ZF Wind Power



ZF LogoZF Wind Power is a globally established designer, manufacturer and supplier of reliable, custom-built gearboxes for multi-MW wind turbines with a power capacity ranging from 1.5 to 6.15 MW.

The business unit is part of the Division Industrial Technology within the ZF Group and the result of a successful integration between two technology leaders. The merger between ZF, one of the world's leading automotive industry suppliers, and the former Hansen Transmissions, one of the global leaders in wind turbine gearboxes, is propelled by a combination of experience, expertise, efficient production, and innovation.

Based in Antwerp, Belgium, Bert Beirinckx says his team is competitive because “We understand gears, we know what gears are, we know how they function, we know the kinematics around it.”

Beirinckx is a PTC Mathcad power user. He says the software's two greatest strengths are unit awareness and math notation.

“Because of the unit awareness, you can type in a formula and you get already a check on the validity of your formulation. If the units don't add up or if the unit is something that you don't expect, then you know there is something wrong within your formula,” he says. “The unit awareness is unmatched by any other application.”

The benefits of PTC Mathcad's unit awareness? Beirinckx says that in Visual Basic, “I spend half an hour counting the commas, counting the brackets. I mean, that's a very big benefit with PTC Mathcad because of its math notation.”

“Those are the big game changers or the key features in Mathcad. I'm not interested in a MATLAB, I'm not interested in Mathematica. I'm simply interested in Mathcad because it's one of a kind.” His division is currently transitioning from Autocad Inventor to PTC Creo. The company has also been using PTC Windchill for the past 8 years. Development teams as well as HR, legal, and management enlist the software as a full-blown lifecycle management tool.

Initiatives

Power Main

  • Reduce repetitious work, leaving team focused on engineering problems
  • Improve accuracy and repeatability of complicated calculations
  • Minimize tedious programming tasks
  • Create and modify complex model geometry efficiently
  • Automate data and workflow management

Solution

  • PTC solutions for engineering calculations, 3D design, and data management.
  • With PTC Mathcad, calculations are developed once, saved in worksheets, and re-used
  • PTC Mathcad’s “unit awareness” ensures formulas are valid—even when different units are used.
  • Real math notation makes it easy to understand and troubleshoot calculations
  • PTC Creo provides powerful 3D modeling capabilities
  • PTC Windchill automates workflow and data management.

Results

  • 90% faster – projects that took 3 weeks completed in just 1 day with PTC Mathcad
  • A small team creates standard formulas leveraged by ZF Wind Power engineers
  • More readable equations make errors easier to spot and fix
  • Less time wasted troubleshooting “commas and brackets” in Microsoft Excel or Visual Basic
  • Projects that took weeks now modeled in a few hours with PTC solutions