
specific people, their individual skills, and the
life experiences they have. If you want to prepare for a shortage of skilled
labor, you need to train people at an early
stage in order to create a large pool of workers
with broad qualifications. Restricting training
or streamlining training operations down to
the bare minimum at a company is a recipe for disaster. It often comes back to haunt the
company involved, which — as many are doing today — then complains about a lack of skilled workers.
According to your research, what kinds of jobs will tomorrow’s production facilities be most likely to offer?
Voß:Human labor will focus less and less in
the future on the direct manufacturing of
products and more on indirect functions, such
as the control and monitoring of production.
At the same time, the term manufacturing will
increasingly come to include all those parts of a company that are just as important as the
units responsible for making products. I’m referring here to research and development,
product design, procurement, sales, and marketing, for example. We all know that poor
product development processes result in pro-
In Brief With the acquisition of UGS, Siemens has
become the first company to unite the previously separate worlds of virtual product
development and production planning with
production automation. As a result, the devel-
opment of new products and their associated
production processes will become faster,
more flexible, less expensive and more trans-
parent to the customer. Real-time collabora-
tive development of virtual products and
processes supports these trends. (pp. 13, 16)
Siemens researchers and developers are
moving toward full digital representation and
optimization of the entire product lifecycle —
from design and manufacture to sales, distri-
bution, disposal and recycling. Products such
as trains are already being planned virtually,
down to the last detail. (pp. 20, 23, 30)
Virtual simulation can also be applied to
work sequences — not just in factories, but
also in medicine, as is being demonstrated in
a new particle therapy center in Heidelberg.
Here, Siemens is simulating and optimizing
patient throughput in order to make the cen-
ter more efficient and give physicians more
time for their patients. (p. 33)
Workflows at Siemens’ Amberg location are exemplary. With quality indicators and ca-
pacity utilization at close to 100 percent, the
plant is not only one of Siemens’ most effi-
cient facilities, but also the best factory in Eu-
rope — and that’s official. Its secret is innova-
tion and highly motivated employees. (p. 26) Working together with a South Korean
company, Siemens has developed a produc-
tion process that eliminates the need for cok-
ing plants and sintering furnaces in pig iron
production. Compared to other technologies,
the new process is more efficient, cheaper,
and easier on the environment. (p. 35)
Reducing energy requirements at produc-
tion locations, recycling used equipment, and developing and using power-saving
equipment such as variable speed drives —
these are all important steps when it comes to promoting sustainable manufacturing. (p. 37)
Digital factory:
Dr. Bernhard Nottbeck, CT PP
Dr. Bernd Korves, CT PP
Dr. Robert Neuhauser, CSP SCM
Dr. Helmuth Ludwig, A&D
Anthony Affuso, A&D
Charles Grindstaff, A&D
Digital product development:
Bernd Friedrich, CT PP
Michael Schwarzlose, PG
Amberg location:
Hans Schneider, A&D
Baggage-handling system Beijing:
Herbert Hiller, I&S
Train simulation:
Reinhard Belker, TS
Workflow simulation:
Thomas Lepel, CT PP
Finex facility:
Dr. Johannes Schenk, I&S
Internal environmental protection:
Winfried Mayer, CT ES
Dr. Ferdinand Quella, CT ES
EU Engine Challenge Program:
Dr. Peter Zwanziger, A&D
AMR Research:
Information on A&D PL / UGS:
National Association of Manufacturers:
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 41
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 43
The 25-meter-high and 50-meter-long ATLAS detector is
the world’s largest particle physics experiment (large
photo). Siemens position controllers help ensure that
the superconducting magnets stay cool (small photos).
and smaller pipes are mounted on the walls,
while an adjoining tunnel houses a huge num-
ber of switch cabinets for high-voltage elec-
tronic systems and control systems for the ven-
tilation units. Two pipes as thick as human
arms run in parallel inside the large steel pipe.
Inside the pipes, protons or lead ions will be ac-
celerated to almost the speed of light. There
are four separate areas in which the particle
beams will collide head-on. These particle colli-
sions — which will occur up to 600 million
times per second — will enable the Large
Hadron Collider to recreate the conditions that
prevailed less than a billionth of a second after
the Big Bang.
The LHC facility will be able to generate
much higher energies than its predecessor, the
LEP accelerator, was capable of producing. It
will also create a beam with 100 times the par-
ticle density. Such high “luminosity” is very im-
portant, because it increases the probability of
a collision and thus the chances of finding the
Higgs boson, which must be at least 100 times
heavier than a proton. Four large detectors
placed at the points where the beams intersect
will register the matter and the particle show-
ers created by the collisions. Such experiments
are expected to result in some 15 million giga-
bytes of data per year. The data will be ana-
lyzed by physicists in a new, dedicated com-
puter network. In addition to finding the Higgs
boson, CERN scientists hope the new accelera-
tor will provide insights into the mysterious
dark matter that constitutes around 25 percent
of the universe.
To keep the particle beams precisely on
course, the LHC relies on superconducting
magnets, which need to be cooled with super-
fluid helium to a temperature of minus 271 de-
Research Cooperation | CERN Particle Accelerator
42 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
hen particle physicists go hunting, they
take along big guns that fire invisible bul-
lets. Next spring, they will open the hunting
season deep below ground at the French-Swiss
border near Geneva in a manner never seen
before. More specifically, they will cause parti-
cles to collide in a 27-kilometer tunnel ring at
previously unattained energy levels in an at-
tempt to solve some of the great mysteries of
the universe. For example: Why do particles
have a mass at all? And is the so-called Higgs
boson responsible for this mass, as the Stan-
dard Model of particle physics predicts?
Scientists are working to complete the Large
Hadron Collider (LHC) at a site 100 meters be-
low ground. The tunnel is dominated by a 1.2-
meter-thick steel pipe, which contains super-
conducting magnets and curves slightly as it
leads off into the distance. Numerous cables
units, for instance, which are seamlessly con-
nected to one another, will shrink by 4.5 cen-
timeters due to the cooling. Special buffers en-
sure that the system remains sealed. Once
achieved, the ultra-low temperatures will have
to be maintained for months.
Special Controllers Keep things Cool. He-
lium distribution will be regulated by valves
specially designed for use at the lowest tem-
peratures. The system requires more than
1,000 elements with supply and return head-
ers, which control the cooling of the magnets
and other components. The valves will be
moved by compressed-air driven units, whose
position will be regulated by Siemens position
controllers. “We can’t use the normal Sipart-
PS2 controllers directly in the ring,” says prod-
uct manager Klaus-Peter Heer from Siemens
Automation and Drives (A&D) in Karlsruhe,
On the walls of the 53,000-cubic-meter room
that houses this machine are ascending metal
platforms that enable technicians to access the
various levels of the detector, which consists of
several million components, many of which
need to fit together to within one hundredth of
a millimeter. The inner zone of the detector contains
around ten billion transistors. The ATLAS detec-
tor is the biggest experimental component
arrangement ever built by particle physicists. It
is basically made up of three detector systems,
each of which independently measures various
properties of the particles derived from colli-
sions. ATLAS also has eight superconducting
magnets. “An additional 130 of our split-ver-
sion position controllers will be used here as
well,” says Heer. Siemens has delivered 1,400
Sipart position controllers in the split version
and 400 conventional ones.
grees Celsius. “If we didn’t use these magnets,
the facility would have to be 120 kilometers in
circumference and would require 30 times
more energy,” says Laurent Tavian, who is re-
sponsible for CERN’s cryogenic systems. He ex-
plains that while conventional magnets
achieve a field strength of approximately two
teslas, the superconducting magnetic coils
reach eight teslas and can thus bend particle
beams sharply. Nevertheless, over 1,600 ultra-
cold magnets are required to achieve this re-
sult. “Basically, we’re building the world’s
biggest refrigerator,” Tavian jokes, adding that
“Siemens is playing a major role in the project.”
The biggest facility to date required 3,600
liters of pressurized superfluid helium; the LHC
will need about 600,000 liters. It’s the first time
that such a large amount of ultra-cold liquid
will have to be transported over the large dis-
tances around the ring, while the temperature
throughout the entire cooling system may not
deviate by more than 0.1 degrees Celsius. Such
requirements place unique demands on the
materials used. The 15-meter-long magnet
Germany. “That’s because the radiation is in-
tense enough to affect or destroy the sensitive
electronic systems.”
To solve this problem, developers at A&D
created a split version of the Sipart PS2 position
controller, which has all of the microprocessors
located in a separate radiation-proof tunnel
nearby. “Before delivery, we thoroughly tested
the split arrangement under the most realistic
conditions possible,” says Heer. The micro-
processor circuit boards can be located up to
one kilometer away from the position con-
troller. “Siemens components are crucial for
controlling the cooling process,” says Tavian. “If
one of the position controllers stops working, it
might be possible in some cases to have others
take over, but in most instances the entire cool-
ing machinery would eventually fail.”
In another part of the LHC facility, more pre-
cisely at Access Point 1, a narrow, brightly lit
corridor ends at a blue steel door. Located be-
hind this door is the ATLAS detector — a ma-
chine nearly 50 meters long and 25 meters
high (about the height of a five-story building).
The complex position controllers are not the
only things Siemens has provided to the LHC or
CERN. Over the last ten years, the company has
also supplied numerous products such as
Simatic control devices, power supply compo-
nents, computers, and laptops. Other CERN
and LHC suppliers also rely on such Siemens
products as mobile operator panels and hidden
electronic control systems. Siemens alone has
received orders worth around €30 million —
but that’s only a fraction of the €6 billion that
will have been spent over 15 years to design
and build the LHC and its detectors when the
facility is completed. As the project’s conclu-
sion draws near, thousands of scientists world-
wide can hardly wait for the facility to be
switched on in May 2008. Laurent Tavian is one
of them. “One thing’s for sure,” he says. “If
there is a Higgs particle, we’ll find it very
quickly.” And if there is no Higgs boson? “That’s
when things will really get exciting. We could
end up finding something unexpected that
could change the face of particle physics as we
know it.”
Norbert Aschenbrenner
Solving the World’s Mysteries
The European Laboratory
for Particle Physics (CERN)
is building an accelerator
that’s designed to solve
some of the great
mysteries of the universe.
Components from Siemens
will play a key role in en-
suring that the accelerator’s
superconducting magnets
keep their cool at minus
271 degrees Celsius.
50 Taking the Heat The energy content of a fuel can
be exploited more efficiently at
higher combustion temperatures.
New types of coatings make the
blades in many turbines more
resistant to heat and corrosion.
53 Precision Protection
Ceramic heat shields developed
and produced by Siemens protect
gas turbine combustion
58 Plastics: A Growing Field Bacteria can produce organic
plastics. These new materials can
be used to manufacture environ-
mentally-friendly electronic
60 Catching the Wind
Rotor blades up to 52 meters in
length can produce up to 3.6
megawatts. This year Siemens
will install 1,500 megawatts.
64 Catching Contaminants An analytical lab at Siemens uses
advanced technologies to detect
imperfections in semiconductor
materials and traces of banned
substances in electronic products. 68 China’s Road to Sustainability China’s Minister of Science and
Technology, Prof. Wan Gang,
discusses his country’s leading
technologies and the need for
more environmental protection.
Nano-particles on the outer facade of the
new, high-tech Retro Hotel replace air conditioners (1). The hotel’s floors are water and dirt repellent (2). Light fibers are
woven into garments (3). Ceramic coatings
on turbine blades (4) ensure high energy
efficiency. Supercaps (5) store braking en-
ergy from a shuttle rail system, and nano
particle car paints repair small scratches
themselves (6). 44 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 45
t’s hot outside — which goes well with the
“Ancient Rome” theme. I’ve got to hurry or
else I’ll be late. It’s great that the new hotel’s
administration set up an information event like
this for hotel managers like me. And I’m really
excited about what I’m going to see here, espe-
cially because our own hotel is in dire need of
refurbishment. One thing we really need to do
is lower our energy consumption. Hey, this
building looks really cool shimmering in the
sunlight. Wow, it’s iridescent. Now it’s red, now
it’s blue, now it’s purple… “Welcome, ladies
and gentlemen, to our new High-tech Retro
Hotel. I’m very pleased to be able to tell you
everything about our new jewel today,” says
the hotel’s manager proudly. Oh no, sounds a like a long tour. “But first let
me offer you some refreshments,” she contin-
ues. Nice, ice-cold juice in a Roman chalice —
very refreshing. But wait: What are those
gowns? They don’t expect me to wear a toga
here, do they? “Everything here fits in perfectly
with our theme. Go ahead, try on the func-
tional outfits made by one of our partner com-
panies. Flexible energy storage units are inte-
grated into the fabric, and these supply power
to light diodes woven into the clothing. Those
tiny spot lights are also name tags.” Good idea!
Much better than normal name tags. “Now, please follow me over here. The
building’s outer facade is truly amazing. The
wall paint contains metallic nano-particles that
function like an air conditioner by only letting
in heat from the sun when the rooms inside
aren’t warm enough. When the outside tem-
perature drops below 23 degrees Celsius, the
nano-particles are trapped in a kind of protec-
tive casing, which means the heat rays can
penetrate the building. When the temperature
October 2020. At the grand opening of a
luxury hotel, representatives from the
world’s hospitality industry are on hand
to admire the building’s innovations.
Among other things, the hotel is able to
generate most of its own energy, thanks
in part to new materials.
Invisible Revolutionaries
Materials for the Environment | Scenario 2020
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 47
Promising Particles
Special materials boost power plant efficiency, keep air
pure, and clean our water. The smaller the particles, the
more effectively they combat harmful substances such
as ozone, thus improving environmental quality.
Siemens’ Nanolab in Berlin is investigating how
nanoparticles behave in solution. The goal is to
prevent them from clumping, thus allowing
them to be homogeneously applied to surfaces.
nless climate change can be slowed, the
consequences will be dramatic: drought,
floods, storms, famine, species extinction, and
mass migration. Yet there is still time to pre-
vent the worst from happening — if a substan-
tial reduction in global emissions of green-
house gases such as carbon dioxide (CO
) can
be achieved (Pictures of the Future, Spring
2007, pp. 78–105). “Thanks to the use of new materials we can
improve efficiency in the generation, transmis-
sion and consumption of energy, both on the
part of utilities and consumers,” says Dr.
Thomas Grandke, head of the Materials & Mi-
crosystems department at Siemens Corporate
Technology (CT). The use of innovative new
coatings, for example, can protect gas and
also help make electronic products more envi-
ronmentally friendly in the future. In the Bio-
Fun research alliance, for instance, Siemens
scientists are currently investigating the mate-
rial properties of these biopolymers (p. 58).
At present, materials research is undergoing
a veritable revolution. However, the revolution-
aries themselves are often invisible to the
naked eye. Many of them are smaller than 100
nanometers — a nanometer is one billionth of
a meter. Five years ago research institutes were
proud if they could produce a few grams of
these so-called nanoparticles; today more and
more producers are marketing such substances
on a commercial level. The stage has therefore
been set for the advent of industrial applica-
tions on a large scale. Yet this will require more
steam turbine blades against the effects of
heat and corrosion, which in turn enables
higher operating temperatures and thus in-
creases in efficiency (p. 50). Ceramic heat
shields fulfill the same function in the annular
combustion chambers of gas turbines (p. 53). Additional examples of climate-friendly
technologies include light-emitting diodes
(LEDs), which are destined to become one of
the most environmentally compatible forms of
lighting around. They consume around 80 per-
cent less electricity than conventional incan-
descent lamps and also last as much as 50
times longer (p. 63). Siemens is likewise help-
ing to enhance the world’s subways, express
trains, aircraft, and ships with the use of light-
weight engineering, enhanced drive systems
and, in many cases, new materials (p. 70). For
example, the new lightweight aluminum rail-
cars of the Oslo subway are now more environ-
mentally compatible thanks to the use of new
materials. They use a third less power than
their predecessors, are free of harmful materi-
als, and are more than 94 percent recyclable.
The use of plastics produced by bacteria should
than just the nanoparticles of metal or metal
oxides that are currently available on the
market. Their special properties do not fully develop
until the nanoparticles have been endowed
with certain functions and embedded in a sta-
ble medium. It’s only then that they genuinely
open the door to enhanced or completely new
material properties — and therefore also to
materials that can further reduce the burden
on the environment. “No matter whether you
take a massive block or a small particle of a spe-
cific substance, its physical and chemical char-
acteristics such as its electrical conductivity,
hardness, magnetism and chemical reactivity
remain the same. But as soon as we enter the
nanoworld, these properties change dramati-
cally,” explains Grandke. “Nanoscale particles
have a huge surface area in proportion to their
volume, and they experience quantum-me-
chanical effects.”
The result of this basic difference is a range
of completely new materials. Below 150
nanometers, for example, the white pigment
titanium dioxide becomes an effective ab-
floor.” I look down and see a beautiful ancient
Roman mosaic floor. “The mosaic in the lobby,
as well as the furniture are sealed with a dirt-
repellent nano-coating,” the manager contin-
ues. “The front desk and the furniture in the
rooms are made of organic plastics — it’s hard
to believe that this antique-looking chair over
here is made of starch or sugar, don’t you
think? We like to use environmentally friendly ma-
terials because we generally change our hotel
theme once or twice a year, including all inte-
rior furniture. No fossil fuels are needed to
manufacture the furniture. And when disposed
of, the furniture releases no more carbon diox-
ide than the plants from which it is made ab-
sorbed from the air while they were alive. All
decomposition products are non-toxic as well.
Oh, please wait a second; I just got an urgent
message from our security service. Excuse me,
does anyone here own a sedan with gull-wing
doors, license plate M-UZ-2000?” Oh, that’s mine... “It seems a guest at our
hotel bumped your car while parking, but it
doesn’t look like anything serious.” Oh no! I just
got that car three months ago! I better go take
a look. Luckily, it turns out to be only a small
scratch that’ll heal by itself, because in just a
few hours the nano-based body paint will re-
generate. So no need to go to the repair shop.
And at least the car’s been broken in now. O.K.,
let me get back to the tour; it’s really exciting. “In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, I’d like
to show you our rail shuttle. The high-tech
Retro Hotel sponsored construction of a new
environmentally-friendly commuter rail system
and also shares the cost of operating it. This rail
system, which received an environmental
award recently, features rail cars equipped with
electric motors and double-layer capacitors, so-
called supercaps. By harnessing the kinetic en-
ergy released when the train brakes, the mo-
tors serve as generators. The energy thus
gained is stored in the supercaps and re-used
when the train begins moving again. “This energy recuperation system alone re-
duces power consumption by up to 25 percent.
I really would have liked to have shown you our
hotel rooms, which have been presented with a
design award. But since we’re fully booked, I
hope you’ll understand that I can’t do that. As a
small consolation, we’re going to give each of
you a Roman toga and a hotel gift certificate
for a one-night stay. I hope to be able to wel-
come all of you here again next year, when our
theme will be: ‘In the Court of the Sun King.’”
Well, I think I got some pretty good ideas for
our hotel. Maybe we should also have special
themes like “In the House of Cleopatra,” or
“Lost in Space.” Ulrike Zechbauer
goes above 23 degrees, the material properties
of the protective casing change and the nano-
particles are freed-up, so to speak, after which
they resume their job of reflecting heat. On hot
days like this they act as an insulator.” Wow —
it’s amazing what nanotechnology can do
these days. The other hotel managers also look
impressed. “And what do you think of the facade itself?”
the charming hotel manager asks. “Depending
on the temperature and the angle of sunlight,
our hotel shimmers in different colors. There
are also additional nano-particles in the exte-
rior paint that make the facade water- and dirt-
repellent.” No fun for graffiti artists here.
“Up on the roof you can see our large solar
power unit, which supplies hot water. We also
have other state-of-the-art solar cells with a se-
quence of layers that provide for optimal uti-
lization of sunlight. These cells provide electric-
ity for our 3D light walls that display Roman
sculptures, temples, and everyday scenes. “In addition, we get power from wind and
geothermal facilities in the area, so our CO
balance is very impressive, as you might imag-
ine. In fact, rather than having to purchase CO
certificates, we’re actually able to sell them. “And speaking of energy supplies, if you’ve
got some time later, you should have a look at
the combined cycle power plant, which is right
nearby. As a lover of art, I have to say I think
the facility’s architecture is outstanding — but
those of you who are more interested in tech-
nology will find it fascinating too. So take a look,
and make sure the technicians there tell you
about some of the secrets of nano-coatings. “Now please follow me into the lobby.” As it
turns out, the lobby is a lighting paradise, and
I’m sure it uses a lot of electricity… “We have a
sophisticated and extremely energy-efficient
system here that consists of energy-saving
lamps, light-emitting diodes, sensors, and
high-tech electronics. All of this has reduced
energy consumption by nearly 80 percent com-
pared to what used to be the norm. All corri-
dors and rooms have motion detectors, and we
also mix natural and artificial light, which not
only makes for a more natural lighting atmos-
phere, but also conserves energy. Anybody suf-
fering from jet lag — and that’s almost every-
body these days — can recuperate with a
light-pulse shower in our Roman thermal
baths.” Hey, and they even have splashing wa-
ter, dim lights, carafes with wine, scented oils,
a massage table — oh, I almost tripped into a
fountain over there. What’s that strange vibra-
tion under my feet? The hotel manager grins.
“You’re lucky! Anyone who gets too close to our
fountain of youth, as we call it, gets a warning
from vibration sensors integrated into the
46 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
Materials for the Environment | Scenario 2020
| Trends
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 49
prototype for the NanoBase project in coopera-
tion with EADS and other partners,” says
Jensen. “We’re combining a method introduced
in the late 1960s — the so-called chemical
nickel process — with nanotechnology.” As a
rule, such chemical nickel coatings consist of
nickel-phosphorus alloys that are deposited on
a base material — mainly metallic materials but
increasingly plastics and glass as well — to pro-
tect them against wear and corrosion. This
process involves immersing the base material
in a dip tank. On its own, however, the nickel
alloy is a poor catalyst. “But if we evenly embed
nanoparticles of metal or metal oxide in the
topmost layer of the alloy, this creates so-called
nanocomposite coatings with highly catalytic
properties,” explains Jensen. These modified coatings decompose ozone
at much lower temperatures and also work
much faster than is the case with conventional
converters. Siemens researchers are currently
refining the deposition process and testing a
wide range of nanoparticles, which is a very
time-consuming task. “Just to keep the
nanoparticles stable and make sure they don’t
clump together in the dip tank and sink to the
bottom is a science in itself,” Jensen says. “An-
other major challenge is to ensure that they are
evenly embedded in the nickel alloy. It takes all
our know-how, and we still learn something
new every day.” But it’s not just the aerospace industry that
is interested in these high-tech catalysts. “In
just a few years we could well see our
nanocomposite coatings in high-speed trains
and in cars. It’s a huge market,” says Jensen. “In
railcars, for example, they could be used not
only for air conditioning but also to keep vehi-
cle bodies clean. That’s because catalytically
active, self-cleaning surfaces would also be im-
pervious to graffiti.” This would represent a major benefit for rail
operators, who today spend a huge amount of
time and money on removing spray paint. It
takes two to three employees a whole working
day to clean a suburban train, for example. Of-
ten the graffiti can only be removed with the
help of powerful chemicals that get rid of not
only the scribbles and scrawls but also the
paint and coatings underneath. “Deutsche Bahn alone could save tens of
millions of euros in this area every year,” says
Jensen. “Alternatively, nanocomposite coatings
can also be used in filter elements for water
treatment systems. Furthermore, they can in-
crease the sensitivity of the chemical sensors
used for quick and easy detection of drugs or
Likewise, the service life of organic LEDs de-
creases markedly when they are exposed to
dampness and oxygen. Gröppel is therefore
working on new nanopaints and adhesives that
offer a radically improved barrier effect. “In our
labs here in Erlangen we’re synthesizing
nanocomposites on the basis of modified sheet
silicates. These consist of nanoparticles with a
thickness of one nanometer and a length and
breadth of 500 nanometers. These dimensions
generate the desired barrier effect. Just to give
you an example, it takes water molecules
about ten times as long to penetrate this coat-
ing compared with conventional protective
paints,” explains Gröppel. Nanoparticles embedded in metal (turquoise dots) significantly increase the catalytic efficacy of a coating (left). Such catalysts will be able to decompose substances like ozone faster while using less energy (above). In Siemens’ Berlin Nanolab a metal sample is coated with nanoparticles (right).
Future catalysts will function faster and more efficiently while using less energy.
Withstanding the Elements. Aside from the
development of highly active catalytic coat-
ings, the NanoBase project is also looking at
improved protective coatings for products and
systems used for electrical engineering and
transportation. Today, plastic sheathing is nor-
mally used to protect electronic components
and systems against the elements. Yet this is
not always sufficient, especially when compo-
nents are exposed to rough conditions, such as
those in vehicle engine compartments and in-
dustrial machinery. Molecules of water, air, or harmful gases
can penetrate the plastic and cause electronic
component inside to fail. “This can even knock
out complete industrial plants or traffic guid-
ance systems, sometimes with serious conse-
quences for human safety and the environ-
ment, not to mention the financial impact,”
says Dr. Peter Gröppel, a chemist at Siemens CT
in Erlangen. What’s more, conventional protective paints
have an additional disadvantage. In many
cases they contain organic solvents that are
harmful to the environment. “In the NanoBase
project, our target for 2009 is to develop a sol-
vent-free, water-based protective nanopaint
that also possesses greatly enhanced product
properties,” states Gröppel. Visionaries in the nanotechnology field are
already dreaming of developing a self-repairing
paint. People would never have to worry again
about getting minor scratches on their cars. In-
stead, nanocapsules in the paint would open at
the edge of a scratch, releasing a catalyst that
would react with other components in the
paint. Such components might contain tiny
drops of a smaller functionalized polymer.
These would fill and seal the scratch before the
metal underneath could begin to corrode, with
the result that the vehicle would once again
look as good as new.Ulrike Zechbauer
Air flows through a specialized canal
outfitted with catalytic nanoparticles
that oxidize gaseous substances.
48 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
At Nanolab Jensen and his colleagues are
currently investigating how they will have to
modify nanoparticles in order to give them spe-
cial properties. Work safety and environmental
protection are paramount considerations here.
Strict regulations apply in the lab. Researchers
conduct experiments in a fume hood and wear
protective clothing. Likewise, the lab’s air con-
ditioning is separate from the system used for
the rest of the building. Both incoming and
outgoing air is specially filtered in order to pre-
vent any nanoparticles from escaping into the
atmosphere. “Future products containing nanoparticles
will have to fix these substances in a protective
paint or surface coating. We must ensure that
these substances cannot escape into the envi-
ronment,” explains Jensen. “Any potential
health risks from this source are also a subject
of discussion in the current debate on diesel
particulates.” air conditioning systems transform ozone into
oxygen, but only at temperatures of between
150 and 200 degrees Celsius before cooling
it to cabin temperature. At these high tem-
peratures, catalytic converters using precious
metals can efficiently decompose ozone into
oxygen. The goal of Germany’s NanoBase project is
to develop materials that will support the trans-
formation of ozone into oxygen without the
use of precious metals and at temperatures
well under 100 degrees Celsius. This would
give more flexibility to aircraft air conditioning
designers since converters would no longer be
dependent on the use of high temperatures.
This will be particularly important for planes
that, for example, use electric compressors to
achieve cabin pressure using external air. Such
planes will no longer need to use air that has
been heated by the engines in order to reach
catalytic temperatures. Although this goal is still a long way from
being fully achieved, an initial demonstration
model should be ready within two years. This
will be able to convert ozone at well under 100
degrees Celsius. “We’re now developing this
sorber of UV light, which is why nanotechnol-
ogy is even impacting products such as cosmet-
ics (suntan lotions). Another example is gold.
Although known for being extremely inert and
therefore a favored anticorrosion agent for
high-grade components, gold as a nanoparticle
is in fact extremely reactive — a new material
property which is now being exploited in the
development of new catalysts. Once again, the reason for this is the differ-
ence between a nanoparticle’s surface area
and its volume. Whereas a solid cube of one
cubic centimeter has a surface area of six
square centimeters, the same-sized cube filled
with particles each 10 nanometers in diameter
has a surface area of around 450 square meters
— some 740,000 times as much. “The great
thing is that each element and each structure
can in principle be reduced to the nanoscale,
where it will then exhibit completely different
properties,” says Grandke. Nanocomposite coatings in air conditioner elements
could provide an energy-efficient way of clearing
ozone from outside air before it enters the cabin in
planes such as the Airbus A380. Nanotechnology opens the door to a host of materials with new properties. Dr. Jens Dahl Jensen has a striking compari-
son to explain the size of the nanoworld:
“Imagine the earth next to a soccer ball, and
the soccer ball next to a nanoparticle — that’s
the scale of magnitude we’re talking about.”
Jensen heads the nanoparticle competence
field at Siemens CT in Berlin and leads
NanoBase, a project sponsored by the German
Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF),
which involves Siemens as well as other com-
panies and research establishments. The aim of
the project is to develop new types of coatings
on the basis of functionalized nanoparticles,
which will enhance existing technologies and
also enable completely new applications. Better Cabin Air. Siemens’ research for the
NanoBase project is also focusing on highly
active catalytic coatings, which — when incor-
porated in an appropriate catalytic converter —
will be able, for example, to decompose ozone
in surrounding air. “These ozone converters
could be used in aircraft air conditioning units,”
Jensen explains. At an altitude of 10,000 meters the air con-
tains up to 550 ppb of ozone per cubic meter,
which means it must be treated before being
fed into the cabin. That's because ozone is an
aggressive and noxious gas. Regulations stipu-
late a maximum permissible volume of 100
ppb over a three-hour period. Current aircraft
Materials for the Environment | Trends
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 51
Materials for the Environment | Optimizing Turbine Blades
Taking the Heat
New materials are making gas and steam turbine blades ever more resistant to heat and corrosion. This results in
higher efficiency and lower fuel consumption, thus
helping to cut environmental pollution. 50 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
s every cook knows, a pinch of salt can
transform a bland dish into a tasty one. But
just how big that pinch should be is usually a
question of experience, and sometimes it has
to be mixed with other spices to get the right
taste. The lesson isn’t lost on Dr. Werner Stamm
— the star chef of materials research at
A 300-micrometer coating developed by Dr. Werner Stamm (bottom) increases the service life of turbine blades, including those on the world’s largest gas turbine (far right).
Siemens Power Generation (PG) in Mülheim an
der Ruhr, Germany. Stamm is always thinking
up new “recipes” for which he’s never received
any cooking awards, but instead 52 patents
and the title “2006 Inventor of the Year.” That’s
because his recipes help make gas turbine
blades more resistant to heat and corrosion.
The latest spice in Stamm’s kitchen is rhe-
nium, a rare metal characterized by a very high
melting point and high density. Adding one to
two percent of rhenium to a mixture of cobalt,
nickel, chromium, aluminum, and yttrium (so-
called MCrAlY coatings) imbues the complex
mixture with extraordinary properties. At high temperatures, the mixture forms a
barrier of aluminum oxide on the MCrAlY sur-
face that protects turbine blades from oxygen
in a combustion gas. The rhenium improves
the mechanical properties of the protective
coating and simultaneously prevents the alu-
minum from diffusing into the base material.
