Interview with Dr Matthias Walkowiak, Chief Engineer at ENVISION Group
Monday, 4 July 2022
There are many different divisions throughout ENVISION, from Energy, EV Batteries and Digital services. How does this fit within the bearings industry?
ENVISION is a leading green technology company with focus not only on the transformation of wind energy into carbon free electrical energy, but also on the storage and distribution of such green energy chasing the goal of a carbon free society.
Within the ENVISION family, WIND is a one of the foundations of the success of ENVISION. Our wind turbines are equipped with a mechanical drivetrain containing bearings in many locations and applications like main bearings for the main shaft, yaw- and pitch bearings as well as a wide variety of different kinds of bearings within the main gearbox. Based on these facts, it is obvious that bearings are central components of our wind turbines. Understanding their behaviour under all operating conditions is our motivation to improve our wind turbines to maximize the AEP (annual energy production).
ENVISION Group are leading Greentech company, with the mission of ‘solving the challenges for a sustainable future’. How are you achieving this?
ENVISION is far more than a regular wind turbine supplier. As you have stated above, ENVISION consists of a three of pillars like WIND taking care of the development of wind turbines to transform wind energy into green carbon free electricity; BATTERY taking care of the storage of green energy to make it available when needed; DIGITAL assuring stable and safe availability of green energy. Besides these three pillars ENVISION VENTURE CAPITAL invests in emerging technologies and business. The coincidence of these divisions under one umbrella proofs, that ENVISION as a leading green technology company is striving for a carbon free society and for a sustainable future. ENVISION supplies green energy generated in wind turbines, stored in batteries, and supplied when needed e.g., for electrical vehicles where charging is controlled by intelligent software to assure safe and stable grids.
You are a chief engineer, what does your role entail?
As chief engineer in our drive train BU, part of the energy division, together with an excellent global team I am responsible for the development of main gearboxes for our future wind turbine products as well as acting as an interface to our global gearbox suppliers. Within this team we are striving for an AEP and torque density optimized gearbox and are pushing the limits of today’s gearbox designs to hold up competitive products for the global market. The design of today’s state of the art wind turbine main gearboxes is a challenging task uniting various engineering disciplines from structural mechanics over production technology to tribology. Mastering all these individual disciplines is the key to a torque dense and cost-effective main gearbox for a wind turbine. Further part of my role is guiding, managing, and motivating the global team to achieve such challenging goals.
What attracted you to becoming an advisory board member for The Bearing Show?
As chief engineer for wind turbine gearboxes I am of course aware, that the reliability of such gearboxes highly depends on the reliability of bearings used within these gearboxes. “The Bearing Show” and the “Lubricant Expo” offers the great opportunity to get in contact with lubricant-, bearing- and steel OEMs as well as universities to discuss up to date and most relevant topics around sliding- and roller bearings. A key motivation for becoming part of the advisory board of “The Bearing Show” is the technical exchange amongst its participants and pursuing new inspirations out of constructive discussions.
What are you looking forward to seeing at the show and how do you think the bearing industry will benefit from this type of industry event?
“The Bearing Show” and the “Lubricant Expo” is a great mixture of an industrial fair as well as a conference containing interesting speakers and lectures to be presented. I’m looking forward to visiting the booths of roller- and sliding bearing suppliers to see and discuss latest state of the art roller- and sliding bearing technology as well as lubricant OEMs booths to discuss new inventions of wind turbine gearbox lubricants and additives. As a roller- or fluid film bearing relies on the correct lubrication, the parallel events of “The Bearing Show” and “Lubricant Expo” in the Messe Essen complement each other. Here I see one of the most benefits.