History of


H. Bausch, Bundeswehr-University Munch/Germany
When I was asked by Professor Belmans and Professor Ertan to say some words about the history of the ICEM, I tried to remember what the real origin of the ICEM was.

Officially, no doubt, this was in September 1974, and the official founder, no doubt also, was Professor Arthur Ellison from the City University at London, So, why not Professor Ellison to talk about ICEM-History?

Well: because all that European Conference activities which we have today had a forerunner, and this forerunner was born-like many great things- very casually, in the Mediterranean area, the cultural hub of Europe. I myself was lucky enough to participate in that development, and that may be the reason why I have been asked to talk to you this night.

The very beginnings may be related to 1966 when I had the rare opportunity to attend a summer conference in Boulder/Colorado about numerical field calculations which was organized by Prof. Erdelyi. Many young people were present who later on should become famous professors, among these Peter Lawrenson, Pete Sylvester, Michel Poloujadoff, and Konrad Reichert. And there was also a young scientist from Italy, Enrico Pagano, with his charming wife, who instructed us on all the possibilities outside the conference. He organized meetings and sightseeing tours and was a very lovely and agile man. Why do I mention this?

Some years later, in 1970, I got a mail from Italy. Enrico Pagano asked me to send him some copies of my publications, and I was very glad to hear from him. I sent him the copies, wished him all the best, and asked him to convey my best wishes to his wife.

Only some days later I got a letter. Dr Enrico Pagano from the University of Naples expressed his deep gratitude for the good wishes, and also his wife did so. But obviously, he said, he was not the one which was acquainted to me from the US, because he would not know me personally, so sorry. But of course, he continued, that should be altered immediately. And he invited me and my former boss, Professor Jordan, from the Technical University of Hannover, to bella Napoli. We went there and had a very friendly meeting with exchange of professional ideas with our Italian colleagues.

This was the very beginning. We decided to organize small symposiums, making use of the overwhelming area around the Gulf of Naples.

In the following year, in March of 1971, the first symposium on Electrical Machines and Static Converters was held in Sorrento. It was a small gathering, about 30-40 persons, and, I think, I should point it out, without conference fees, dinners and banquets.

Subsequent symposiums were held in 1972 and 1973, both on the charming island of Capri, and it was one of these two, where Professor Ellison asked himself and the other participants, whether or not these events should be extended to form an International Conference on Electrical Machines. This should attract professionals from all over the world, and it should be centred in Europe.

Well, the British are good organizers, and they have the feeling for international connections and relationships. So, the first ICEM was inaugurated in London in 1974. We met at the City University, about 60 papers were presented from authors of Europe, Canada and the US, and there were some 200 members from fifteen countries in attendance. The conference fee was 12 pound Sterling and 50 cents, the conference dinner was at 3 pounds. Why do I mention that economic detail? Because I think it’s worthwhile to consider how things have changed in the meantime. The frame of the conference together with ist costs and obviously our pretension also have exploded within these 24 years. Shouldn’t we at least try to return to modesty?

At the first ICEM also the International Steering Committee (ISC) was founded, with Prof. Ellison as Int. Chairman. I confess that the nomination of the 10 members, among these Professors Cruickshank, Hammond, Oberretl and Slemon, was all but democratic. The whole institution was very informal, and that has not changed to these days.

The concept of the ICEM from the beginning was to create an informal, but effective forum for electrical machines engineers from all over the world, as well from universities and from the industry. At the biennial meetings, intentively at the beginning of September in every even year, an exchange of ideas should take place, personal contacts and possibly friendships should be made, and quick information on what was going on in our field should be guaranteed. The center of the conference venues should be Europe.

In the following years, it turned out that the best form of organization of the conferences would be to impose the total responsibility to the local organisers. Without exceptions, these have always been universities, more exactly: our colleague at that university together with his local organizing committee. The ISC only defines the boundary conditions. This means that not only the work has to be done by the local organisers, but also that they bear the total financial risk. Of course, normally there will occur a certain surplus, but that is not always the case.

On this basis, the ICEM’s were run at Vienna/Austria (1976), Brussels/Belgium (1978), Athens/Greece (1980), Budapest/Hungary (1982), Lausanne/Switzerland (1984), Munich/Germany (1986), Pisa/Italy (1988), Boston/USA (1990, the first time outside Europe), Manchester/UK (1992), Paris/France (1994), Vigo/Spain (1996) and this year at İstanbul/Turkey.

