#FutureMaker: Ryan Queen

Catalyst - Ryan Queen
Catalyst - Ryan Queen

Electric motors in and of themselves have been around a long time and are well understood, so some may think it’s hard to bring innovation to bear on this established technology. But I see a place for innovation with motor technology and continue to be intrigued about pushing the innovation envelope at Siemens’ Norwood Motor Plant.   Motors are not complicated, yet they are. If you think about thermal analysis and heat transfer, computational fluid dynamics and rotordynamics, for example, a lot is going on with a rotating machine even in its simplicity.  As a mechanical engineer, I can’t think of working with anything as cool as big rotating machines—the power and energy they expend are impressive.   When I finished college, the skills I acquired there lined up with what we do at Norwood so Siemens was a good fit for me. The more I got involved in the work, the more interesting it became and 12+ years later I’m still enjoying what I do. I have the opportunity to collaborate daily and work across functions with many talented colleagues so we can continue advancing the technology that makes manufacturing more efficient and greener as the industry demands higher performance.   This year we celebrated 120 years of manufacturing at Norwood, a place where we have a real sense of pride in what we do. We have R&D, marketing, engineering, purchasing, customer service—all in one place. I don’t think many other companies provide that kind of all-encompassing service anymore.   But even with our long legacy of experience in motor manufacturing and service, we are doing a lot of cutting-edge things and developing many new applications. This includes high-speed applications where we are able to replace gear boxes in drive trains or come up with less conventional, non-induction motor designs. It’s pretty exciting to think about what we will do in the future to advance motor technology.   I have a real appreciation for the resources available to me as we develop our technology. It’s great to have the tools, training and colleagues to tap into; I can go to several different places to get what I need.  The work lets me cross-function with electrical engineers, too, even though motors are very mechanical. I enjoy being able to bridge the gap between mechanical and electrical.   Speaking of being cross-functional and collaborative, I’m fortunate to work with my Siemens colleagues across the globe as a member of the Network of Competency (NOC) technical group on rotordynamics, and noise and machine vibration. This provides an outstanding vehicle for us to do free-for-all brainstorming and knowledge sharing so we can learn from one another. With a company as big as Siemens, it can be a daunting task to remain connected. This technical-sharing effort about every six months allows us to cross the plant barriers and really apply lessons learned to make our products better.   My work allows my colleagues and me to make a true contribution to the future of motor performance. For example, we received a patent on eliminating signal noise (slow roll) in motor vibrations, which required comprehensive testing and applying non-intuitive applications to bring the technology to fruition. We also have pending patents on delivering oil to motor bearings electrostatically, mounting auxiliary blowers on specialized motor designs and developing a new design for a specialized encoder wheel. Close collaboration among colleagues made each of these applications possible.   When I think about being a FutureMaker, I can’t overlook the importance of sharing with others in the field to improve motor performance. I have the opportunity to author and present technical papers at conferences, as well, such as the recent PCIC (Petroleum and Chemical Industry Committee) and IEEE meeting in Cincinnati. There I was able to present a technical user guide on some of the testing we do on motor vibration.   I find it important to interact closely with our customers, who frequently ask questions as they witness testing in our state-of-the art motor testing facility. It’s equally important for me to conduct internal training for our sales teams to help them understand our designs over our competitors and give them the ammunition they need to convey why Siemens technology is just better.   Looking into the future, I see us continuing to bring innovation, collaboration and execution of our technology to a new level. I’m proud to be a Siemens FutureMaker and look forward to the ingenuity we will bring to bear on tomorrow’s high-performing motors.   *Ryan Queen was among 30 industry frontrunners recognized by Plant Engineering magazine (Sept. 2018 issue) as an “Engineering Leader Under 40.”