“We are involved in developing digital power electronics technology, and this plays into the increased importance of digitalization that is felt across the organization,” says Yao. “I can see many colleagues around me constantly innovating and applying their products in the market.”
Based in Beijing, the Robotics and Mechatronics Department (RME), specializes in electronic technology and mechatronics research – essentially, finding electromechanical solutions that can benefit industries in the future.
From predictive research to product
Yao and his team carry out predictive research, analyzing the future before it happens in order to prototype machines that can be turned into products. “We are doing research, aiming at turning our outcome into products that can fulfill end-customers’ needs and bring benefits to them.”
In 2011, Yao’s department began a project in which they developed the next generation of hybrid optical measurement systems for high voltage power transmission. Focusing their efforts on developing cutting-edge hardware and software, they developed a new solution that enhanced the levels of accuracy, robustness, and safety available to industry. This technology has been integrated into new projects since 2014.
In addition, Yao is developing a smart drive train for robots. By harnessing innovative power electronic and mechatronic technologies, as well as sensor and braking technologies, he hopes his R&D work will one day change the way we get from A to B.
“Currently we are focused on robotics. We hope our solutions can create smaller and lighter robots, which will be more efficient and accurate. We hope these ‘collaborative robots’ can be widely used in industry to increase automation and enhance productivity.”
R&D goes hand-in-hand with business
When carrying out research and developing products, Yao works closely with Siemens Business Units (BU) around the world. It’s a symbiotic relationship, where he proposes solutions that are tailored to individual markets and BUs suggest topics for investigation.
Their collaboration is not limited to product development, however, and Yao’s team retains a certain degree of autonomy: “We have a very rich experience in collaborating with BUs around the world. For example, in one project we developed a direct current blocking device by collaborating with Nuremberg and Erlangen on the design phase before developing the first prototype in China. We then took it to be tested in Nuremberg, Karlsruhe, and Berlin. It was afterwards optimized for customers in Hong Kong and New Zealand, so we went with it and tested it there as well.”
BUs are also currently developing in China, meaning the country will soon have a means of combining R&D with product development in a way that is directly tailored to its own markets. “China will have more responsibility for its own research and development in the future. Soon, I will be able to approach and cooperate with more partners in China,” says Yao.
Yao and his team have already begun working on this. For example, they combined their knowledge of power electronics with a Chinese BU’s mechanical design and product engineering knowhow to come up with a new industrial inverter.
We have a very rich experience in collaborating with business units around the world, but soon China will have more responsibility for its own R&DYao Jilong
A place for personal development
Yao’s career at Siemens began in 2006, when he joined as a research scientist and carried out technical research to study suitable innovations to industrial drive, transmission, and distribution that could be implemented in China. Several projects later, Yao became program manager in 2012.
In his current role, Yao gets to work with experts and engineers in power electronics, electronic devices, and mechanical design. There are many challenges involved and the work is diverse, whether it is researching a new product or technology, or cooperating with business units around the world.
“Siemens has a large scope of applications and advanced technology, making it a very good company to work for, if you’re a young professional and want to work in a culture with innovation. You can accumulate so much knowledge and experience. Young professional –actually many colleagues in China or Germany, haven chosen to stay in Siemens for much longer than they originally thought they would, me included.”
Yao Jilong majored in Electric Power. Leaving his hometown of Shantou in Guangdong Province, he attended Shanghai Jiao Tong University before going on to study for a PhD at the Imperial College London, UK. After graduating in 2006, Yao started work at Siemens. He is currently head of the research group of Robotics and Mechatronics.
Yao is a Future Maker – one of the 377,000 talented people working with us to shape the future.