“The coating stops the base material from oxi-
dizing,” says Stamm. Without it, the nickel base
alloy in the blade would only survive 4,000
hours of operation at maximum operating tem-
peratures. With the coating, however, the alloy
can hold out against the oxygen for more than
25,000 hours, longer than power plant opera-
tors demand as a minimum. Stamm’s coating, which is only around 300
micrometers thick, also has another function
— to serve as an adhesive agent for ceramic
thermal insulation layers. Given a gas tempera-
ture of approximately 1,500 degrees Celsius,
this composite system of adhesive agent and
ceramic — in conjunction with a special blade-
cooling setup that blows air from narrow jets
onto the blades — reduces the surface temper-
ature on the metal in the first row of blades
from 1,200 to around 950 degrees Celsius. The
newest thermal insulation coating systems can
even accommodate ceramic surface tempera-
tures of up to 1,350 degrees Celsius. Percentage Points Worth Fighting For. But
Stamm and his coworkers still aren’t satisfied.
That’s because as temperature increases, the
efficiency of the system (the share of useful en-
ergy obtained from combustion) improves.
And with raw material prices rising, power
plant operators and designers are struggling to
achieve gains of just tenths of a percent. This
was the rationale behind development of the
mark (see p. 54). “This moves us into a com-
pletely new realm of technology,” says Dr. Jo-
hannes Teyssen, chief operating officer of E.ON
AG in Düsseldorf. “And we fully expect the
higher efficiency to result in lower power gen-
eration costs.” Additional efficiency could be gained by re-
ducing air cooling in the turbine blades, as the
air used here is carried through the turbine,
thus lowering efficiency. Less cooling air
would, however, raise the temperature in the
first row of blades by over 100 degrees Celsius
— too much for the materials currently used.
The gas turbine in Irsching already has an opti-
mal cooling system — thanks to Werner
Stamm’s MCrAlY protective coating. However,
as Stamm points out, it won’t be possible to de-
termine exactly how the turbine handles the
of diamonds. Silicon carbide is a high-strength
material that has one key disadvantage: It oxi-
dizes when in contact with oxygen at high tem-
peratures — and oxygen is something gas tur-
bines have plenty of. Siemens researchers are
therefore focusing on the development of ox-
ide ceramics that have already reacted with
oxygen. The material’s lower rigidity is not a
drawback, as the most important thing is its ac-
tual useful expansion, which is greater than
that of silicon carbide.
Still, ceramic blades need to be reinforced if
they’re going to survive at least the 25,000
hours of operation customers demand of
them. That’s because ceramics are brittle. Dr.
Ulrich Bast of Siemens Corporate Technology in
Munich, together with colleagues in Orlando,
Florida, are therefore developing and testing
most modern — and with 340 megawatts of
output also the largest — gas turbine in the
world, which Siemens delivered to the E.ON
plant in Irsching in 2007. Plans call for the gi-
ant powerhouse to be used in conjunction with
a steam turbine beginning in 2011 — a system
that is set to break the 60-percent efficiency
Siemens' acquisition of Westinghouse has
brought new life to ceramic development, and
engineers are now trying to increase tempera-
tures — and thus efficiency — by utilizing ox-
ide ceramics. Other companies in the sector are
opting for a base material of silicon carbide,
whose structure and properties resemble those
fiber-reinforced ceramics . “The fibers provide a
reserve for handling stress and keep the ce-
ramic intact, even if it already has cracks in
some places,” says Bast. The combination of
two brittle materials — a ceramic matrix and
fiber — results in high tolerance to strain and
damage. The oxidized fibers of aluminum ox-
ide and silicon dioxide nevertheless remain the
weakest link in the chain. Although they too no
longer react with oxygen, they can only with-
stand temperatures up to 1,200 degrees Cel-
sius. Ceramic alone can handle up to 1,700 de-
grees; when used in certain gas turbine
components, it therefore requires no cooling.
The fiber compound thus has to be protected
from the extreme temperature of the heated
gas by a thick ceramic insulation. Tests on a
ring segment made of fiber-reinforced ceramic
have already produced very promising results. Generation 50plus. E.ON plans to begin
building a new generation of coal-fired steam
power plants in 2014 that will achieve an effi-
ciency of above 50 percent. Several preliminary
projects are now under way for “Generation
50plus,” with Siemens working on the develop-
ment of components for such a plant. At the
Scholven power generation center near
Gelsenkirchen, Germany, for example, the
COMTES700 project is testing materials for use
in boilers, pipes and turbines that will be ex-
posed to a steam temperature of 700 degrees
Celsius. This high temperature will enable the
new plants to make the leap in efficiency from
today’s maximum 46 percent to 50 percent.
But higher temperatures alone won’t be
Coal-fired steam power plants with over 50 percent
efficiency are expected to be operating by 2014.
strain until after it’s been operating normally
for several years. “Labs and real machines are
two different things,” he says.
Heat-resistant and heat-insulating protec-
tive coatings like Stamm’s still offer huge un-
tapped potential. If, for example, researchers
are able to increase the surface temperatures
of the ceramic material and reduce the forma-
tion of oxides on the MCrAlY layer, both effi-
ciency and operating life could be significantly
increased. And ultimately, the special ceramics
are only an interim step on the road to full ce-
ramics that require no cooling. But that’s a long
way off, says Stamm, “Maybe in 15 years — but
people were also saying that 15 years ago.” Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 53
| Ceramic Heat Shields
Precision-Made Protection
Ceramics protect gas turbines from scorching combustion gases. By developing protec-
tive materials and production processes, Siemens has gained a competitive advantage.
Custom-made ceramic heat shields (right) are the
heart of an annular combustion chamber (left).
Optimized materials for heat shields are tested on a specialized rig (bottom right).
t the center of a candle flame, where the
soot particles glow most brightly, the tem-
perature reaches 1,000 to 1,200 degrees Cel-
sius. However, for a Siemens Ceramic Heat
Shield (CHS), the singing heat of a candle’s
flame would be little more than a cool breeze.
Such heat shields must be capable of with-
standing temperatures of 1,500 degrees Cel-
sius. That’s the temperature reached in the in-
terior of the annular combustion chamber of a
gas turbine — and therefore, on the hot side of
the ceramic cladding, which consists of up to
500 individual CHS tiles.
On the “cold” reverse side, in contrast, the
temperature falls to approximately 600 degrees.
“Therefore, the insulating effect provided by
this four-centimeter-thick ceramic insulation
amounts to around 900 degrees,” explains Vas-
silios Papadopoulos, Production Manager CHS
at Siemens Power Generation (PG) in Berlin.
“Without this protection, the metal walls of the
combustion chamber would rapidly melt, and
the machine would be destroyed instantly.” In addition to the heat, the mechanical
stresses inside a gas turbine combustion cham-
ber are also extreme. The gas, rushing by at
speeds of up to 100 meters per second and re-
sembling a category F4 tornado — the second
strongest — howls through the combustion
chamber, constantly attacking the ceramic.
However, a CHS can withstand it all — even
though its operating conditions are tougher
than those faced by a space shuttle. “The ce-
ramic heat shields of a space shuttle are exten-
sively inspected following every launch and
landing,” says Dr. Holger Grote, materials ex-
pert and team leader CHS at PG in Mülheim an
der Ruhr. “In contrast, our machines have to
undergo many thousands of operating hours
before their components can be inspected.”
In-house Production. Over the years, gas tur-
bine performance and efficiency has increased
continuously (p. 50). This has been primarily
achieved by notching up combustion chamber
temperatures. As a general rule, the higher the
temperature, the higher the performance and
efficiency of the turbine. For the same electri-
cal power, less natural gas is required and con-
sequently, less carbon dioxide is produced. “Of
course, as a result, the requirements for the
heat shield also increase,” says Papadopoulos.
“Before 2006, we were still purchasing all our
CHS units from external companies. However,
our suppliers’ development times were rather
long. They were not able to keep up with the
speed of innovation of our gas turbines.” That
was also one of the results of the “Value Gener-
ation Program,” launched by PG in 2002. “Back
then, we compared our own competitiveness
with that of companies such as General Electric
and, unlike our competitors, decided to get in-
volved in the entire value chain associated with
the fully ceramic components,” says Grote.
Plans called for the ceramic heat shields to
be produced and optimized in-house. To realize
this aim, Siemens set up a materials testing
center in Mülheim. “The heart of the facility is
the special test rigs for thermal and thermome-
chanical characterization of the ceramics. From
2003 to 2005 we studied a very wide variety of
different material combinations,” says Grote.
“We tested how well the ceramic material per-
formed at 1,500 degrees Celsius, for example.
After two years of research, one material
clearly emerged as the top candidate. It’s more
robust than the ceramics that were originally
used, and holds up better under the stresses of
temperature changes — while also having a
longer service life. Those are all very attractive
characteristics for the customer, because a CHS
52 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
techniques and, above all, new testing meth-
ods such as X-ray procedures, and ultrasound
cannot penetrate far enough into the metal.
The processing of alloys into thick-walled
forged and cast components also necessitates
a complicated recalculation of material data
that takes into account the hot steam atmos-
phere. Such efforts increase costs — and the
new alloy is also five times more expensive
than high-quality turbine steel. Designers
therefore only want to use a nickel-based alloy
for those components such as rotor cores,
blades, and internal housings that are truly
flow, however, which means the last blade
wheel has to be the largest. The biggest blade
wheel made by Siemens for final-stage opera-
tion has a flow surface of 12.5 square meters.
“The trend is toward even larger areas,” says
Bettentrup, which is why he and his team are
looking to build a steam turbine with the
world’s largest blade wheel area — 16 square
meters. The turbine is also to be used at the
E.ON plant in Irsching. Even the jet engines in
an Airbus A380 don’t come close to this. There’s a simple reason why the giant wheel
is so attractive to customers: A 16-square-me-
enough, according to Dr. Ernst-Wilhelm
Pfitzinger, project manager for the 700-degree
turbine in Mülheim. Pfitzinger says achieving
the final percentage point will depend on find-
ing a favorable location with good cooling con-
ditions — like the Baltic Sea. In a study known
as NRWPP700, several partners, including
Siemens, are already designing a demonstra-
tion plant whose components will withstand
steam temperatures of 720 degrees Celsius. While 720 degrees might sound almost re-
freshing compared to the hellish temperatures
in a gas turbine, the demands placed on high
and medium-pressure turbines are neverthe-
less enormous. In addition to the heat, there’s
also the stress of 250 bar of pressure; in E.ON’s
50plus plant, that will likely increase to 350
Materials for the Environment | Optimizing Turbine Blades
bar. By comparison, a normal gas turbine is
subjected to a pressure of only 25 bar or so. Engineers building the steam turbine at
Siemens PG in Mülheim can call upon the ma-
terial expertise of their colleagues from gas tur-
bine development, but the processing of the
materials is extremely difficult. Whereas hous-
ings, blades and shafts in a gas turbine have a
filigree design and are formed from thin plates
and sheets, the forged shafts of a large steam
turbine can be up to a meter thick, and individ-
ual components can weigh more than 20 tons.
What’s more, after being processed, all compo-
nents may not deviate from pre-calculated
shapes by more than a few hundredths of a
millimeter. Welded seams 20 centimeters wide
require the use of completely new welding
subjected to high stresses. “This requires not
only new processing techniques for com-
pounds of various metals but also new cooling
concepts,” says Pfitzinger. “However, it should
be possible to go above 720 degrees Celsius.” World’s Largest Turbine Blade. Jörn Betten-
trup doesn’t have to worry about too much
heat. A development project manager at
Siemens PG, Bettentrup designs new running
blades for the final stage of low-pressure steam
turbines, which are generally used together
with high and medium-pressure turbines.
Steam in the three turbines gradually expands
and then slackens in the end, cooling down to
30 degrees Celsius at a pressure of 45 millibar.
The expansion sharply increases the volume of
Some components weigh 20 tons but have tolerances of a few hundredths of a millimeter.
ter turbine can replace two eight-square-meter
turbines, which saves a lot of money in terms
of room, bearings and piping. It presents a ma-
jor challenge for developers, however, as asso-
ciated centrifugal forces put huge stresses on
the blades. At 3,000 revolutions per minute,
several hundred tons of force act on the blade
roots and the grooves that join it with the rotor.
Conventional blade steel is not strong enough
to withstand this, so engineers need a very
rigid material that’s light, thereby reducing the
centrifugal force. They’ve now decided on tita-
nium, an expensive metal with a matte finish
that’s also popular among jewelers. Titanium
weighs around half as much as normal turbine
steel, is somewhat stronger, and displays good
erosion-resistance properties. Titanium’s ability
to damp oscillations is, however, slightly lower
than that of steel, which is why titanium blades
are equipped with special coupling and sup-
port elements. The structure of this blade sys-
tem is extremely complex. Most manufacturers now offer titanium
blades for the final stages of their low-pressure
turbines — but none have dared to build one
as big as Siemens plans to produce. Tests and
experiments designed to overcome technical
hurdles still need to be carried out before the
design is approved. But all operating parame-
ters have already been tested for around two
years using a small model turbine. The blade development team’s job is now to
employ the material in an optimal design at a
favorable cost, as production of titanium
blades is more complicated — and therefore
more expensive — than the process for con-
ventional steel blades. Additional costs are
generated by the high and increasingly volatile
price of raw materials. Despite this, Betten-
trup’s calculations show that, “It will definitely
pay off for our customers.” Bernd Müller
Development of steam turbine technology
Year 1981 2001 2004 2015
Steam power plant Reduction in
Bergkamen steam plant
Isogo 1 steam plant
Reference plant in NRW
50plus steam plant
(E.ON), 500 MW
(projected to 500 MW)
Development of gas turbine technology
Year 1992 1996 2001 2010
Combined cycle
power plant Reduction in
2 emissions
Killinghome CCPP
Didcot CCPP
Mainz-Wiesbaden CCPP
Irsching 4 CCPP 530 MW
(projected to 530 MW)
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 55
esidents of the town of Irsching in Bavaria,
came out in droves this year to witness the
traditional raising of their white and blue may-
pole. Three weeks later, they appeared in
droves again —this time out of concern for the
pole, as an oversized trailer had shown up car-
rying a new turbine for the town’s power plant.
The residents were worried that the turbine,
which measured 13 meters in length, five me-
ters in height, and weighed 444 tons, could
pose a threat to their beloved maypole. This
was not the case, however; specialists supervis-
ing the transport were actually more con-
cerned about a bridge at the entrance to the
town, which they renovated as a precautionary
measure prior to the turbine’s arrival.
The world’s largest turbine, which was built
at Siemens’ Power Generation (PG) plant in
Berlin, traveled 1,500 kilometers to get to
Irsching — initially by water along the Havel
river, various canals, the Rhine, and the Main. It
then went down the Main-Danube Canal to
Kelheim, where it was loaded onto a truck for
the final 40 kilometers. This odyssey was un-
dertaken because the only way to truly test
such a large and powerful turbine is to put it
into operation at a power plant. “It was a nice
coincidence that the energy company E.ON
was planning to expand the power station in
Irsching,” says Hans-Otto Rohwer, PG project
manager in Irsching. Siemens will now build a combined cycle
plant at the Bavarian facility (Block 5) for E.ON
Kraftwerke GmbH. Scheduled for completion in
2009, the plant will house two small gas tur-
bines and a steam turbine. Siemens will also
build the plant’s new Block 4, where the giant
turbine will be installed. The new turbine’s out-
put of 340 megawatts, which equals that of 13
jumbo jet engines, is enough to supply power
to the population of a city the size of Hamburg. “Block 4 is our project at the moment,” says
Rohwer. Siemens will use the existing infra-
structure here, purchase gas from E.ON-
Ruhrgas, and sell the electricity it produces at
the plant. That’s not that important now, how-
ever, as the turbine first needs to be tested over
the next 18 months. To this end, the unit has
been equipped with 3,000 sensors that meas-
ure just about everything modern technology
can register — from temperature and pressure
to mechanical stress and material strain. If a
component is defective, or fails, computers
linked to the sensors call attention to the prob-
lem immediately. The component will then be
removed, replaced, or reworked. Most of the measuring technology is hid-
den; the thing that stands out at the facility is a
section of 21 office trailers housing the meas-
urement stations. The trailers look tiny next to
the turbine hall, which is 30 meters high. De-
spite its massive size, the new facility’s metal
facade makes it seem light and modern com-
pared to the plant’s three old concrete towers
from the 1960s and ’70s, each of which is 200
meters high. “The hall is still a long way from
finished,” says Rohwer, as he points to a big
hole in the floor between the turbine and gen-
erator. “This is where we’re going to install the
oil systems to keep all movable parts of the
shaft assembly lubricated. This is also where
most of the smokestack, nearly all the electrical
equipment, and the gas tanks will be located.” Efficiency Record. Rohwer points to an open-
ing in one of the walls and explains that it is
the connection to the air intake unit, which will
draw in fresh air from the outside. Equipped
with a special housing, filters, and sound ab-
sorbers, the unit will channel in 800 kilograms
of air per second when the facility operates at
full capacity — an amount that would exhaust
the air inside the hall in just a few minutes. But
it will be worth the effort because the gas tur-
bine and a downstream steam turbine will set a
new world record with an efficiency rating of
over 60 percent, two percentage points higher
than the previous titleholder, the Mainz-Wies-
baden power plant. Relatively speaking, there-
fore, less fuel will be burned and 40,000 tons
less carbon dioxide (CO
) per year will be emit-
ted into the atmosphere than would be the
case with the Mainz-Wiesbaden plant. And
compared to the average coal-fired plant,
which has an efficiency of 42 percent, the new
facility in Irsching will emit around 2.3 million
tons less CO
per year, while producing the
same amount of electricity. There will still be plenty of work to do even
after the plant has been built, as technicians
will have to test all systems to ensure that the
After assembly at Siemens’ gas turbine plant in
Berlin (above), the world’s largest gas turbine
hits the road. Bottom:The turbine arrives on a
flatbed trailer at its destination.
The world’s largest turbine, with an output of 340
megawatts, will enter trial service in November 2007. In combination with a downstream steam turbine, it will help ensure that a new combined cycle power plant
achieves a record-breaking efficiency of more than 60 percent when it goes into operation in 2011. 54 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
| World’s Largest Gas TurbineMaterials for the Environment
that remains intact longer also doesn’t have to
be replaced as often, which reduces plant
maintenance costs.” But the CHS wasn’t all that was newly devel-
oped. The entire production process also was
revamped. Production at the Berlin facility be-
gan in March 2006, after a record-setting con-
struction period of only 12 months. “We’re us-
ing a process that’s unique worldwide. It
includes producing the CHS material from raw
materials in quantities precise to the gram, pro-
cessing the material using special forming
equipment, and firing the ceramic heat shields.
The result is a precision-crafted CHS — with
maximum variances in length and width of
four-tenths of a millimeter,” says Papadopou-
los. “That’s a key advantage because the exter-
nal suppliers use a different process to produce
their heat shields, which then require rework-
ing — and anyone who has ever reworked a ce-
ramic knows how much work is involved.” Each
individual heat shield is painstakingly inspected
prior to delivery, and a shield that displays even
the tiniest of fissures, for example, will be re-
jected. “Siemens also created a Total Quality
Management System for this production line,
which further improves the availability and
safety of our gas turbines,” reports Grote.
Tailored Production. If a CHS displays dam-
age, the cause can quickly be found. That’s be-
cause each heat shield bears a number that
designates its production process, in addition
to ensuring the shield’s traceability. Later, each
individual heat shield is also documented at PG
in Berlin during “stoning,” which is what spe-
cialists call the process used to painstakingly fit
the CHS into the annular combustion chamber.
The specified clearance between the two is
about 1.4 millimeters, with a maximum toler-
ance of one-tenth of a millimeter. “Here we
clearly see the benefits of the high-precision
production process,” says production chief Pa-
padopoulos. But the greatest advantage of the
new heat shield — innovative CHS geometries
— is still to come. “In contrast to external suppliers, we can
cast the CHS in an extremely wide variety of
forms. This means they will be suitable for ap-
plications not only in the area of the combus-
tion chamber but also in other gas turbine
components,” says Grote. And the material it-
self also will be further improved to meet re-
quirements in future generations of power
generation plants. By the end of this year, the
ceramic heat shields are to be enhanced with a
corrosion protection layer, which will also be
ceramic. As a result, the shields will be even
more resistant to howling gases and scorching
temperatures.Ulrike Zechbauer
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 57
Circuit Boards Go Green
Siemens researchers are making electronic compo-
nents more environmentally friendly. They’re elimi-
nating lead from soldering pastes and bromine-based
flame retardants from some printed circuit boards. Fujitsu Siemens Computers is already selling PCs containing “green” circuit boards worldwide.
Lead-free solders join the most diverse components to circuit boards (top). The entire soldering process (pastes included) is optimized at Siemens’ lab in Berlin (bottom).
ircuit boards look like miniature models of
big cities. The gray conductor paths could
be streets and the tower-shaped capacitors sky-
scrapers. The color of the board’s surface is
green. “But until now, circuit boards were green
only in terms of their surface color,” says Dr. Pe-
ter Demmer from Siemens Corporate Technol-
ogy (CT). Things are changing, though, as
Siemens researchers strive to make the boards
green in the figurative environmental sense as
well. It’s an important issue, as circuit boards
can be found in virtually every product contain-
ing electronic components. The boards run cof-
fee machines, computer tomographs, electric
motors, and entire power plants. Lead — a toxic heavy metal frequently found
in solders — is a substance Siemens has always
tried to avoid using. In fact, the company has
been more restrictive here than required by leg-
islation. In the summer of 2006, lead was
banned from use in many electrical and elec-
tronic devices by the European Union. “Over the
long term, we also want to replace flame retar-
dants that contain bromine, even though
there’s still no legislation on that,” says Dem-
mer, who manages the “Green Circuit Boards”
project at CT. Bromine compounds are danger-
ous, as they can release carcinogens in the
event of a fire. That’s why some of Siemens’ green circuit
boards already contain organophosphorous
compounds, which at the moment are consid-
ered less harmful. Flame retardants prevent the
spread of smoldering fires, such as those
caused by short circuits.
An excellent example of active environmen-
tal protection is the “Green PC” from Fujitsu
Siemens Computers (FSC). All internally pro-
duced or exclusively commissioned compo-
nents in this computer are free of both lead and
bromine, according to Hans-Georg Riegler-Rit-
tner, head of Environmental Protection and
Quality Management at FSC in Augsburg, Ger-
| Purging Hazardous Materials — Recycling
many. “The only components in the Green PC
that might contain brominated flame retardants
are the hard drives or the LAN or modem sticks
purchased from outside,” Riegler-Rittner ex-
plains. Green PCs from FSC also consume very
little energy. Under ideal conditions, they re-
quire no more power than it takes to light a 60-
watt bulb — and the computers are easy to re-
Big Hit in Scandinavia. “Environmentally
friendly computers don’t cost our key account
customers any more than conventional PCs,”
says Riegler-Rittner. While the Green PCs are
slightly more expensive to produce, they are
only used commercially, which means the addi-
tional cost can be recouped in delivery logistics
systems. “We no longer pack each PC individu-
ally for our major customers; instead, we deliver
a complete package containing hundreds of
computers,” Riegler-Rittner explains. The environmentally friendly PCs, which are
shipped all over the world, are an especially big
hit in Scandinavia, not least due to the fact that
the new Nordic Swan environmental certificate
requires adherence to very strict standards —
and the Green PCs are currently the only com-
puters to have received such certification. FSC sold more than 1.3 million Green PCs
worldwide last year — even though private cus-
tomers are still unable to purchase them. “Our
normal PCs can compete at retail prices because
many elements are bought in from the outside.
But unfortunately, those components still con-
tain bromine,” Riegler-Rittner explains
Materials issues are also the focus of work
conducted by Dr. Klaus Peter Galuschki. For
years, Galuschki and his team at Siemens CT in
Berlin have been assessing the quality of lead-
free soldered circuit boards and optimizing the
processes for manufacturing them. “Character-
istics such as lifespan, stability, and electrical
56 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
Ceramic Coating. Siemens engineers have
been creative in tackling this problem. One
thing they did was lower the heat transfer from
the combustion gas to the metal by applying a
protective thermal coating consisting of two
layers: a 300-micrometer-thick undercoating
directly on the metal and a thin ceramic layer
on top of that, which provides heat insulation
(see p. 50). The blades are also actively cooled,
as they are hollow inside and are exposed to
cool airflows generated by the compressor. The
blades at the very front (the hottest part of the
grain boundaries between the crystallites in
the alloy that can rupture. Engineers also optimized the shape of the
blades with the help of 3D simulation pro-
grams, whereby the edges were designed to
keep the gap between the blades and the tur-
bine wall as small as possible. As a result, prac-
tically all the gas passes across the blades and
is utilized. The blade-wall gap is made even
smaller due to the turbine’s operation in a
cone. This means that the shaft can be shifted
several millimeters during operation until the
gas lines are pressure-tight, electrical cables are
properly secured, and all valves open and close
quickly and reliably. It’s like a final check before
a space mission — and the countdown is now
under way, with ignition scheduled for mid-
December, 2007. There’s good reason for Siemens’ decision
to use one giant turbine rather than the two
smaller ones E.ON will put into operation next
door. “The price per megawatt (MW) of output
and efficiency correlate with the size of the tur-
bine — in other words, the bigger it is, the
more economical it will be,” explains Willibald
Fischer, who is responsible for development of
the 8000H turbine family. “In 1990, the largest
gas turbine produced 150 MW, and, in con-
junction with a 75-MW steam turbine, had an
efficiency of 52 percent. Our gas turbine has
an output of 340 MW. In combination with a
190-MW steam turbine it utilizes more than 60
percent of the energy content of the gas fuel.” Engineers at PG overcame two challenges
while designing the turbine. They increased
the amount of air and combustion gases that
flow through the turbine each second, which
causes output to rise more than the losses in
the turbine, and they raised the temperature of
the combustion gases, which increases effi-
ciency. “It’s tricky when you send gas heated to
1,200 to 1,500 degrees Celsius across metal
turbine blades,” says Fischer. “That’s because
the highest temperature the blade surfaces are
allowed to be exposed to is 950 degrees, at
which point they begin to glow red. If it gets
any hotter, the material begins to lose its stabil-
ity and oxidizes.” turbine) also have fine holes, from which air is
released that then flows across the blades, cov-
ering them with a thin insulating film, like a
protective shield. As turbine blades spin, massive centrifugal
forces come into play. The end of each blade is
exposed to a maximum force of 10,000 times
the earth’s gravitational pull, which is the
equivalent of each cubic centimeter of such a
blade weighing as much as an adult human be-
ing. The blades are made of a nickel alloy. These
used to be cast and then left to harden. Later,
crystallites were made to grow in the same di-
rection as the centrifugal forces. But now the
blades on the giant turbine in Irsching contain
alloys that have mostly been grown as single
crystals through the utilization of special cool-
ing processes. They are therefore extremely re-
sistant to breaking, as there are no longer any
The turbine can produce enough electricity to
supply a city the size of Hamburg.
blades nearly touch the housing — a practice
known as “hydraulic gap optimization.”
Trial Run. Each off the measures mentioned
above produces only a fractional increase in ef-
ficiency or output. But taken together they add
up to a new record. Whether or not everything
works as planned will be revealed by the 18-
month trial period that will begin in November
2007. If preliminary test results are satisfac-
tory, engineers will sign off on the new mega-
turbine in August 2008, allowing Siemens to
begin marketing it. After successful completion of all tests in
mid-2009, things will quiet down in Irsching.
The turbine will then be overhauled and disas-
sembled, and all of its components will be thor-
oughly examined. If everything is found to be
in order, the unit will be reassembled minus its
specialized measuring equipment. During the overhaul, engineers will install
an additional steam turbine on the shaft at the
end of the generator. The turbine will make use
of the generator’s 600-degrees-Celsius gas to
generate steam in a heat exchanger. Only
through this combined cycle process can the
energy in the gas be so effectively exploited as
to achieve the record efficiency of 60 percent. Conventional gas turbine power plants are
generally pure peak-load facilities that can be
turned on very quickly. But the Irsching plant is
simply too good for that. “If the gas turbine
proves itself during the trial period, we’ll as-
sume control of the plant in 2011,” says Alfred
Beck from E.ON Kraftwerke GmbH. “It’s high ef-
ficiency will make it profitable for use in
medium load operations, despite slightly
higher gas prices.” The facility will then generate electricity for
between 3,000 and 7,000 hours each year, and
will definitely be a superlative power plant.
Bernhard Gerl
Weighing in at 444 tons, the world’s largest turbine is carefully positioned. Materials for the Environment | World’s Largest Gas Turbine
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 59
Bacteria (red) produce PHB, a polymer similar to
solid plastic, which they stockpile as food.
Biodegradable PHB granules (front) can be used to
produce a housing (left) and a circuit board (right).
CT are examining how long different PHB vari-
ants remain firm and elastic, and whether or
not protective coatings or special additives pre-
vent them from decomposing in hot-humid en-
vironments — a problem shared by all poly-
esters. BioFun researchers have now succeeded
in improving PHB’s elasticity by mixing it with a
biodegradable, petroleum- based plastic pro-
duced by BASF. Scientists are also examining the extent to
which PHB may be suitable for use with mecha-
tronic systems, since PHB surfaces could be
metalized, in which case they could perform
the functions carried out by normal conductor
paths. “You could then mount electronic com-
ponents directly on the PHB housing’s metal
coating,” says Kleinert. This would eliminate
the need for conventional circuit boards, thus
conserving space and materials. Naturally, one
to account for five to ten percent of the plastics
market in the near future; at the moment, they
account for only around one-tenth of a percent.
Limitless Quantities. The key benefit offered
by “eco-plastics” is that their production re-
quires practically no fossil fuels. Moreover,
their disposal releases only about the same
amount of CO
absorbed by the plants that are
consumed by the bacteria that produce the
plastics in the first place. Bioplastics are also in-
teresting from an economic perspective be-
cause the base products for their production —
sugar and starch — are available in virtually
limitless quantities. In addition, high oil prices
have significantly narrowed the price gap be-
tween bioplastics and petrochemical plastics.
For years, Japanese electronics companies in
particular have been attempting to manufac-
ture durable products made of bioplastics.
Sony, for example, has marketed a Walkman
with a housing made of polylactic acid (a
biopolymer), and NEC and Motorola have used
the same material for cell phone casings.
