Dane Hackenberger: Gone with the Wind

 Forty-three years ago, SNI’s Dane Hackenberger began his career in UT engineering. Throughout the years, he has had the opportunity to stand on the space shuttle, walk the deck of a US Navy nuclear-powered destroyer, and test things that have been on the national news. When asked why he has stayed in the NDT field for so long, Dane confidently said: “you are exposed to every industry under the sun and you get to design, test, and sell solutions for a diverse range of products and inspections.” NDT has led Dane to do everything from A-Z, and the range of what he does is why Dane loves his job.  

Eight years ago, Dane added another experience to his list – testing and monitoring an on-stream windmill shaft. Around this time, he had begun working with a windmill farm. Recently, the shaft on one of their wind turbines had cracked, and its blade had fallen off. Luckily, no one was around; the only damage done was to the windmill. Although only the blade of one windmill had fallen off, there were now 109 other windmills also called into question. If one windmill had developed a crack in the shaft, how many others were on the verge of snapping?  

Dane and Tom Eischeid (who is now also a member of Sensor Network’s team) were tasked to find a way to find and monitor cracks in the other turbines. To test for cracks in the windmills, they had to build transducers that would attach to the shafts of the windmills and operate with the shaft while it was rotating.

Despite the challenge that came with building the transducers, Dane and Tom completed the task in one month, much quicker than the three-month timeline they were given. In designing the probe, Dane approached the issue knowing the role of the UT system was not to fix the application but simply to enable the monitoring of it. His goal was to design the transducer in a way that would adapt to the challenge of a rotating shaft.  

Dane took a simple transducer / UT system and customized it to fit the needs of the customer. The transducer he designed and built was one step closer to safe and efficient energy.

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