In this new blog series we talk to our power industry experts here at Bowman, to give you an insight into the diverse range of talents and expertise that make us proud of our Bowman team.
Today we spoke to Dr. Shinri Szymko, our Head of Technology, and learnt how he applies his expertise to the designing of the Electric Turbo Compounding (ETC) system.
What’s your background, and how did you come to join us at Bowman?
I have been designing high speed turbo-electrical machines for the past 15 years, I completed my PhD at Imperial College on pulsating flow turbocharger turbine performance. As part of my research I developed a high speed dynamometer test rig which utilised eddy currents to load the test turbine. This is where I gained my first detailed design experience of high speed machines and I was hooked.
To develop high speed machines you have to learn many skills ranging from the practical design side such as CAD (Computer Aided Design), parts tolerancing, bearings, seals, materials to the highly analytical side such as rotor dynamics (shaft resonance and vibration) through to stress, thermal and CFD (computation fluid dynamics) analysis, and more. I spent time developing controls systems to automate testing and data analysis and lots of time in the lab problem solving, fixing, calibrating, and understanding the sensitivities of turbine and machine performance.
After that, I worked as a consultant and developed small turbogenerators for the wave industry before taking a role as design engineer for a high speed electrical machines company. I worked through the design office before becoming Head of Machine Performance where as part of this role I was in charge of the electrical machine design. Out of the blue I received a call from Bowman – they were looking for people with the right skillset. I was put in touch with Paul Dowman-Tucker, our Engineering Director, and it all stemmed from there. That was 3 years ago this month. My training and previous experience were all related to Bowman’s technology, and it made me an ideal fit for the role.
What’s your role here at Bowman, and what are your responsibilities?
My role is Head of Technology, which essentially means I look at how our technology meets the needs of the industry and our customers, and how we can improve it in the future. That’s the more strategic side of my role. Much of my day to day role revolves around new product development, performance calculations (how much fuel can we save) and managing specifications and requirements so that we get our technology specified correctly and out of the door.
How does your work impact our customers and the development of the ETC system?
Product development is a key aspect of my role, but I also spend time with our customers. I’ll go to meetings with our prospective customers to elaborate on our technology and answer questions about our systems. My background is entirely in design turbogenerators from the ground up, so I’ve got a good understanding of the system, right down to the nuts and bolts.
What challenges have you been faced with/overcome in your role?
We’re always looking to improve our products, and the high speed machine design by its very nature means you’re pushing the limits of different branches of physics, such as thermal (does it get too hot?), stress analysis (how fast can we spin it?), rotor dynamics, and many more. The challenge is to balance these limits, and adjust them so that we design the most compact and cost effective solutions possible. In this field, you tend to have to work by analysis so you need experts in the technology who really know their stuff and that’s who we have here at Bowman.
What is your favourite aspect about your role?
I most enjoy the future-looking side of the role – thinking about where we can take the technology next. I also like customer interaction, especially presenting our technology and peer discussions about where we fit into the market and potential new directions. And obviously I like the technical aspect because that was what I was brought up doing.