Such bioplastic products remain the excep-
tion to the rule, however, in part because poly-
lactic acid turns soft at temperatures above 50
degrees Celsius, at which point it begins to de-
form. “PHB, on the other hand, has some deci-
sive advantages when it comes to demanding
applications,” says Reinhard Kleinert, general
project manager at Siemens CT in Berlin. For
one thing, PHB can withstand temperatures of
up to 120 degrees Celsius, and the material can
also be processed with the same machines
used for conventional polypropylenes. The BioFun project focuses on electronic
products, whereby the most important aspects
involve mechanical properties such as flexibil-
ity, resistance to impact, and the adhesion of
the surface. “As an electronics manufacturer,
we know exactly what these materials need to
be capable of,” Kleinert explains. “Our involve-
ment in BioFun enables us to ensure at an early
stage that the new materials being developed
have the right properties.” Raw materials spe-
cific to certain regions can be used. For in-
stance, P. denitrificans cultures bred in tanks at
the SIAB research institute in Leipzig are being
fed glycerin, a wax-like liquid by-product of
rapeseed oil-to-biodiesel manufacturing. In Eu-
rope alone, it is expected that by 2010,
300,000 tons more glycerin will be produced
than the global cosmetic, luxury foods and
pharmaceutical industries can use. If BioFun re-
searchers have their way, the excess glycerin
will be used to make plastics. Firm and Elastic. Before such plastics can be
manufactured in quantity, their production
processes, which include everything from
cleaning raw glycerin and fermentation in a
bioreactor to extraction of PHB from bacterial
cells, will have to be simplified. “Up until now, a
lot of energy has been required for these
steps,” comments environmental engineer Cor-
nelia Petermann from Siemens CT, whose job is
to draw up ecological balance sheets that take
into account the energy consumed during pro-
duction and the environmental compatibility of
additives. Petermann believes a great deal of
energy can be saved through material and
heat recycling.
Chemists are also working on an optimal
composition for such plastics. The demands
placed on electronic products mean that asso-
ciated PHB mixtures need to be thoroughly ex-
amined. For instance, researchers at Siemens
of the most important criteria here is price.
“For our plastics to have a chance on the mar-
ket, they can’t be any more expensive than es-
tablished products,” Kleinert explains. “They
also have to be of equal or better quality.” While researching his Master thesis at
Siemens Medical Solutions, environmental en-
gineer Stefan König discovered that fibers
made from renewable raw materials could be
used to reinforce conventional plastics, as nat-
ural fibers significantly improve the latter’s me-
chanical properties. Moreover, tests with plas-
tics containing a portion of renewable raw
materials revealed that they were able to meet
the most stringent demands for flame resist-
ance, such as those required for paneling com-
ponents in large medical devices. “The ideal sit-
uation would be to reinforce biopolymers with
natural fibers,” says König. “There are already
such reinforced materials today that contain
only a few petrochemical raw materials.” Obvi-
ously, the results of the BioFun project are set
to produce exciting developments for years to
come. Ute Kehse
58 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
an oven, where the component contacts and
soldering material melt together. “The key here
is sophisticated temperature regulation to en-
sure that the solvents in the soldering paste are
vaporized before the soldering material melts,”
says Galuschki. Without such vaporization, trou-
blesome gas bubbles could develop in the con-
tacts. Researchers carry out hardness tests and
employ powerful microscopes to identify such
errors, using the resulting knowledge to further
optimize the production process.
Although Siemens converted to lead-free
soldering pastes several months before the EU
ban in 2006, Galuschki and his team still face
constant challenges. “We are continually adapt-
ing the processes,” he says. “One reason why
we have to do so is miniaturization. We have to
keep packing more functions into small boards.” More functions mean more tiny components
that heat up quickly in the soldering oven. As a
result, you either have to make such compo-
nents more heat resistant or alter the tempera-
ture regulation accordingly.
Circuit boards are set to become even
greener in the future, and in some cases will
even be produced using renewable raw materi-
als such as sugar cane or waste from the paper
industry or biodiesel manufacturing processes.
“Truly green circuit boards are really yellow,”
says Galuschki, as he points to a prototype
made of a light-colored bioplastic. Although
mass production of the yellow “green” circuit
boards is still a long way off, the first samples
from the lab have already landed on Galuschki’s
test stand.Andrea Hoferichter
properties should not be negatively affected by
the change-over to lead-free solders,” says
Galuschki. The problem is that practically no
historical data exists on the performance of
new solders, most of which are alloys made of
tin, silver, and copper. Soldering with lead, on
the other hand, is a procedure with a long tradi-
tion — and up until just a few years ago, all
manufacturing processes for electronic equip-
ment were designed for it. “A major problem with the conversion from
lead was the high melting temperatures of the
new solders, which many common electronic
components were unable to withstand,” ex-
plains Galuschki. The lead-free soldering materi-
als don’t melt until approximately 220 degrees
Celsius, around 40 degrees higher than the
melting point of conventional tin-lead solders.
The advent of more heat-resistant components
made the conversion possible.
Stable Compounds. The materials used in sol-
dering pastes were also reviewed, as state-of-
the-art soldering today no longer involves sol-
dering irons and wire. “We buy soldering paste
and press it through a molding tool onto circuit
boards,” says Galuschki. The pastes contain mi-
crometer-sized globules of the selected metal
alloy, fluxing agents that prevent the soldering
point from oxidizing, and thixotropy agents —
substances that make the mixture sticky, ensur-
ing that the globules adhere to the boards. Once the paste has been applied, a SIPLACE
machine places components on the board sur-
faces. After that, the boards proceed through
IT Reutilization and Recycling Just under 99 percent of all the old IT equipment Fujitsu Siemens Computers accepts for disposal — including PCs and cash register systems — can be recycled or directly reused. Source: Fujitsu Siemens Computers, 2007
42.1% Ferrous metals 11.5% Non-ferrous metals
(copper, aluminum etc.)
5.5 %
7.0 % Packaging
11.7% Plastics
6.4 % Glass
(cathode ray
2.1 %
0.6 % Plastics
2.7 % Mixed packaging
1.1 % Hazardous
7.9 % Component
1.4 %
Thermally recyclable
Recyclable materials
Figures represent percentage of weight
Materials for the Environment | Recycling
Plastics: A Growing Field
Plastics produced by bacteria will make many electronic products
more environmentally
friendly in the future. Scientists are studying the properties of these
polymers and identifying
possible applications for them.
ife is good. Take Paracoccus denitrificans,
for instance. This round, purple, single-
celled organism has an unharried existence
that consists of breaking down organic residue
in wastewater or soil. But in times of stress,
when key trace elements required for cell divi-
sion become scarce, it can respond by stockpil-
ing reserves made of plastic. It does so by con-
verting excess carbohydrates into fatty acids,
which it joins together into long molecules, ul-
timately creating polyhydroxybutyric acid
(PHB), which collects in bacterial cells as small,
hard globules. PHB is a polymer similar to the
solid plastic polypropylene that is used in many
areas, ranging from food packaging to textiles.
PHB, which is produced by many types of
bacteria and is biodegradable, is a coveted raw
material. That’s why materials researchers from
Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) and BASF
AG are also interested in it. The two organiza-
tions are working together with other partners
in the “BioFun” and “BioPro” projects funded by
the German Ministry of Food, Agriculture and
Consumer Protection. Their goal is to develop
high-quality plastics from renewable raw mate-
rials and identify the most promising possibili-
ties for their application. Up until now, bioplastics have been used
mainly in packaging and non-durable products
such as disposable dishes, as many of these
plastics are biodegradable. A major boom in
demand for such materials began in 2006, ac-
cording to the European Bioplastics Associa-
tion. This rising popularity was brought about
by greater environmental awareness on the
part of consumers, a growing interest in sus-
tainable development among companies, and
higher raw material and energy prices. The As-
sociation believes bioplastics have the potential
| Renewable Materials
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 61
Materials for the Environment | Wind Turbines
Catching the Wind
Siemens Wind Power is more than just the global market leader for offshore wind
turbines. In Denmark, in a unique, one-shot process, the company produces rotor
blades that are up to 52 meters in length. It also manufactures the world’s largest serially-produced wind turbine, which has an output of 3.6 megawatts. Finished blades await shipment (below), while new ones are already in the making (right).
Here, huge molds are being removed (center) from raw blades (left). 60 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
for 20 years.” To achieve this, the rotor blades
— despite their huge size and strength — must
have an optimal aerodynamic shape right
down to the smallest angle and, most crucially,
they must be very robust. This is because many
of them are destined for offshore wind farms,
where repair and replacement costs are ex-
tremely high. “The cost to the manufacturer of
carrying out a repair on the open sea is around
ten times as high as that for an onshore instal-
lation,” says Burchardt. “On the large turbines
an everyday wind speed of 10 meters per sec-
ond forces 100 tons of air through the rotor
every second. That requires a robust blade!”
Extreme quality requirements such as these
have caused many manufacturers to pull out of
the offshore sector. In the meantime, Siemens
has not only become the most experienced,
but also the largest supplier of offshore wind
turbines. Blade Baking. In the Aalborg facility’s produc-
tion hall, which is some 250 meters in length,
there are huge blade-shaped molds like cake
pans, stretching out along the floor and even
hanging upside down from the ceiling. There’s
not a hint of chemical smell and most workers
ow black clouds and bone-chilling wind are
blowing in over the whitecaps on the North
Sea. By most people’s standards this is any-
thing but great weather. But for Claus Bur-
chardt, head of blades research and develop-
ment at Siemens Power Generation’s (PG) Wind
Power division, nothing could be better. “For
us, good weather means a stiff wind,” he says.
“Without that, we would be struggling to find
customers.” Rather than standing at the beach, Bur-
chardt is sitting in a small office on the out-
skirts of Aalborg, Denmark’s third largest city.
Together with 3,200 fellow employees of
Siemens Wind Power, Burchardt builds huge
wind power plants, each of which can generate
enough electricity to boil a bath full of ice-cold
water within 30 seconds. In fact, the individual
components of such a wind turbine are so large
that, for logistical reasons, some are built far
from Denmark. One such location is Fort Madi-
son, Iowa, where a new rotor blade factory
opened in September, 2007. Local infrastruc-
ture also plays an important role in choosing
locations. Thus, Aalborg, for example, was se-
lected because of its proximity to a harbor with
quays capable of handling rotor blades, some
of which are over 50 meters in length.
“The big challenge in Aalborg,” says Bur-
chardt, “is to ensure that all of the rotor blades
we produce, some of which weigh 16 metric
tons, are manufactured to such a high level of
precision that they perform exactly as required
without any need to upgrade or adjust them
woven carpet but feels like plastic. “Fiberglass,”
explains Burchardt, “and once it has been in-
jected with epoxy resin it turns into a fiber-rein-
forced plastic composite. Unlike products from
rival manufacturers, our rotor blades don’t con-
tain any polyvinyl chloride, which has been as-
sociated with dioxin. This means they’re not a
problem to dispose of at the end of their 20
year service life, because they are primarily
made of recyclable fiberglass.”
How can such a length of fabric give a rotor
blade its enormous strength? “The mold is ini-
tially lined with many layers of fiberglass. In fact
there are seven metric tons of this material in a
45-meter blade, and 12 tons in a 52-meter
blade. To enhance stiffness, a layer of wood is
placed between the fiberglass layers,” says Bur-
chardt. He indicates the different layers of fiber-
glass and the wooden mat carefully embedded
in the midst of the multilayered structure. “The
other side of the blade is made up of the same
ingredients and then joined with its mate. But
and prevent the blade from collapsing during
production. “With this method it only takes 48
hours from the first step to a completed blade,
instead of several days,” says Burchardt with ev-
ident pride. “That’s one day to place all the
fiberglass, and another to inject and bake. After
that the blade is adjusted and painted white —
it’s a mixture of high-tech and skilled handi-
craft.” Once completed, the rotor blades are de-
livered by truck or ship to customers worldwide,
including destinations as far away as the U.S.
and Japan.
Good Vibrations. Before delivery, samples of
the rotor blades have to go through a variety of
static and dynamic tests. First of all, they are
subjected to 1.3 times the maximum operating
load. To simulate 20 years of material fatigue,
the blades are then mounted on special test
beds and made to vibrate around two million
times, before the endurance of the material is
again tested with a final static test.
In a patented process, wind mill blades are
baked as a single piece — without any seams.
don’t have to wear special protective clothing.
“A few years ago we developed a method of
manufacturing the blades as a single, all-in-one
piece,” says Burchardt. “Using this integral blade
process — or one-shot technique, as we also
call it — we’ve been able to do away with adhe-
sives. As a result, the workforce is not exposed
to toxic vapors. At the same time there are no
individual components to clutter up the hall,
and we end up with a rotor blade that is pro-
duced in a single casting and therefore without
any seams whatsoever, which makes it consid-
erably stronger than other blades.”
At the far end of the hall, Burchardt halts at
one of the blade molds, which an employee is
lining with what look like lengths of white fab-
ric. The material has the appearance of a finely
instead of fixing the two sides together with an
adhesive, we fill the interior with bags of air and
then inject several tons of liquid epoxy resin in-
side, which finds a smooth course between the
pockets and the fiberglass and thus evenly joins
the two sides of the blade. Finally, we bake the
whole thing for eight hours at a temperature of
70 degrees Celsius.”
As Burchardt speaks, a mold is lowered from
the ceiling and seamlessly encloses the two
sides of a blade. It is only now that the shape of
the huge units on the backs of the molds be-
comes evident. In their closed state, the molds
act as a huge cake pan with an integrated oven,
and once the epoxy resin has been injected,
they are heated to bake the blade into a solid
whole. The bags inside the blade defy the heat
In Brande, a town of 6,000 inhabitants lo-
cated some 150 kilometers south of Aalborg,
2,000 Siemens employees manufacture the
heart of every wind power plant: its turbines’
nacelles (housing). During a trip through the
Danish countryside, past its fields and farms
and some of the country’s 3,500 wind turbines,
I ask why the biggest manufacturers of wind
power plants are in Denmark. “There are historical reasons,” says Henrik
Stiesdal, Chief Technology Officer at Siemens in
Brande. “It all began with the energy crisis of
1973/1974. In a move to reduce its dependence
on oil, Denmark looked at the possibility of
building nuclear power plants. In response,
talented engineers designed the first wind tur-
bines. In the mid-1980s, a number of countries
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 63
Developments Cutting energy consumption, banishing pollutants, and boosting lamp service life — that’s the mission of Osram’s lamp developers. Just around the corner:
Bright, white LEDs with a service life of 90,000 hours. | Lighting
ight emitting diodes (LEDs) are as small as
motes of dust — but they’re giants when it
comes to environmental friendliness. Not only
do white LEDs require only one-fifth the power
used by traditional light bulbs;but they last
about 50 times longer. What’s more, unlike
conventional energy-saving lamps, they are
mercury-free. In fact, the white LED success
story has been in the making for years (Pictures
of the Future, Spring 2007, p. 34). Offering 1,000 lumens, which is brighter
than a 50-watt halogen lamp, the star in the
Another important factor when it comes to
producing efficient LEDs involves the yellow
and orange-red colorants that are applied to
the original light source in layers in order to
transform the LED chips’ blue light into white.
Osram researcher Dr. Martin Zachau is an ex-
pert in this field. He and his team use colorant
grain size to control the dispersion properties
of the particles, which allows them to vary
emitted light. Efficiency is optimized via chemi-
cal composition. The stability of the phosphor
is increased by means of a protective coating. LED firmament is undoubtedly “Ostar Lighting.”
With its efficiency of about 70 lumens per watt,
it literally relegates incandescent bulbs (15
lm/W) to the shadows. The lamp contains six
high-efficiency LED chips, each measuring one
square millimeter. “With Ostar, we have created
a very large illuminated area,” says project
leader Dr. Steffen Köhler from Osram Opto
Semiconductors in Regensburg, Germany, a
subsidiary of Osram, a Siemens company. In
contrast to the trend toward miniaturization in
the electronics industry, LEDs for general light-
ing should be as big as possible, so that they
can supply large amounts of light. Achieving this goal is anything but an easy
matter, though. It’s important to bear in mind
that LEDs are a combination of differently
doped semiconductor crystals. In other words,
dopant atoms have been introduced to the
crystal lattices, which have to be pure and reg-
ularly structured at the atomic level. The larger
the crystals are, however, the higher is the
probability that impurities and irregularities
will occur. And the greater the number of im-
purities, the less efficient the conversion of
electrical energy into light. Nevertheless, Köh-
ler is confident that even more efficient and
bigger chips can be produced. “We know that
2,000 lumens is a feasible goal,“ he says. Nevertheless, LEDs still do not accurately re-
produce natural colors. That’s because, unlike
sunlight or light from incandescent bulbs, they
produce only blue and yellow wavelengths.
With this in mind, Zachau’s team has come up
with a new system that will transform parts of
the blue LED light not only into yellow, but also
into green and red light. “As a result, the LED
spectrum will be complete — like sunlight —
and colors will be superbly reproduced,”
Zachau explains. To accelerate phosphor development, Dr.
Ute Liepold of Siemens Corporate Technology
in Munich relies on combinatorial chemistry
(Pictures of the Future, Spring 2003, p. 26). To
that end, Liepold uses a perforated metal sheet
about the size of a postcard. The sheet holds as
many as 96 crucibles containing mixtures of
powders, which create new phosphors when
heated in an oven. A computer-controlled ma-
nipulator is then used to weigh out the starting
materials and position the pans on a sample
carrier. The advantage of this method is that
several hundred samples can be produced in a
single day. “But organizing and evaluating all
the data is quite a challenge,” says Liepold. The
objective of the screenings is to test as many
compositions as possible in the shortest period
of time. Long lasting luminosity. The Dulux EL
LongLife (above) is a compact fluorescent
lamp with a rated life of 15,000 hours. Below:
Materials for LEDs being tested in a fluores-
cent light library. Bottom:The Ostar Lighting
white LED shines brighter than a 50-watt
halogen lamp. 62 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
introduced tax incentives for wind power, mak-
ing it a lucrative business. As the only country
with the know-how to build fully functional
wind turbines, Denmark experienced a boom
that has continued to this day.” Although it’s good weather outside — in
the Danish sense — Stiesdal is evidently con-
tent to remain in his cosy office. From a drawer
he produces a chronology of wind power
technology and places it on his desk. “The first
wind turbines we built in the early ‘80s had an
output of only 22 kilowatts. Since then output
has doubled around once every four years.
At 2.3 and 3.6 megawatts, our modern plants
produce more than a hundred times as much
power. At least for now, the smaller plants
still account for around 80 percent of our
business.” Stiesdal points to a large map of Europe.
“We just completed installation of the Burbo
Windfarm — our first offshore facility based on
the new 3.6-megawatt turbine. The farm is lo-
cated off Liverpool in the UK and has a total
output of 90 megawatts. We needed just one
and a half months to do the job. By the end of
shore wind farm, off the southern coast of Lol-
land, generates enough energy to supply my
home town of Odense and its 185,000 inhabi-
tants, including households, industry, street
lighting and everything,” he says, before enter-
ing a giant hall where turbines are produced.
500-ton Giants. Here, massive metal nacelles,
each containing a 2.3-megawatt machine, are
lined up. We approach one of the rounded
structures, whose top is folded up at either
side, offering a view of the interior. “We’re
standing at the front of the drive shaft. That’s
where the rotor and its three blades will be
mounted from the outside. For an offshore tur-
bine this is a job that takes place on the open
sea. The towers are assembled on land. A spe-
cially designed ship, complete with crane, is
used to transport them along with the nacelles
and rotor blades to an offshore site. It then takes
less than half a day to install a single turbine
weighing 500 tons. Once the rotor begins turn-
ing, its motion is transmitted via the drive shaft
to the gear unit. This, in turn, transfers the
torque, which varies depending on wind
wind turbines are neatly stacked, awaiting in-
stallation. On the left are the huge steel nose
caps, which will later adorn the turbine hous-
ing, in the middle the machine nacelles, and on
the right the gigantic rotor hubs, each of which
weighs around 35 tons. The blades from Aal-
borg are delivered straight to the site of installa-
tion. The various components for the towers,
which are up to 120 meters in height, come
from external suppliers in Denmark, Germany,
the U.S. and Korea, depending on the wind
farm’s location.
Once in the hall, the white nacelle of the
3.6-megawatt turbine is unmistakable. Unlike
its smaller relative, it is angular in shape. Mea-
suring some 13 meters in length, four meters in
width, and four meters in height, it is also big-
ger. The innards of the turbine are reached via a
ladder. Various systems are spread over two sto-
ries, as if it were a small house. “Everything’s
bigger in this turbine,” says Stiesdal with typical
understatement. “But we’re already working on
even bigger ones. In fact, before long the rotor
blades on our turbines may be longer than 60
meters.” Sebastian Webel
Materials for the Environment | Wind Turbines
Before installation at sea (bottom), Henrik Stiesdal
(right) makes sure that everything is perfect —
including turbine assembly (center), and a final endurance test (left).
The first wind turbines produced 22 kilowatts —
that’s less than one hundredth of today’s output.
2007, the facility will be supplying over 80,000
households. Next year we have another project
with 54 turbines for what will be the world’s
largest offshore wind farm, on the east coast of
England. And as the only company able to sup-
ply wind turbines of this size, we have already
received other orders for our flagship product.” Stiesdal’s eyes shine with enthusiasm. “This
year we will be building wind turbines with a
total output of 1,500 megawatts. That’s
enough to produce four billion kilowatt-hours a
year — around 12 percent of Denmark’s elec-
tricity requirements. Our 165 MW Nysted off-
strength, to the generator. The result is electri-
cal energy.”
Stiesdal, a hobby sailor, points out that a sys-
tem of this order of magnitude requires much
more than just mechanical parts. “Today a 2.3-
megawatt turbine like this contains many levels
of processors and electronics. It might look sim-
ple and easy to understand, but the closer you
look at it, the more complicated it becomes.”
This applies all the more so to the top-of-the-
range, 3.6-megawatt turbine. On our way to in-
spect this giant, we cross the storage area. As if
in a child’s toy box, all the components for the
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 65
bare and windowless corridor leads past a
succession of dark doors. Behind these are
labs where chemists and physicists from
Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) in Munich
track things that are barely tangible. They
search for toxic substances in telephone cas-
ings and power cables, they unearth the causes
of component failures, and they investigate
why light switches in cars fail. Thanks to their
ultra-expensive, ultra-sensitive collection of an-
alytical equipment, the scientists are able to
detect chemical and physical impurities diffus-
ing through nanometer layers of computer
chips — and even, if necessary, individual ions
and molecules. It is their laboratory that gets a call when-
ever a Siemens Group has a real problem —
when inexplicable failures occur and a product
suddenly ceases to work for no apparent rea-
son at all. “What we do is to apply forensic
methods to technology fields,” explains Dr.
Klaus Budde, a specialist in analytical chemistry
at CT. At the same time, the labs also get to ex-
compound. Chrome VI has long been recog-
nized as a carcinogen and prohibited world-
wide. But a screw supplier from the Far East
had ignored the ban. Thanks to Budde’s efforts
the breach of contract was discovered and the
agreement with the supplier terminated. Knowledge Counts. The work performed by
Budde and his team is perhaps best compared
to a daily hunt for the proverbial needle in a
haystack — not least because many electronics
products contain hundreds of tiny compo-
nents. How do team members find the one
component that actually contains toxic sub-
stances? “It boils down to experience, familiar-
ity with substances, and the ability to identify
which chemicals might be used in what
places,” explains Budde. “The average age in
the analytical department is close to 50,” he
adds with a laugh. “That must be unique!”
Alongside their high-tech equipment, the
team’s key to success lies in the accumulated
expertise of 27 specialists. chine drum. Metal cylinders and cables project
out from the sides of the cube. The TOF-SIMS is one of the most sophisti-
cated pieces of equipment that analytical
chemistry has to offer. Inside the stainless steel
cube an ion beam is fired at the sample under
investigation with an accuracy of a few mi-
crometers. This in turn strips ions — so-called
secondary ions — from the sample. These then
race along a short track before they are de-
flected into a time measurement chamber. The
TOF-SIMS is able to calculate the ion’s mass on
the basis of its time of flight and thus deter-
mine the chemical element in question. The determination of flight duration is so
precise that the machine can identify not only
simple chemical elements but also more com-
plex molecules made up of different elements.
The ion beam of the TOF-SIMS bores its way
into samples like a fine needle and analyzes the
layers and the substances they contain. Cerva recently fired this ion beam at the sur-
face of an ASIC — one of the small chips used
It’s not that the team is exclusively on the
lookout for toxic substances. Its lab work can
benefit the environment in other ways. This is
because analyses often reveal causes of failure
in advance. Moreover, early analyses can some-
times avoid expensive product recalls with all
of their associated logistical headaches. Dr.
Hans Cerva is a specialist in such “nonconfor-
mance” jobs. One tool at his disposal is a so-
called time-of-flight secondary ion mass spec-
trometer — or TOF-SIMS, for short. This piece
of equipment is every bit as exciting as its
name suggests. It comprises a shiny cube of
stainless steel a little larger than a washing-ma-
to control safety systems in cars. Before pro-
duction launch of a new model automobile,
manufacturers generally test drive a batch of a
few hundred vehicles in what is known as the
qualifying round. In this particular case the
manufacturer was becoming increasingly con-
cerned about the newly developed ASICS. The
problem was that they kept failing, and nobody
could work out why. With his knowledge of the
physical properties of semiconductors and his
many years of experience, Cerva had a hunch
that the chips might contain more than just
standard semiconductor materials such as sili-
con. He therefore decided to carry out a TOF-
SIMS analysis. This revealed a suspiciously high
concentration of sodium, a light metal that is
fatal to semiconductor components, since its
ions get everywhere and interfere with the chip
and its transistors. A fine beam of ions from a specialized mass spec-
trometer bores, layer by layer, through a sample —
for instance a wafer (left) — analyzing its chemical
composition. This ultra-sophisticated piece of equipment is controlled by computer (right).
amine new Siemens products for toxic sub-
stances before they go to market. Naturally, the
presence of any prohibited chemicals in a new
line can kill its chances before it has even be-
gun to bud. A few years ago, for example, a
Japanese consumer electronics company had
to withdraw a new game console worldwide
just before Christmas because there were
traces of cadmium in the console’s power ca-
ble. By the time the problem had been reme-
died the lucrative Christmas market was long
gone. Such stories are legend at CT. Some time
ago Budde and his colleagues examined a
batch of telephones for outlawed chemicals.
Although most of the components came
through the tests, they discovered that the tiny
screws used to secure the housing were coated
with traces of a toxic chrome VI anti-corrosion
Catching Contaminants
Some Siemens products that contain electronic components are scrupulously analyzed in a special laboratory for traces of toxic substances such as lead or
cadmium. The lab, which has expertise in chemistry and
physics, not only helps to clear up mysterious product
failures, but has also defined international test standards for environmental toxins. 64 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
| Analytical Chemistry
Materials for the Environment
Mercury-Free Lamps. A small amount of
mercury, which turns into a gas at a lamp’s op-
erating temperature, is usually added in xenon
automobile headlights. Thanks to their larger
size, mercury atoms are more easily hit by elec-
trons in the plasma of these gas-discharge
lamps. Because they emit light that is close to
the visible spectrum, the loss occurring during
conversion into white light is very low. Mercury
also serves as a chemical and thermal buffer,
preventing unwanted oxidation processes and
helping to dissipate heat. But mercury is also
poisonous and can accumulate in the environ-
ment. An EU regulation therefore specifies that
it should be avoided whenever possible in the
automotive sector, which is why researchers
are looking for alternatives. Just over a year ago, Osram launched the
“Xenarc Hg-free lamp,” which replaces mercury
with zinc iodide, a harmless gas. “The product’s
development was difficult,” says Christian Wit-
tig, head of Marketing for Xenarc Systems. “We
had to adapt the entire electronic and optical
environment to the new technology.” For ex-
ample, the higher currents in this xenon lamp
subject the components and electronics to
greater stress, so Osram had to use thicker
electrodes and thicker fused quartz glass. “Pro-
duction is a bit more complicated, but it’s a step
forward for the environment,” says Wittig.
Automakers including Audi, Ford, and Toyota
already use the new lamps.
Glowing Prospects. Osram compact fluores-
cent lamps still use mercury, but less than three
milligrams per lamp. “It’s nearly impossible to
dispense such a small amount of this material
in drop form,” says Dr. Ralf Criens, an Osram
environmental expert. “So the mercury is fixed
with iron powder, which lets us put the right
amount into each lamp.” Long service life is
particularly critical for environmental reasons.
Ultimately, longer service life means fewer re-
placed lamps — and less mercury. That’s why
Osram researchers developed the very long-
lasting compact fluorescent Dulux EL LongLife
lamp, which can burn for 15,000 hours. “Service life is a key factor when working on
concepts for new lamps, as is the need to think
in terms of systems,” says Criens. He foresees
perennial favorites like white LEDs, which pro-
vide up to 90,000 hours of light, dispensing
with the need for a base — a development that
is expected to soon usher in new kinds of floor
lamps, table lamps, and other applications us-
ing LEDs as fixed components at competitive
prices. As a result, many customers could soon
be glowing with pleasure at the sight of their
bright, environmentally-friendly and long-last-
ing lamps. Andrea Hoferichter
longside food production, the production of renew-
able raw materials has always been one of the agri-
cultural and forestry sector’s tasks. Examples include
starch-bearing plants such as potatoes and wheat for
paper, cardboard and adhesives; corn and sugar cane for
ethanol production; rape for biodiesel; and flax, hemp
and jute as natural fibers. Many natural products are
direct competitors of petroleum-based products. Against
a background of increasing and increasingly volatile
prices for petroleum, interest in renewable raw materials
is growing substantially. The hemp industry, for example, is expanding glob-
ally. Hemp fibers can be used to reinforce plastics in
window frames and floor coverings. Fiber-reinforced
plastics have high stiffness and strength, which make
them ideal for lightweight engineering. In comparison to
glass-fiber reinforced plastics, which due to their high
corrosion resistance and good insulating properties are
mainly used in electrotechnical products, plastics
reinforced with natural fibers can save up to 40 percent in
weight. They are also better insulators and hardly splinter
when broken. That’s why they are used in passenger car
interiors — in interior door panels and trunk upholstery,
for example. On average, a middle or upper range car
contains 3.5 kilograms of flax or hemp fibers. But other
sectors too, are interested in plastics reinforced with
natural fibers. Areas of application range from office
chairs and briefcases to cladding for large-scale medical
equipment (p. 58). The International Energy Agency (IEA) is currently
forecasting a threefold increase in global demand for
bioethenol — for use in engines and petrochemicals, as
well as in the cosmetics and beverage industries — from
the current 40 billion to 120 billion liters per year by
2020. The world’s biggest supplier is Brazil, which intends
to expand its bioethanol production from sugar cane from
currently 17 billion to 35 billion liters per year by 2013. In
Europe and the U.S., biofuels are increasingly being
blended into vehicle fuels in order to reduce dependence
on petroleum and increase environmental compatibility.
This boosts demand for biodiesel from rape and for
ethanol from sugar cane or corn — which, in turn, pushes
up corn prices in the U.S. and Mexico. The number of
facilities producing ethanol from maize in the U.S. has
tripled since 2000 and is increasing further. In Germany,
two million of the total 11 million hectares of arable land
are devoted to cultivating renewable raw materials,
mostly for biofuels. Around 1,600 liters of biodiesel can
be obtained from one hectare of rape.
The World Turns to Renewables
| Facts and Forecasts
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 67
Renewable raw materials also include bioplastics
from starch, sugar, and vegetable oils. These materials are
used in the fabrication of short-lived packaging, dispos-
able dishes, and flower pots, as well as in automobile
interiors. Thermoplastic starches are the most important
such biomaterials, accounting for 80 percent. Polylactic
acid (PLA), polyhydroxybutyric acid (PHB) and cellulose
acetate serve as the basis for biopolymers, for use in
packaging, in landscape architecture and in medical tech-
nology — as pins for small fractures, for example.
