igus® internal tests confirm the reliability of products for the solar industry
Vishaka Upreti | 17 June 2021
Producing energy from renewable sources is always associated with high costs and investments. Various factors such as procurement, financing, and operating costs play a significant role. An important consideration is the system’s service life – a long one means that these costs can be recouped over a longer period.
Photovoltaic systems, especially solar modules, nowadays have a product guarantee of up to 15 years and a performance guarantee of up to 25 years. That is why solar modules are tested thoroughly during qualification and certified according to international standards such as IEC and UL.
But what is the use of a solar module performing for 25 years if its substructure deteriorates and fails due to weather?
Tracking systems consist of a strong steel construction and are anchored securely to a foundation. But, as described in the blog article entitled “How polymer spherical bearings ensure more efficient energy generation” special spherical bearings are used to support solar module rotation. This gave us a potential weak point.
BUT … as is done with solar modules, igus® performs internal quality tests to verify our products’ durability and reliability. This creates an ideal symbiosis of metal structures and our polymer bearings. It is all implemented in our in-house test laboratory.
At 3800m², the igus® test laboratory is still the largest test laboratory for tribo-polymers. We subject our solar industry solutions to stringent testing to ascertain wear and the load capacities and breaking strength of the components in question. Cyclical movements are used to simulate at least 25 years of operation. To simulate wind loads, high push-pull loads are applied to the component until it breaks. To test other material properties, iglidur® materials are subjected to a special UV test and its bending properties subsequently analysed.
Our years of expertise and countless tests allow us to determine service life, load capacity and wear in detail. Other system solutions with the same material structure have been in outdoor use and in continuous operation for years. Regular checks confirm our products’ reliability.
Because every application is different, technical requirements can vary from system to system. That is why we think it is especially important to conduct individual testing.
We would be happy to advise you of further tribological tests and about our optimised polymer plain and spherical bearings and their possible applications.