During this time the ICEM developed to a high standard event. Contributions are attracted from all over the world. In all cases, a preselection is made by the local committee on the basis of abstracts. In this procedure, a considerable number of proposals are rejected. The remaining number of final papers, which are collected in the Proceedings, -and thus the number of presentations- nevertheless is large enough. As an average of the last 7 conferences, we have about 270 presented papers (this year about 400!) either in oral or in dialogue sessions. The policy, that many participants should have the opportunity to be active and become known, rather than the alternative for a few papers to be presented to a big audience of listeners, is an intrinsic feature of the ICEM from the beginning. Meanwhile, this policy has been adopted by most of the succeeding conferences.

It is clear that the local organiser has to claim for the fee from every attendant whether he presents a paper or not. Everybody must contribute financially. Otherwise, the conference would not work. Despite this burden, the number of participants has stabilised on about 400 as an average of the last 7 conferences, the maximum being 594 at Paris/France, 1994, after 462 at Munich/Germany, 1986.

The ICEM meanwhile has born several off-springs. One is the European Power Electronics Conference (EPE). In the early eighties, it was discussed by Professor Ellison and Professor Maghetto from the Free University of Brussels/Belgium and Professor Leonhard from the Technical University of Braunschweig/Germany, whether it would be possible to extend the subject of electrical machines to power electronics and its applications. At that time we had already about 300 papers each conference, and it was considered impossible to enlarge the number of conference days beyond three. As we were full, the power electronic section separated. The first EPE conference started, I guess, in 1985, and from there on took place every two odd years.

Co-operations have been established with China and Australia in order to cover the Asian-Pacific area. I was lucky enough to realise these projects during my chairmanship, i.e. from 1984 to 1992.

It was in 1987 when the first Chinese Conference on Electrical Machines (CICEM) happened in Beijing. It was a great success, many Chinese colleagues attended the conference, they would not have been able to come to Europe. The following CICEM was at Wuhan in 1993, and the next will be at Xihan in 1999. Thus a time step of 6 years has occurred.

In 1987 also, an electric energy conference was organised by our colleague Professor Göl at Adelaide/Australia. At this occasion, I could recruited Prof. Göl as a member of the ICEM-ISC and establish a relationship between ICEM and Australia. The first International Conference on Electrical Machines in Australia (icema) was then inaugurated by Professor Göl at Adelaide/Australia in 1993. It was also an exciting conference with many actual contributions in a magnificent environment. The next most probably will come up in 1999.

Apart from these off-springs, other electrical machines and drives conferences have arisen in Europe, e.g. in Romania and the Aegean Conference here in Turkey. Also, our Italian colleagues are still busy with the biennial Symposion on Power Electronics, Electrical Drives and Advanced Machines (SPEEDAM) in Sorrento/Italy.

I wonder how wide a good idea can spread, and I am also surprised of the fact that a classical subject such as electrical machines has so many fans. Today it is so that I could attend conferences on electrical machines and correlated subjects all over the year. In doing so I would not find to work.

What is the secret of such activities?

On the one hand, I guess, electrical machines still form a central point in the education of electrical engineers in the universities, not only due to traditional reasons but also due to the physical approach. This analogous way of thinking and imagination is necessary in our digital world of information technology. Otherwise, we will forget what real technology means, namely that it is a highly complex mixture not only of electrical but also of mechanical, thermal, and chemical phenomena, of noise, vibration, insulation, fabrication, faults. This is not a virtual reality but a down to earth view reality.

On the other hand: the principals of electromagnetic energy conversion in connection with the rapidly developing power electronics and modern signal processing offer an ever-increasing variety of configurations. They are far beyond the classical basic constructions. This requires a thorough physical understanding, and in addition the handling of all the appropriate information techniques associated with computer simulation and data processing. It is therefore fascinating to deal with electrical machines as the hub of motion technology which will be always necessary for our technical word, with an increasing tendency.

Speaking for myself, I must confess that electrical machines have caught me more than 45 years ago, and did not leave me off since that time. I saw small and big ones during my apprenticeship in industry, dc and ac and special variants such as amplidynes and Scherbius-cascades. I did my studies with impact on this, I wrote my PhD thesis on electrical machines, became a professor on that subject (what I had never intended because the industry was in my mind), I tried to inspire my students, developed new drive systems, wrote publications, and I am still enthusiastic on electrical machines, although my retirement is already short before me.

Coming to an end, I would like to encourage all my colleagues, especially te young scientists, to study the electromechanical energy conversion very deliberately under all traditional and modern aspects, and doing so to have the real world in mind. I am sure that this will lead to a very satisfying professional life.

I wish the ICEM all the best for its further development.

© Copyright - ICEM