Petroleum-based plastics could also be replaced by bio-
plastics in electronics, for example in equipment
Market experts from European Bioplastics expect
growth rates of around 20 percent per year for bioplastics
for the foreseeable future. Today’s global production is
around 500,000 tons, and is expected to rise to 900,000
tons as early as 2010. Bioplastics’ share of the world
plastics market (260 million tons) is still very small,
because bioplastics are usually more expensive than
petroleum-based plastics. But market researchers from
European Bioplastics are convinced that bioplastics are
still at the start of their development and that their tech-
nical potential is a long way from being exhausted. Sylvia Trage
Tons p.a.
Bioplastics Production
Demand for biofuels and bioplastics
is rising steadily. Biofuels’ share of total fuel consumed by road
traffic (2004)
Production from renewable raw
Production from petrochemical
raw materials
Million of tons Worldwide bioethanol production
95% growth
2002 2003 2004 2005
Bioethanol Production
European Union
Million of tons Worldwide biodiesel production
295% growth
2002 2003 2004 2005
Biodiesel Production
Rest of Europe
Czech Republic
World average
Global production capacity
Biofuels in Transportation
Sources: IEA, F.O. Licht (2006)
Sources: IEA, F.O. Licht (2006)
Source: European Bioplastics and companies
66 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
products may contain at most only traces of
the heavy metals lead, cadmium and mercury
as well as the brominated flame retardants. Ini-
tially, however, there was a lack of information
on how the limits should be met and products
tested. Understandably, manufacturers were
very unsure about how to proceed according to
the directive. After all, there was a real danger
that products containing hidden traces of
harmful substances would have to be with-
drawn from the market. “It was a real time
bomb for the manufacturers,” says Budde.
Whereas a homogenous solder paste is rela-
lytical equipment, he argued, it makes more
sense to do a cheap and simple drop test to
separate the wheat from the chaff. Today it has
become a standard test worldwide. “Our ana-
lytical laboratory has been in existence for 30
years,” says Oppolzer. “It was therefore rela-
tively easy for us to come up with the tests re-
quired to check our products for RoHS confor-
mance.” It says everything for the quality of its work
that the laboratory’s expertise has become a
world standard in the field of materials analysis
and contaminant identification. What’s more,
its success rate in clearing up cases of noncon-
formance is extremely high. As Klaus Budde ex-
plains, “We track down just about anything that
departs from the norm.” Tim Schröder
pipes the size of those used to transport natu-
ral gas. Within it, high-energy helium ions re-
bound from a sample with varying energies
that reveal the exact chemical composition of
the sample surface. Likewise, the TEM uses an
electron beam to illuminate extremely thin
samples of material, thus enabling researchers
to analyze layers that are only a few nanome-
ters (a millionth of a millimeter) thick — a de-
gree of precision crucial for determining the
functionality and quality of semiconductor
components such as light-emitting diodes and
diode lasers. “Our nanoscale analysis capability means
that we have the very latest analytical methods
the market has to offer. These are accompanied
by a body of expertise that is in demand during
Siemens’ analytical laboratory can track down
just about anything that departs from the norm.
Equipped with this crucial tip the manufac-
turer proceeded to check its ASIC production
line and discovered a fault in process control.
For some reason the production system was
switching itself on and off in a fraction of a sec-
ond, which caused sodium from the immediate
surroundings to land inside the ASIC. A simple
program debug was enough to spare the man-
ufacturer thousands of complaints as well as
the development of almost every new material
or technology at the Siemens Groups,” says Dr.
Helmut Oppolzer, head of the analytical team.
Oppolzer and his colleagues mainly work for
Siemens, since no other analytical laboratory is
as available or trustworthy when it comes to
dealing with confidential information. “If they
come to us it usually means they are up against
an acute problem that they can’t solve,” says
tively easy to test for toxic substances, a
printed circuit board full of tiny components
such as resistors, capacitors, and processors is
by no means as straightforward. The International Electronics Commission
(IEC) in Geneva, Switzerland, set up a task force
with expert panels to establish international
analytical standards. Their job was to lay down
practical, reliable test methods and to work out
sensible ways of examining the diversity of
electronic components. The German Commis-
sion on Electrical Engineering appointed Budde
to the international task force. With his wealth
of experience in analytical methods he was
able to make a number of telling contributions,
including an astoundingly simple drop test for
chrome IV compounds: if drops of a specific
corrosive fluid are spotted onto the surface of a
sample, it immediately turns a violet color in
the presence of chrome IV. Although such a
test is astoundingly simple, compared to the
TOF-SIMS it is in fact extremely sensitive and
reacts with chrome VI concentrations of only a
few nanograms, which is certainly responsive
enough for the limits prescribed by RoHS. Budde was able to remind the IEC of the
virtues of the drop test. Instead of running
everything through incredibly expensive ana-
Telltale coloring. An inexpensive “drop test” shows
that a battery cover contains a poisonous chrome VI
compound (center and right). Pictured left is a three-
micrometer gold coating with photoresist. the problem of having to dispose of tons of
electronic scrap. “This was a typical case,” says
Cerva. “What we almost always discover is a
fault in the production process, the wrong
choice of material, or damage to the material.
But to locate the cause takes real detective
work, and that’s where the fun comes in.” The labs is crammed with sophisticated
equipment such as an infrared spectrometer, a
gas chromatography mass spectrometer, and a
huge transmission electron microscope (TEM).
Humming away in one room there is even a
massive particle accelerator made up of large
Oppolzer, “and one that needs to be resolved
very quickly.” In addition, his team also works
for former Siemens spin-offs such as Epcos and
Setting Standards Worldwide. The team’s
expertise — especially in the analysis of con-
taminant substances — is also in demand from
external clients. Here, areas of interest include
the application of the EU’s environmental direc-
tive on the Restriction of Hazardous Substances
in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS).
RoHS stipulates that from 2006 onward such
Materials for the Environment | Analytical Chemistry
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 69
Materials for the Environment | Interview
China’s Road to Sustainable Development
68 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
How do you plan to do that?
Wan:At the end of May 2007 China became
the first developing country to draw up a gov-
ernment concept for addressing climate
change. This concept focuses on fundamental,
technological, and applications research, and
also includes measures for getting the public
involved in the process. One way we do this is
by explaining to people what could be
achieved if everyone turned up their air condi-
tioning thermostat one degree, left their cars
home for one day, used environmentally
friendly detergents etc. In this way, we sensi-
tize people to the fact that everyone can con-
tribute to environmental protection and help
stop climate change.
Industry plays a key role in this regard,
since outdated machines in factories can
Professor Wan, you’ve been China’s Min-
ister of Science and Technology for half a
year now. What challenges does China
face in these fields?
Wan:You have to look at things from two dif-
ferent perspectives. China has achieved very
great economic successes since opening up to
the West, and it’s well on the way to industrial-
ization. This progress has led to many positive
things — but it’s also created problems in
terms of energy security, environmental pro-
tection, and climate change. We’re now
searching for ways to achieve sustainable de-
velopment, which is obviously a challenge not
only for China but also for all humanity.
What role do technological developments
play in overcoming the challenges China
Wan:A huge role, because in order to solve
the problems, we need to be innovative. This
view is also reflected in the long-term develop-
ment plan we published in 2006. China is
seeking to become an innovation-focused
country over the next ten to 15 years. How-
ever, it’s not enough to have scientists address-
ing the problems we face; China’s people need
to understand the importance of sustainable
development. Our main task at the Ministry of
Science and Technology is therefore to support
all activities that promote sustainability.
What key technologies are being pushed
the most in China today?
Wan:We’re focusing on several different ar-
eas, the most important of which are new
forms of power generation such as clean coal
systems and renewable wind and solar energy.
We’re also working on environmental protec-
tion and information technology systems.
Health care-related research is also important,
and this involves everything from biotechnolo-
gies and pharmaceuticals to new diagnostic
techniques and the development of various
types of medical equipment. Finally, we’re con-
ducting extensive basic research into forward-
looking technologies such as nanotechnology.
Again, I must emphasize that it’s crucial to get
the entire population involved in these issues.
cause significant environmental damage
that seriously endangers nature and hu-
man health. Modern equipment, on the
other hand, operates more efficiently and
cleanly… Wan:That’s correct. Environmental protection
also involves making industrial processes more
efficient, improving process planning, and
combining technologies to create closed cy-
cles. Residual heat from steel production, for
example, can be converted to electricity; slag
can be processed into construction materials;
and cooling water can be purified. This not
only eases the strain on the environment and
conserves energy; it also creates value. We’re
now starting to do such things in China. We
know that Siemens is a worldwide leader in
environmental protection and the optimization
of industrial processes, and that the company
continues to lead the way in these areas.
Siemens thus has a lot of market potential.
What types of partnerships need to be
formed to enable the efficient use of such
technologies in China?
Wan:Environmental protection is an issue that
everyone around the globe needs to address,
and each of us has to do what he or she can to
help. In general, it’s important to make the
technologies that are already being used in the
industrialized nations affordable to developing
countries like China. Technology transfer also
furthers development and market expansion.
The more these technologies are utilized, the
more money and energy we can all save. At
the same time, China itself has to become in-
novative through its own power. Still, being an innovative country doesn’t necessarily
mean doing everything yourself or reinventing
One aspect that is of great concern to in-
ternational companies is the protection of
intellectual property. There’s a feeling
that reality still doesn’t correspond to of-
ficially stated intentions here. What is
China doing to correct this?
Wan:China has made a major effort to ad-
dress this issue over the last few years. We
joined the WTO in 2001, and we’ve also signed
international agreements and established a le-
gal system for dealing with these matters. Nu-
merous legal proceedings have been carried
out and many court rulings have been made
that protect intellectual property in China. We
know we still need to do more, and we there-
fore continue to work hard on further improv-
ing our standards. We also know that protec-
tion of intellectual property is one of the
fundamental conditions for establishing an in-
novation-focused society. After all, people will
only be motivated to develop innovations if
they’re certain these will be protected. Chinese
companies need to understand that the pro-
tection of foreign technologies also guarantees
the protection of their own new develop-
ments. This realization will ultimately have a
greater impact than tougher laws. We’ve made
a lot of progress over the last five years in this
regard, and the situation will improve even further over the next five.
The Chinese government has traditionally
played a major role in technological de-
velopments in the country. Now, how-
ever, Chinese industry is also becoming a
driving force behind innovation. What
role would you like to see each of them
play in the future?
Wan:The government will support those
things it deems important, and it will provide
investment accordingly. Take fuel cell vehicles,
for example. The technology here is not yet
ready for the market, which is why the govern-
ment needs to fund its development. However,
in those situations where a particular technol-
ogy can soon be launched on the market, the
government will simply create favorable condi-
tions for its introduction and then let the mar-
ket do the rest.
You yourself spent many years doing re-
search at a German university, and also
worked as a manager at a German au-
tomaker — so you’re familiar with the re-
spective strengths and weaknesses of the
East and West. How would you compare
conditions in the two societies?
Wan:Europe’s strength — and the strength of
Germany in particular — lies in the ability of its
industries to develop many products on their
own. Siemens offers a good example of this.
The company has developed its own strategy
for success; it invests at an early stage in inno-
vations and then brings its products to market
worldwide. China’s industry, which is relatively
young, is still unable to keep up with such
processes from either a strategic or a financial
perspective. That’s why government support is
so important, especially when it comes to
bringing companies, universities, and research
institutes together. Let’s look at fuel cell vehi-
cles again. The government coordinated coop-
eration between experts from universities, re-
search centers, and the automotive industry
here in order to develop key components and
drive systems. We then installed the technol-
ogy in different vehicles from manufacturers
Wan Gang, 55,has
been China’s Minister of
Science and Technology
since April 2007. He is
also the first non-Com-
munist Party member to
have become a minister
in 35 years. Wan re-
ceived a Master’s degree
in automotive engineer-
ing at the renowned
Tongji University in
Shanghai. In 1990 he received a PhD from the
Clausthal University of
Technology in Germany,
after which he joined
Audi in Ingolstadt, work-
ing initially in the Vehicle
Development department
and later serving on the
Planning Committee. At the end of 2000 Wan returned to Tongji Uni-
versity to coordinate a nationwide research program for the de-
velopment of electric vehicles and hydrogen
technology. In 2004, he
was named president of
his alma mater. such as Volkswagen, SAIC (Shanghai Automo-
tive Industry Cooperation), and Chery. In doing
so, we spread out the technology. I think this
type of cooperation is our great strength.
When products developed in such a manner
are ready for the market, the government will
discontinue its involvement.
Just how advanced are fuel cell vehicles
in China?
Wan:We finished building our fourth genera-
tion at the beginning of this year. It now takes
one of our fuel cell vehicles less than 15 sec-
onds to accelerate to 100 kilometers per hour,
and the top speed is 150 kilometers per hour.
We will be presenting these hydrogen-fuel ve-
hicles at the 29th Summer Olympics next year
in Beijing. Around 20 fuel cell passenger cars
and about ten fuel cell buses will be used at
the Olympic site, along with 50 battery-pow-
ered electric buses and another 300 battery-
powered small cars. All of these vehicles are
the result of Chinese research projects that we
launched five to seven years ago — and now
we’ll be seeing the technology used for the
first time in real applications.
Interview conducted by Bernhard Bartsch.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 71
Materials for the Environment | Transportation
Road to a Lighter Future
Aircraft, ships and trains
are heavy energy users.
But by implementing the
latest materials technolo-
gies, their energy demands
can be significantly re-
duced. Siemens researchers
are developing a package
of solutions to this end, including ultra-light sub-
ways, compact drives for
railcars, and high tem-
perature superconducting
motors for ships. 70 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
Energy-Saving Direct Drive. The new Synte-
gra bogies developed by Pargfrieder’s col-
leagues at Siemens Transportation Systems in
Erlangen, Germany, and Graz, Austria, might
help him achieve his goal. (Pictures of the
Future, Spring 2006, p. 62). Syntegra is a
highly integrated rail drive system in which
the drive technology is attached under the
floor of the vehicle. Unlike traditional systems,
where the engine’s power is transferred to the
axles via a gearbox —which causes noise,
wear, and reduced efficiency — the Syntegra
system employs motors mounted directly on
the bogies. To be more precise, a cylindrical electric mo-
tor sits directly on the drive axle like a ring on a
finger, but without touching it. The motor uses
a permanent magnetic field produced by rare-
earth magnetic materials to rotate the axle.
“These high-performance materials are the
heart of the drive,” says Dr. Lars Löwenstein,
Syntegra’s project leader. “Until just a few years
ago they would have been much too expen-
sive.” However, the price of rare-earth magnets
capable of achieving the required quality has
fallen. And because the new concept dispenses
with the need for a gearbox, a Syntegra bogie
is around a meter shorter than traditional mod-
els. The result: a weight savings of around two
tons, while energy is reduced by 20 percent. The Syntegra prototype is currently being
tested by Munich’s Municipal Transport Ser-
vices — for the moment at night and without
passengers. During the test, 200 sensors moni-
tor how well the new technology is working. In
a few months the train is due to carry its first
passengers. On the basis of the 10,000 kilome-
ters the train has already run up on the
Siemens test track in Wegberg-Wildenrath, Ger-
many, it is already clear that Syntegra is fulfill-
ing its promise. Energy consumption has
dropped significantly. But there is still room for improvement be-
fore the production model is scheduled for
market launch in around three years. In partic-
ular, the production model will be leaner and
lighter than the prototype, which was initially
designed to be very robust. The energy density
of the rare-earth materials is also to be in-
creased to boost drive performance.
Lower Temperatures Boost Performance.
Syntegra’s developers weren’t the only ones
who had to wait a long time for their materials.
So do did experts at Siemens Automation and
Drives (A&D) in Nuremberg, who specialize in
another type of material: superconductors.
These materials are made from compounds
that suddenly lose their electrical resistance
when they are cooled to very low tempera-
tures. The catch, at least initially, was that in
most cases this type of cooling required the use
of liquid helium at minus 269 degrees Celsius
— an expensive product. But in 1987 re-
searchers discovered substances that become
superconducting at much higher temperatures.
Unfortunately, these high-temperature super-
conductors (HTS) were still too expensive for
most applications. However, about five years ago these sub-
stances became significantly cheaper. In re-
sponse, A&D decided in 2003 to develop its
first HTS generator. Its rotor is fitted not with
the usual copper coils, but with HTS windings
that can carry around 100 times more current.
The 400-kilowatt machine was designed to be
a third smaller and lighter than traditional units
with the same capacity (Pictures of the Future,
Spring 2006, p. 60). This type of equipment is particularly suit-
able for power generation on ships since it
saves space in a narrow hull. In the meantime,
A&D has developed a prototype 4-megawatt
(MW) machine that has been tested for a year
in the System Test Center in Nuremberg, oper-
ating both as a generator and as a motor. The
next step is a slowly rotating 4 MW HTS engine
for the direct drive of a ship’s propeller. “We’re
body, experts at TS developed a hollow alu-
minum chamber profile with air pockets and
glued-on insulation. The subway also saves en-
ergy through a sophisticated brake and drive
management system that feeds the power
generated during braking back into the net-
work as electricity.
Pargfrieder and his colleagues have taken
particular care to ensure that recyclable materi-
als such as wood, plastics, metals, and ceram-
ics make up 84 per cent of the total materials
used. An additional ten per cent can be harm-
lessly incinerated to generate electricity, bring-
ing the total of recyclable material to 94 per-
cent. “It’s hard to reach 100 percent because
fire safety makes it necessary to use certain
composites that can’t really be split up,”
Pargfrieder explains. His goal is to further re-
duce this component and cut energy consump-
tion even further.
Thanks to the superconducting motor (left), fuel
consumption on ships is set to drop significantly.
And thanks to lighter materials, Oslo’s subway
trains already require 30 percent less energy.
Weight watchers.One kilogram less saves several tons of fuel over an aircraft’s life. Lightweight carbon fibers (right) aren’t just in demand for the A380. T
he Scandinavian Mountains extend into the
polar regions like an endless spine. Above
them, the sky is a mass of heavy clouds driven
in from the Atlantic by westerly winds. Here in
Norway, there is obviously no shortage of wa-
ter. Perhaps that’s why the Norwegians don’t
just use it for drinking but also for power gen-
eration. They will proudly tell you that 99 per
cent of their electricity comes from hydro-elec-
tric sources. Even the Oslo Metro runs on this
clean form of electricity. However, in an at-
tempt to make the Metro even more environ-
mentally friendly, AS Oslo Sporveier, the city
transport company, went looking for a new
train four years ago. The search ended at
Siemens Transportation Systems (TS). TS had
already provided very economical trains for
Vienna’s Metro system. Although the Norwe-
gians wanted to base their Metro on the
Vienna version, they were also determined to
make it even greener. In the meantime, the first MX trains have
entered service in Oslo. Altogether, 63 units
have been ordered. In addition to using one
third less electricity than their predecessors,
they contain no toxic substances. What’s more,
it will be possible to recycle over 94 percent of
their components in 30 years when the trains
are retired. It’s clear from this example that high-tech-
nology can contribute a great deal to environ-
mental performance. This applies to all types of
transportation, be it subways, inter-city trains,
aircraft or shipping. Various Siemens Groups
have been working for a long time to perfect
vehicles — for example, by reducing weight,
improving drive systems, and introducing new
materials. These days, they don’t just look at
the final product, but assess the total product
life cycle — from manufacturing and operation
to disposal. Product developers at TS applied
this kind of life cycle assessment (LCA) to the
Oslo Metro, working with experts from the
Ecodesign study program at Vienna Technical
University (TU Wien). “In order to identify key
potential savings, we first had to identify which
phase used the most energy,“ says Dr. Joachim
Pargfrieder, who is responsible for LCA at TS in
Vienna. The university staff take thousands of de-
tails into consideration for their eco-audits —
thing like the energy consumed during bauxite
mining and aluminum production or the heat-
ing requirements for a subway train on cold
winter days. “For this type of analysis, sophisti-
cated software — such as that developed at the
TU — is required,“ says Pargfrieder. It quickly
became clear that the main task was to achieve
the highest possible energy savings at the low-
est possible cost. It was obvious that weight
could be saved by using aluminum. However,
aluminum doesn’t have the good insulation
properties needed to cope with chilly Oslo. To
solve this problem in relation to the railcar
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 73
Although Avanto’s manufacturing-related
energy demand has been examined, analyzing
every step of this process would simply be too
costly. Instead, the energy consumption of an
entire production hall would be determined us-
ing electric and heat meters. If this value is di-
vided by the total quantity in kilograms of prod-
ucts manufactured, you would get the specific
CED value for that production hall — in kilo-
watt-hours per kilogram. Such CED values can
be added up to determine the CED for the en-
tire production process of a device. An addi-
tional CED value must be determined for trans-
portation between different factories and to
the customer. With regard to the Magnetom
Avanto, about ten percent of total energy de-
mand is accounted for by this phase. Squeezing Standby Losses. The largest
chunk of energy in the lifecycle of a device is
consumed during its use. Computed for a ten-
year period, this amounts to about 86 percent
of the total kilowatt-hours — or about 460
megawatt-hours annually in the Magnetom
Avanto. Here again, Bömmel foresees addi-
tional energy reduction measures. One promis-
ing area involves the different operating modes
of medical devices. A principal target here will
be standby losses. In the Magnetom Avanto no
less than 38 percent of energy is used in an un-
productive state. During switch-off, the essen-
tial helium cooling guzzles up about 20 percent
of energy, while 18 percent is used in the
warm-up phase preceding a scan. Recycling is the final phase of the CED
analysis. Based on total weight, about 85 per-
cent of the material in medical devices can be
recycled. About nine percent — mainly plastics
— can be thermally reused. Based on the life-
cycle, some two percent of the energy can thus
be credited to the CED bottom line. Thus the CED approach can be used to
calculate total energy demand for each device
and, no less important, a device’s resulting en-
vironmental impact. For example, if the main
energy source is known — which in medical
devices is electric power — its contribution to
the greenhouse effect can be estimated. Since the calculation of all energy values in
the CED method is based on primary energy
demand, i.e. on the energy content of fossil
fuels such as coal and oil, the energy content is
first recalculated in terms of secondary energy
— in this case, electric power. A Magnetom Avanto’s average annual con-
sumption of primary energy corresponds to
about 150 megawatt-hours of electric power.
Today, each kilowatt-hour of electricity pro-
duced in Germany generates about 600 grams
of carbon dioxide. Thus, operating the Magne-
tom Avanto produces about 90 tons of carbon
dioxide annually. Values for other pollutants, such as nitrogen
oxides, can also be estimated based on energy
consumption — by using the conversion tables
of the German Ministry of the Environment.
The CED method therefore provides an inex-
pensive, simplified estimate of a given device’s
environmental impact.
“Of course you have to understand,” says
Bömmel, “that the way we use the CED
method only gives you a general idea of the
energy demand, since it often involves
approximations. But that’s okay, because it
helps us to swiftly identify energy “leaks”
that we can then address. CED has helped us
determine that the operation of our devices
accounts for the largest share by far of their
total energy consumption. So that’s the first
place where we’ll take action in order to
achieve further improvements.” Rolf Sterbak
Magnetom Avanto medical magnetic resonance
imaging devices being prepared for shipment.
Transportation is an area in which energy savings may be realized.
Life cycle analysis. During its ten-year service life, only about 62 percent of the energy consumed by a Magnetom Avanto is associated with diagnostic scans.
adds that the coastal route requires just one-
sixtieth of the energy of air transport. “That makes a significant difference on the
CED bottom line,” says Bömmel. But some pre-
liminary work had to take place before he was
able to apply this method. Here, researchers at
Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) provided
data showing the material-specific energy de-
mand values for 75 categories of materials that
are typically used to make medical devices.
These values define how much energy is con-
sumed in the provision of an industrial material
such as sheet steel — taking into account the
entire value chain, from mining the ore to the
finished material. Since Med generally just as-
sembles components and manufactures few
parts in-house, CT also determined CED values
for a list of standard components, such as fans,
computers, monitors, and keyboards.
By putting together all these pieces of the
puzzle, scientists can ultimately figure out the
total energy required to provide the materials
that make up a product. In the Magnetom
Avanto, for example, that amounts to four per-
cent of the total energy — taking into account
the complete life cycle. In this context too,
Bömmel sees opportunities for improvement.
That’s because 45 percent of the eight-ton
mass of an MRI system consists of different iron
alloys and steels, while about 34 percent is
nonferrous metals and alloys. When considered
in the CED context, however, nonferrous met-
als such as aluminum and copper account for
substantially more energy usage than the fer-
rous metals. This finding suggests that in a fu-
ture MRI system aluminum should be replaced
by steel wherever possible to reduce the en-
ergy consumption associated with providing
materials. Such a switch would also have to be
accompanied by design changes to avoid a
substantial increase in gross weight.
Utilization (86% = 459 MWh / year)
Energy consump-
tion in MWh
How Much Energy Does an Avanto Represent?
Scanning (62%)
System shutdown and pre-scan warmup (38%)
(4% = 192 MWh)
(-68 MWh)
Production (10% = 507 MWh)
Component produc-
tion (37%)
Customer delivery
(35%) Other (28%)
5.221 MW
Pinpointing Costs Siemens uses the cumulative energy demand (CED)
method to find ways of reducing medical devices’ energy requirements. This approach addresses the entire product lifecycle, from materials and production
to operation and recycling.
72 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
| Energy Demand
lifecycle, and makes it possible to determine
which phase consumes the most energy.
Sometimes this quest makes Bömmel feel like
a detective tracking down energy leaks. When Bömmel’s team added up the energy
demands of the Magnetom Avanto magnetic
resonance imaging (MRI) system, it made a sur-
prising discovery. The delivery of the device to
the customer consumes nearly the same
amount of energy as the manufacture of the
components — roughly a third of the total en-
ergy used on production. In the U.S. in particu-
lar, these devices have usually been trans-
ported by air because their superconducting
magnet is cooled with liquid helium and can’t
be allowed to warm up. “Without a power
source, all the helium evaporates in about 28
days,” says Bömmel. “And cooling the magnet
down again is costly. However, we found that
ocean transport can be fast enough, at least on
the U.S. East Coast. Several MRI systems have
already been delivered that way.” In fact, he
hen it comes to medical systems, envi-
ronmentally friendly technology is a key
selling point. For instance, hospitals that have
environmental management systems want the
major products they purchase to come with an
Environmental Product Declaration. That’s be-
cause they want to know exactly how environ-
mentally sound their production methods are,
and how environmentally friendly their devices
will be when in use. Such facts are provided by
Dr. Franz Bömmel, Group Environmental Offi-
cer at Siemens Medical Solutions (Med), as well
as product development engineers. Bömmel
and others rely on the “cumulative energy de-
mand” method or CED, which was developed
principally by the Research Institute for Energy
in Munich, Germany, about ten years ago. “Cu-
mulative energy demand is the total quantity
of primary energy needed to produce, use, and
dispose of a device — including transporta-
tion,” says Bömmel. This value reflects the en-
ergy demand related to a device over its entire
Materials for the Environment
still in the development phase,” says project
leader Dr. Klemens Kahlen. “Assembly starts in
2008.” The new motor will be tested in 2009.
The first commercial motors could then hit the
market as early as 2011. U.S. superconductor
expert Alan Lauder has calculated that this type
of HTS motor could reduce a ship’s annual fuel
costs by up to $100,000. Significant Savings. Fuel cost savings, partic-
ularly through weight reduction, are important
in aviation. Every kilogram of mass saved repre-
sents a fuel savings of several tons over an air-
craft’s lifetime. Alongside aluminum, aircraft
engineers are therefore increasingly turning to
carbon fiber composites (CFRP), which can re-
duce a plane’s weight by up to 30 percent. More CFRP parts — such as, for example,
the 120-square-meter tail fin — are used in the
new Airbus A380 than in any other aircraft.
Toho Tenax Europe is the largest producer of
carbon fibers in Europe and a global leader in
carbon fiber technology. Over the last year the
company’s Japanese parent company has built
a new CFRP production line in Oberbruch, Ger-
many. Siemens provided process control tech-
nology and other products and services for the
“Because of our expertise in a number of
business areas we were able to offer a total so-
lution,” says Klaus Vierbuchen, sales engineer
at A&D in Cologne. Acting as a single-source
provider, Siemens has delivered basic and de-
tailed engineering, assembly monitoring, coor-
dinated safety measures, and provided process
measuring and control units, drive systems,
motor switchgear, uninterruptible power sup-
plies, and transformers for the plant. In a complex process at the plant, kilometer-
long fiber blanks are baked to produce finished
products. Several hundred fibers run in parallel
over rollers through individual stages of the au-
tomated process. A large number of parame-
ters — oven temperature, speed of transporta-
tion, and dwell times — are processed by a
Simatic PCS 7 process control system to ensure
that the fibers meet the quality requirements
stipulated by aircraft engineers.
The single-source solution was not only less
costly than those offered by competitors, but
also quicker to assemble. “The manufacturer
was able to start production weeks before the
actual deadline,“ says Vierbuchen. The new
carbon fiber manufacturing plant illustrates
that you can help make transportation sustain-
able in a variety of ways. For example, you can
build an environmentally friendly subway or
provide expertise to help operators build pro-
duction plants for environmentally friendly
high-tech products.Tim Schröder
In Brief Materials research is undergoing a revolu-
tion. Nanotechnology is opening the door to a host of innovative materials with completely
new properties. (p. 47)
New materials make it possible to generate,
transmit and use energy more efficiently. Special coatings protect the blades in gas and
steam turbines against heat and corrosion.
This enables higher operating temperatures
and thus higher efficiencies. Fuel consump-
tion and environmental impact are both cut as a result. The goal is to introduce combined cycle power plants in 2011 that will use more than 60 percent of the energy in gas.
The world’s most powerful gas turbine, which will start test operation in Irsching, Germany, this year, will produce enough electricity to power the households in a city
the size of Hamburg. (pp. 50, 54)
In the lighting sector, the focus is also on
further cutting power consumption, eliminat-
ing pollutants, and increasing lamps’ service
life. Mercury-free LEDs are particularly envi-
ronmentally friendly, consume little electric-
ity, and last up to 50 times longer than incan-
descent lamps. (p. 63)
Siemens is the world’s leading supplier of
offshore wind power systems. In 2008, the
company will install the world’s largest such
wind farm off England’s east coast. The facility will supply up to 180 megawatts of environmentally-friendly electricity from 54
turbines. Siemens’ one-piece rotor blades are
extremely robust and up to 90-percent recy-
clable. (p. 60)
Advanced technology can cut energy con-
sumption by planes, ships, cars, and trains.
Siemens continuously improves vehicles by using lightweight engineering, better drive
systems, and, in many cases, new materials.
