Technicians gathered at hands-on wind energy event
On Thursday, Nov. 28, wind energy technicians of every level arrived at the Texas State Technical College West Texas campus in Sweetwater for a two-day hands-on training event. WindTech 2012 brought students face-to-face with working professionals and offered them an opportunity to network, learn in hands-on settings and engage with the latest technology. The inaugural event was organized by the college, the Texas Wind Energy Clearinghouse and Windpower Engineering and Development, a leading industry magazine. In a press release, Paul Dvorak, editor of Windpower Engineering and Development, stated that this event would allow attendees to enjoy an "unparalleled opportunity to meet with others and work with the latest equipment.” Because of their field work, many technicians might not have the chance to try new equipment or meet top industry leaders.The training event on Nov. 29 and 30 — which was free, began with registration and a breakfast at 7 a.m. each day and lasted until 5:15 p.m. at TSTC West Texas Campus in Sweetwater. Keynote speakers kicked off both mornings following breakfast; they were Judah Moseson from Infigen Energy and Matt Allsup with EDP Renewables. The event took place inside and out, with industry professionals speaking in classroom settings on a variety of topics, from turbine monitoring to blade maintenance. The morning seminars included gearbox maintenance by Paul Baker (Frontier Pro) and James Macik (Moventas); condition monitoring by Ross MacKella (Monitek) and David Clark; and hydraulics, lubrication and filtration by Meagan Santos (Hydac) and Ted Vasiliw (Castrol).Afternoon sessions consisted of tools of the trade by Steve Spears (Hytorc) and John Tremblay (Snap-On); blade access and blade repair by Lou Dorworth (Abaris Training), Patrick Murphy (Ropeworks) and Clint Ramberg (Spider); generator repair by Kevin Alwein (Shermco) and Casey Gilliam (Shermco); and safety by Todd Shelton (Star Safety Services) and Grant Madden (Sweetwater Fire Department).The Sweetwater Fire Department performed an aerial rescue demonstration with a helicopter on Thursday and also on Friday at about 4:30 p.m. on the northwest side of the campus.For both days, booths were on hand for attendees to browse and hands-on sessions were also available. Among them were tension and torque techniques sponsored by Aztec, advances in tower access sponsored by Spider, and an introduction to surface finishing and repair of wind turbine blades sponsored by Sika.Along with the three businesses (Aztec, Spider and Sika as platinum sponsors), other sponsors for the event were Frontier Pro Services and Hytorc Wind (gold); Snap-On Industrial (silver); and Abaris Training, Bachmann, Gearbox Express, Olympus, Moventus, Moog, Hydac, Mankiewicz (bronze).Prior to the two-day training event, a welcome dinner was held at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Mayor Greg Wortham's office, located at 117 E. 3rd St.