On April 12, 2015, Wittenstein AG was awarded the Hermes Award for innovation at the Hannover Messe Opening Ceremony in Hannover, Germany. The winning product, "Galaxie," is a high-performance gearhead with independently movable gear teeth arranged in such a way that all surfaces of each tooth are able to engage with the teeth of the fixed outer ring gear. The Galaxie outperforms all other gearbox designs in terms of torque density, torsional stiffness, zero backlash and compact form. It is also more energy-efficient and is suitable for a range of applications, including machine tools, robots, wind turbines and textile machinery.
Dr Jochen Köckler, Member of the Managing Board at Deutsche Messe, called the Galaxie "a completely new type of gearhead featuring Industry 4.0 connectivity" and noted that the product fit perfectly in this year's theme, "Integrated Industry – Join the Network".
“This year’s award winner demonstrates that even in the digital age, springboard innovations are still possible, even when it comes to the basic fundamentals of motion in industrial drives. Our jury unanimously chose Wittenstein’s Galaxie gearhead as the winner since it leverages a radically new gear-tooth principle – the logarithmic spiral, which occurs in nature in the form of a snail’s shell, for example – in order to provide a new kind of high-performance drive system without a gear wheel that features integrated sensors and networking,” added Dr. Wolfgang Wahlster, Chairman of the Jury and head of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI).
Other nominees included ABB Automation GmbH (Mannheim, Germany), ContiTech (Hannover, Germany), Next Kraftwerke GmbH (Cologne, Germany) and SCHUNK GmbH & Co. KG (Lauffen/Neckar, Germany).