Improved energy storage systems also make
regenerative braking an increasingly attractive
option. (pp. 70, 74)
Bioplastics from bacteria should also make
electronic products more environmentally
compatible in the future. (p. 58)
Nanotechnology / materials in general:
Dr. Thomas Grandke, CT MM
Nanotechnology, NanoBase project:
Dr. Jens Dahl Jensen, CT MM
Turbine blade coatings:
Dr. Werner Stamm, PG
Coal-fired steam power plants:
Dr. Ernst-Wilhelm Pfitzinger, PG
Ceramic heat shields, CHS:
Dr. Holger Grote, PG
World’s largest gas turbine:
Hans-Otto Rohwer, PG
Green PC, Fujitsu Siemens Computers:
Hans-Georg Riegler-Rittner, FSC, hans-
Green circuit boards: Dr. Peter Demmer, CT MM
Bioplastics, BioFun project:
Reinhard Kleinert, CT MM
Wind power plants:
Henrik Stiesdal, PG Denmark
Lighting systems, Osram:
Dr. Steffen Köhler, Osram
Christian Wittig, Osram
Pollutant analysis, analytical laboratory:
Dr. Helmut Oppolzer, CT MM
Metro Oslo, lifecycle assessment:
Dr. Joachim Pargfrieder, TS Austria
Syntegra, drive systems for trains:
Dr. Lars Löwenstein, TS
The EU’s Joint Research Center:
U.S. National Academy of Engineering:
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 75
Materials for the Environment | Energy Storage
Piggybanks for Power
Whether at base or peak load, high-performance energy
storage devices and smart energy management systems guarantee optimal power supplies in vehicles.
74 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
applications, as power supply networks are
constantly subject to load variations to which
heavy turbines cannot react quickly enough.
Power utilities could use flexible energy stores
such as supercaps to balance out load peaks
and troughs. “In ten years, vehicles with these new stor-
age systems might be as commonplace as to-
day’s vehicles with their trusty lead-acid batter-
ies,” says Dr. Manfred Waidhas, project head for
Electrochemical Energy Storage at Siemens
Corporate Technology. Mild or start-stop hybrid
vehicles can get by with the limited energy
density of the supercaps. “Ensuring a supply of electrical energy is be-
coming increasingly important,” says Horst
Gering, head of the Battery and Energy Man-
agement department at Siemens VDO. “This is
especially true where safety is concerned, for
example, with electric braking or steering.” In
such systems, it is necessary to constantly
monitor the state of the energy store. With this
in mind, Siemens has developed BMS (Battery
Monitoring System). Here, using supercaps, in-
ternal resistance and capacitance are deter-
mined in order to evaluate how much current
the energy store can provide for specific tasks.
Where accumulators are involved, sensors can
also determine battery aging and charge state.
The energy management system then deter-
mines when the store needs to be charged so
that it always remains within optimal working
parameters — and how much current can be
made available to which devices. After all, in
some cases, there may not be sufficient power
available if many devices are active simultane-
ously. Siemens has christened the algorithm
for this process “Power Trader.” “It’s like having a virtual stock market regu-
lating energy use,” says Gering. “Power Trader
calculates the supply — in this case, the
amount of energy available from the generator
— and sets an electricity price according to de-
mand. If demand rises, so does the price.
Safety-relevant systems such as electric brakes
are set so that no price is too expensive. Com-
fort systems, on the other hand, purchase less
power until the price has come down to a given
level. In extreme cases, they will even switch
off.” Bernhard Gerl
Double layer capacitors called supercaps (right) are
being used in streetcars such as the Combino Plus
(below). The devices release stored braking energy
quickly when the vehicle accelerates.
f electrical energy is to be optimally used, it
needs to be temporarily stored. And that’s
the case whether we’re talking about cars,
buses, streetcars, subway systems or power
distribution networks. In road vehicles, elec-
tronic components are taking over more and
more functions, partly as driver assistance sys-
tems, and partly to save energy — particularly
in hybrid vehicles that combine an electric mo-
tor with a combustion engine. The electric mo-
tor serves as either a fully fledged second drive
(in a full hybrid), as an auxiliary drive to provide
a boost when starting and passing (in a mild
hybrid), or as an assistant when the vehicle has
Chemical or Electrostatic Storage?
Accumulators such as lead-acid, nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion batteries have a service life of
between three and ten years, on average. They function on electrochemical principles. Charging the
battery converts electrical energy into chemical energy. When an electrical device is connected, chemi-
cal energy is converted back into electrical energy. Energy stores such as double layer capacitors, in
contrast, store energy electrostatically. They last almost indefinitely and exhibit high power densities.
However, their energy densities are low. For this reason, their primary use is to cover peak loads such as engine starts or acceleration in hybrid applications.
Battery type Energy density Wh/kg Power density W/kg Service life in cycles / years
Lead-acid battery 30 – 50 150 – 300 300 –1,000 / 3 – 5
Nickel-metal hydride battery 60 – 80 200 – 300 >1,000 / >5
Lithium-ion battery 90 – 150 500 – >2,000 >2,000 / 5 – 10
Supercaps (double layer capac.) 3 – 5 2,000 – 10,000 1,000,000 / unlimited
to stop and restart frequently (in the start-stop
hybrid). To meet the needs of a growing number of
functions, vehicles needs a high-performance
energy storage device. Batteries, however, are
heavy and their energy density is low. One kilo-
gram of diesel contains 10,000 watt-hours
(Wh), while a lead-acid accumulator manages
just 30 to 50 Wh/kg. Batteries’ power density is
low too, reaching a maximum of 300 W/kg. For
an electric car to accelerate as rapidly as a 90
kW gasoline-engine vehicle, it would need a
300-kilogram lead-acid battery in the trunk.
That’s why most of today’s hybrid vehicles em-
ploy nickel-metal hydride batteries with a ca-
pacity of 60 to 80 Wh/kg. Lithium-ion or
lithium-polymer batteries are even more pow-
erful, with 90 to 150 Wh/kg. Alongside storage
capacity, the service life of an accumulator is
also limited. A lead-acid battery is good for a
maximum of around 1,000 charge-discharge
cycles. Nickel-metal hydride or lithium-ion bat-
teries last considerably longer. Accumulators must be charged slowly to
avoid damage. But vehicles, in particular, are
associated with many applications that need a
fast charging capability — for example, when
braking energy is harnessed in cars or street-
cars. With this in mind, Siemens is promoting
the use of double layer capacitors, or so-called
supercaps — devices that store electrical en-
ergy by separating the charges as soon as a
voltage is applied. Supercaps offer capacitances
of 300 to 10,000 farads. Charge separation
takes place at the boundary layer between a
solid body and a liquid. High capacitances are
achieved by ensuring that the charges are sep-
arated by a distance of only atomic dimen-
sions, and by the use of porous graphite elec-
trodes with a large specific surface area. Supercaps have low energy densities —
three to five Wh/kg — but extremely high
power densities of 2,000 to 10,000 W/kg. They
can be charged within a few seconds, and at a
million or so charge-discharge cycles, their
service life is extremely long. This is due to the
fact that the charge separation processes oc-
curring within them are purely physical in na-
ture. They can take up and release large quanti-
ties of energy extremely quickly. This makes it
possible to use an electric motor in a hybrid ve-
hicle, streetcar, or locomotive as a generator
that recovers braking energy. This regenerated
energy is stored in supercaps and re-used when
the vehicle accelerates again. The resulting ad-
vantage is fuel and energy savings of between
five and 25 percent, depending on the driving
cycle. The capacitor packs can either be carried
in the vehicle itself or permanently built into
segments of subway lines. Such a setup has already been tested in sev-
eral subway systems — for example, in Madrid,
Cologne, Dresden, Bochum and Beijing. Super-
caps could also be used in energy distribution
0.1 s
Comparison of Battery Systems
Power density in watts per kilogram (W/kg)
100 1,000 10,000
Energy density in watt-hours per kilogram (Wh/kg)
10,000 s
1,000 s
100 s
10 s
1 s
Double layer capacitors
Electrolytic capacitors
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 77
grees Celsius. The oil is used to create steam in
a heat exchanger located in the plant’s central
block, and the steam powers a turbine, which
generates electricity. With a rated output of 64
megawatts, the facility generates 134 million
kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year, enough to
power 14,000 households. The Schott com-
pany estimates that solar thermal electricity
costs approximately 12 euro cents per kWh.
That’s much less than electricity produced by
solar cells. What’s more, the International En-
ergy Agency forecasts that the cost of solar
thermal electricity will fall to only six cents /
kWh by 2020, which would put it around the
same price as power generated from fossil
sources. Solar thermal power is more environ-
mentally friendly in any case, as 64 megawatts
of rated output reduce annual carbon dioxide
emissions by around 80,000 tons in the global
energy mix (600 grams of CO
per kWh). Siemens supplied the steam turbines for
Nevada Solar One, and for the two 50-
megawatt facilities that will go online in An-
dalusia in 2008 and 2009. The turbines must
meet special requirements because solar ther-
mal power plants produce electricity only dur-
ing the day and therefore have to be shut down
every evening and then started up quickly
again the next morning. To ensure that the oil
in the heat exchanger does not decompose,
the steam isn’t heated as much as in a conven-
Test Facilities | Solar and Geothermal Power Plants
76 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
ramer Junction is 160 kilometers east of
Los Angeles. As its name suggests, it’s not
much more than an intersection. It is, however,
the site of the world’s largest solar thermal
power plant, which has an output of 354
megawatts. Located in the middle of the Mo-
jave Desert, the facility, which employs para-
bolic mirrors to focus solar rays and vaporize
water using captured heat, has generated
more than 12 billion kilowatt-hours of energy
since 1991. It now has some competition,
however — in Boulder City, Nevada, where
Spanish company Acciona put a 320-acre solar
thermal power plant into operation in June
2007. And two similar facilities are being built
simultaneously in Spain. Siemens has been in-
volved in all of these projects, with Power Gen-
eration (PG) supplying their steam turbines.
Nevada Solar One has 219,000 individual
parabolic mirrors with a total length of 76 kilo-
meters. These mirrors reflect solar rays onto a
receiver containing a special thermal oil that is
heated to a temperature of around 400 de-
Producing energy with heat from the Earth
harbors just as much potential as solar power
generation. The rule of thumb here is that the
temperature increases by three degrees Celsius
for a depth increase of 100 meters. Tempera-
tures at a depth of three kilometers range from
80 to 120 degrees; at five kilometers the mer-
cury climbs to 130 – 160 degrees. The energy
stored at such depths is available around the
clock and can be harnessed in two ways. “The
hot dry rock” process involves pumping water
at high pressure into the ground, thereby turn-
ing the area there into a continuous-flow
heater. Hydrothermal techniques directly uti-
lize hot water already present at such depths.
In Unterhaching, a town southeast of Mu-
nich, for instance, the power of naturally-oc-
curring hot water is being tapped. Unlike some
other mayors in the area, Unterhaching’s Dr. Er-
win Knapek, didn’t want to use the water to
open a spa. A physicist, Knapek instead
arranged to have a district heating network and
a geothermal power plant built. With the help
of Siemens Industrial Solutions and Services
(I&S), the facility will soon feed its first kilo-
watt-hours into the grid, and cover around
70 percent of Unterhaching’s electricity and
heating needs. The town, which has slightly
more than 22,000 people, will thus become
the site of the world’s most modern geo-
thermal power plant. An unobtrusive stainless steel pipe pro-
trudes from the ground at the site. Not too far
away is a 20 x 12 meter hall. This facility — the
heart of the power plant — contains a compact
green generator and a pink condensate tank.
Various pipes run through the building. One
set, for the district heating system, extracts 25
of the 150 liters of thermal water that pass
through the facility per second. A second set
leads to the turbine that produces the electric-
ity, while a third single pipe pumps the water,
now cooled to 60 degrees Celsius, into a bore-
hole three kilometers away, where it is re-
turned to the depths in order to retain the un-
derground water balance. The pink color of the condensate tank
stands for ammonia, the true secret behind the
facility. The problem is that the thermal water
source in Unterhaching is not hot enough for a
conventional water-steam power-generation
cycle. Siemens engineers therefore employ the
Kalina Technique, named after its Russian in-
ventor. Here, hot water heats a mixture of
around 89 percent ammonia and 11 percent
water that is already simmering at 50 degrees
Celsius. That’s enough for the turbine — and to
generate 3.4 megawatts of electricity in Unter-
haching. This output decreases slightly in the
summer due to higher outside temperatures,
and then rises in the winter. Because of its rela-
tively low temperature and pressure, the facil-
ity has an efficiency rating of only 12 percent
(a coal power plant has a rating of 40 percent
or more). Nevertheless, the plant operates at a
profit because Germany’s Renewable Energy
Act fixes a 15 euro cent price for every kilowatt-
hour produced in such a manner. That makes
good sense given that the plant will reduce an-
nual carbon dioxide emissions by 30,000 tons,
or half of what Unterhaching was producing to
meet its electricity and heating requirements. The next few months will be very exciting
for the town — which has invested €60 million
in the geothermal project —and for the
Siemens engineers who worked on it. That’s
because the Unterhaching facility is a proto-
type. “A successful conclusion to this project
will spur development of other geothermal
power plants,” says Sameer Joshi, who is re-
sponsible for geothermal activities at I&S. A
borehole a few kilometers away in Sauerlach
has made available an ample source of hot wa-
ter, and Siemens will complete another geo-
thermal power facility in neighboring Oberrhe-
ingraben in the summer of 2008. There is thus
huge potential under the surface in Germany
for a form of power previously neglected. In
fact, a study conducted by Germany’s Ministry
of the Environment estimates that geothermal
power sources could be providing as much as
ten percent of the country’s energy require-
ment by 2050.
Jeanne Rubner
Power from Heaven and Earth
The most modern solar- and
geothermal power plants are
now being built in the U.S.,
Spain, and Germany using
technology from Siemens.
tional power plant. The turbines therefore op-
erate with two sections: one for low pressure
and one for high pressure. “This enables more
flexible operation of the turbine,” says Samuel
Fällman from Siemens PG in Sweden. Siemens'
first such turbine — which was built in 2005 —
was a great success. The company has since
sold an additional six turbines for new solar
thermal plants planned for Spain, and is now
the market leader in this segment.
Another pioneering development is direct
steam generation (DSG), in which water is
heated to more than 500 degrees Celsius and
turned to steam in the pipes. This eliminates
the need for both the heat exchanger and the
toxic thermal oil. DSG technology is being de-
veloped and tested by the German Aerospace
Center (DLR). Despite its complex flow relation-
ships, DSG functions perfectly and is ready for
practical use. Engineers from Siemens PG in Er-
langen, Germany, are also involved in the tech-
nology’s development, as PG’s Innovative
Power Plant Concepts department is now de-
termining the optimal setup for linking a DSG
solar field with a conventional power plant
block. Together with other measures, such a
concept can lower the cost of generating
power over the long term. Plans call for a small
solar thermal test facility that will use water in-
stead of oil to be built and put into operation in
a few years.
The 219,000 mirrors at the Nevada Solar One facility
(left) near Boulder City, Nevada have been supplying
environmentally friendly electricity to 14,000 house-
holds since June, 2007.
Small facility, big impact. The 20 x 12 meter hall for
Unterhaching’s geothermal power plant (above)
houses an infrastructure for converting the Earth’s
heat into electricity. Equipment includes ammonia-
water pipes (left) and a steam turbine.
81 New Social Network Tremendous bandwidths, espe-
cially in mobile communications,
provide entirely new possibilities
for social interaction.
83 Simplicity Is the Key Nokia’s chief strategist Jarkko
Sairanen explains how user-
friendliness holds the key to the mobile Internet. 84 Billions Online New developments will enable
Nokia Siemens Networks to in-
crease its lead in fixed-line and
mobile communications.
90 Networked Power
Efficient energy technology
requires networked sensors that
continuously and comprehen-
sively report conditions.
94 Hacking for Siemens Experts from Corporate
Technology invade computer
systems in tests designed to
raise the level of security.
96 Data that’s Always There Patients are receiving
improved and more affordable
treatment thanks to networked
health care.
98 The Music is Back After years of financial crisis,
Buenos Aires is being revitalized
thanks to investments in its
communications infrastructure.
Julian, a computer game designer, is preparing dinner in his networked home.
The kitchen knows which ingredients he has on hand and suggests possible meals.
Via a large, interactive display, Julian has
access to the Internet, which he uses to chat with friends and order ingredients for cooking exotic dishes. And thanks to his fiber optic connection, Julian can also
work from home.
78 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 79
an you think of anything special you’d like
me to cook for dinner?” Julian asks his wife
Catherine and blows her a kiss. “Don’t distract
me from my driving!” laughs Catherine with a
wink. “I’m not particularly hungry, so cook
whatever you like. I’m on the way home now
— my navigator tells me I’ll be there in just 20
minutes.” “Want to watch a film after dinner?”
“Sure, just pick something out. Use that intro-
Munich, 2015. Only Julian’s cooking community can save him now. His wife is bringing along a dinner guest,
and Julian, a game designer, has to improvise.
Hot Tip
Seaml ess Communi cat i on | Scenario 2015
ductory movie service subscription — you
know, the one that automatically suggests
films we might like. But wait — get a romantic
comedy, OK? See you soon, love you!” Following this brief conversation, Julian’s
face disappears from the edge of Catherine’s
windshield, and the head-up display once
again shows data from the navigation system
and driving instructions.
Catherine is a doctor and she has built up
her own consulting firm specializing in the net-
working of databases in the healthcare system.
Her clients include large clinics as well as small
medical centers. The medical profession has
changed dramatically since she was a medical
student 20 years ago. Today, healthcare is a
sector in which there are more biotechnolo-
gists, computer experts, and software develop-
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 81
hose who have found the rapid develop-
ment of communications technology over
the past few years to be breathtaking won’t be
getting much of a breather over the next ten
years. The number of Internet users around the
world is expected to rise from the current one
billion to five billion by 2015 (see p. 89). Most
of this growth will be fueled by mobile Web-
enabled devices. As a result, data traffic is ex-
pected to increase by a factor of 100. Whether
it’s cell phones or the Internet, at home or at
work — seamless communication has become
a permanent part of our lives, and data trans-
mission routes are becoming as much of a ba-
sic need as the lines that bring electricity to our
homes. Transmission technologies that use
much higher bandwidths than ever before are
opening up new possibilities not only for social
interaction in near-real networked worlds, but
also for forums that allow images, music, and
videos to be exchanged in high quality while
on the move. Devices and systems that are still
separate today, such as TV, the Internet, wire-
less networks, fixed-line networks, the office,
and industrial facilities, are converging.
Communication systems have always
played a key role at Siemens. “Around half of
our total R&D expenditure goes to software,
which basically means communication applica-
tions,” says Prof. Hartmut Raffler, head of Infor-
mation and Communications at Siemens Cor-
porate Technology (CT). “All Siemens business
areas — from Automation and Control to
Power and Medical — are permeated by com-
munications technology. After all, our products
are not isolated solutions; they’re all linked via
networks.” Since April 2007,the expertise for
fixed-line and mobile network technology has
been concentrated not only at CT but also at
Nokia Siemens Networks (see p. 84). The es-
tablishment of Nokia Siemens Networks was
Siemens’ reaction to growing consolidation,
the idea being that the joint venture would en-
able the company to maintain its strong market
position in communications.
“We work with Nokia Siemens Networks in
order to make its new technologies available to
our business areas,” says Raffler. “It’s very im-
portant for us to have close contact with this
technological pioneer, and to Siemens Enter-
prise Communications (SEN), which offers
communication solutions for businesses.” Peer-to-peer networks offer an example of
the effectiveness of this setup. Such networks
allow computers to link up with one another in-
dependently of a central server. SEN used this
technology to develop a telephone system in
which terminals plugged into a fixed-line jack
automatically join together in a network (see p.
88). “This principle could also end up having a
major impact on the energy technology sector,”
Raffler says. “In the future, we’ll be seeing
many types of small power generation facili-
ties, and these will have to be linked together
in intelligent systems that enable them to
communicate with one another. Peer-to-peer
networks offer an ideal solution.” (p. 90)
Evolution, not Revolution. Although commu-
nications technology is developing rapidly, we
are unlikely to experience major surprises.
“There won’t be a revolution in wireless systems
over the next few years,” says Torsten Gerpott, a
professor of Telecommunications Management
at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany.
“What you will see will be evolution in areas
such as data transmission capacity.” The fastest
theoretically possible commercial wireless con-
nection today (UMTS with the HSDPA exten-
sion) achieves a transfer rate of 14.4 megabits
per second (Mbit/s). However, experts believe
this figure will increase to 200 Mbit/s by 2015,
which is around 12 times more than the rate
managed by today’s most powerful DSL connec-
tions in the fixed-line network. Siemens has al-
ready achieved a data transfer rate of one giga-
bit per second (Gbit/s) under lab conditions. Bandwidths in the Internet will also increase.
Nokia Siemens Networks is the leader in glass
fiber technology, and CT is currently conducting
research into polymer fibers that can transfer
data at a rate of one Gbit/s. In just a few years,
backbone applications between servers will use
the Ethernet format to achieve a transfer rate of
100 Gbit/s — ten times higher than the norm
today. Nevertheless, the Internet’s “volatile
youthful phase has come to an end. Now it’s be-
coming mature, so to speak,” says Gerpott.
In other words, we shouldn’t expect com-
pletely new technologies to hit the market; in-
stead, we’ll be seeing new applications that will
improve everyday life. One of the buzzwords
Researchers at Siemens Corporate Technology
have succeeded in transmitting data at a speed of one gigabit per second using a single polymer fiber.
ment system. He decides to make spaghetti
carbonara because there are still five eggs left
and an organic dairy service will be delivering
its next scheduled order the day after tomor-
His wife’s ring tone interrupts him as he’s
chopping onions. Her face pops up in a win-
dow on the big display in the kitchen. “Julian,
sorry, there’s been a small change in our plans
for this evening. I’ve just had a call from a clinic
where the patient database is going crazy. It’s
probably a server problem that has nothing to
do with my software, but I can confirm that
only together with my colleague Cynthia. I’ve
just reached a broadband hot spot, so I have a
good connection via the car-to-car network. It’s
going to take a while. We’ll probably have to
check all of the log files. I’ve invited Cynthia to
come to dinner later, to show her how much I
appreciate her help, so please make something
special, O.K. Sweetheart? A meal that she’s
never had before. Bye. Cynthia’s calling back,
we’ve got to get started…“
Grumbling a little, Julian goes to the range
and turns off the heat under the water for the
spaghetti and then logs in to his cooking club.
The web site window tells him there are 247
members online. One of the hobby cooks will
surely have a good idea for him. He drags and drops the available ingredi-
ents in a window and starts the messaging ap-
plication. The first replies arrive quickly, includ-
ing one from Rob in England. Julian knows him
from an online course offered by the school
founded by Ferran Adrià, the famous Spanish
chef. With a click of his mouse, he selects Rob
right away and opens a video connection in
another window. Julian explains his situation. “I’m getting the
impression that you don’t especially like Cyn-
thia,” says Rob. “Then I recommend you make
baked curry fish with a pepper crust in coconut
milk, spinach, and steamed potatoes. I’ll order
just the right korma paste and the coconut milk
for you at ‘Bombay Kitchen.’ They also supply
through dealers in Germany and deliver in 20
minutes,” says Rob. Julian thanks him and gets
the fish from the freezer compartment…
One hour later, Cynthia, Catherine, Julian,
and Max are sitting at the dinner table. “Wow,
Dad! You’ve really outdone yourself,” says Max.
“Really, it’s delicious,” adds Catherine. Cynthia,
meanwhile, is busy scraping crushed pepper-
corns from her fish. Her cheeks are sprinkled
with red spots, and beads of sweat glisten on
her forehead. “Yes, very good,” she concurs.
“Thanks again for the spontaneous invitation”
“Our pleasure,” says Julian with a grin. “You are
always welcome here…“ Norbert Aschenbrenner
ers than physicians. This sounds complicated,
but thanks to integrated diagnostics and
therapy many things are simpler than they
used to be. Information about patients, their case histo-
ries and, most importantly, comparable cases
with the names removed are available today to
everyone involved, and that makes doctors’
work much easier. Doctors can make diagnoses
faster, using genetic and protein databases
when necessary, and choose the best therapy
or medicine for a particular patient. Catherine
helps clinics integrate information technology
into their daily work processes. Today she has
installed a software update in a newly built pri-
vate clinic for heart patients.
Her husband Julian has made a profession
out of his hobby and works at home developing
scenarios for RealNetGames, one of the largest
producers of online games. Using a 10 gigabit
glass fiber connection, he can design the three-
dimensional worlds of the role-play “Fellows of
Glendalough” on four large displays. Together
with his colleagues he’s now building an addi-
tional feature that will be made available in
two months to the 250 million active members
of the fantasy game community. Known as
“The Descent,” the feature will sport a complex
of interconnected caves in which players will
encounter a completely new type of being —
creatures who initially appear to be very ag-
gressive but later turn out to be intelligent in-
habitants of an underground parallel world.
That’s why Julian has spent a lot of time in
recent weeks exchanging ideas with spelunk-
ers in Web 2.0 communities so that he can
make the scenario as realistic as possible. As his
workspace is networked with all of his project
partners, Julian can work with them smoothly.
New ideas and changes to the 3D worlds are
immediately accessible to everyone. Because
the system has a memory, previous work
stages can be reconstructed. Right now, Julian
is designing a complete city on the banks of an
underground river. But first, he has to make dinner. He has be-
gun by selecting a film from a list of sugges-
tions provided by his Web service and ordering
it via video on demand. “Harry and Sally 2,” a
classic that’s one of his wife’s favorites. It’s fas-
cinating, he muses, how these interactive data-
bases generate precise profiles on the basis of
your media behavior. Catherine would have
liked the other films on the list too. His son Max
has finished his homework and is now im-
mersed in his favorite science fiction game. He
makes gestures as if dodging imaginary foes. Julian looks at the list of dishes his smart
kitchen has put together on the basis of the in-
gredients available in the cooling and refresh-
80 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
Seamless Communication | Scenario 2020
| Trends
New Social Network
Communications tech-
nology is increasingly
impacting our daily lives.
Bandwidths are expand-
ing in wireless networks
and on the Internet, cre-
ating new possibilities
for social interaction.
Meanwhile, the Internet,
wireless networks, and
fixed-line networks are
converging. In spite of
many changes, Siemens
still plays a key role in all
of these areas.
The Internet as a community. Rapidly increasing data transfer capacities are leading to completely new services and the possibility of downloading large files to any
mobile terminal. Communication islands such as airplanes, trains, and ships are being linked to the global data network via the Mogis satellite solution.
position in the mobile device market and tap
into our deep understanding of consumers
when they design solutions addressing the
challenges of operators and service providers.
Will you produce a phone that can handle
every existing radio standard?
Sairanen:You can already call our phones
multiradio products. We support GSM, Edge,
UMTS, Bluetooth, FM radio, DVB-H (digital TV),
Near Field Communication (NFC), and GPS.
What’s more, WiMAX is coming next year. As a
result, we see challenges in areas like energy
management and antenna design.
Does a company that sells only mobile
devices have a future?
Sairanen:This is a very important question
for us. Our strategy is to offer people more
than just a mobile device. Consumers want
simple, intuitive usability and comprehensive
experiences. We have therefore launched a
new Web portal called “Ovi.” It features Nokia
Maps. Our customers can download maps
from our website to Nokia phones and get instructions on how to get to a place, where
the nearest restaurants or gas stations are,
etc. We also have several devices that have full e-mail capability. We were also the first to
bring full Internet on mobile devices with the
Web Browser for S60. The S60 smartphone
software is an open platform. Owners can add
new applications and services to it to make
them richer and more personal. What do you think will be the biggest
challenges in the next two to five years?
Sairanen:If I can highlight only one chal-
lenge, I would say it’s usability. Technology is
evolving very fast. The challenge is how to
integrate all this technology so that it creates
a compelling experience for users, which in
turn opens the door to mass adoption. A
mobile phone must be so simple to use that
you can use it intuitively without reading the
manual. If we manage to do that well, we will
have a huge impact on the lives of billions of
people. Norbert Aschenbrenner
“Users don’t want to worry about the tech-
nology behind services,” says Gerpott. Instead,
they expect to have enough bandwidth to do
what they want, regardless of their location and
without the need for special transmission chan-
nels. Various devices — such as home and of-
fice PCs, vehicle navigation systems, and cell
phones — should be able to understand one
another, while data exchanges and compar-
isons should be either easy or automatic.
Outstanding user-friendliness is a funda-
mental requirement here, which is why Jarkko
Sairanen, Nokia’s chief strategist, says that the
usability of devices such as cell phones is cur-
rently the biggest challenge (see interview).
While Jenzowsky doesn’t expect to see any uni-
versal devices, he foresees three main inter-
faces with the data world in the future. “At
home you’ll have a big screen for the TV, Inter-
net, and home automation systems. Cars will
have a medium-sized display for the onboard
computer, which will be used to communicate
with other vehicles, navigate, and call infotain-
ment services. Finally, we will have pocket-sized
computers for making calls, chatting on the
Web, navigating, and sending and receiving e-
mails,” he says. Maintaining social contacts via
various channels will become more and more
important in such a world.
A similar development will occur in the
industrial realm through the networked inter-
action of individual components in automated
facilities — i.e. plug-and-play for factories. Here
we will see online sensor systems, machines
and control units that speak the same data lan-
guage and are online. Seamless communication
will also incorporate logistics chains and com-
plete product life cycles through the inclusion of
suppliers, partners, and customers (see p. 92).
Omnipresent Internet Siemens IT Solutions
and Services creates wireless communication is-
lands in aircraft, trains, ships, and remote areas.
Mogis (mobile GSM infrastructure over satellite)
uses mini mobile radio base stations from Nokia
Siemens Networks in airplanes, for example,
that are hidden behind cabin paneling. The sta-
tions bundle incoming and outgoing calls. “The
signal range of onboard cell phone in such loca-
tions must be limited to only a few meters,” says
Mogis project manager Stefan von der Heide.
Special filters ensure that the signals do not in-
terfere with aircraft electronic systems. The
combined call data is sent from a modem to
communication satellites, which transmit it to
Earth, where it is fed into fixed-line and wireless
networks via special Siemens servers.
“Sophisticated data compression enables us
to transmit seven phone conversations simulta-
neously over a single satellite channel that han-
dles 64 kilobits per second,” Heide reports. Mo-
gis was approved for use in aircraft in June
2007, and will soon be ready for mass applica-
tion. Along with phone calls, the solution also
supports GPRS and text messaging. Mogis is
based on the Internet protocol and is also suit-
able for use in trains and ships in areas that
have not yet been linked to a wireless network.
“The system enables us to connect even the
most remote area in the world to mobile net-
works via satellite,” says Heide. Now that’s
seamless worldwide communication.
Norbert Aschenbrenner
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 8382 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
Seamless Communication | Trends
Imagine that it’s ten years from now and
you’re contacting a friend. What does
your mobile phone look like?
