Recognizing exceptional achievements

2018 Thomas A. Edison Awards laureates

By Claire Marchand

Every year, the IEC pays tribute to people from its organization, for their distinguished work and commitment to improving the safety, compatibility and energy efficiency of electrical products and systems, with its Thomas Edison Award.

Edison silver medal IEC pays tribute to people from its organization for their distinguished work and commitment with its Thomas Edison Award

The IEC Thomas A. Edison Award was established in the spirit of Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), one of the greatest inventors in history. Edison developed a system of electric power generation and distribution which was a major breakthrough in the modern industrialized world. He held more than 1 000 patents for, among others, improving the incandescent lamp or film projection and sound recording, which still have an impact on our daily lives today. “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration” is one of Edison’s most famous quotes.

Excellence and expertise across the board

This year, IEC recognized the outstanding work of seven experts – five nominated by the IEC Standardization Board (SMB) and two by the IEC Conformity Assessment Board (CAB). Between them, they covered fields as diverse as conformity assessment (IECEE and IECEx), solar photovoltaic energy systems, fibre optics, safety of household appliances, active assisted living (AAL), electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and colour measurement and management.

At the 82nd IEC General Meeting in Busan, Republic of Korea, the following persons were presented with the 2018 Thomas A. Edison Award:

  • Prof Dr-Ing Thorsten Arnhold, Chair IECEx
  • Mr George Kelly, Secretary TC 82: Solar photovoltaic energy systems
  • Mr Shigeyuki Kondo, Vice-Chair IECEE
  • Mr Gerard Kuyt, Chair SC 86A: Fibres and cables
  • Mr Dejun Ma, Vice-Chair TC 61: Safety of household and similar electrical appliances, and Vice-Chair SyC Active assisted living (AAL)
  • Prof Hiroyuki Ohsaki, Chair TC 77: Electromagnetic compatibility
  • Dr Hiroaki Sugiura, Technical Area Manager TC 100/TA 2: Colour measurement and management

Mr Fumio Ueno, Chair of IEC TC105: Fuel cell technologies, who was a laureate of the Edison Award in 2017, will also receive the Award in Busan.

Thorsten Arnhold, Chair IECEx

Thorsten Arnhold and Shawn Paulsen, IEC Vice-President and CAB Chair

Since 2014, Thorsten Arnhold has taken the responsibilities and duties of his role as IECEx Chair with a very dynamic hands-on approach. IECEx, the IEC System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Explosive Atmospheres, has seen continued and sustained annual growth that re-enforces IECEx as “world best practice” for testing and certification in the highly specialized field of explosion protection, a position endorsed by many other organizations including the United Nations through the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). Under his leadership, existing IECEx services were developed and new ones put in place, such as the IECEx Recognized Training Provider Programme that underpins the IECEx certified persons scheme. IECEx has also integrated the new series of International Standards covering non-electrical Ex equipment, prepared by IEC Subcommittee (SC) 31M: Non-electrical equipment and protective systems for explosive atmospheres. As a result, IECEx now provides certification of non-electrical equipment, systems and components. It is worth noting that Thorsten Arnhold has been active and is well known in the standards development field through his long-standing involvement in IEC TC 31: Equipment for explosive atmospheres, where his technical expertise is both respected and valued.

George Kelly, Secretary TC 82

Ralph Sporer, IEC Vice-President and SMB Chair, and George Kelly

George Kelly has repeatedly proven to be an excellent secretary to IEC TC 82: Solar photovoltaic energy systems. He has actively contributed to TC 82 meetings, has been a helpful resource in the numerous exchanges within standardization project teams, and an effective representative of TC 82 in other bodies such as IEC TC 64: Electrical installations and protection against electric shock, IECRE, the IEC System for Certification to Standards Relating to Equipment for Use in Renewable Energy Applications, or ISO/TC 160: Glass in building. As IEC TC 82 has many contributing participants with a wide spectrum of backgrounds, and due to rapid technology development in the field of photovoltaics, the work load of this committee is very high. George’s knowledge, his inclusive manner, and timely guidance on IEC processes and procedures, has been particularly beneficial on numerous occasions. So, George brought much more structure to IEC TC 82 work and was instrumental in improving the quality of Standards. He is a great enabler in calming down conflicts and finding solutions, and therefore the main driver of IEC TC 82 work and success in the last years.

Shigeyuki Kondo, Vice-Chair IECEE

Shigeyuki Kondo and Shawn Paulsen

Shigeyuki Kondo has served for the past five years as Vice-Chair of the Certification Management Committee (CMC) of IECEE, the IEC System of Conformity Assessment Schemes for Electrotechnical Equipment and Components, and concurrently as Convenor of CMC Working Group (WG) 10: Maintenance of the IECEE rules and operational documents. His achievement during his term of office as Vice-Chair of the CMC, apart from supporting the CMC Chair, was to help establish the conformity assessment infrastructures of national certification bodies and test laboratories in ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to enable IECEE CA services in the region. As Vice-Chair of IECEE CMC and as a long-standing expert within the Japan Quality Assurance Organization (JQA), he has taken every opportunity to visit ASEAN members’ national certification bodies and test laboratories; to be invited as a lecturer to ASEAN training seminars held in Japan; and to educate and instruct ASEAN experts on how to cope with IECEE principles and requirements. Consequently, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam are now present in certain IECEE product categories. Another outstanding achievement to his credit was the transition from the old IECEE rules to the Harmonized Basic Rules approved by CAB, which he led as Convenor of CMC WG 10.

