HIGHVOLT Prüftechnik Dresden GmbH

Are simulation tools the test labs of the future?

Date: 17.06.2020

Time: 5 pm CET - 11 am EST - 11 pm SGT

For years, simulation software shows extensive capabilities and is modelling reality with increasing accuracy. Accordingly, we have to ask ourselves if it might be possible to replace high voltage, high current and power testing by simulation. Alternatively it might be possible to reduce the number of necessary tests by combining real test results with simulations.

Dr. Ralf Pietsch
Head of Documentation and Science
HIGHVOLT Prüftechnik Dresden GmbH


In reference to René Decarte's "I think, therefore I am", one could provocatively formulate this freely on this theme in something like this: “I simulate, so it works” – Is it truly as simple?


From 1979 to 1986, he studied physics at the RWTH Aachen University, where he graduated with a diploma in physics. In 1992, he received his doctorate at the Institute for High Voltage Technology at RWTH Aachen University, where he obtained his doctorate in the field of ageing effects before and during the inception of partial discharges in polymeric insulated High-Voltage cables. From 1992 to 1996, he worked as project engineer at ABB Corporate Research in Baden-Dättwil, Switzerland. Main topics during this time were the development of UHF partial discharge sensors, the physics of partial discharges in gases and solids, their simulation, measurements and interpretation. Further main topics were investigations on the dielectric properties of SF6, the formation of decomposition products of SF6 in circuit breakers and investigations on the use of alternative gases as a replacement for SF6, as this gas has an extremely high greenhouse gas potential (GWP). At the end of 1996, he then moved to ABB High Voltage Technology in Zurich-Oerlikon (Switzerland) to head the type testing and development laboratories. He tested gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) with rated voltages of over 170 kV to 800 kV.
Since January 2001, he has been working for HIGHVOLT Prüftechnik Dresden GmbH in various technical positions. The main activities are in the fields of impulse and DC test systems, electrical field calculations/simulations and partial discharge measurements in gaseous, liquid and solid insulation systems and their interpretation.
In addition, since 1996 he is an active member of the CIGRE Study Committee SC D1 ("Materials and Emerging Test Technologies") in various working groups as a specialist, secretary or convenor. Currently he is an active member of WG D1.63 ("Partial discharge detection under DC voltage stress"), which investigates partly the physics of partial discharges under DC voltages. In addition, he has headed WG D1.33, which wrote the technical brochure entitled "High-Voltage On-Site Testing with Partial Discharge Measurement". Since September 2016, he is chairman of this CIGRE Study Committee SC D1.
In addition, he has been lecturing on "Diagnostics and High-Voltage Measurement Technology" at the Chemnitz University of Technology since 2004, again with a focus on partial discharges, and various measurement and diagnostic technologies.
Since several years, he conducts external, international training courses on high voltage technology. This takes place, among other things, within the framework of the HICADEMY seminars of HIGHVOLT as main speaker.

Prof. Christian Franck
Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering
ETH Zürich


Simulation results can only be as good as the underlying physical models allow.


Christian M. Franck was appointed Full Professor of High Voltage Engineering at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich by March 2020 (Assistant Professor from Jan 2010 – May 2015, Associate Professor May 2015 - March 2020). He studied physics at the Universities of Bonn (Germany), Edinburgh (Scotland), and Kiel- (Germany) where he graduated 1999 with a diploma. Afterwards he worked at the Max-Planck-Institute for Plasma Physics in Greifswald (Germany) in the area of electromagnetic wave propagation in magnetized plasmas, receiving his Ph. D. in experimental physics in 2003. Then he worked at the ABB Research Center in Baden (Switzerland) in the area of current interruption, limitation and high voltage insulation. From 2005 on he headed the group for high voltage systems and gas circuit breakers. In January 2010 he joined ETH Zurich as Assistant Professor. He was promoted to Associate Professor in June 2015 and to Full Professor in March 2020. He is married and has three children.
His current research and teaching is in the area of “technologies for future electric energy transmission systems” with focus in the areas of High-Voltage Gaseous and Solid Insulation Systems as well as Current Interruption.


Ronny Fritsche
Head of Research & Development Power Transformers


Quality is the key to the performance and durability of power transformers in electrical power transmission. And quality must be verified by appropriate methods and procedures to ensure safe and reliable operation throughout the expected service life.


Professional Development
10/2019 - today
Head of R&D Power Transformers SIEMENS ENERGY
06/2018 – 09/2019
Development Engineer
Head of R&D for HVDC, electrical and system design in Large Power Transformers Global Technology Center
04/2013 - 05/2018
Development Engineer
Head of R&D Power Transformers Nuremberg including ERT Laboratory reporting to R&D in Large Power Transformers Global Technology Center
05/2012 – 03/2013
Development Engineer in Research & Development Power Transformers Nuremberg engaged also in global R&D projects
Responsible for ERT Laboratory
04/2009 – 04/2012
Development Engineer in Research & Development Power Transformers Nuremberg
11/2006 – 03/2009
Electrical Design Engineer Large Power Transformers Nuremberg
Academic Education
03/2004 – 10/2006
Academic studies electrical engineering discipline electrical engineering
Graduation: Diploma (Dipl.-Ing. (FH))
08/2001 – 02/2004
Academic studies electrical engineering basics
Cooperative Engineering Education (KIA Kooperative Ingenieurs Ausbildung) in Electrical Engineering at University of applied sciences Zittau/Görlitz
Graduation: Intermediate diploma
Apprenticeship energy electronics engineer at Verbundnetz Gas AG Leipzig
Graduation: Craft certificate energy electronics engineer
Further obligations
VDE Verband der Elektrotechnik, Elektronik und Informationstechnik
Mitglied im Bezirksverein Dresden


Moderation: Florian Schwarz


HIGHVOLT Prüftechnik Dresden GmbH
Marie-Curie-Str. 10
01139 Dresden
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