Conversation with Pete Fuller

Directing Partner, Torkworx

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Torkworx is well-established in the wind industry here in the U.S. What are some of the services that the company offers the industry?

We started out with strictly repair and calibration services for all types of torque and tension systems.  Torkworx is an ISO9001 and ISO17025 accredited company so our ability to competently perform these type of repair services brought huge growth to our in-house service and our calibration department.  Over the last few years we have expanded into on-site services as well.  Originally just base bolt tension rechecks because we knew that our technical expertise and our advanced technology would provide a huge benefit to the market on an application that a highly trained Wind Tech really doesn’t need to be wasting his time on.

Torkworx provides Bolting Techs, not Wind Techs.  Our guys understand the complex nature of a mechanical joint and are experts in that field.  We are so proficient at the base bolt recheck services that we are able to complete a 10% check within 15 minutes and 100-percent check within an hour.  Most recently we have expanded to up-tower bolting services as well. The market has embraced the idea of having a “Bolting Specific” service delivered for maintenances.  Again, Torkworx Techs are Bolting Techs that can safely climb, not wind techs.  And they are so good at what they do that the owner/operator realizes instant value since we can complete these applications much faster and with better results.  When you have that laser focus on a specific task and you have thousands of these applications successfully completed you get real good at it and the customer sees the results from Day One when we have the bolting done in ½ the time they are accustom to.

I understand the company has grown rather rapidly. To what do attribute that expansion?

Our growth has been due to our attention to customer requirements and our ability to deliver an unbiased assessment of the solution.  We are always looking at better and more effective ways to deliver better results.  We do this with a clear vision of the customer’s goals and we make it our goal.  Whether we are discussing tooling packages, onsite services or custom applications.

What are some of the challenges that the wind industry is facing regarding torque and tensioning?

As the WTG technology gets bigger there will be challenges with providing viable torque and tension systems that are safe, portable, lightweight, fast and easy to use.  The larger these WTGs get the bigger the tooling has to get.  As we they get larger, the fasteners get larger and ultimately the tooling has to get larger.  Additionally, validating the load left in the fastener during break-ins and maintenances will be more difficult as well.  Insuring that the fasteners are tightened to the right specification and that the load properly remains in the fastener.

What are some of the current or emerging technologies that Torkworx employs to meet those challenges?

I can’t speak of emerging technologies because we have a lot of due diligence to complete before we are ready to take a technology to market.  But I can say that the new ERAD-BLU Series along with the ERAD-S Series will provide an enormous amount of value to the market.  We will stop using power to torque conversion and start using real time torque measurement to complete our torque cycles.  This means that we will know in real time exactly what torque is introduced to the fastener.  We have always looked for this real time feedback to confirm our scope of work and now New World Technologies has delivered this in the next generation ERAD Systems and their Smart Socket Technology.  So even if the operator is still using older hydraulic wrenches instead of an ERAD System, they can still validate the torque introduced into the fastener using the Smart Socket.  It displays the peak torque for the cycle on a mini LED screen and the data is downloaded using mini HDMI.  We have major OEMs using these systems now and if Torkworx does it’s jobs right we will have Owner Operators requesting this technology at construction and maintenance.

I noticed Torkworx doesn’t advise a “one-size-fits-all” approach to torque and tensioning. Why is that?

Every customer is different just like every application is different.  Our philosophy is to listen.  Listen to the customer desires, to their ultimate goals and find a way to make that happen.  We do a real good job of listening.  And once we know exactly what the customer is looking to accomplish we set out to find the best method or technology to reach that goal.  You can’t do that when you offer a “one-size-fits-all” solution.  That’s why we look at all the best manufacturers and all the best technologies.  We are not married to any single manufacturer because no one does a great job of everything.  We employ the ones that are great at what they do.  And if we can’t find one then we go in-house and find a custom solution that meets the customer requirements.  We have done that many times as well.  Most recently we just completed a specialty project for GE where we used a RAD system to turn an unbalanced rotor during construction.  It took some doing but with the help of New World Technologies and the customer we were able to develop a solution that  delivered the results everyone was looking for.  That’s what makes Torkworx great, our dedicated partners in the industry and the customers that confidently provide those opportunities to us.

What are some of the field services that Torkworx offers?  

We started with base bolts, but now we are doing up tower bolting and some general maintenances as well.  We are more bolting focused but if the customer asks we make every attempt to provide.  Just remember we are not wind techs, we are bolting techs that know how to safely climb and that’s why we are so good at what we do.