Sairanen:I believe that there will be a prolif-
eration of mobile devices with different capa-
bilities. For example, we will have phones in
the form of watches and items that are more
or less works of art, finely crafted and very
high-end. There might also be an evolution of
the new Nokia N95, which can run any ap-
plications like a computer, with full Internet
access. It will be a phone that is as small as
today’s phones, but it will be as powerful as
the most powerful laptops are today. You will
be able to talk with a friend, even as voice,
data, and different images are transferred at a high data rate. And we will see bigger dis-
plays. One of the essential things will be the
visual experience.
Which mobile bandwidth will be
Sairanen:More than 100 megabits per
This would be about ten times the rate of
HSDPA today. Who is setting the trends
here? The network operators who provide
higher data rates, more content, and more
software applications, or the suppliers of the devices, who put more high-tech
features into their mobile phones?
Sairanen:Both. Besides those two, there’s a
lot of innovation going on at software and
Internet companies such as Google and
Yahoo. And start-ups can innovate fast in the
open Internet.
What role does Nokia Siemens Networks
play as an infrastructure supplier?
Sairanen:We work closely with Nokia
Siemens Networks in a number of ways. One
area is the push to spread the benefits of mobility to new growth markets. In June, for
example, our companies were at the EU-Africa
Business Forum in Accra, Ghana, showing ways
to increase communications access for urban
and rural areas. For day-to-day business, Nokia
Siemens Networks can leverage Nokia’s strong
Jarkko Sairanen, 43, is responsible for Nokia’s business strategy and tech-
nology planning. Before
joining the cell phone giant,
Sairanen worked at Boston
Consulting. He has an MBA
from INSEAD and an M.Sc.
from the Helsinki University
of Technology.
Usability is the Challenge
here is Web 2.0 — web sites where users can
chat and interact. Wikipedia, the Internet lexi-
con, is a prominent example. “This is a trend
that just about everyone is picking up on,” says
Stefan Jenzowsky of Trommsdorff und Drüner,
a media consulting agency. “For example, the
share of MySpace profiles accounted for by 12 –
17-year-olds is falling sharply because the 35 –
55 age group is now the largest.”
Web 2.0 also makes possible customized
services such as Pandora Internet radio, which
offers music precisely tailored to its members’
personal preferences after these have been de-
termined during a “training phase” in which
users rate various songs. “The software then
suggests similar songs designed to please the
user that he or she would not normally think
of,” Jenzowsky explains. Such services can help
Internet users handle the huge flow of informa-
tion on the Web. “A key aspect here is the ability
to make selections among the abundance of of-
ferings on the Web,” says Dr. Manfred Langen, a
knowledge management expert at CT. “With all
the blogs and other social software applications
out there, you really need to be media savvy to
keep things in perspective.” CT is therefore
working on projects geared toward a more
clearly arranged online world. The Theseus
project, for example, which is being funded by
the German Ministry of Economics, seeks to
develop and test the basic technologies and
technical standards required for obtaining infor-
mation in a targeted manner from sources such
crucial issue, which is why CT has around 70 ex-
perts who specialize in making products and
systems hacker-proof (see p. 94).
Another buzzword these days is conver-
gence — and not just within the Internet. The
telecommunication, Internet, media, and enter-
tainment sectors are now being referred to as
Wireless and fixed-line networks will eventually
completely merge with the Internet.
as Web databases. The plan here is to use spe-
cial software to determine which meaning of a
term is correct in a particular context. For exam-
ple, “Siemens” could refer to the company, its
founder, or a unit of conductivity. The Theseus project includes Siemens, SAP,
and several other German companies and re-
search institutes. “We’re also helping to restruc-
ture the Internet,” says Raffler. “The network ar-
chitecture for the Web has to be redesigned in a
manner that will make it more robust, reliable,
and able to handle a rapidly increasing data
volume, while remaining secure.” The latter is a
the “TIME industry.” Technically speaking, con-
vergence means that mobile and fixed-line net-
works are merging. For example, there are services that permit
cell phone calls to be made via a fixed-line
number in the area around your home. Experts
believe almost all data traffic will one day be
carried via the Internet, whereby nearly all types
of everyday devices will be linked to the Web.
This will lead to convergence in the data world,
as information from the most diverse sources
will be accessible from anywhere using any type
of communication device.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 85
Seamless Communication | Nokia Siemens Networks
Billions Online
Nokia Siemens Networks has what it takes to be successful in an extremely competitive market. The joint venture boasts a unique technological portfolio for creating a system that will ensure seamless communication for billions of people.
Be it optical fibers (large photo and small photo far right) or cellular radio (small photos left and center), Nokia Siemens Networks is a leader in transmission technologies.
84 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
ess than half of the world’s roughly one bil-
lion computers and three billion cell
phones are linked to the Internet — which
means we now have a historic opportunity,”
says Dr. Stephan Scholz, Chief Technology
Officer at Nokia Siemens Networks. “We envi-
sion a situation in which some five billion peo-
ple will have permanent high-bandwidth Inter-
net access by 2015, enabling them to talk to
one another or exchange photos and videos.”
However, turning this vision into reality poses a
huge challenge for the communications indus-
try. Among other things, it will require the
merging of today’s separate fixed-line, mobile,
and data networks, a process that has already
therefore allows providers to employ less
equipment while still maintaining the same
bandwidth,” says Vuorinen. This in turn will
lower the cost of mobile broadband.
To thoroughly assess its innovations, Nokia
Siemens Networks operates a large test net-
work in Espoo, where several base stations
cover ten square kilometers. “Here, our devel-
opers can test the interaction between various
devices, transmission technologies, and serv-
ices,” says Vuorinen. Workers at the site are is-
sued a special Nokia Siemens Networks SIM
card, and the frequencies used are “loaned out”
by the Finnish Communications Regulatory
Authority. In addition to the new I-HSPA archi-
tle further down the road. Among other things,
he and his team are working on Long Term
Evolution (LTE), which operates with several
antennas per base station and is expected to
offer a data transfer rate of up to 170 Mbit/s in
its initial version. Such high data rates will be
necessary because many more pictures, songs
and, above all, films will be downloaded from
the Web in the future. “Users want movies to
start immediately after they click them. They
don’t want to wait,” says Schulz. Nokia Siemens
Networks has in fact already built a correspon-
ding demonstration system. “At the moment,
we’re up to 170 Mbit/s using two antennas.
With four we get 340 Mbit/s,” says Schulz. “But
this was achieved in controlled laboratory con-
ditions; there are too many possible sources of
interference to reach that level in the field.” LTE
employs the orthogonal frequency division
multiplexing (OFDM) procedure, which uses
radio bandwidths more efficiently and can
therefore transfer more data. WiMAX also uses
OFDM, as does WLAN, the DVB-T and DVB-H TV
standards. Schulz believes mobile devices for
LTE can be developed quickly, now that manu-
facturers have fully developed the underlying
chip technology.
He and his team have also achieved a wire-
less rate of one gigabit per second. They did so
by combining OFDM with an intelligent an-
tenna system consisting of three transmitting
and five receiving antennas. The transmission
bandwidth here was 100 megahertz, however,
which is five times higher than what LTE was
designed for. The system’s range of several
hundred meters is also lower than that
achieved with today’s radio cells. “For such high
transfer rates, long range is currently not re-
quired,” says Schulz. That’s because Nokia
Siemens Networks’ scenario involves using
these high bandwidths mostly in hot spots,
where mobile terminals automatically adjust
data transfer rates in accordance with available
bandwidth. “We’ve already got the rudiments
down for such a system,” says Schulz. “At the
moment, it can smoothly switch over from 14
kbit/s to five Mbit/s and also transmit videos
without any interruption.”
Struggling for New Frequencies.Although
LTE is far from ready for mass production, an-
other completely new chapter in mobile com-
munications is already beginning. This Octo-
ber, the World Radio Conference (WRC) will
convene in Geneva, Switzerland. At the meet-
ing, representatives of the member countries
of the International Telecommunication Union
(ITU) will conduct negotiations on the fre-
quency spectrum for fourth-generation (4G)
mobile radio. “This is going to be exciting, be-
cause it’s still not clear where the required fre-
quencies might lie,” Schulz explains. “At the
moment, they’re used differently in different
countries.” Standardization probably won’t be
achieved here until 2011. The first 4G cell
phone prototypes could become available in
2014. These new phones are expected to be
extremely powerful by today’s standards, as
the goal is a data transfer rate of one gigabit
per second.
billion and a global workforce of approximately
60,000 (including 17,000 in research and de-
velopment), the joint venture counts among its
customers 75 of the world’s top 100 telecom-
munication companies. The entire communications sector has been
under tremendous cost pressure ever since the bubble burst. Although technological
advances have helped cut costs, they have also
reduced the number of people needed to oper-
ate telecommunications facilities. Thus the first
order of business at the new joint venture is to
further tighten control over expenditures.
“We’re going to address this issue and use our
leadership in innovation to create a foundation
begun. The Internet is taking on more and
more data traffic. In just a few years, nearly all
telephone calls and TV broadcasts will run over
IP technology, which enables information to be
sent in small separate data packages that are
then reassembled when they arrive at their
destinations. “This will lead to major changes
for everyone in the industry — but we’re ex-
tremely well prepared,” says Scholz.
That’s because Siemens and Nokia have
joined forces to offer all types of relevant solu-
tions as the sector undergoes this transforma-
tion. Nokia Siemens Networks is one of the
world leaders in both wireless and fixed-line
infrastructure and services. With sales of €17
for business success,” says Scholz. “In any case,”
adds colleague Lauri Oksanen, head of Nokia
Siemens Network’s Product Technology in Es-
poo, Finland, “we’ve already got the most
extensive portfolio in the industry.” Good-bye to Large Switching Cabinets.
Most of the two billion people who are ex-
pected to become Internet users in coming
years will probably be connected to the Web
via mobile devices. With this in mind, Nokia
Siemens Networks is working on a new type of
mobile Internet architecture called Internet
High Speed Packet Access (I-HSPA) technology.
Today the fastest theoretical data transfer rate
for wireless downloads (14.4 megabits per sec-
ond — see p. 89 and Pictures of the Future,Fall
2004, p. 11) is offered by HSPA. “I-HSPA tech-
nology enables us to directly link cell phones to
the Internet via a base station, without using a
radio network controller or RNC,” explains Antti
Vuorinen, who heads the Application Labora-
tory in Espoo. A major telecommunications
provider generally requires dozens of these
man-sized switching cabinets to operate a na-
tionwide network. Depending on the equip-
ment setup, several hundred base stations
might be connected to an RNC today. “I-HSPA
tecture, Nokia Siemens Networks is testing its
mobile WiMAX system. Fixed WiMAX already
exists for point-to-point transmission. This
technology can in theory achieve transfer rates
of up to 70 megabits per second (Mbit/s) over a
distance of 50 kilometers. Mobile WiMAX rep-
resents a real wireless alternative to DSL in ar-
eas that can either not be hooked up to the In-
ternet via cables, or where the costs of such a
link would be prohibitive. But now, mobile
WiMAX is being developed to provide service
for devices that are on the move. To this end, a
major field test will be launched at the end of
this year, and Nokia plans to launch devices
that use the technology in 2008. Working with
industry partners, Nokia Siemens Networks is
also building a WiMAX network for U.S. wire-
less provider Sprint that will serve some 100
million customers. Sprint is investing $3 billion
in the project.
Dr. Egon Schulz, who heads Nokia Siemens
Networks’ Future Mobile Communication Tech-
nologies department in Munich, is looking a lit-
By 2014, 4G cell phones are expected to have a
data transfer rate of one gigabit per second. Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 87
Internet pizza via cell phone? The new CAT-iq standard links mobile phones to the Internet, opening up many new application possibilities on the road to the networked home.
temperatures with predefined settings in every
room and then adjusts heating system valves
to bring temperatures to the desired level.
Synco living is based on KNX, an open
global standard for building system technol-
ogy. The key aspect here, says Hauser, is that
“depending on the needs of the resident, the
heating system can be easily combined with
electrical and security applications.” Some peo-
ple, for example, don’t need a home security
system right away, while adjustable heating
systems are a fast-growing trend. Hauser also
says that installation costs for Synco living are
extremely low, thanks to battery powered com-
ponents and wireless connections. Additional
KNX-based products from other manufacturers
can also be integrated into the system.
In the realm of infotainment, the PC-Inter-
net world is merging with devices like MP3
players, digital cameras, cell phones, game
consoles, and TVs. Fujitsu Siemens Computers
(FSC) believes networked homes will require
powerful data storage units that can handle
photos and videos, as well as Web and televi-
sion content, whereby users will access such
content via WLAN and the Internet. FSC already
offers an expandable home server with a 500-
gigabyte hard disk. “The top priority for us at the moment is tel-
evision,” says Björn Fehrm, head of FSC’s Digital
Home unit. Fehrm emphasizes the importance
of systems for recording television broadcasts
onto hard disks, thus enabling users to view
programs at any time. Then there’s “Follow Me
TV,” which allows users to continue watching a
program on a laptop that’s connected via
WLAN and the Universal Plug-and-Play (UPnP)
standard protocol, if they want to go into the
garden, for example. Telecommunication companies are now
also offering TV programming via Internet
(IPTV), although channel surfing requires spe-
cial solutions that interact smoothly with the
network infrastructure and set-top boxes.
“We’ve had an IPTV platform on the market
since 2000. Today, four European and more
than 80 U.S. providers use it to broadcast via
broadband,” says Udo Biro, IPTV product man-
ager at Nokia Siemens Networks. Depending
on the provider, several hundred thousand
viewers can thus now watch more than one
hundred stations in high definition, download
videos, or record programs, which they can
watch anytime they want. “In the future, we’ll
also see the convergence of IPTV solutions and
mobile radio networks,” says Biro. This will
make it possible for someone to take a picture
with their cell phone, for example, and then
send it to a Web portal, from which a friend can
download the photo to his or her television.
Finding your Favorite Shows.Lydia Aldejo-
hann, who is responsible for innovative busi-
ness models at Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN),
believes the television of the future will offer a
large number of personalized services. NSN al-
ready has a TV service package known as Ivon
that works with new types of hybrid set-top
boxes that receive TV broadcasts via conven-
tional cables, satellite, or DVB-T channels and
are also equipped with a DSL connection for in-
teractive functions. “We developed an intelligent software client
for Ivon that creates dynamic user profiles,”
says Aldejohann. Such profiles allow the sys-
tem to register and assess user preferences,
which enables the set-top box to make viewing
suggestions on the basis of an electronic pro-
gram guide (EPG). Ivon also automatically
records programs that fit a given user profile.
The solution is being tested in Finland with
Connect TV Group Oy until the end of 2007
and, as Aldejohann reports, “Ivon could be-
come commercially available in 2008.”
The merging of telephones with the Inter-
net continues as well. CAT-iq (Cordless Ad-
vanced Technology – internet and quality) —
the successor of DECT (Digital Enhanced Cord-
less Telecommunications) — sends out radio
signals worldwide in the unlicensed frequency
spectrum and cannot be affected by WLAN or
Bluetooth systems. “Internet telephony with
CAT-iq is so clear that it sounds like the person
you’re talking to is right next to you,” says Erich
Kamperschroer, chairman of the DECT Forum
and head of Innovation and Technology Man-
agement at Siemens Home and Office Commu-
nication Devices (SHC). What’s more, the bat-
teries in CAT-iq devices last longer than those
in WLAN phones and the system’s range of 50
meters in the home is also much greater.
CAT-iq makes it possible for cordless phones
to directly access the Internet and future Inter-
net-based networks. “For the first time, applica-
tions such as the direct dialing of numbers
looked up in Internet telephone books will be-
come possible,” says Kamperschroer. The tech-
nology could also open up Internet radio to a
mass market. According to Kamperschroer,
CAT-iq is the only radio technology that distrib-
utes audio signals at a continual high quality.
CAT-iq can also be used to supplement LAN
and WLAN as a home data distribution system.
WLAN reaches its limit at the high transfer
rates that are, for example, required when sev-
eral TVs in a home are hooked up to the sys-
Seamless Communication | Networked Living
Welcome to the Smart Home
The rapid increase in
broadband connections is resulting in a growing
number of networked
homes, especially in the
realm of infotainment. Siemens solutions enable
new comfort and security
features, while new com-
munication standards simplify the wireless networking of individual
system components.
86 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
eter uses his cordless telephone to go on
the Internet, where he notes the number of
a pizzeria and orders two pizzas. His wife, Sally,
has already sent a cell phone postcard to
Peter’s TV to tell him that she and their two
children, Anne and David, will soon be arriving.
When the pizza delivery man arrives, he is rec-
ognized by the home security system, which
opens the door before he can ring the bell... Technically speaking, this scenario could be-
come reality tomorrow. However, to date, such
a combination of communication, entertain-
ment, and security systems — including the
control of lights, heating, and blinds — has
been implemented only in demonstration
projects. “We still have individual systems that
are very costly to install and require a lot of
effort and expense to modify,” says Thomas
Hauser, a building automation expert at
Siemens Building Technologies (SBT).
To improve things, in 2007 SBT launched
Synco living, a radio-based home automation
system. At the heart of the system is a central
unit that enables residents to control all func-
tions in up to 12 rooms and monitor everything
on a display. There are room temperature sen-
sors that radio temperature data to the central
unit, whose heat regulator compares actual
Such speed is the norm in the Internet back-
bone today, where large routers transmit data
worldwide along lines that can accommodate
between 2.5 and ten Gbit/s. However, the huge
boom in video portals such as YouTube and
other high-data services will require the intro-
duction of even more powerful technologies.
That’s why Nokia Siemens Networks is plan-
ning to expand glass fiber transmission tech-
nologies. “Customers are now asking for lines
that can handle 40 to 100 Gbit/s,” says Ernst-
Dieter Schmidt, who conducts optical systems
research in Munich. The glass fiber lines trans-
mit light signals (in the infrared range at a
wavelength of 1,500 nanometers) thousands
of kilometers. These light signals are then con-
verted back to electrical signals when they
reach their destination.
Light Pulse.Optical-fiber networks also offer a
further advantage in that once they’ve been
laid, they can be equipped with new technol-
ogy that increases bandwidth. “All you have to
do is replace the optical transmitters and re-
ceivers,” Schmidt explains. Lines that can trans-
mit 40 Gbit/s will be ready for market launch at
the end of 2008. With the help of amplifiers
along their routes, they will be able to transmit
data over a distance of up to 1,400 kilometers.
The 100 Gbit/s lines will then go online in
2010. “Transmitting such large volumes of data
is an extremely complex process,” says
Schmidt. For one thing, you need very fast
modulators that can generate the required fre-
quencies and thus the information bits. The in-
dividual light pulses are also unimaginably
short. At one Gbit/s, a bit is a pulse 20 centime-
ters in length, but at 100 Gbit/s, it’s only two
millimeters long — and traveling at 300,000
kilometers per second.
Regardless of which technology is used to
transmit data, it will have to be of very high
quality and extremely reliable. “Future users
won’t be interested in what type of bandwidth
they’re working with,” says Oksanen. “They will
simply want to be able to use Internet services
anytime and anywhere — without complica-
tions.” The challenge for wireless providers in
particular, according to Oksanen, is that they
will need to react more rapidly to Internet de-
velopments in the future in order to ensure
that trusted services from Google, MySpace,
YouTube etc. will function smoothly on cell
phones as well. “We can help providers operate
their networks as efficiently as possible and
rapidly integrate new applications — whether
it’s a fixed-line or a mobile network,” says Oksa-
nen. “Once we do all this, the vision of five
billion people online will become a reality,”
adds Scholz.Norbert Aschenbrenner
SL is now the world’s favorite broadband technology
for surfing the Internet, uploading photos and videos
onto popular Web 2.0 sites and, more and more, for
watching TV. According to Point Topic, in December 2006
two thirds of the world’s 281 million broadband users
were connected via DSL. And by 2009, according to the
Stanford Group, there will be 258 million DSL users. Cable
modems, satellite connections, and optical fibers are less
widespread. In the meantime, many experts believe that most con-
nections to the Internet will soon be made via mobile ter-
minals instead of stationary computers. After all, the num-
ber of cellular phone connections worldwide exceeded
three billion in August 2007 according to the European Information Technology Observatory market research in-
stitute (EITO). Furthermore, EITO forecasts that this num-
ber will hit four billion by 2010, with another billion to come by 2015. This figure not only includes SIM cards for cell phones and smart phones, but also data
cards for notebooks. Most of the growth is occurring in
Asia (especially in China and India) and in Latin America.
In India, six million new cell phone subscribers sign up
every month. Cellular radio networks still have enormous potential
in terms of data rates. Third generation (3G) networks,
currently with 114 million UMTS users worldwide, are
now being upgraded from 384 kilobits per second (kbit/s) to higher data speeds. According to the GSM Asso-
ciation (GSMA), the international industry association of
more than 700 cellular radio operators, 155 UMTS net-
works are now “on air” in 68 countries worldwide. High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) has already been
switched on by 110 of these networks in 57 countries, and
another 52 network operators are planning to start using
the technology soon. HSPA boosts transmission capacity
from its current 7.2 megabits per second (Mbit/s) down-
link (DL) and 1.46 Mbit/s uplink (UL) to up to 14.4 Mbit/s
(DL) and 5.72 Mbit/s (UL) over a range of upgrade steps.
According to estimates, HSPA is set to become the leading
UMTS technology, with around a billion users worldwide
by 2012.
Chip manufacturers and suppliers of network technol-
ogy both expect more powerful UMTS networks to offer
even higher bandwidths starting in 2009. In combination
with special transmission methods such as OFDM (orthog-
onal frequency division multiplexing) and multi-antennae
systems, they expect to see 42 Mbit/s (DL) and 11 Mbit/s
(UL). Fourth generation cellular radio networks, whose
standardization is about to begin, are expected to offer
100 Mbit/s and more, starting in 2011.
Networks are also being launched with wireless
WiMAX (worldwide interoperability for microwave access)
Broadband Technologies Boom
| Facts and Forecasts
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 89
technology. Analysts from Credit Suisse First Boston esti-
mate that mobile WiMAX will usher in data rates of 2
Mbit/s to 70 Mbit/s, while experts from Arthur D. Little ex-
pect peak rates of 16.8 Mbit/s. Around the world, terminal manufacturers are react-
ing to the coexistence of different mobile broadband tech-
nologies and offering cell phones, smart phones, hand-
helds, and notebooks with multiple technologies on
board. Frost & Sullivan’s market researchers are highlight-
ing in particular cell phones capable of phoning via both
cellular networks and, at lower cost, WLAN connections.
Experts from Strategy Analytics forecast that around 15
million notebooks with integrated 3G modems will be de-
livered in 2009. Competition comes from Intel’s WiMAX
chipsets, which are also being used in notebooks.
The industry also sees great advantages in high band-
widths, for example in the use of industrial Ethernet in fac-
tories. The market for industrial Ethernet equipment is
growing by more than 51 percent per year, according to a
2005 study from the ARC Advisory Group. This suggests
that the number of industrial Ethernet units will grow
from its current 3.1 million to 6.6 million in 2009. Indus-
trial Wireless Lan (IWLAN) is also making progress. Accord-
ing to the ARC Advisory Group, the market for wireless in-
dustrial equipment will grow from $453 million in 2007 to
$1 billion in 2010.Nikola Wohllaib
88 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
Limitless Availability
Work can be made
more efficient if employees can always be reached, regardless of location, time of day,
or the networks and terminals they utilize. One solution for speeding
up communication
processes in this manner is
offered by Siemens’ Open-
Scape system (Pictures of
the Future, Fall 2004,
p.14). “OpenScape uses
the media-independent
Session Initiation Protocol
(SIP) to bring together
separate networks like the company LAN, mobile radio, and fixed lines, says Karl Klug, an innovation manager at Siemens Enterprise Communications
(SEN). SIP transmits voice communications over IP networks, determines the identity of callers, and
routes calls to the phone where the employee can be reached at a given moment. OpenScape is used by many customers today, including Accenture and Telstra. The latter is Australia’s leading provider of
communication services for businesses. IBMrecently obtained a license to integrate specific OpenScape
components into its Lotus telephony package. “We’ve been working with open interfaces — and therefore with SIP — since 2006,” says Klug. Utiliza-
tion of SIP makes it possible even for small companies to combine Internet telephony (Voice-over-IP, or
VoIP) with conventional telephone systems and mobile radio networks, as well as with software tele-
phones in laptops. “We can do this with HiPath BizIP for up to 20 employees,” says product manager
Franz Kneissl. OpenScape doesn’t even require a telephone system, as each telephone handles switch-
ing functions, configuring itself automatically using the Peer-to-Peer Protocol (Pictures of the Future, Fall 2005, p.32).
SEN has also developed a solution known as HiPath Mobile Connect with Nokia. “HiPath Mobile Connect
combines VoIP, Voice-over-WLAN, and mobile radio,” says Marcus Birkl. The system is able to recognize
as extension lines special Nokia cell phones (dual-mode) that can operate with either the GSM network
or WLAN. Employees can always be reached at one number and also have only one voicemail system.
The system’s cell phones also offer the common features of a fixed-line system, such as call forwarding,
call waiting, and conference calling. Calls can even be switched from a company WLAN network to a cell
phone wireless network without any interruptions. HiPath Mobile Connect, which has already been suc-
cessfully tested at ten medium-sized businesses and large corporations throughout Europe, has been on
the market since the summer of 2007. “To ensure completely seamless communication, we can also in-
tegrate video, text messaging, and all types of online instant messaging services,” says Dr. Johann-Hein-
rich Schinke, who is responsible for system architecture at SEN. OpenScape is set to be expanded to include a solution for videoconferencing at the end of 2007. “We’ve
developed a low-cost telepresence solution for the mass market,” Schinke reports. Telepresence refers
here to a new generation of videoconferencing systems that utilize high-resolution cameras and large
screens that make it appear as if conference participants from around the world are actually sitting op-
posite one another at the same table. The solution is based on SIP-enabled communication systems like
HiPath 8000 that can be integrated into a company’s IT infrastructure and which make possible the con-
vergence of voice and data services and multimedia applications. “With such a solution, it is possible for
videoconference participants to make revisions to documents and exchange ideas via instant messag-
ing,” Klug explains. Klug is convinced that such solutions will eventually include applications for the interactive Internet
(Web 2.0), such as the joint indexing of images, commentaries, and geo-data (tagging). In fact, SEN is
already working on the interfaces and products that will be needed for such applications.
Seamless Communication | Networked Homes
tem. With this in mind, SHC offers a broadband
transmission system that utilizes plastic optical
fibers for high-performance home networks.
Up to now, the 1.5-millimeter-thick polymer ca-
bles have been able to transmit data at up to
50 meters at a constant rate of 100 megabits
per second (Mbit/s). “But if we can improve sig-
nal processing, we can increase the transmis-
sion rate tenfold to one gigabit per second and
increase the range to 100 meters,” says Sebast-
ian Randel of Siemens Corporate Technology
(CT). Randel expects a prototype to be ready by
the end of 2007.
Dr. Joachim Walewski is currently working at
CT in Munich on wireless data transmission us-
ing light. Unlike polymer fibers, which use red
light, Walewski’s system employs the white
light of an LED source, which is modulated too
fast for the eye to register. Says Walewski: “An
LED ceiling lamp with a DSL connection not
only lights up; it can also send a video signal to
a TV. But our current data transfer rates are too
low.” His target is to get the rate up from 250
kbit/s and to 100 Mbit/s by the end of 2008.
Peter in our story already enjoys such high
data transfer rates. After finishing their pizzas,
he and Sally watch a recording of the news,
while Anne watches Internet TV in her room —
brought to her by polymer cables — and David
chats via webcam with friends, with whom he
also swaps home movies.Nikola Wohllaib
Wireless home automation is on the way. The modular Synco living system from Siemens Building
Technologies can be installed in existing buildings
that have up to 12 rooms. 0
Millions of connections
Millions of units
DSL dominates fixed-line broad-
band connections worldwide Demand for Ethernet
Demand for wireless technologies in industry
*Compound annual growth rate
in percent
Sales of hardware, software, services, millions of US$
Source: Yankee Group, Point Topic Research, Stanford Group 2005
Source: ARC Advisory Group, 2005
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 91
Seamless Communication | Power Plant Management
Networked Power
Today’s power plants are dynamic facilities that can
be supervised and managed via the Internet. One of
the most powerful control systems on the market is
made by Siemens. It consolidates all of a plant’s functions and is easy to use, thereby increasing efficiency and cutting operating costs.
At Vienna’s Spittelau plant, a Siemens wireless communication system helps control heat gen-
eration facility. The T3000 control system (small picture) can be operated online via a web browser.
90 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
t’s half time during an international soccer
match. Throughout Germany, demand for
electricity soars as people go to the rest room
or to the kitchen to get a bite to eat. But such
demand spikes are no problem since operators
have made sure that their power plants have
sufficient reserves to deal with such situations.
Careful preparation is required to deal with
peak loads. Conveyor belts have to supply more
coal so that boilers can generate more steam,
which in turn, results in more electricity. In
some cases, such sequences have to be carried
out with rigorous precision in which every sec-
ond counts. “A human being could barely man-
age it,” says Dr. Rainer Speh, CTO for control
systems at Siemens Power Generation (PG).
However, a fully automated control system can
easily handle the task.
Seamless integration and communication
are essential for power plants. After all, in the
energy sector a fast decision can be worth mil-
lions of euros. This is the case, for example,
with Vienna’s Spittelau plant, which incinerates
waste to generate district heating. The plant
has a wireless communications system that al-
lows it — along with several other facilities —
to be operated from a remote central control
room. One of the most modern control systems on
the market at present is Siemens’ Power Plant
Automation SPPA-T3000, which was developed
by PG. This fourth generation system starts up
the plant and provides an up-to-date overview
of its operating status. When used in a 1,000-
megawatt block of a large modern power
plant, for example, the SPPA-T3000 continu-
ously monitors up to 100,000 process inputs
and outputs. “Customers quickly notice if
something isn’t running properly and can take
countermeasures,” says Speh. Thirty of these
innovative systems are already in use world-
wide, and 200 more are on order.
Up to 150 programmers worked on the new
control system, whose special architecture is
similar to the three-tier system used for the In-
ternet. And that’s a big advantage. The first tier
manages data. It consists of a network of sen-
sors and actuators that covers the entire power
plant. The next tier is the processing level. This
is where plant control takes place. Here, sensor
data is processed and commands are sent to
the actuators that control the operation of
pumps, motors, and valves. The plant’s data is
stored on an integrated web server. All user
data and access rights are centrally managed
and each user receives only relevant data. The
third tier is a presentation level. This is where
interaction with power plant processes takes
place. Unlike other systems, SPPA-T3000 does
not require users to install special software.
Instead, control room operators can access the
system via a web browser.
The system’s intuitive navigation feature
makes it easy to operate. “We can process data
and functions more efficiently by using tem-
plates,” says Frank-Peter Kirschning, head of
the Rheinhafen steam power plant in Karls-
ruhe. This is crucial when a fault occurs, be-
cause malfunctions have to be quickly located
and diagnosed. Once the source is discovered,
the control system indicates its location. The
SPPA-T3000 system was recently installed at
the Karlsruhe plant as part of a comprehensive
upgrade. “We used to have many different sys-
tems that were linked through interfaces — a
set-up that often caused faults,” says Kirschn-
ing. “The new control system is completely ho-
mogenous and a lot simpler to use.” As a result,
plant operation is more efficient and less costly.
