Transmission Dynamics received a share of £1.7m in match funding through the first round of the TIGGOR programme’s technology demonstration strand, funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA). Jenny Hudson, Business Development Director of Transmission Dynamics, explains how the programme represented the ideal platform to drive their ambitious new project.

Tell us your name, job title, and a little about your business

Jenny Hudson – Business Development Director of Transmission Dynamics. JR Dynamics Ltd (trading as Transmission Dynamics), is a multi-award-winning Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) company with 20+ years’ experience designing and manufacturing bespoke systems to measure critical parameters in challenging environments. Clients include Siemens-Gamesa, ZF Wind Power, Vestas, Park Wind and EWT and many other Wind Turbine gearbox manufacturers operating globally. We also deploy our IoT solutions to many other key industries, including power generation, transportation, construction, marine, automotive, and defence.

How do you envisage the TIGGOR funding will help your organisation?

This funding will support us to develop innovative, low cost, ultra-sonic sensors to deploy guided waves across wind turbine towers and foundations; identifying cracks, corrosion and loss of bolt tension for wind turbine structural integrity testing. End-users are reluctant to be the first adopters of new technologies causing a barrier to entry. Therefore, the proposed approach of developing a user informed solution and demonstrating, testing and validating it in collaboration with OREC aims to address this.

What stage is your project currently at?

We started our 18-month project in May 2021, so we are currently completing the first quarter of activity. As such, our project is in the early stage of evolution but we’re already making great progress. Our activity to date has been based on reviewing and trialling existing commercially available technologies, in order to understand their strengths and weaknesses and to inform our own design.

This activity has been carried out on OREC’s Activity Tower and we intend to install our own solution both there and at their Levenmouth Demonstrator Turbine in due course. To support this we have been designing and commissioning the development of a scaled down jacket structure which will be located at OREC’s dry dock in Blyth and will enable us to introduce seeded faults for our technology to identify during product development/testing.

We have benefitted from early and ongoing active engagement with O&M specialists from both Siemens-Gamesa and SSE Renewables to understand their requirements for structural monitoring of these critical assets. This has enabled us to ensure we design a user-led solution that will be fit for purpose both technically and commercially. We also hope there will be opportunities to demonstrate our technology to them on their own assets near the end of the project.

What aspect of the TIGGOR programme has been the most valuable to you?

The TIGGOR Technology Development Programme is the ideal platform through which we can focus resources on this industry research project, that engages several key end-user stakeholders to inform and benefit from the solutions developed. With total project costs of £699,221 and grant contribution of £419,533 (60%), we are committing to a £279,688 contribution to the project. This is a significant portion of our R&D budget and demonstrates our determination and confidence in the technological and commercial benefits of the proposed project outputs.

We would not be able to commit to this ambitious industrial research project without funding support due to the total level of resources required. Funding was therefore sought in order to support the development and commercialisation of this innovative, disruptive technology. The technical uncertainty in the proposed project, together with a reduced level of available funding, would have made the project too risky to proceed with in the absence of grant support. Without TIGGOR support, the proposed project scope would be delayed whilst alternative funding was sought, reducing the likelihood of our first-to-market-advantage.

However, now that TIGGOR have invested in this work, we expect significant turnover increase. We aim to patent the IP generated, offering opportunities to license the technology developed. This will collectively contribute towards our commercial target to generate £4m revenue on hardware annually and £4m on data provision and diagnostics annually, from the global wind market by 2030. Ultimately this will all feed into our business plan which includes creation of 50 new jobs over the next five years to service the company’s growth in this and other sectors.

Would you get involved in a similar programme again?

It is early days but yes. The TIGGOR Technology Development Programme is the ideal platform through which SMEs can drive industry research projects for the offshore renewable sector. Our project enables us to engage several key end-user stakeholders to inform and benefit from the solutions developed. Ultimately, this aims to benefit these wind turbine manufacturers, owners, operators and service providers by offering both a retrofit solution and the ability to change the status quo of future wind turbine design. This collaborative approach and two-way open data sharing via TIGGOR’s TDP programme will enable continuous user informed solutions and co-creation that will support the industries’ growth for many years to come.