"You can feel the power of the wind when a wind turbine starts up and begins to rotate."
Since his diploma thesis, Jürn Edzards, Sales Manager Brakes Wind Energy at KTR Brake Systems, has been dealing with the subject of wind. At that time the topic was still in its infancy. We discussed with our colleague what the wind industry looks like today and what challenges it poses to us and our brakes.
KTR Systems: "Jürn, would you please introduce yourself: What are you doing at KTR Brake Systems and for which product areas are you responsible?
Jürn Edzards: "Here at KTR Brake Systems I work as "Sales Manager Brakes Wind Energy" and I am responsible for the worldwide sales of our brake systems in the field of wind energy. This also includes technical clarifications, for example when supporting prototype installations directly at turbine manufacturers and on wind turbines. I personally like this mixture of "theory and practice" very much. You get a direct link to our customers and can respond much better to their needs".
KTR Systems: "The wind sector is one of the most important for us in the field of brakes. Why is it that the wind industry needs brakes almost insatiably?"
Jürn Edzards: "The statement that the wind industry always needs new brakes is not quite correct in my view. The wind energy industry is currently stagnating worldwide. In China, on the other hand, the market is just about to boom, but an end is also in sight there, as the subsidies there will only be granted until the end of this year. Nevertheless, KTR Brake Systems is currently experiencing rapid growth. In my opinion, this is due to the good work we have done in terms of quality and costs over the last few years. This has enabled us to gain a large number of new and large customers who are very satisfied with us. We are also working on future-oriented projects so that we feel well prepared for the future".
KTR Systems: „Are there different types of brakes in the wind turbine and if so, when do I use them?“
Jürn Edzards: „There are two types of brakes: the rotor brakes, which bring the rotor and its blades to a complete stop, and the so-called yaw brakes. These brakes are responsible for holding the yaw torque during operation and preventing the turbine from turning out of the wind. This ensures that the wind turbine is able to generate electricity in an optimal way. These brakes are mounted at the bottom of the nacelle on the slewing ring to the tower.
In addition to these brake types, a further "brake system" has been established in recent years, which generates a certain permanent pre-tension in the yaw range and thus keeps the turbine safely in the wind. I would like to mention another product that we sell, namely the Rotor Lock. This serves to "lock" the rotor when it has been brought to a standstill. To do this, it then retracts into the holes of a disc that is attached to the rotor hub. This is absolutely necessary so that maintenance work can be carried out safely in the rotor hub without causing any personal injury.“
KTR Systems: "Speaking of maintenance. Climbing into the wind turbine to service parts - that doesn't seem like a good idea. What special challenges do you see for our products in this matter?"
Jürn Edzards: "In fact, the maintenance of a wind turbine should be reduced to a minimum in order to keep downtimes as short as possible. For our brakes, this means that we pay great attention to the quality of the components used. For example, for critical components of our hydraulic brakes, we only use seals from the most renowned suppliers. In addition, every brake is subjected to a documented 100% inspection before it leaves our factory".
KTR Systems: "Finally, a very personal question: privately you also have to do with wind, since you have been a passionate surfer for years. Do you think that's where your enthusiasm for wind power originates from?"
Jürn Edzards: "When windsurfing, it is the combination that fascinates me: To feel the power of the wind directly and then use it to glide across the water at high speed. This creates an indescribable feeling of freedom, which, even after years, brings me a long-lasting satisfied smile after a day on the water. And it is exactly this power of the wind that you can feel when a wind turbine starts up and the turbine starts to rotate. "Professionally", by the way, I have been involved with wind energy, which at that time was practically still in its infancy, ever since my diploma thesis. At that time, the turbines were also called wind power plants [winks] ...".
KTR Systems: "Thanks for the interesting conversation, Jürn."