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For a second consecutive year, Gamesa's Patents and Inventors Contest has honoured the hard work and effort of its employees in the area of invention and patents, two cornerstones for developing and safeguarding the company's technological innovations.
The judges' panel reviewed a total of 26 patents based on the following criteria: generation of value for the company, in cost of energy terms; the potential for defending the innovation against rivals; how well the concept fit with the company's technology strategy; groundbreaking ideas and the simplicity of the idea and/or technology.
The quality and competitiveness of patents this year merited honours for two inventions: a multilevel capacity converter using H-bridges, which was spearheaded by Andrés Agudo and Alvar Mayor, and a blade-handling tool developed by Gonzalo Coloma and Beinat Garminde.
The converter or multilevel capacity inverter which uses H-bridges is applied to a multilevel converter, to which is added an H-bridge topology which reduces harmonics. Control mechanisms used to operate the system are also protected. This topology is also useful for STATCOM applications.
Meanwhile, the tool for blade handling allows operators to grasp blades without damaging them and includes a mechanism for controlling the turning of the blade during hoisting and lowering activities. This invention's No. 1 innovation is that it eliminates the need for the use of external cranes, generating substantial savings on maintenance costs. This device may be used on all Gamesa 850 kW and 2.0 MW turbines.
During the awards ceremony, Gamesa Chairman and CEO Jorge Calvet underscored the importance of technological innovation to the wind energy industry. "Innovation is key, because it is our competitive advantage and our hope of future success: the only thing that will set us apart in the future. Gamesa's challenge lies in maintaining our innovation lead over competitors, staying as far ahead of them as possible for as long as possible," he added, thereby encouraging the company's technology experts to develop new patents.
Gonzalo Coloma, one of the prize-winners for a patent on the blade-handling tool, underscored the "incentive these types of contests represent for tech professionals, in addition to how privileged we feel to be working on the challenge of developing new products. I would like to thank my team for working on this patent. We must continue to make progress towards achieving a lower Cost of Energy (CoE), not only by making efficient products, but also by developing products whose availability and maintenance costs are efficient."
Beinat Gaminde, meanwhile, thanked Gamesa for "the opportunity to think of our ideas and make them a reality."
Gonzalo Coloma, who served on the judges' panel for the contest, abstained from voting and has decided to donate his award to charitable projects.
Andrés Agudo, another prize-winner, noted that he is excited to continue participating for "many more years." This award is an "encouragement, since it recognises our work." His colleague, Alvar Mayor, was unable to attend the ceremony because he was in Japan putting the finishing touches on the winning invention.
According to Gamesa Chief Technology Officer José Antonio Malumbres, "the process for registering a patent is a long and arduous one. First, you must come up with an idea no one has thought of before, work on it, nurture it and translate it into something patentable. But patents are one of our team's primary indicators of excellence and, more importantly, inventions guarantee that we can bring to market products that offer our customers the best possible cost of energy."
Malumbres concluded the awards ceremony by inviting personnel in China, India and the United States to participate in next year's contest as a means of further encouraging Gamesa's patenting activity.
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