General Manager – Director
Mark is the founder of Involution and an experienced Engineering General Manager. Mark’s background is in drivetrains – gained through operational and management roles within the aerospace and renewables industries. Mark is connected to an extensive global network of wind and tidal turbine manufacturers, driveline/gearbox Tier 1’s and service suppliers.
Mark graduated from The University of Manchester with a Masters degree in Engineering After a decade in the aerospace industry Mark then started working in the renewables sector with Orbital2. As General Manager where he helped to build Orbital2 into a team of 24 engineers based over 3 offices in the Czech Republic and in the UK. Mark was extensively involved in developing Orbital2’s portfolio of 8 European and Asian technology licensees, manufacturing 20 gearbox designs ranging from 0.5MW to 7MW, in 5 factories
Dr Frank Cunliffe
Chairman & CTO
Dr Frank Cunliffe has over 45 years experience of the Epicyclic gears, with a PhD in “Epicyclic Gear Dynamics“ from Cambridge and a 40 plus years working relationship with Ray Hicks MBE.
Frank has a long history in industry with multiple Director roles in Massey Ferguson, Cable Belt, Albion Automotive (VC backed MBO/ trade sale). Dr Frank founded ORBITAL2 ten years ago with Ray Hicks reintroducing novel flexible pin gear transmission to wind and tidal turbines. This aim was successfully achieved with many multi MW wind turbines now operating around the world with flexible pin gearboxes Dr Frank lead Orbital2 in developing 8 European / Asian technology licensees, manufacturing over 30 gearbox designs ranging from 0.5MW to 7MW, in 5 factories.
Dr Frank now joins Involution bringing his long engineering experience and pedigree to the Involution team. Dr Frank is well known to many of the worlds wind/tidal OEM’s and design houses.
Mr. John Sword (Non-Executive Director), read Engineering at Cambridge, has an MBA from Harvard and has enjoyed a long career running international engineering businesses including being CFO of Massey Ferguson.
John is Involution’s business advisor and Board Director.
Ray J Hicks MBE
Consultant to INVOLUTION – gear expert – inventor of the Flexible Pin gear system.
Ray Hicks started work on gears in 1954 working for Bristol Aero Engines Ltd. Ray founded Compact Orbital Gears Ltd (COG) in 1964 where he invented and patented his own epicyclic gear system using compound cantilever flexible planet spindles, ensuring equal load sharing amongst a multitude of planets but also, equal load distribution across their respective contact faces with the mating sun and annulus. This minimizes size, weight and cost and maximizes reliability of a transmission.
The “Hicks Flexible Pin” was successfully applied to a wide variety of industrial and aerospace gearboxes, ranging up to 48,000 HP and with speeds up to 100,000 RPM. To date, over 2,000 gearboxes have been made to 500 different Hicks designs, installed world-wide.
Ray was a true pioneer of wind turbine gearboxes, designing the world’s first 3MW drive train for Orkney LS1 wind turbine in 1982. During 1989-1993 he designed and manufactured wind turbine gears for 350 to 450 kW production turbines.
Ray is a long-term friend and associate of Dr Frank Cunliffe who together co-founded Orbital2 in 2002 to design and license the manufacture of flexible pin epicyclic gearboxes for the renewables industry. They have successfully deployed gearbox designs for 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.6, 5 and 7MW wind turbine projects around the world through a number of license manufacturers, as well as the MCT and TGL tidal devices in the UK.
Rays acts as a technical consultant to Involution, making use of his depth of knowledge on gears and Flexible Pin epicyclic gears.
Pavel has been involved with gear and gearbox design since 2002, with much of that time spent designing flexible pin gearboxes for the global wind industry at Orbital2. During his career he has been involved with the MCT and TGL tidal turbines as well as leading many wind turbine projects at 3MW, 3.6MW, 5MW and 7MW. He has worked extensively across Europe and Asia, specifically in Korea and China for customers such as SEWIND (Shanghai Electric), DOOSAN Korea, XJ China and Dongfang. Pavel has extensive experience of building, testing, certifying and commissioning gearboxes around the world including visits to the largest offshore wind farm in China and test turbines in Korea. Pavel now brings this extensive experience to Involution in his senior role as Involution’s Design Manager.
Ondrej’s career in gearbox design started in 1999, initially with the design of industrial transmissions and from 2005 designing flexible pin gearboxes at ORBITAL2.
Since then he has gone on to become a highly experienced gearbox designer, working on advanced flexible pin gearboxes, including many 1.5, 2, and 2.5MW projects, with several of these projects being variable ratio wind turbine gearboxes. He has worked extensively on designing and supporting the manufacture of industrial, wind and tidal gearboxes in factories in Europe and China, for customers such as HYUNDAI, XJ China, Inox India. He has significant experience of tidal machine design, working on both the Tidal Generation Ltd (TGL Alstom) and Marine Current Turbines (MCT-Siemens) turbines and design proposals for other tidal turbine OEM’s.
With Ondrej and Pavel leading the design team, Involution has the experience to efficiently deliver state-of-the-art, reliable, certified gearbox designs within challenging timeframes.