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In an insightful interview with WindInsider magazine, Mr. P. Naveen Chakradhar, Sr Manager, Hexagon briefed us about the products and solutions offered by their company, their differentiating factors, and their latest achievements and certifications. He also spoke about how Hexagon is adopting new technologies with respect to their offerings and their current year plans.
1. Please tell our readers in brief about the products and solutions offered by Hexagon with respect to Wind energy.
Today, sustainability is one of the most sought-after sectors. Manufacturing processes in every sector, from aerospace to automotive, chemical processing to oil & gas, and electronics to shipbuilding, contribute to CO2 emissions and environmental pollution and intensive use of our world’s precious materials, water, and energy natural resources. Hexagon has always believed that the future of Manufacturing lies in sustainability. In 2020, 27% of global primary energy generation came from renewable technologies (wind, solar, tidal, and hydro). Wind energy is clean, sustainable, and cost-effective. It has been experiencing a second wave of deployment worldwide.
The development of wind energy, and the associated size increase of wind farms, pose several Commercial & technical challenges in the development of renewable energy drivetrains, such as the cost of energy production, maintenance, reliability, efficiency, and time to market: Another challenge in wind energy production design is to minimize the Levelized Production Cost (LPC).
Our solutions have a proven track record for delivering right-first-time solutions via the use of our software and services. At Hexagon, we have end-to-end wind energy simulation & inspection solutions. The design and Engineering division has a long history of simulating various aspects of the structure of wind turbines, such as blade dynamics, fluid aerodynamics and wind farm placement studies, aero and Vibro-acoustics, composite material modeling, fatigue crack modeling, and gearbox power electronics cooling. MSC Apex CAE-centric structural analysis software has been architected for high Finite Element Analysis (FEA) simulation productivity, and a recent partnership with DNV-GL and their Sesam software for offshore wind turbine structural design has led to a highly focused and fast engineering design tool. Romax Wind software has been officially certified by DNVGL Renewables Certification as a recognised method of calculating gear loads, thus shortening the time taken to gain certification.
Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence also supports the wind industry with highly accurate contact measurement machines (CMM) to conduct wind turbine blade inspections, such as the Leica T-Scan. Our QUINDOS software is used extensively to ensure precision and quality standards for precise gear manufacturing and production. Volume Graphics offers market-leading industrial CT-scanning that allows users to identify weak points where cracks and fatigue may form defects inside manufactured parts non-destructively. CT-scanning also allows for scanning during maintenance shutdowns to assess lifetime weather-related and mechanical wear component deterioration. Machine Learning (ML) and other data-driven Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies such as ODYSSEE are expected to play an important part in research and development. During wind turbine validation and testing phases, these AI approaches can help focus effort on meaningful and relevant tests and fill the gaps between physical validation from sensors and metrology with reliable virtual data points.
Digital Twin creates a smart digital reality where virtual and physical data can be used interchangeably in feed-forward and feed-backward data loops to make better decisions. Although this requires high-quality data from virtual CAE simulations and effective use of sensors and metrology data, AI and machine learning combined with cloud computing are becoming key to making design efficient and scalable, stitching virtual and real data together to analyse cumulative data patterns to produce better-predicted outcomes or to prescribe better actions.
It’s not just that Hexagon is well-positioned in the manufacturing sector as Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence, with hardware and software products that cover virtually all of the product development lifecycle including design, engineering, simulation, production, inspection, and data asset management — in other words, all of the pieces and interconnections necessary to build Smart Factories.
2. What differentiates your offerings from other players in the industry?
Hexagon is uniquely positioned to deliver software and hardware solutions across a broad array of sustainability applications. Our sustainability mission is entirely focused on putting virtual and real data to work in smart ways to increase efficiency, productivity, and quality in renewable energy facilities. In doing so, we mitigate the urgent risks of natural resource depletion and waste.
No other company has such extensive end-to-end solutions for the Wind Industry. Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) is proven to reduce waste at the conceptual design stage, reduce physical prototyping, minimise noise pollution, deliver right-first-time customised and lightweight solutions, ensure energy-efficient buildings, optimise materials usage and fuelling the renewables revolution. CAE provides manufacturing cost savings, productivity improvements, and ultimately quality products designed with the intent to meet all environmental challenges today, from your conceptual idea to your product’s entire lifecycle in the circular economy. We have solutions for every part of the wind sector.
3. How do you see Hexagon adopting the latest technology trends and applications in the near future?
Hexagon launched R-evolution in 2021 to reinvent and empower how industry addresses complex environmental risks. Even with a global pandemic that threatened the lives of millions, governments and businesses worldwide propelled solutions and technologies at an unprecedented speed. We saw a lot of testing platforms, vaccines and treatments introduced at an accelerated rate. While inspired by this global effort, Hexagon turned its focus to a global risk
that has the potential to claim more lives and cause permanent economic damage if left unchecked: the genuine and urgent risks to the earth’s environment. Hexagon is in the business
of leveraging technology and data in ways that improve productivity and quality while making processes more efficient. The result is fewer inputs and less waste. The concept behind R-evolution is no different. Sustainability projects can benefit from many of the same sensors, software, and autonomous solutions Hexagon’s customers use today. Hexagon’s technologies already contribute to environmental sustainability by improving efficiency, quality, and safety in various industries and applications. At R-evolution, we call these Hexagon’s “R” Solutions.
4. What have been some achievements and certifications received for your high-tech technology?
Romax Wind software has been officially certified by DNVGL Renewables Certification as a recognised method of calculating gear loads, thus shortening the time taken to gain certification.
Romax developed a wide range of wind technology experience including the complete design and simulation from concept to the manufacturing of nearly forty high speed and medium speed drivetrains from 250kW to over 11MW, covering onshore and offshore (fixed and floating) modular and highly integrated drivetrain design installations. Romax has helped to develop the wind industry’s best practices and holds over 10 patents related to drivetrain design as well as 37+ DNV-GL certifications. Romax is a specialist in the design and simulation of flexible planet pins and journal bearings and the world’s number one independent bearing expert.
5. What new can we expect from Hexagon in 2022 for Renewable energy?
Actions speak louder than words, while many speak about carbon neutrality by 2050, as said earlier Hexagon has already taken action on digitalising solar production. Renewable energy is in focus and there is a willingness to invest in its future for the good of the planet. But hurdles remain in place, and so we must strive to increase efficiency through every step of the manufacturing process to reduce costs and open more opportunities globally. Reducing costs and making equipment more resilient are key factors to ensuring clean, renewable energy from facilities such as wind farms contributes significantly to the energy mix everywhere. Despite the renewed focus, currently coal, oil and gas still dominate, but through innovative software inspiring lighter, more durable, more efficient designs, we can affect change together.