Gerard Kuyt, Chair SC 86A

Ralph Sporer and Gerard Kuyt

Gerard Kuyt has over 43 years of experience and leadership in fibre optic telecommunication, in particular fibre production and qualification, product development and marketing. As Convenor of IEC SC 86A/WG 1: Fibres and associated measuring methods, of which he had been a member since 1989, he was responsible for over 50 publications and numerous ongoing projects between 2004 and 2017. Thanks to his leadership as Liaison Officer between ITU-T SG15 and IEC SC 86A, also since 1989, the relationship between IEC TC 86 and ITU-T remained open and collaborative for the many years he has held this position. As Chair of IEC SC 86A: Fibres and cables, since 2009, he has successfully promoted the activities of the IEC in the areas of optical fibre and cable, overseen new and maintenance work in those areas, and used his vast knowledge and experience to assist those who actively develop new work in his subcommittee and across IEC TC 86: Fibre optics. His contributions to the team of officers in the TC have significantly impacted its decisions and organization, and he has used his extensive experience to help achieve consensus over contentious issues.

Mr Dejun Ma, Vice-Chair TC 61 & Vice-Chair SyC AAL

Ralph Sporer and Dejun Ma

Mr Dejun Ma has been involved in IEC standardization work for nearly 30 years. His first attendance was in an IEC TC 61: Safety of household and similar electrical appliances, meeting on behalf of China in 1990. Since 1992, he has participated in the work of IEC TC 61 and IEC TC 59: Performance of household and similar electrical appliances, as chief representative of China, making great contributions to the efficient integration of China's household appliance industry into IEC, the active participation of developing countries in international standardization work, and promoting the international standardization of new industries such as robotics, smart home, etc. His years of unremitting efforts have yielded remarkable results. More and more delegates from developing countries are now attending meetings and related activities of TC 61. At his suggestion, TC 61 intends to adopt a new model for standardization aid in developing countries, thereby making it more targeted and time-sensitive.

As Vice-Chair of the Systems Committee on active assisted living (SyC AAL), he proposed the establishment of a smart home working group, which eventually results in the establishment of WG 5 on AAL in the connected home environment, of which he is the Convenor. He is also Convenor of WG 4 on regulatory affairs, responsible for conducting research on AAL's global laws and regulations.

Prof Hiroyuki Ohsaki, Chair TC 77

Ralph Sporer and Hiroyuki Ohsaki

Hiroyuki Ohsaki has served as Chair of IEC TC 77: Electromagnetic compatibility, for about seven years, making excellent contributions to the committee’s operations and management. Since his appointment as Chair, he has supervised the development of eight TC 77 deliverables. Hiroyuki Ohsaki has set up the TC Chair's Advisory Group (CAG) to ensure smooth communication and discussions on common issues within the Committee and its Subcommittees. He has played a key role in coordinating the standardization activities in challenging fields of EMC dealing with low and high frequency electromagnetic phenomena and high power transient phenomena, in cooperation with CISPR, the international special committee on radio interference, for general application and use by product committees and the electrical industry. He served as an ex-officio member of the Advisory Committee on electromagnetic compatibility (ACEC) representing IEC TC 77 for about seven years, three of which as ACEC Vice-Chair. He has proactively promoted “IEC Young Professionals Programme on EMC” and created the webpage and questionnaires for the Young Professionals who are interested in EMC.

Hiroaki Sugiura, Technical Area Manager 100/TA 2

Ralph Sporer and Hiroaki Sugiura

For more than 20 years, Hiroaki Sugiura has brought his expertise in the field of colour management and measurement to IEC TC 100: Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment, and has led the publications of more than 20 International Standards. He has served as Technical Area Manager for TC 100/TA 2: Colour measurement and management, since 2008. Among others, he has led the international standardization of sRGB which is used in almost all of the visual products in the world such as display monitors, projectors, digital cameras, printers and more. He also played an important role in the standardization of opRGB, used mainly for professional digital still cameras and of xvYCC, which is referred to in MPEG and HDMI International Standards. He has developed and commercialized many products to which the Standards apply, for example the world’s first LCD monitor compliant with sRGB, the world’s first LCD projector based on sRGB and the world’s first Laser TV – ultra wide colour gamut in conformity with xvYCC.

Fumio Ueno, Chair TC 105

Ralph Sporer and Fumio Ueno

As the Chair of IEC TC 105: Fuel cell technologies, Fumio Ueno has led the standardization of fuel cells and related technologies and contributed significantly to their advancement. Fumio Ueno has successfully overseen the development of important Standards that facilitate fuel cell product commercialization and market penetration by closely interacting with the market as the technology evolved from the lab to the real world. One of his most remarkable achievements was the negotiation with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to allow methanol fuel inside passenger cabins. This resulted in a platform for micro fuel cells in commercial products. Fumio Ueno also served as the convenor of the first Systems Evaluation Group in the IEC dedicated to smart cities and is now the Chair of the recently founded Systems Committee on smart cities.