Purpose is subordinate

March 1, 2019

By: Peter Meijer (Application Engineer)

Nowadays we have access to more products than we ever had. There is an instrument especially designed and produced for almost anything or any purpose we would like. That makes me wonder: Will there ever come a day when we will come to the conclusion that we have everything we need, that we have some sort of special tooling for actually everything? Will there be a day when everything is  all chewed up?

In search of the answer to this question I would like to share where I get some of my ‘food for thought’ from. My dear friend, Richard, is a bit of a simpleminded man, living very basic and I believe, this is the cause of some interesting thoughts and ideas of his. For instance, I have seen him using a coin for loosening a screw while a screw driver was only two feet away from him. It is not that he is too lazy to pick up the screw driver but it is because of his mindset; The purpose of a tool is subordinate to what you can do with it. Of course that mindset should be on a healthy base and it is needless to say that we should not use a television screen to put some nails in the wall, or use a marking gauge as an adjustable socket wrench with high precision. What I am trying to say is sometimes we forget what we actually need.

The purpose of a tool is subordinate to what you can do with it.

As an Application Engineer at VAF Instruments I find my thrills seeking for solutions that are sometimes unconventional but benefit the application or change the purpose of our renowned innovations. One of the latest projects I have been working on was about the application of our TT-Sense®. For those who do not know it: it is the most accurate and precise torque and thrust measurement system in the world, no doubt about it. Originally it was designed to measure the torque and thrust to provide insight into the entire ship efficiency. But in fact, we created an instrument to measure the torque and thrust of any axle or shaft. There are no limitations in such way that it can only be used on board of vessels, it can also be used on a cutter axle of a dredger, or in a drive train of a windmill.

And so we have researched the possibilities and teamed-up with customers in interesting projects to explore the use of a TT-Sense® on a cutter axle of a dredger and in a drive train of a windmill.

Section view of the wind turbine

Now, the TT-Sense® is used as a control instrument to prevent excessive damage to the head of the cutter axle. In addition, we are awaiting the first test results of thrust measurements in the windmill, to get insights on how to minimise wearing of the main bearing caused by thrust on the propeller blades.

 

TT-Sense installed in the windmill

Most of the limitations are made by our mindset, so I always try to keep an eye on what I would like to accomplish in the first place. If there are more purposes to a tool than what it was originally designed for, maybe we are not so far away from the day when we have a tool for everything.

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