Another advantage of SPPA-T3000 is that it has
been designed to serve as a platform that can
be expanded through the addition of further
software modules. For customers with long-term service con-
tracts, Siemens offers a remote monitoring
hidden faults in any of a turbine’s key compo-
nents early on by continuously evaluating data
supplied by hundreds of sensors.
Extreme Stresses. It’s pretty hot in the inte-
rior of a gas turbine. Exhaust gases with tem-
peratures of 1,500 degrees Celsius are thrust
into the turbine from the combustion chamber
at pressures of more than 15 bar. The gases
cause the turbine blades to rotate at up to
3,600 rpm. Such thermal stresses can create
cracks and fissures, and, in extreme cases, even
cause metal parts to break off. These parts
would severely damage the turbine if they got
inside, causing up to a week’s down-time.
“But if a crack is discovered early, the dam-
aged part can be replaced when the turbine is
not in use,” says Dr. Hans-Gerd Brummel, man-
ager for R&D at Power Diagnostics. “If the repair
is carefully planned, it can be performed within
two days.” To detect faults, the turbine is con-
tinuously monitored by about 500 sensors. The
resulting data is analyzed by PowerMonitor. To
make all of this possible, the self-adaptive soft-
ware is first trained on the turbine. During this
periodic vibration analysis to ensure that they
are perfectly balanced. Here, PG’s power plant
team works with Power Diagnostics, particu-
larly following installation of new turbine
blades. Until recently, such analyses were per-
formed by specialized technicians on location.
But today, with the assistance of the plant’s
own technicians, such evaluations can be per-
formed remotely.
Good communication is also essential for
distributed power generation. This is the case,
for example, when a wind turbine, a landfill
gas facility and a geothermal power plant are
linked to create a virtual power generation fa-
cility. Such a network can supply energy in a
particularly economical and reliable manner
and helps to conserve resources (Pictures of
the Future, Spring 2002, p. 58). To control the
network, operators can use technology such as
the Decentralized Energy Management System
(DEMS) from Siemens.
The first step is to make an in-depth plan of
the facility’s operation. To determine what kind
of load the virtual power plant has to cover, a
day of operation is divided into a grid of 15-
minute periods and loads are calculated for
each of these. Other relevant factors are
known times of peak demand and weather
conditions, which affect photovoltaic facilities
and wind turbines. Everything else is taken
care of automatically. The DEMS uses the re-
sulting data to draw up a plan of operation for
the distributed power plant. The network is
controlled automatically, and the DEMS trans-
mits the commands to the individual power
generation facilities via data lines or mobile ra-
dio. Much of the data that is collected is not
transmitted, however, because DEMS does not
need to analyze the operation of the individual
facilities as closely as does the SPPA-T3000 sys-
tem. “The focus in the virtual power plant is not
on the optimal operation of the individual facil-
ities but on the overall power generation net-
work,” says Dr. Thomas Werner, DEMS Product
Manager at Siemens Power Transmission and
Distribution (PTD).
At present, only large-scale facilities can be
economically integrated into virtual power
plants. However, PTD and energy utility RWE re-
cently developed a new model for organizing
the technical and economic aspects of virtual
power plants. This new concept will make it
possible to integrate facilities that are not
owned by the network operator. Once a uni-
form communications standard has been es-
tablished, it will even be possible to feed elec-
tricity into virtual power plants from private
homes. “That’s the vision we’re working on,”
says Reinhard Remberg from the Strategic Mar-
keting Department at PTD.Werner Pluta
service. Here, operating data related to tur-
bines and other systems is transferred via the
Internet to Siemens’ Power Diagnostics Centers
in Erlangen, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany, or
to Orlando, Florida (Pictures of the Future, Fall
2004, p. 67 / Spring 2005, p. 48). The underly-
ing software for this service was developed by
PG’s Dr. Hans-Gerd Brummel together with a
team headed by Dr. Claus Neubauer, project
manager at the Intelligent Vision & Reasoning
Department at Siemens Corporate Research
(SCR) in Princeton, New Jersey. Known as Power-
Monitor, the diagnostic software can detect
phase, PowerMonitor calculates expected val-
ues for all of the sensors. These values are then
compared with current measurements and
deviations are reported. “In the past, such mal-
functions appeared without any prior warning,”
says Brummel.
Such surprises are no longer possible, since
remote diagnostics allow operators to deter-
mine precisely where a turbine fault is about to
occur. Siemens currently monitors 260 gas tur-
bines worldwide. In addition to early detection
of faults, Siemens specialists assist plant opera-
tion — for example, when turbines undergo
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 93
Seamless Communication | Production
Factory Data Democracy
Reliable communication systems that extend from the factory floor to plant offices
are the key to faster, more efficient, and more flexible production. Whether it’s wireless or wired systems — Siemens has the right technology for every situation.
Seamless factory communication — from the paint
shop to the office — is becoming increasingly common, and now includes wireless systems such as industrial WLAN (small pictures).
92 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
et’s say you want to buy a new sports car.
How would you order it? In black with light-
colored seats, or maybe white with a silver side
frame, or red with a manual transmission? The
variety of consumer tastes has a major impact
on industrial production, as it forces manufac-
turers to become more flexible and react to the
growing demand for different designs. A state-
of-the-art automotive paint shop today paints
one body green, the next blue, and a third
white. Bumpers and seats matching the vehicle
color also need to be mounted. Such individualization is just one trend
that’s changing production processes. “The
time from original idea to finished product is
getting shorter,” says Dr. Heiner Röhrl, head of
Industrial Communication at Siemens Automa-
tion and Drives (A&D) in Nuremberg, Germany.
This is having an impact on everyone in the
production process — from product designers
to production managers, suppliers, and distrib-
utors, all of whom need to access relevant
product data more quickly than ever before.
“That’s why all production-related data
should be collected only once, and then stored
in a database accessible to everyone,” says
Röhrl, referring to merchandise management
systems, development, production control, and
accounting (see pp. 13, 16). Production floors
and offices are thus set to converge globally.
“That’s the vision of the seamless factory,” says
Röhrl. “It’s a vision of a a common data library
that allows production processes to be config-
ured more rapidly and flexibly.” It is, in short, a vision of a virtual world of
communication in which data flows from the
factory paint shop to the executive suite. But
for this vision to be translated into reality, local
partner networks need to be able to exchange
data — something they can’t do now because
most networks have separate standards. What
is needed, therefore, is a medium that commu-
nicates information across all local interfaces.
“This medium will be Ethernet,” says Röhrl. Eth-
ernet is nothing new. It’s been used for more
than 30 years to link office computers, while
Industrial Ethernet has been networking pro-
duction control systems for over 20 years.
Now, however, Ethernet is set to take control of
individual machines in factories.
Data that’s Always There.Yet significant
challenges remain to be overcome. “The big is-
sue is real-time data transmission,” says Ewald
Kuk, head of Product Management at Industrial
Communication. “In office Ethernet systems, if
a data packet has to wait a couple of seconds
because the information highway is occupied,
no one will notice.” But that can’t be allowed to
happen with production machines, the control
processes for which often occur in the space of
milliseconds or even microseconds. “Imagine a
printing machine with several rollers,” says
Kuk. “If just one roller fails to operate com-
pletely in synch with the others, you can throw
away the result. That’s why we’ve developed an
Industrial Ethernet system that always keeps a
high-priority lane open for time-critical data.”
(see Pictures of the Future, Fall 2005, p. 34).
Because Industrial Ethernet is based on the of-
fice network standard, it has no problems with
interface linkage.
But not all production areas can be con-
nected via cables, which is why wireless solu-
tions should be employed in difficult-to-reach
areas, not to mention when it comes to driver-
less transport systems and rotating compo-
nents. Audi, for example, uses IWLAN (Indus-
trial Wireless Local Area Network) in the
production of its R8 sports car. Here, the vehi-
IWLAN technology is very complex because
factories contain a lot of equipment that can
interfere with signals. There are metal ma-
chines, devices that emit electromagnetic
waves, and areas with very high temperatures
and vibrations. Uninterrupted connections can
be ensured by using special materials for re-
ceiver housings and secure installations for cir-
cuit boards from Siemens’ Scalance W product
family. In addition, encryption and access con-
trol systems do their part to protect against ex-
ternal computer attacks. At the 2007 Hannover
Intelligent algorithms and growing comput-
ing power on chips open up completely new
application possibilities for these sensor net-
works, as they are now capable of self-organi-
zation. Individual sensors can start themselves
up, recognize neighboring sensors, and com-
municate with them, meaning that if one sen-
sor fails, another can pass on the information
that would otherwise have been lost.
Such systems are known as mesh networks
because they link sensors like a lattice, which is
what distinguishes them from previous star-
cle body is mounted on a device that can rotate
360 degrees, enabling bolting robots to reach
every corner. Because IWLAN is based on the
WLAN standard, it can easily be integrated into
existing networks and Ethernet systems,
whereby the wireless connection presents a
challenge in addition to the real-time issue in
that it needs to be reliable at all times. “If your
cell phone drops a call, you can redial, but an
interruption to the radio signal in a factory will
result in expensive losses after just a few
minutes,” Kuk explains. IWLAN therefore uses
redundant antennas, reserved data transfer
packets, a time-monitored signal transmission
system and a roaming function to ensure con-
tinuous connections. “Thanks to its patented
innovations, Siemens has a lead of at least one-
and-a-half years on the competition when it
comes to reliable wireless data communica-
tions,” says Kuk. trade fair, Siemens presented a new wireless
emergency cut-off security feature. “Our
IWLAN system makes it possible for the first
time to not only securely monitor a facility but
also securely operate it,” says Kuk. Emergency
shut-down circuit breakers are usually trig-
gered via separate cables. With Siemens’
IWLAN system, however, the emergency signal
is securely transmitted within fractions of a
second in the reserved data transfer packet.
Thanks to the increasing performance capa-
bility of a broad range of components, indus-
trial communication systems are becoming
ever more seamless — all the way down to the
level of sensors and actuators. Sensors register
parameters such as proximity, speed and ambi-
ent conditions, thus making it possible to mon-
itor equipment. They also contribute to the ef-
fectiveness of control processes through their
connection with actuators.
shaped architectures in which each node could
only communicate with neighboring devices.
“Self-organization makes wireless systems
more flexible and robust, and also significantly
lowers planning and operating costs,” says
Dr. Rainer Sauerwein, a self-organization re-
searcher at Siemens Corporate Technology.
“This is especially helpful when the network
topology cannot be planned in advance.” This
would be the case, for example, if a truck driv-
ing between two oil tanks at a refinery had its
wireless connection interrupted. Sauerwein and his colleagues are develop-
ing new wireless technologies to ensure that
sensors can be utilized as flexibly as possible in
production. But such systems need to be im-
mune to disturbances from other radio fields in
the factory environment. “The most interesting
standard here at the moment is ultra-wide
band, or UWB,” Sauerwein says. “Unlike nar-
The seamless factory foresees information con-
vergence between assembly lines and offices.
94 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 95
Machines that Talk to Each Other
Machine-to-Machine-Communication (M2M) refers to the automated exchange of data between
machines. While M2M enables the transmission of data over great distances via mobile radio, it cannot
provide for the real-time transfer needed in production. That’s why long-distance M2M networks are
best employed in areas where IWLAN or Industrial Ethernet are not economically viable options and
there are no time-critical applications to consider — such as, for instance, monitoring giant pipelines in
open country. M2M technology from Siemens can be used for systems such as beverage machines that
notify a central warehouse when they need to be refilled, or electricity meters that radio readings to
utility companies. Freight-forwarders can also utilize M2M to have truck data radioed to headquarters.
Seamless Communication | Production | Security
the Bar
Many production plants are linked to the Internet
and utilize standard software, which makes
them a potential target for hackers. Siemens is
making these systems
more secure.
hings are running smoothly in the plant. A
robot moves car bodies to the next work
station, where assembly workers are waiting,
and the IT officer has informed the production
manager that the robot control system is com-
pletely secured against hacker attacks. “We’ve
got effective passwords, secure encryption,
and an impervious firewall,” he announces. As
it turns out, he’s wrong. A hacker has just en-
tered the system by using a Google search to
find the production control home page. He
tries out a couple of simple passwords, but to
no avail. Then he launches what’s known as an
SQL injection. Instead of using a password, he
copies into the entry mask a short piece of pro-
gram code and manipulates the database,
which contains security-related information.
He is thus able to open the lock without using a
key, as it were. Now things begin to move
quickly. The hacker has found his way into the
production line control system. He issues a
command to stop a robot, which then proceeds
to open its gripping arm, causing a heavy body
shell component to fall directly on top of a
worker. Murmuring can now be heard in the audito-
rium as the lights go on, and the 300 people at
an in-house Siemens fair in February 2007 are
completely shocked at how easily Dr. Konstan-
row-band IWLAN, UWB operates on a very
broad frequency, is suitable for use with mesh
networks, and provides for more precise local-
ization.” With UWB, sensor network data can
be sent to an IWLAN receiver or directly to an
Ethernet system via a gateway that pre-
processes the information. It can then be for-
warded to all downstream systems and, if nec-
essary, even to the accounting department. RFIDs for Eggs. Information like supplier data
would definitely be of interest to accounting
departments, however. And radio frequency
identification (RFID) technology can provide
exactly such data. Tiny RFID transponders,
which can be affixed to goods or components,
store production and identification data, which
can be sent to reading devices (see Pictures of
the Future, Fall 2005, p. 28).
Up until recently, RFID technology was used
mainly in closed factory cycles. Now, however,
it’s moving into other areas. Spanish company
Grupo Leche Pascual, for example, which
processes around two million eggs per day into
dairy and pasta products, has been using RFID
technology from Siemens for its supplier chain
since mid-2006. The vehicles that transport the
eggs are equipped with RFID transponder sys-
tems that register the origin, amount, and
weight of each truck shipment. The system has
sensors that record temperature, and it also
utilizes the Global Positioning System (GPS) to
track trucks. When a shipment arrives at the
factory, the data is checked for irregularities in
order to avoid any loss of quality or materials.
The origin of the ingredients is thus thoroughly
documented, and the plant accounting depart-
ment receives supplier data in real time for its
accounts payable system.
Standardization measures need to be imple-
mented before this type of system can be used
across national borders and in different indus-
trial sectors. “Ultimately, there’ll be a mix of
wireless and wired technologies that we’ll be
able to select from to create an optimal com-
munication system for a given production
process,” Röhrl explains. The seamless integration of these media
will lead to ever more tightly knit global
production networks. Repairing your car in the
future might then involve having an RFID
transponder telling mechanics when and where
the vehicle was made and what’s wrong with it
on the basis of sensor data. Spare parts will be
ordered automatically, and suppliers will know
when to plan component shipments. All the
repair shop will have to do is install the replace-
ment parts.Dagmar Braun
At Spain’s Grupo Leche Pascual, RFID tags monitor the entire process chain for dairy and pasta products.
system is being used at Siemens Power Trans-
mission and Distribution’s (PTD) Energy Auto-
mation unit in Nuremberg, where Bernd Nart-
mann serves as a product manager whose
responsibilities include security issues. Two
years ago, Nartmann asked CERT to look for
weak spots in the product portfolio through
which hackers might enter the system. This ex-
amination was necessitated by the fact that the
unit’s customers (in most cases major power
supply companies) were increasingly utilizing
public communication networks to collect data
and issue switching commands. Some compo-
nents, such as switching and fuse modules for
high-voltage facilities, are more than 30 years
old, but “back then nobody could have known
tin Knorr has been able to shut down a factory
production system. They’re relieved, though,
that the robot is only a prop and the “injured”
worker merely a plastic figure. “Still, it gets
their attention,” says Knorr, who uses this
demonstration to make his colleagues more se-
curity conscious. Knorr is one of approximately
70 people at Siemens Corporate Technology
(CT) in Munich who provide advice on security
issues to various Siemens units. Those who
work in this area need not be former hackers or
ex-cons; they only need to be in possession of a
college degree “and have a well-developed
sense of morality,” according to Dr. Johann
Fichtner, head of the CERT (Siemens’ Computer
Emergency Response Team) Center. The goal of such CT demonstrations is to
raise security awareness among people who
work with IT systems, and support secure plan-
ning measures for future Siemens products. Se-
curity requirements have risen dramatically in
recent years — and not just at Siemens.
Whereas control systems for production lines
and power plants used to be completely
isolated from the outside world and employ
specialized software, they now often run on
standard software like Windows and utilize off-
the-shelf databases. More importantly, how-
ever, they are increasingly being linked to the
Internet for remote maintenance and other
services. The risk of external attack is therefore
greater than ever before. In addition, tax depre-
ciation periods for factories, power plants, and
hospitals are now longer, which means IT sys-
tems are not replaced every three-to-five years
as is the case with office PCs. As a result, the
latest security updates are not always available. Robust IT Systems for Power Distribution.
Just how important cyber-security can be is
demonstrated by a system failure that occurred
at the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in Ohio
on January 25, 2003, when the Slammer worm
entered the facility’s IT network through the In-
ternet and shut down parts of it for nearly five
hours. Fortunately, nothing happened because
the plant happened to be shut off for repairs at
the time. Whoever launched the attack took
advantage of a security hole in a database that
Microsoft had actually offered an update for six
months earlier. But unfortunately, the software
programmers in charge of security at the plant
didn’t know about that. To prevent such an event from happening
with software from Siemens, the company’s
Corporate Technology department, which Ficht-
ner’s team is a part of, offers sophisticated so-
lutions for all Siemens operations. One such
they would someday be controlled through the
Internet,” Nartmann points out. Working to-
gether with specialists from CERT, automation
experts succeeded in significantly enhancing
the security of all the products, thereby en-
abling them to meet security standards. Retrofitting such solutions can be extremely
expensive, however. “That’s why we now look
at security as early as the product development
stage,” says Dr. Stephan Lechner, head of the IT
Security Center at Corporate Technology. “We
analyze the system architecture of planned
products and search for security risks.” The cen-
ter does this by simulating entire systems as
abstract mathematical models and then run-
ning mathematical and logical processes on
them that can reveal security deficiencies. “The
results show us where we need to take action,”
Lechner explains.
The advice of security experts at Corporate
Technology is increasingly in demand for prod-
uct development and component procurement
processes. “Security is a sensitive issue, which
is why it’s very important to have a relationship
of trust,” says Nartmann. “But you also need to
have in-depth knowledge of the entire IT secu-
rity landscape. Siemens is clearly the leader
here, as demonstrated by the great demand
from customers.” Bernd Müller
Mock hacker attack. Security experts at Siemens
Corporate Technology use a model production facility to demonstrate how easy it is to compromise the security of some systems.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 97
Seamless Communication | Healthcare
Providing doctors with access to electronic patient
data will ensure that the same examination won’t
be conducted twice. Costs will also decline as
healthcare cards are introduced (small picture).
96 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
alter Bauer suddenly feels a sharp pain in
his chest. It’s Saturday evening and
Bauer’s wife calls for a paramedic, who is
quickly on the scene. Having performed an
ECG, the paramedic instructs Bauer to go to a
hospital. This is the first time Bauer has been to
this particular hospital, which is why he’s given
a second examination and re-diagnosed. All of
the resulting data is then entered into the hos-
pital’s information system. That’s today’s status quo. But in just a few
years, Germany will have an integrated health-
care system that will link doctors, pharmacies,
and hospitals in a network. When this happens,
patients like Bauer will be treated more rapidly,
volved taking advantage of the opportunities
our latest client-server software offers for stor-
ing complex 3D images at a central server. Once
in the server, the images can be accessed from
PCs and notebooks,” says Dr. Louise McKenna,
head of Global Marketing for CT Oncology at
Many doctors can already receive CT images
via a wireless network as well. Werner Reinhold,
a Healthcare Solutions manager at Siemens En-
terprise Communications, believes that 80 to 90
But with so much information available at
portable terminals, doctors need special assess-
ment software to ensure that they recognize in-
terrelationships and maintain a clear overview
of each patient’s status. One such software
package is called Soarian Quality Measures. The
package utilizes artificial intelligence to extract
relevant medical information on a patient from
numerous independent data sources in a hospi-
tal. The software is based on REMIND technol-
ogy (Reliable Extraction and Meaningful Inter-
ference from Non-Structured Data), which can
read and interpret all image and text informa-
tion regardless of data format. The program
operates in a manner similar to a CAD (com-
puter-aided diagnostics) system, which auto-
nomously assesses image data sets and gener-
ates a diagnosis (see Pictures of the Future, Fall
2005, p. 67). “CAD systems are now accepted in
the U.S. as a second opinion for certain exami-
nations, such as mammographies,” says Fuchs.
“That’s because studies have shown that the
use of such systems enhances diagnostic qual-
ity.” Soarian Quality Measures can similarly help
improve the quality of medical care. Medical Care via Television.Walter Bauer
has now been released from the hospital, and
his family doctor gets right to work on follow-up
care measures. All of the important information
from Bauer’s hospital visit has been entered into
his electronic patient file.
But if Bauer lived in the Madrid metropolitan
area, he’d have even better chances of staying
well. That’s because a telemedicine pilot proj-
ect called AmIVital is developing procedures for
remote monitoring of patients and elderly per-
sons in need of care. Among other things, the project has given
patients sensors that monitor their vital func-
tions. “Our goal is to enable such patients to live
on their own in normal surroundings, regard-
less of which type of illness they may have,”
says Luis Reigosa, who is managing the project
for Med in Spain. Medical data is sent via mobile
phone to a hospital or care provider. Consulta-
tions, on the other hand, take place on the pa-
tient’s television set. For example, a doctor can
send the patient a form that he or she fills out
on a TV using a special remote control unit.
Such seamless communication between doc-
tors and patients will one day constitute an im-
portant element of integrated healthcare.
Michael Lang
Up to 90 percent of all hospitals in Germany will
offer data via WLAN systems in five years.
percent of all German hospitals will be
equipped with a WLAN (wireless local area net-
work) within five years. Medical staff at facilities such as Leipzig Hos-
pital now use tablet PCs from Fujitsu Siemens
Computers (FSC) to document treatment and
care right at the patient’s bedside. The PCs are
in such demand that Med is working on a ver-
sion that can be disinfected, thereby enabling it
to be used in sterilized areas.
The data recorded on such PCs is transferred
via WLAN to the hospital information system.
Conversely, nurses can call up relevant treat-
ment information from a patient’s bedside, thus
avoiding potential medication errors. At the
clinic of the University of Munich, all of the op-
erating rooms have been equipped with WLAN.
the clinic decided to do so because expanding
the existing network infrastructure in operating
rooms would have been too expensive due to
fire protection considerations. “Our experience
with WLAN in operating rooms has been very
positive,” says Dr. Bernhard Pollwein, head of
Anesthesia. “Challenges have been limited to
factors such as metal walls and doors and to the
large number of people in the OR.” Data that’s Always There
Tremendous advances have been made in networking communication systems in the
healthcare sector. Patients are benefiting from this progress, as they can now receive
better quality treatment faster, more comfortably, and at a lower cost.
and fewer examinations will be required.
Here’s a scenario of how things will change:
The paramedic can view patient informa-
tion that Bauer’s family doctor entered into his
office administration system six months earlier,
and which is now contained in a centralized pa-
tient file. He can access this information be-
cause Bauer would have signed a release be-
forehand. The doctor at the hospital can also
access relevant data from this centralized file,
including ultrasound images, X-rays, and lab
results, thereby enabling a more rapid diagno-
sis. The diagnosis will then be entered into the
hospital information system and Bauer’s pa-
tient file, ensuring that other authorized users
can access the data. In order to exploit the ben-
efits of electronically supported integrated
healthcare, doctors and patients will first have
to be registered in a telematics infrastructure
system. This can be done with a special healthcare
card currently being tested in pilot projects in
Germany (see Pictures of the Future, Spring
2005, p. 24). “An important element in this sys-
tem is the connector, which is an electronic
component that ensures secure data transfer
and the automatic launch of additional data
processing applications,” says Dr. Michael
Meyer from Siemens Medical Solutions (Med).
The connector makes it possible to transfer
data from healthcare providers (for example,
doctors and hospitals) to the telematics infra-
structure in encrypted form. Among other things, the electronic patient
file simplifies cooperation between the out-pa-
tient and in-patient segments of the healthcare
sector. “We’ve entered into strategic partnerships
with leading providers of medical office soft-
ware such as DOCexpert in order to create an
interface for linking doctors and hospitals to
our Web-based Soarian Integrated Care e-
health solution,” says Dr. Volker Wetekam, head
of Med’s Global Solutions division, who is also
responsible for electronic patient files. “Just
how well this kind of seamless communication
can work,” he adds, “is exemplified by a project
with Rhön-Klinikum AG in which we will intro-
duce an electronic patient file system to 46 of
the company’s clinics.” With over one million
patients per year, Rhön-Klinikum AG is Ger-
many’s largest private hospital company.
Total Data Availability. In our scenario, Wal-
ter Bauer’s family doctor might use his PC to en-
ter an appointment for a catheter examination
into the local hospital’s electronic calendar. “Cardiologists used to get a referral from the
patient’s doctor saying that, for instance, a
coronary angiography examination should be
performed — and that was it. There was no fur-
ther information,” says cardiologist Friedrich
Fuchs, who works at Siemens Medical Solutions
(Med). With an electronic referral, on the other
hand, a family doctor can enter detailed infor-
mation on the patient’s medical history into a
digital document, and can also use his or her of-
fice administration system to add relevant lab
results or images to a patient’s file — informa-
tion that is in turn forwarded to the hospital. In our scenario, Bauer’s preliminary tests
turn out to be inconclusive. As a result, he is
sent to radiology for a CT scan. There, a soft-
ware development from Med known as Fast
Data Link enables the layered images of Bauer’s
heart to be sent in special DICOM format from
the CT scanner to a server at a speed of up to 40
individual pictures per second — or practically
in real time. That’s like transmitting the content
of a full CD every second. By comparison, cur-
rent procedures that work with the DICOM stan-
dard can transmit only four images per second.
Only seconds after Bauer’s scan, syngo Web-
Space software installed in the hospital’s central
server automatically generates a three-dimen-
sional depiction of his heart. Bauer’s attending
physician can call up this 3D model from practi-
cally any PC in the facility, and can also obtain
an opinion from a colleague who is authorized
to access the data. “Developing this solution in-
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 99
Seamless Communication | Buenos Aires
The Music is Back
Five years after Argentina was shaken by a severe financial crisis, Buenos Aires, the
city of the tango, is booming again. Among the forces behind this rebirth are infra-
structure technologies from Siemens. At the same time, economic growth is creating
major challenges in the power generation and transportation sectors.
Buenos Aires’ Puente de la Mujer bridge shines courtesy of Osram. Siemens is also helping to build
the City’s new subway and has made the country’s
health care system more transparent (small photos).
98 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
raffic is bumper-to-bumper on the Illia free-
way in Buenos Aires. The capital’s metro-
politan area is now home to 13.5 million
porteños, as the region’s residents are known,
and greater Buenos Aires also houses nearly
half of the country’s industrial plants. As a
result, the city is the undisputed center of
Argentina’s commercial, industrial, and cultural
life. For Matthias Kleinhempel, the five million
private vehicles, taxis, and diesel buses that
make their way through “the Paris of Latin
America” every day are evidence of an eco-
nomic upturn. But there’s a downside: “Nearly
all the cars have only one person in them,” says
Kleinhempel, who took over as head of
Siemens Argentina in 2002, at the peak of the
economic crisis that led to the collapse of Ar-
gentina’s financial system. “These days, many
people can afford their own car again.”
Indeed, most Argentine citizens are doing
better now. “We’ve got an excellent commu-
nication infrastructure. The educational level of
worked system also allows insured individuals
to get medications more rapidly. IMED cur-
rently serves six million Argentinians — or
around half of all privately insured individuals.
“We’ve also developed a concept for integrat-
ing the state-run insurance program into our
system,” says Simcic. The country’s Ministry of
Health has not yet, however, made a decision
on the matter. The municipality of Buenos Aires is already a
step ahead. “Investing more in information and
communication technologies is not a luxury,”
says Diego Pablo Gorgal, a representative of
Buenos Aires City. “On the contrary, such in-
vestment helps us optimize limited resources
and become more efficient.” His favorite exam-
ple here is the digitization of all entries into the
central civil registry office, which since 1866
has been recording births, marriages, divorces,
and deaths in huge, hand-written books. “But
today young porteños can order a birth certifi-
cate via the Internet and then pick it up at one
nology to bring the huge amount of traffic in
the city under control and improve traffic
safety. “There are more traffic fatalities in Ar-
gentina than deaths resulting from crime,” says
Gorgal. Last year, an average of 21 traffic fatali-
ties per day were recorded. Siemens was com-
missioned back in 2000 to monitor major thor-
oughfares. Today, fleets of cars equipped with
radar and high-resolution cameras capture
images of motorists who violate speeding and
parking regulations. Siemens handles every-
thing from recording the violation and assess-
ing its severity to producing and distributing
tickets. Maximum Capacity.Around the world, urban
planning experts agree that the top priority for
megacities should be intelligent solutions for
dealing with huge volumes of traffic (see
Pictures of the Future, Spring 2007, p.14).
That’s why Buenos Aires is now focusing on
expanding its mass transit system, especially
the Subte, as the city’s subway is known. The subway system is already overcrowded.
“Every day 1.2 million people ride 50 kilome-
ters of track on our five subway lines — and
that’s our maximum capacity,” says Subte chair-
man Edgardo Kutner. The city’s goal, he says, is
to transport around 2.2 million passengers on
nine lines covering 80 kilometers by 2012 to
tions and Services, referring to the situation
when IMED was launched at the end of the
1990s. With IMED — the most extensive com-
munication and IT solution in the Argentine
healthcare system — patients can use the In-
ternet to have prescriptions authorized by their
health insurance company and processed by a
pharmacy. Siemens has provided smartcards to
individuals with health insurance throughout
the country. The implementation of this project
required the harmonization of dozens of differ-
ent software solutions in use at the country’s
pharmacies to ensure that all of them could ac-
cess the central authorization system operated
by Siemens. But now that the system has been
implemented, even small pharmacies can now
place their orders via a call center set up for this
purpose. The same solution also accommo-
dates large pharmacies in Buenos Aires that op-
erate according to the American “drugstore
principle” and need to process hundreds of pre-
scriptions per hour in real time. IMED also of-
the Argentinians is above average and we have
very well-trained engineers,” Kleinhempel says,
adding that this is why Buenos Aires is now
such a popular location for software factories
operated by major global IT companies such as
SAP, IBM, EDS, Accenture, Motorola, Sun, and
Tata (India). The companies’ logos can be seen
along with those of many new four and five-
star hotels that have opened in the swanky
new harbor district known as Puerto Madero,
as well as along the Rio de la Plata. The con-
struction boom in these areas reflects the
country’s average nine percent economic
growth over the last few years. Kleinhempel says that the communication
sector was the first to recover from the crisis.
“Half of the communication infrastructure in
Argentina was built by us and more than 35
million medical prescriptions are processed
each year using Siemens technology.”
