How could the wind industry ever improve its complex and high-load gearboxes unless they were modelled with sufficient detail to allow a proper analysis? Dr. Peter Poon, the founder and now Non-Executive Director of Romax Technology Limited, did not set out to answer the question, but in the end, he did and in the process, developed an engineering firm and the software for the design, analysis, and improvement of large gearboxes. The company has also developed detection systems that can sense an ailing rotating component, such as a main bearing, and months in advance of it becoming critical. For these contributions to the wind industry, we recognize Dr. Peter Poon as a Windpower Engineering & Development 2016 Innovator.
Dr. Poon was born in China, and educated in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the U.K. An interest in rolling element bearings sparked his interest in mechanical engineering where he established himself as an industry authority. Although he was an R&D head at a leading bearing company, he was dissatisfied with the way the industry performed its performance calculations and decided to improve on them.
He left that company in 1983 to become an independent consultant. In that role he advised governments on industrial policies both in UK and for the United Nations Industry of Development Organisation. Later recognition brought him to the attention of the Department of Industry of the Korean government as a gear and bearing industry adviser.
Eventually he founded Romax, which stands for ROtating MAchinery eXpert. The company’s first product was a software program, RomaxDesigner, which significantly changed the way that the gearbox industry performs calculations. That led to software for designing gearboxes and rotating machinery across many industrial sectors.
Another an more recent product the company has developed offers insight into wind turbines’ mechanical conditions. And that gives the ability to manage and reduce the cost of component failures through a combination of predictive maintenance and practical solutions. Gearbox Express, a gearbox repair firm in the U.S., has used the software to improve upon repaired gearboxes so they are more durable and reliable than when new.
Throughout his career, Dr. Poon has served as a consultant and expert witness to the court for clients in the UK, U.S., and Far East. Since founding Romax Technology in 1989, he has worked alongside the world’s leading transmissions and engineering companies, developing bespoke software solutions and providing engineering consultancy services to meet their growing needs.
Today, Dr. Poon holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Bristol University and a Research Fellowship from Cambridge University. Company clients include Honda, Caterpillar, Samsung, and E.ON. He is recognized as a world-leading expert on rolling element bearings and his work has been rewarded with the prestigious James Clayton prize, Institute of Mechanical Engineers for Tribology and The British Design Council Award for his rolling bearing design. The company boasts that 19 of the top 25 of the largest global operators are Romax InSight clients.
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