From engineer to software developer for durable slewing bearings
" Remaining competitive necessitates innovation,says Dr. Thomas Handreck, an engineer at thyssenkrupp rothe erde. Increasing customer demands for slewing bearings typically entail rising costs. Handreck is embracing this challenge by working on the development of efficient software. He describes it as a job for "inquisitive tinkerers with endurance."
In his day-to-day work at thyssenkrupp rothe erde, Dr. Thomas Handreck is constantly seeking new software solutions to enhance processes' efficiency. Even as a schoolboy, he enjoyed tinkering but was hesitant to stick to existing models. According to him, wanting to come up with something of his own, along with an interest in technology and skills in mathematics, is the ideal prerequisite for working in the field of software development: "My work is a combination of technical mechanics, numerical mathematics and programming with reference to our slewing bearing product."
Tinkering for more efficient slewing bearings
Slewing bearings are his specific field of application - or rather the determination of their utilization with the help of so-called finite element calculations. Handreck's work aims to enhance these processes and calculation methods, making them more efficient and cost-effective. Handreck also states that this makes them more appealing for development partnerships.
The finite element method is a numerical technique that involves dividing a mechanical structure into numerous small elements to investigate the strength or deformation of slewing bearings. Due to the often complex applications in which slewing bearings are installed, their development is particularly dependent on design and suitable dimensioning. The design is the task of the design engineers. Handreck and its calculation software come into play for optimal dimensioning.
"With my work, I help to ensure that our calculation engineers can apply the latest calculation methods quickly and reliably without a sharp increase in development costs," explains Handreck. With his program REBA (rothe erde bearing analysis), which Handreck himself developed at the company more than 20 years ago, calculations on large-diameter antifriction bearings are more efficient than with commercial finite element software.
"REBA simulates the use of slewing bearings," explains the expert. "While the first version of the program focused on individual bearings, today we can calculate multiple bearings simultaneously." This advancement became necessary because in wind turbines, for example, various bearings such as rotor, blade, and tower bearings are closely positioned and mutually influence each other.
Being innovative means being one step ahead
Handreck's current project is the development of 3D graphics software for displaying simulation models and results of REBA multi-storage calculations. The program to be developed, a 3D viewer, enables users for the first time to check calculation models quickly and easily for correctness and completeness. It also creates a good overview of the calculation results obtained and can also visualize them directly.
Modern calculation programs - such as REBA for multi-bearing systems - process extensive amounts of data. "For users, it is often difficult to check the plausibility of the calculation or to get an overview of the results obtained on the basis of text files and tables alone," explains Handreck. So while users have previously had to contend with massive amounts of data when working with REBA, REBA's 3D viewer makes interpretation much easier by converting the numbers into graphs and other visualizations. The 3D viewer represents a further development of REBA and will likely be utilized in engineering within the next year.
What excites Thomas Handreck the most about his job? For him, monotonous tasks and unchanging patterns are a thing of the past. Instead, he regularly faces new challenges in his field and seeks solutions. Handreck is certain that "this systematic exploration and the demanding tasks bring the most enjoyment."
Are you fascinated by new innovations, are you driven by curiosity and do you want a new challenge that is more than just a job? Then visit our job board and become part of #GENERATIONTK.