For Frank Scheuch, Managing Director of Intellifast GmbH, the success of a company relies on many interconnecting ingredients. PES picks up once again with the engaging wind power executive to discuss how his company is constantly evolving with the times to meet the demands of the market.
PES: Welcome back to PES magazine. For the benefit of readers who might not be familiar with your company, can you explain a little about your operation and how you serve the wind industry?
Frank Scheuch: Intellifast provides accurate and reliable bolt load assembly, documentation and monitoring tools to multiple industries by means of transducerised and bar-coded bolts. The ultrasonic transducers make it possible to control hydraulic tightening tools at the precise target bolt preload. Previously, this level of control was only possible with tensioners.
The Intellifast ultrasonic bolt load system is independent of the tightening process and can provide up to three per cent load measurement accuracy after the process. The assembler can now meet design load accuracy requirements with lighter, faster and lower working pressure tools. The bar code in combination with the transducer delivers 100 per cent traceability and a complete documentation package in assembly and maintenance with a handheld battery powered box.
The next logical step is online monitoring of bolt load and structural health through the real-time monitoring of the bolt material microstructure, both are under development at Intellifast.
PES: The company has been serving the wind industry for some time now. Do you feel that the strategic move into this arena has been worthwhile? Do you foresee this sector of your business increasing?
FS: Absolutely! Almost all major OEMs are testing our technology in prototypes, test turbines and units in wind parks. The tests range from single applications in one particular flange to all the bolts in a WTG requiring periodic monitoring.
Due to the sheer size of the turbines, full scale fatigue tests can almost be completely ruled out, the high operational load levels and the extremely high number of load changes in addition to the vibration loading over the lifetime of the WTG periodic bolt monitoring will remain an issue. Correct operational bolt load is the life insurance of a bolt and has to be maintained. We are also working with the new offshore wind turbine industry. A few manufacturers are already working with the obvious design benefit of our technology; the lowest certified safety factor (tightening factor) in bolt design and the smallest possible assembly and maintenance tooling envelope.