Creating a customized culture

Many consumer markets now have greater choice than ever before. Manufacturers of products from cars to mobile devices are attracting customers using customization.

Engineers regularly face new challenges and unlike the consumer markets, customization decisions are being made for necessity rather than personal preference. As they strive to reach wind energy production stages, customers are also calling for solutions that are value for money and have short lead times from design to completion.

Hydratight’s Joint Integrity practices have grown with the industrial wind market, largely in Europe and Asia. This market is yet to mature to the same levels as others and so continues to change rapidly.

The wind energy market has changed dramatically in less than two decades. In the year 2000, the hub height of turbines used in industrial applications was 64 meters on average, with a rotor diameter of 69 meters and capacity of 1.6MW. In 2010, hub height was 82 meters, rotor diameter 94 meters and capacity 2.9MW. By 2030, it is predicted that hub heights will commonly be 125 meters, with a rotor diameter of 190 meters and a capacity of an impressive 11MW.

These changes have come about due to vast offshore floating wind farms and a current global installed capacity reaching 540,000 MW or 540 GW. Understandably, this has impacted the evolution of tooling and equipment necessary to install and service these assets.

It is a hugely exciting opportunity for product development and Hydratight has taken a lead on joint integrity solutions using a wide-range of hydraulic bolt tensioners specifically engineered for the wind industry.  From the bottom of the tower with Elliptical Base Bolt tensioners to the top of the nacelle and blades with robust Micro-tensioners and time-saving Multi-Stud tensioning systems, Hydratight can secure all bolted joints.

Our tensioners are designed to exceed the requirements of the wind turbine market, assisting wind turbine manufacturers and contractors to meet energy-production demands by reducing bolting times and achieving accurate bolt loads every time.

The Micro-Tensioners cover all size ranges from an M20 to M48 with any nut/washer configuration to meet exact bolting requirements. They are available in compact single deck models used for applications with a wider clearance and double deck models for applications with a tighter clearance. These maximize clamping forces and have been fully trialed in the wind market.

The Elliptical Base Tensioner is suited to all original equipment manufacturer (OEM) foundation bolting. It has been customized with a 20% reduction in width to ensure it fits applications with limited clearance inner bolts. Design enhancements include asymmetric rams, spring-loaded sockets, spring retraction and a positive stop to prevent damage by misuse in the field.

All product developments have been made for specific reasons, based on feedback from customers, proven business cases and technological developments in the market. As the scale of development grows towards 2030 and beyond, constant evaluation of product lines will be important. For success, a culture of customization and even reinvention is becoming the only choice.