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Investment in space research: Fraunhofer Institute asks Siemens to modernize high power radar system

Siemens has been commissioned by the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques (FHR) to modernize the antenna of the High Power Radar System TIRA (Tracking und Imaging Radar).

Siemens is to modernize the TIRA high power radar system run by the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques in Wachtberg, Germany. (Source: FHR)

The facility in Wachtberg, Germany, generates precise images of satellites and other objects in space, and also helps to track the orbits of space debris. Under the modernization project Siemens will be renewing the drive and control equipment. The radar system is scheduled to come back into operation by the end of March 2011.

In Wachtberg, near Bonn, the FHR operates a high power radar system with a 34-meter parabolic antenna. The TIRA is one of the world's largest radar systems for detecting and tracking objects in space and also some in the atmosphere. It was constructed in 1969 with Siemens drive technology and modernized for the first time in 1995. Siemens converted the drive control system from analog to digital operation to increase the accuracy and dynamic response of the control. The systems used to date, such as Simadyn D and Simatic S5, meet the customer's requirements reliably enough, but the supply of spare parts has now become critical, because various drive and control components are no longer available. The institute has commissioned Siemens to modernize the system to guarantee its continued future availability.

Siemens will convert the closed-loop control components from Simadyn D to Simatic TDC, replace the DC drives with three-phase motors featuring Sinamics S120 converters, and migrate the openloop control components from Simatic S5 to Simatic S7. The visualization system will be converted from Simatic CP528 with a monochrome CRT monitor to a state-of-the-art MP377 panel with a TFT touch display. The Siplus CMS monitoring system will be used to record, analyze, visualize and archive the drive data gained. There will be a Profibus interface to the central control computer of the high power radar system. Siemens will handle the engineering of the open and closed-loop drive control system and be responsible for the installation and commissioning of all the systems used.

The FHR is one of the largest radar research centers in Europe. It develops concepts, processes and systems for electromagnetic sensor technology, particularly in the fields of radar and radiometry. This involves investigating specific problems and requirements concerning radar systems and methods for observing and investigating objects in near-earth space and in the atmosphere. On behalf of the European Space Agency, the Institute's experts measure and catalog, for example, the orbits of objects in space. The result is that around 94 percent of the objects fall into the category space debris. Of special value is the ability of the TIRA system to detect particles as small as two centimeters at a distance of one thousand kilometers.

The Siemens Industry Sector (Erlangen, Germany) is the worldwide leading supplier of environmentally friendly production, transportation, building and lighting technologies. With integrated automation technologies and comprehensive industry-specific solutions, Siemens increases the productivity, efficiency and flexibility of its customers in the fields of industry and infrastructure. The Sector consists of six divisions: Building Technologies, Drive Technologies, Industry Automation, Industry Solutions, Mobility und Osram. With around 207,000 employees worldwide (September 30), Siemens Industry achieved in fiscal year 2009 total sales of approximately €35 billion.

The Siemens Industry Solutions Division (Erlangen, Germany) is one of the world's leading solution and service providers for industrial and infrastructure facilities comprising the business activities of Siemens VAI Metals Technologies, Water Technologies and Industrial Technologies. Activities include engineering and installation, operation and service for the entire life cycle. A wide-ranging portfolio of environmental solutions helps industrial companies to use energy, water and equipment efficiently, reduce emissions and comply with environmental guidelines. With around 31,000 employees worldwide (September 30), Siemens Industry Solutions posted sales of €6.8 billion in fiscal year 2009.

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