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Dr. h.c.

Hans Sauer

Born: 4 June 1923, Mladetzko

Died: 13 May 1996, Deisenhofen near Munich

"Where the individual potential is allowed to develop, creativity will flourish."

Sauer's field of research was relay technology, which was greatly changed due to his inventions.

Polytechnic university and neon tube clock

Sauer studied light engineering and optics at the Polytechnikum in Munich. In 1950 he joined Siemens as a development engineer. His first patent application for his employer concerned an electronic clock whose display consisted of neon tubes. Later, he developed almost exclusively polarised relays. Sauer was granted more than 300 patents worldwide, most of them relating to relay technology. His inventions allowed to produce much smaller and more efficient relays at lower cost. Sauer significantly contributed to transforming conventional relays into advanced components used in electrical engineering and electronics, specifically. From 1954, he worked for some years in the US as a relay designer. When he returned to Germany he was appointed Head of the construction department of Schaltbau GmbH in Munich. In 1962, Sauer founded SDS-Elektro GmbH and concluded licence and cooperation agreements with Matsushita Electric Works Ltd., Japan.


A relay functions as a switch using an electromagnet for opening and closing power circuits. It has two power circuits: the control circuit and the operating circuit. When the first circuit is being closed, the magnetic coil operates the switch of the second circuit: the operating circuit is activated or deactivated.
This technology allows a low power circuit to operate a high power - and therefore dangerous - circuit.

Founding a foundation

In 1989, Sauer sold the internationally operating SDS Relais AG and founded the Hans-Sauer-Stiftung that focuses on stimulating creativity and innovation.

Patent search

To find out more about Hans Sauer's patents, go to DEPATISnet

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Foto Sauer
© U. Sauer

Patent document DE-942406

"Elektromagnetisches Relais mit federgefesseltem Anker"

(PDF - 94 KB)

"Milestones of relay development"

Dipl.-Ing. Werner Kirscheneder

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