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Inventors of the Year 2016

Lifetime Achievement

To be successful when it comes to inventing, it is not necessary to start as a child. Benno Weis only became enthusiastic about power electronics as a university student and at work. And then he could hardly be held back. For his many inventions, for example relating to control of high-frequency milling machines, he has won an award as Inventor of the Year 2016 in the Lifetime Achievements category.

Weis is also a member of several standards bodies and travels frequently to meetings with developers from other companies. This exchange of information is very important for Siemens because this is where the course is set for the industry standards of the future.

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Innovative solution for controlling a high-frequency milling machine

High-frequency milling machines, such as those used for producing rotor blades or aircraft components, are driven by an extremely high-speed motor. The problem is that the high rotational speed results in a very small gap between the frequency of the motor and the switching frequency of the semiconductors in the controller. That would cause the filter to consume absurdly high amounts of energy without Benno Weis’s invention. 

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New filter attenuator enhances converter

With the new filter attenuator, the energy used for filter attenuation flows back to the motor. This drive concept made the industrial use of high-frequency milling possible. “This puts Siemens at the technological forefront,” says Weis.

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Electronic controllers help conserve energy

Benno Weis’s inventions – there are 147 of them covered by 77 individual patents – are all related to power electronics. Electronic controllers for motors are a growth area since they are more efficient and thus more eco-friendly than classic controllers.

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I want to solve problems; it’s just something I enjoy doing. My inventions simply occur to me. I can’t decide I’m going to invent something; that doesn’t work. In the future, we’ll need a lot more technologies for saving energy. That’s the only way we can counter climate change.

Dr. Benno Weis, Developer, Digital Factory, Motion Control