In this special Windpower Engineering & Development podcast interview, RAD Torque Systems walks us through its innovative torque technology for the wind industry.
Below is a portion of the interview with RAD Torque product manager Brian Warmerdam, but be sure to listen to the full episode via Soundcloud to learn more about the company’s involvement in the wind market.
What demands have you seen specifically related to the wind industry?
There’s two big paths that the wind industry is taking as far as the construction of the towers. Things are getting bigger every year, so we’re working on bigger, more efficient tools. Some of those bolts are just growing exponentially, so we’re trying to keep up with that as well as create smarter tools — tools that are ready to adapt into industry 4.0 environments that are capturing data and even using some closed loop feedbacks to make sure that they’re operating effectively and can communicate that to the operator and the customer.
Safety is a concern in any trade, how has RAD Torque addressed this topic in the wind industry?
Things are getting bigger and bigger, and as the tools get bigger they get harder to hold, harder to manage. We have a plethora of accessories specifically just for hanging and holding tools in certain positions to make the ergonomics of the use and the weight a lot easier on the operators. Beyond the weight of the tool, the biggest danger with most power tools is accidental operation. We make sure that either software or mechanical safety is in place to prevent an operator from accidentally hitting a trigger when he’s just trying to align the tool, making sure that the tool does not move unless it’s actually performing the job it needs to do.
What kind of maintenance is required for these tools?
We recommend that the tools are calibrated yearly or after 20,000 to 25,000 cycles. Every customer’s use-case is a bit different. Beyond calibration, maintenance is only really required when calibration breaks down. Either calibration is going to break down or the electronic tool will actually tell you if something is wrong and maintenance is required. But that is rare.
How is RAD Torque planning on continuing to support the wind industry moving forward?
We are working directly with some of the bigger players in the wind industry to make sure that development of our product line, whether it be our audit tools or our torque tools, is in line with how they are progressing. We see a huge push to data-driven manufacturing, industry 4.0 coming out of Europe and Asia. Those standards are very important to us moving forward, and we’re working directly with big manufacturers to make sure that we’re providing the features that they’re going to require in the next five to 10 years.
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