“Things looked different ten years ago,” says
Gabriel Simcic, a director at Siemens IT Solu-
fers a solution that is smoothly coordinated
with hospital systems. “A total of 7,200 phar-
macies are connected to the IMED network,
along with 3,000 doctors and hospitals, 20 pri-
vate health insurance companies, and six mil-
lion insured individuals,” says Simcic. “We’re
also incorporating a payment feature for med-
ications and treatment into our system.” “Every
health insurance company has its own billing
procedure, which IMED is able to classify and
process,” adds Jorge Arriaga, who, as manag-
ing director of Farmalink, coordinates contracts
between insurance companies and the phar-
maceutical industry. One company, PAMI, which
insures 2.5 million retirees, is the country’s
largest health insurer.
Knowledge Cuts Costs.Argentine health in-
surance companies can use their access to data
on the medications distributed by pharmacies,
treatments, and lab tests to compare the infor-
mation and thus control their costs. A net-
of our 16 registry offices,” says Gorgal. Since
2003, Siemens has been responsible for con-
verting the administrative processes from
paper to electronic documents, as well as net-
working the city’s 16 registry offices.
“We have finished scanning 3.5 million en-
tries from the last 28 years,” says Arturo
Carpani Costa, a manager responsible for pub-
lic-sector projects at Siemens. The project also
includes a special digital signature system that
provides information on who last viewed each
file. The system ensures that no entry is falsi-
fied or deleted. “When we had to rely on the
books, it could sometimes take up to two
weeks to obtain information,” says Carpani
Costa. Today, the same procedures take only a
couple of minutes, even if the search involves a
name as common as Fernandez, for example.
Siemens Argentina has also taken on an ad-
ditional project for the municipality of Buenos
Aires in the area of IT outsourcing. Gorgal plans
to use information and communication tech-
A Hundred Years in Argentina
Siemens will celebrate 100 years of operations in Argentina in 2008 with a gala event at the newly
restored and reopened Teatro Colon opera house, which itself will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2008.
Even before its subsidiary was founded in 1908, Siemens installed Argentina’s first telegraph system in
Buenos Aires in 1857. Further large projects included construction of the city’s C and D subway lines in
1934 and 1936. With Siemens’ help, the Obelisco — the city’s trademark monument — was built in
1936, to be followed shortly afterwards by the world’s broadest avenue, the 140-meter-wide Avenida 9
de Julio. Today, over 3,500 people work for the six Siemens Groups operating in Argentina. At the moment, Line A (built in 1913 as
Latin America’s first subway) and Line B are be-
ing lengthened to include two and four more
stations, respectively, in order to link booming
districts. Kutner is most proud of the new Line
H, however, which is the first with air condi-
tioning. Line H is also known as Paseo del
Tango because every station features artwork
and is dedicated to a famous tango dancer.
“After 60 years without any new construction,
we’re completing a six-kilometer subway line to
link the Pompeya bus station in the south with
the Retiro train station in the north,” says Kut-
ner. The first five stations opened in May 2007,
and the entire line will be completed in 2009.
New F, G, and I lines are planned. Siemens is involved in all of these subway
projects, for which it is providing its entire
range of technical expertise. Experts are mod-
ernizing the electrical equipment for the nearly
100-year-old Line A at night during the three
hours when the trains do not operate. “The
new Paseo del Tango (Line H) is also being
equipped with state-of-the-art signaling tech-
nology and intelligent systems, such as Auto-
matic Train Operation (ATO),” says Eugenio
Real, Argentina’s Transportation System direc-
tor. ATO automatically reduces the speed of
trains traveling too closely in sequence. “We’re off to a good start, but we still need
to make public transportation more attractive,”
says Andrés Borthagaray, an architect who is
also executive director of the Buenos Aires
2010 strategic planning council, where he
serves as an advisor to the city government.
Borthagaray believes that intelligent IT solu-
tions are the key to improvement. “We need
real-time information for passengers so they’ll
know when the next bus is coming,” he says.
His concern extends beyond the porteños to in-
clude the many tourists who are returning to
Buenos Aires, the world capital for tango en-
thusiasts, now that the city is booming again.
In 2006 four million people visited the city. Major Projects.Kleinhempel also sees huge
potential for growth in the area of transport
projects, especially now that the Argentine gov-
ernment has launched a broad nationwide plan
(Plan Integral Tránsito y Transporte) that ad-
dresses all transport modes. “We received major
orders in 2006,” says Kleinhempel, reflecting the
generally robust state of the national economy.
In 2006 Siemens was awarded a US$1 billion
contract to build two new gas-and-steam tur-
bine power plants. One third of Argentina’s elec-
tricity output of 24,000 megawatts is generated
at power plants equipped by Siemens.
The two plants will be handed over in 2008.
Siemens is supplying two gas turbines, a steam
turbine, and control technology for both facili-
ties. It’s also providing a heat-recovery steam
generator. Experts estimate that Argentina’s
total electrical output will reach 38,000
megawatts by 2015. Kleinhempel is confident
that “growth in the energy market will be
followed by investment in transport and medical
systems, with the latter being significantly
financed by hospitals.” Nikola Wohllaib
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 101
train to Frankfurt Airport. Steven calls up the
software, which quickly informs him he’s going
to be on time for his flight after all. “The flight
will be delayed two hours,” says a voice. “You
can take a later train. I have booked it for you.”
This scenario, which is entirely feasible us-
ing no more than current technology, could
make traveling easy and carefree. But, due to
the many connections between different forms
of transportation, travel is often a journey into
uncertainty. “The system transitions have to be
designed for maximum fluidity, and networked
in an integrated traffic management system for
what’s called ‘inter-modal’ traffic,” says
Friedrich Moninger, head of Innovation Strat-
egy at Siemens Transportation Systems. This
would enable the electronic travel assistant of
tomorrow to have at its disposal all relevant
travel-related information, including arrivals,
departures, delays, platform and airport gate
numbers, as well as convenience services such
as tourism tips or help with bargain-hunting.
Universal Ticket. Steven has arrived at the
suburban commuter station, and his travel as-
sistant directs him to the nearest empty park-
ing space. It got this information from a park-
ing management system developed by
Siemens, which is already installed in many
parking garages — for example in Munich,
Toulouse, Oslo, and Singapore. An automated,
driverless subway brings him to Nuremberg’s
central rail station. Before boarding the high-
speed ICE train to Frankfurt, Steven strolls
through the station. Suddenly his electronic
appointment planner reminds him to buy a
birthday present for his wife, so he stops at a
boutique. He likes the shop so much that he
recommends it to friends by marking the estab-
lishment with “digital graffiti,” a virtual note
that “sticks” to the shop, remaining invisible to
other passersby. But if one of Steven’s friends
passes the store, his or her travel assistant will
convey the original message left behind.
Regardless of how we travel in the future,
everyone will find that traveling is much more
comfortable and convenient. In the comfort of
his or her home or office, anyone with a digital
assistant — either in a mobile device or a per-
sonal computer — will be able to plan and
book trips using all forms of transport. What’s
more, a single electronic ticket will cover the
entire trip. “Whenever possible, a trip should
not require moving from building to building or
from one level of terminal or station to an-
other,” says Moninger. “Ideally one ticket
should suffice and the connections should be
on time throughout the trip.” Once inter-modal
travel becomes available, the safety and secu-
rity of passengers and freight will be ensured
A driverless subway in Nuremberg. Inter-modal
traffic involves linking all forms of transport. Intelligent image analysis systems like Railcom
Manager (small photo) make rail platforms safer.
f only Steven Meyer had consulted his travel
assistant earlier. Now he’s stuck in a traffic
jam near a construction site. A sales director for
energy-saving motors, Steven is en route from
a suburb in Nuremberg, Germany, to a trade
fair in Paris, France. His travel assistant, an in-
telligent application in his mobile phone, han-
dled all the planning for his trip, from train and
airline tickets to hotel reservations. And it also
would have recommended an alternative route
in time to avoid the traffic congestion, if Steven
hadn’t turned it off. Now he’s about to miss his
by fully automatic monitoring systems like
those in airport and train stations. And in com-
ing years, electronic bills of lading will allow
freight not only to be easily transported across
borders, but also located and identified any
time using GPS. Many of these technologies
are already in use today. Others, like the digital
travel assistant and digital graffiti and elec-
tronic bill of lading have yet to be realized; but
a standardized travel ticket might well be avail-
able soon.
You Forgot Your Suitcase!“Today’s informa-
tion systems already do a lot, but problems will
always arise if, for example, a train is delayed
and essential information isn’t delivered dy-
namically — in other words, when and where
it’s needed,” explains Moninger. In terms of
technology, navigation devices could be made
smarter. But the problem is more a question of
legal issues because someone must bear re-
sponsibility for the accuracy of the information.
That’s the biggest problem with the majority of
communication systems on the market today,
which are characterized by a multitude of dis-
plays, formats and standards.
Steven places his suitcase to one side in the
boutique. He is so engrossed with composing
his digital graffiti note that he forgets his bag
and walks away. Immediately, a smart camera
equipped with Railprotect image analysis soft-
ware from Siemens (already available) auto-
matically detects the unattended luggage and
even assigns it to its owner. The software
continually compares the distances between
people and pieces of luggage. If the maximum
permitted distance is exceeded for a certain
duration, which can be set as desired, the bag
is considered unattended. The system then sounds an alarm at a secu-
rity control center and automatically arranges
for the luggage to be removed if necessary.
Automatic detection by means of software has
become so sophisticated, that it can be used
even in heavily frequented areas. The software
is an element in Railcom Manager, a seamless
network of information and monitoring sys-
tems with intelligent image recognition and a
very high detection rate that has been installed
in Hanover, Germany, and other locations. With
its alarm management, incident management,
and call center, the system enables security
personnel to react to crisis situations with max-
imum speed.
Fortunately, Steven is a member of a travel
service, where he has left his personal ID. So
the neglected piece of luggage is clearly linked
to him. His travel assistant receives a message
and it, in turn, reminds Steven to retrieve his
bag. Now, although he’s really got to hurry to
Seamless Communication Transportation
Trouble-Free Travel
A pioneering traffic concept that encompasses
all forms of transport —
from cars and trains to planes and ships — is designed to make travel as easy and convenient as possible.
100 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 103
On Call Around the Clock
Whether they’re run by police, fire departments, or traffic assistance services, control
centers benefit from comprehensive networks. Intelligent Siemens software handles
complex requirements and ensures that help is rushed to wherever it’s needed.
Roadside service assistants from Austria’s ÖAMTC
automobile club are supported by a Siemens IT system. Staff members are dispatched on over 2,000 assignments every single day.
atharina Wojtowska sets out to pick up her
son at a kindergarten in Vienna, Austria,
only to discover that her car won’t start. She
calls ÖAMTC — the Austrian automobile club.
Half an hour later, roadside assistance special-
ist Andreas Brezina arrives. He discovers that
the alternator in Wojtowska’s car isn’t working
and proceeds to jump start the vehicle. With
the engine now running, Wojtowska can drive
to the nearest repair shop. While Brezina in-
serts Wojtowska’s ÖAMTC membership card in
his portable reader she talks about how thrilled
she is by the club’s service. “I was really im-
pressed by how quickly ÖAMTC got here,” she
says. Such praise is a source of pride for the club
and its roadside assistance team, the “yellow
angels” (dubbed so because of their yellow
cars), especially as Brezina and his colleagues
are called into action nearly 800,000 times
every year.
Sometimes the job can be anything but
heavenly for the angels. For example, during
many nights in January 2006, a thick layer of
ice covered thousands of cars out in the coun-
try. “We’re constantly on the go in such situa-
tions,” Brezina says. In these and other types
| Control Centers
102 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
Aboard the plane, he takes his seat and is
served his favorite drink.
And there’s no cause for concern regarding
the goods to be exhibited at the trade fair.
Thanks to a Vicos CM cargo management sys-
tem installed at the Hamburg South rail station,
the exhibits departed on time and are safely on
their way. “One of the most formidable chal-
lenges in freight transport is to create a uni-
form, electronic bill of lading for all transport
systems and countries — a system that can
overcome technical and regulatory obstacles,”
says Moninger. Effective control of the global
flow of transport requires overarching logistics
management combined with GPS tracking and
the ability to identify a freight shipment and
provide its up-to-the-minute position. Electronic
bills of lading are being called for by security au-
justing logistics processes accordingly. The key
is prevention by means of remote diagnostics.
In this connection, Siemens has developed a
system for supplying replacement parts that is
based on predicted maintenance measures. Such a system was realized for the more
than 160 Siemens Eurosprinter ES 64s used by
several European rail companies. Here, for ex-
ample, if a train’s remote fault-monitoring sys-
tem announces that “The filters will need to be
replaced after the next 5,000 kilometers,” the
replacement parts system automatically locates
the site where the replacement parts are stored
and determines the best place for exchanging
the filters, without detours if possible. The sys-
tem also notifies service technicians and com-
missions a logistics service provider to supply
the parts at the replacement site on time.
The remainder of Steven’s trip to Paris pro-
ceeds according to plan. Despite traffic conges-
tion, Steven quickly reaches the exhibition cen-
ter in Chatelet-Les-Halles. He takes Metro Line
14, a driverless train built by Siemens, which
departs every 105 seconds during peak hours.
His containers with their energy-saving motors
have arrived on schedule, and the rail-airline
connections went smoothly. It remains to be seen when, or if, such
enhanced, integrated transportation with
customer-friendly services will become a reality.
But one thing is clear: The technologies to make
it happen are here today. “Networking of serv-
ices and different modes of transportation is
absolutely necessary if we want to make trans-
port in densely populated regions more conven-
ient, punctual, environmentally friendly, and as
efficient as possible,” concludes Moninger.
Harald Hassenmüller
the platform, Steven quickly finds the shortest
route by using a newly developed augmented
reality solution, which superimposes arrows in
the correct perspective on a live image seen on
the travel assistant, pointing to the destination.
Such technologies, which can determine loca-
tions and perspectives based on a photo, are
available now. Once at the station platform, Steven boards
the ICE. A further development of this high-
speed train is the Velaro, the world’s fastest
mass-produced train. It has been running be-
tween Madrid and Barcelona since May of
2007. Even when carrying half of its passenger
capacity, the Velaro uses only about two liters
of gasoline per passenger seat and per 100
kilometers, emitting two thirds less carbon
dioxide than a typical airliner.
Steven is able to quickly find his seat with
the help of his assistant, which uses WLAN po-
sitioning to determine where he is in the train.
A friendly voice guides him in the right direc-
tion: “Now to the right, please.” As soon as he is
about three meters from his seat, the seat’s dis-
play greets him with the words, “Welcome
Steven!” Then a greeting image appears, like
those commonly seen in hotels, announcing the
films and Internet radio stations that are avail-
able. Now Steven can read and sort his e-mails.
Standardized Rail System. Steven’s ticket,
although tucked away in his jacket pocket, is au-
tomatically “punched” by means of RFID (Radio
Frequency Identification). Now Steven can en-
joy his trip to the airport at 300 kilometers per
hour. His train is monitored by Trainguard ETCS
(European Train Control System), the standard
rail safety system throughout Europe. The sys-
tem monitors the position, speed, and direction
Networked transport systems avoid delays and
are environmentally friendly and efficient.
Seamless Communication | Transportation
In Siemens Corporate Technology’s transportation
vision all modes of transport and their users are
seamlessly interlinked and have access to the same
information, regardless of time or location. of travel of every individual train, ensuring max-
imum safety, and shorter intervals between
trains. Backed by all this technology it’s not sur-
prising that Steven reaches the airport on time.
ETCS is the standard rail control and safety
system for Europe, and it already is in use on a
number of routes, for example Madrid-
Barcelona, Amsterdam to the Belgian border,
and between Halle and Leipzig. At the airport,
Steven’s travel assistant is again guiding him,
this time directly to his boarding gate. The flight
ticket is checked without contact. As a regis-
tered frequent flyer, Steven needs only to place
his index finger on a fingerprint scanner.
thorities in the United States, which want to
know exactly what is in each container. The Eu-
ropean Rail Agency (ERA) is responsible for uni-
formity throughout the EU. “This task includes
ensuring the uniformity of technologies that
form the basis of freight hubs, where goods can
be transferred back and forth between different
forms of transport, including ships, trains,
trucks, and aircraft,” says Moninger.
Millions of kilometers of travel take a toll on
trains, which must be repaired or replaced with-
out affecting passenger service. This is why
Siemens and rail operators are concentrating
on preventing predictable down time and ad-
Parking management
Current timetable information
Intelligent traffic information
Telematics for smooth traffic flow
Current traffic information
Inclusion of trains and airports
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 105
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 105
In Brief The Internet is becoming a comprehensive
medium for the transport of all data. In partic-
ular, due to mobile web-enabled terminals,
the number of broadband Internet users will
grow to around five billion by 2015. A large
number of them will use Web 2.0 to develop
new social networking applications or ex-
change films, music, and images. (p. 81)
User-friendliness is the key. If large numbers
of people are to use equipment and services,
then these must be as easy to operate as possi-
ble. Displays are also getting bigger. (p. 82)
Companies such as Nokia Siemens Net-
works are boosting cellular radio bandwidth to
hundreds of megabits per second by further
developing UMTS and WiMAX. They are also
working on solutions for the fourth generation
of cellular radio, which will offer bandwidths
of one gigabit per second. (p. 84)
Communications technology is a competi-
tive factor in all areas of business. If industry
is to produce goods efficiently and flexibly,
data must be universally available at all times.
Power plants are operated with modern con-
trol systems to optimally conserve resources.
Siemens not only offers technology for all of
these tasks but also secures all kinds of facili-
ties against hackers. (pp. 90, 92, 94)
Industry is making increasing use of wire-
less data transfer, while wireless networks are
complementing bus technology in factories.
Siemens’ industrial WLAN solution offers maximum reliability and guaranteed band-
width. (p. 92)
Networked information technology helps
healthcare providers to treat patients more ef-
ficiently and cut costs. Siemens offers a wide
range of solutions, from electronic patient
records to telemedicine. (p. 96)
Electronic assistance and traffic manage-
ment systems will make travel much more
comfortable in the future. Road, rail, and air
transport will form a seamless whole, charac-
terized by smooth transitions between systems. (p. 100)
Communications / general contacts:
Prof. Dr. Hartmut Raffler, CT IC Nokia Siemens Networks:
Dr. Stephan Scholz,
At home:
Thomas Hauser, SBT
Björn Fehrm, FSC
Udo Biro, NSN,
Karl Klug, SEN,
Energy technology:
Dr. Rainer Speh, PG,
Dr. Hans-Gerd Brummel, PG
Dr. Thomas Werner, PTD
Dr. Heiner Röhrl, A&D,
Ewald Kuk, A&D,
Dr. Rainer Sauerwein, CT IC
IT Security:
Dr. Stephan Lechner, CT IC
Dr. Johann Fichtner, CT IC
Dr. Michael Meyer, Med
Dr. Friedrich Fuchs, Med
Friedrich Moninger, TS
Operations control centers:
Peter Löffler, SBT,
Wireless World Research Forum:
Further development in UMTS:
William Webb, Wireless Communications:
The Future. John Wiley & Sons (2007)
104 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007
all drivers were at any given time. Not infre-
quently, there were misunderstandings that ei-
ther resulted in long waiting times for stranded
motorists, or drivers being dispatched to the
wrong places. “The software solution from Sie-
mens has enabled us to consistently boost effi-
ciency over the last few years,” Koller reports. Today, the ÖAMTC headquarters is housed
in a new building in a residential area on the
outskirts of Vienna. The ground floor is home
to the stationary roadside assistance and tech-
nical testing departments. One floor up is the call center, where staff
member take calls and record information on
vehicle locations. This data, along with a pre-
liminary diagnosis of whatever problem has
been reported, is displayed to dispatchers on
digital street maps in an adjoining room. Two
other screens show them the current status of
assignments, enabling them to find the right
driver to handle each call. Certain routine jobs are automatically as-
signed by the system to specialized drivers,
whereby the dispatcher only needs to confirm
the assignment.
Drivers have touchscreen displays in their
vehicles that show them their next assignment.
If they’re only a few minutes away from the ve-
hicle in question, they can simply touch a point
on the screen to connect them automatically
with the member’s telephone number via mo-
bile radio. Since the driver knows exactly where the
vehicle is, club members also no longer have to
wait right next to their cars for an ÖAMTC spe-
cialist to show up. “I can enter the entire opera-
tion — including my diagnosis and repair at-
tempts — right into a mobile organizer,” says
Brezina. “This saves time with documentation
and also allows us to move on to the next as-
signment more quickly. The mobile unit even
shows me whether or not a member has paid
his or her annual dues.” Constant contact between headquarters
and drivers via GPRS and a Siemens modem en-
sures that everyone involved in the process has
the same information. The system also makes
it possible to collect and process breakdown
statistics more rapidly and accurately, which in
turn improves the efficiency of both short-term
and long-term personnel planning.
Data with a Smile. Insurance services offered
by ÖAMTC are also linked to the comprehen-
sive software solution. That means members
don’t have to tell their story over and over
again — for example, if their car is taken to a
repair shop by ÖAMTC and they then have to
call in additional car-rental coverage they have
with the club. Staff in Vienna simply see everything on
their screens. Moreover, if the member hap-
pens to be in Italy, for example, the system will
also automatically display the most important
service numbers in the country, which means
call center staff don’t need to waste time look-
ing them up.
“One key advantage of the software solu-
tion is its flexibility,” says Ralf Mahnkopf from
Siemens SBT SES, which has provided software
support to ÖAMTC from the beginning. ÖAMTC
is also constantly coming up with new ideas on
how to further improve its processes. In such
situations, Koller likes to incorporate new ideas
into the system as quickly as possible — and
without having to bring in Siemens specialists
to reprogram everything. Easy-to-use masks enable trained informa-
tion technology specialists at ÖAMTC to change
features such as the colors or symbols used to
display available service vehicles to dispatchers.
of emergencies, ÖAMTC needs to plan driver
assignments as efficiently as possible and
organize other mobile services that utilize
ambulances, helicopters, and even an ÖAMTC
ambulance jet — a kind of flying intensive care
“It’s not just about assisting our members
quickly when they have a breakdown or an ac-
cident outside the country,” says Peter Koller,
head of ÖAMTC’s telephone service. “It’s also
about making sure they realize they’re of the
utmost importance to us, while at the same
time focusing on keeping costs in check.” The
club is able to do this through a harmonious in-
terplay between motivated employees and IT
solutions from Siemens.
Around ten years ago, all calls received at
ÖAMTC’s Vienna headquarters were noted
down by hand and sent via a conveyor belt to a
dispatcher who contacted a driver by radio.
The dispatcher thus always had to know where
Palcom’s Palpably Better Security “The most powerful things are
those that are effectively invisible
in use.” This vision of ubiquitous
computing was penned around 20
years ago by Mark Weiser, former
head of the world-renowned Xerox
Research Laboratory. Weiser’s vi-
sion is getting very close to reality
today — and as part of the Euro-
pean Union’s Palcom project, some
100 researchers and developers
from all over Europe are taking the
idea a step further and giving it a
new name: “palpable computing.” The term refers to open software architecture that makes ever more
extensive information technology solutions easier to work with and more understandable to users. It gets
its name from the fact that computing power is always readily available, and thus becomes more tangible
or palpable as time goes on. Dr. Reiner Schmid from Siemens Corporate Technology is working with his
team on the software architecture currently being used in initial projects. The University of Aarhus, which
is also a member of the Palcom project, employed this software to develop a pioneering operational control system for the July 2007 Tall Ships’ Race in Scandinavia. Researcher Preben Mogensen and his
team distributed mobile terminals to participants at the three-day event, which was attended by around
700,000 people and involved some 100 ships. The devices enabled staff to collect up-to-date information
— including photos — and send it to the control center. GPS also kept the control center constantly in-
formed of the whereabouts of staff members. A giant screen displayed the harbor area as well as the positions of the ships and personnel. WLAN connections even enabled video images of key areas, such as the main stage, to be transmitted live to the control center. A click of a mouse was all it took to extract
a particular image from the overall depiction (see picture above). Mogensen is proud of what his team
accomplished, because although each of the technologies employed is already on the market, they had
never before been combined in such a user-friendly way and in an operational control center of such
complexity. “Using the software architecture developed by Siemens and other partners, our project
showed how networked systems and user-friendly interfaces may help to determine security solutions in the not too distant future,” said Mogensen. Seamless Communication | Control Centers
“It’s only when things get really complex that
we need to call in Siemens for help,” says Koller.
Similarly flexible software solutions are in-
creasingly being used in operational control
centers all over the world. And to an increasing
extent, emergency call center services are com-
ing together into a single, central location. One country with such a setup is Finland.
There, Siemens provided the infrastructure
that enables the centralized dispatching of
police, fire departments, and ambulance serv-
ices. “The benefits here aren’t limited to cata-
strophic situations,” says Peter Löffler, research
and development coordinator at Siemens
Building Technologies. “Operational centers
are increasingly becoming decision-making
centers where people are subjected to per-
manent stress. To ensure optimal interaction
between software and the people who work
with it, it’s best to have modular programs that
can quickly and flexibly be adapted to new
The networking of operational centers and
field staff as practiced by ÖAMTC creates addi-
tional benefits, as do systems that bring to-
gether several operational centers. That’s be-
cause the data collected can be used to
simulate serious incidents. “These scenarios are
becoming more and more precise and can help
with staff training, assignments, and resource
planning,” says Löffler. In addition, there’s a lot more high-quality
information available these days from sensors
in temperature monitors and smoke detectors
in buildings, for example, as well as from video
cameras that autonomously register and report
movements (see Pictures of the Future, Spring
2007, p. 25). “In a few years, we’ll be seeing
cameras that can recognize conspicuous pat-
terns — for example, in the way passersby act
— and then inform the authorities of a poten-
tially dangerous situation,” says Löffler. This
could involve criminal activity or something as
mundane as traffic jams that police cars, fire
trucks, and ambulances need to avoid.
One thing is clear for Löffler and his team,
however. Intelligent systems are there only to
provide assistance to trained personnel when
it’s necessary to make routine decisions. In
matters of life and death, on the other hand,
human beings will continue to make decisions
and take action. That’s how it is at ÖAMTC in
Vienna, says Koller, adding that, “Our job
ultimately doesn’t involve cars as much as it
does people — people who need help quickly.” Katharina Wojtowska has picked up her
three-year-old son, whom she has already reg-
istered as a junior member of ÖAMTC for free.
After all, you’re never too young to get help
from an angel.Andreas Kleinschmidt
Preview Spring 2008
Would you like to know more
about Siemens and our latest
106 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2007 107
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this strategic visioning and future planning method at Siemens
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Available issues of Pictures of the Future:
Invisible Assistants
Some questions are just too difficult for people to solve. Where,
for example, in hundreds of anatomical images of a patient’s
body, could a tiny tumor be hidden?Which messages, out of a
flood of data pouring into a control center during an emergency,
are really relevant?When do the measurement values collated
from a vast number of sensors indicate that a specific machine is
about to fail?And how high is the risk associated with a particular financial decision?In the future, computer intelligence will play a crucial role in helping to answer these and a vast range of additional questions.
Energy for Billions
By 2020, eight billion people will live on Earth. Thanks to rising
standards of living, this huge population will have a vast appetite
for energy. How can its energy needs be met while minimizing
their impact on the environment?To what extent can renewable
energy sources provide a sustainable solution?What are the
prospects of successfully separating the carbon dioxide produced
in fossil fuel-fired power plants and reliably sequestering it?
What’s the best way to store energy?And will intelligent networks
and virtual power plants be sufficiently developed to ensure a reliable and secure supply of energy?
Tailor-Made Solutions
Every customer has his or her own special wishes —and that’s
just as true for rail and aircraft manufacturers, power plant operators, the service industry and healthcare organizations as it
is for individuals. In response, manufacturers have to incorporate
a high degree of flexibility into their processes, while keeping production economical. In many cases, the ability to innovate
holds the key to success. Publisher:Siemens AG
Corporate Communications (CC) and Corporate Technology (CT)
Wittelsbacherplatz 2, 80333 Munich
For the publisher: Dr. Ulrich Eberl (CC), Arthur F. Pease (CT) (Tel. +49 89 636 33246) (Tel. +49 89 636 48824)
Editorial Office:
Dr. Ulrich Eberl (ue) (Editor-in-chief) Arthur F. Pease (afp) (Executive Editor, English Edition)
Dr. Norbert Aschenbrenner (na) (Managing Editor)
Sebastian Webel (sw)
Ulrike Zechbauer (uz)
Additional Authors in This Issue:
Bernhard Bartsch, Dr. Dagmar Braun, Bernhard Gerl, Harald Hassen-
müller, Andrea Hoferichter, Ute Kehse, Andreas Kleinschmidt, Michael
Lang, Katrin Nikolaus, Bernd Müller, Werner Pluta, Gitta Rohling, Dr. Jeanne Rubner, Tim Schröder, Rolf Sterbak, Dr. Sylvia Trage, Dr. Evdoxia Tsakiridou, Harald Weiss, Nikola Wohllaib
Picture Editing: Judith Egelhof, Irene Kern, Jürgen Winzeck, Publicis Munich
Kurt Bauer, Natalie Behring, Thomas Langer, Andreas
Messner, Bernd Müller, Norbert Michalke, Ruppert Oberhäuser,
Andreas Pohlmann, Karsten Schöne, Marc Steinmetz, Volker Steger,
Jürgen Winzeck
Internet ( Volkmar Dimpfl
Historical Information:Dr. Frank Wittendorfer, Siemens Corporate
Address Database:Susan Süß, Publicis Erlangen
Layout / Lithography: Rigo Ratschke, Büro Seufferle, Stuttgart
Illustrations:Natascha Römer, Stuttgart
Graphics:Jochen Haller, Büro Seufferle, Stuttgart
Translations German — English: TransForm GmbH, Cologne
Translations English — German:Karin Hofmann, Heiner Weidler, Publicis Munich Printing: Bechtle Druck&Service, Esslingen
Picture Credits: DLR (5 t.l.), G2 Microsystems (6), Eclipse Aviation
(17), Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg (33 l., 34), private (39, 40),
Airbus S.A.S. (48, t., 71 l.b.), F1online / Fancy (59 b.), Toho Tenax
Europe (71 b.r.), Acciona (76 t.l.), ecopix / Lou Linwei (83 l. ), Manfred Klimek (84 b.), Dürr AG (86), / Jürgen
Held (90), OSRAM / Jorge Verdecchia & Hernán Verdecchia (98),
Nikola Wohllaib (99), Palcom / University of Aarhus (104)
All other images: Copyright Siemens AG. Pictures of the Future,syngo,PlantCalc, NX, Teamcenter, Tecnomatix and
other names are registered trademarks of Siemens AG. ICE ist a registered
trademark of Deutsche Bahn AG. Second Life is a registered trademark of
Linden Research, Inc. Other product and company names mentioned in
this magazine may be registered trade marks 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.
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 or on the Internet.
© 2007 by Siemens AG. All rights reserved. Siemens Aktiengesellschaft
Order number:A19100-F-P113-X-7600
ISSN 1618-5498
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