Geeking Out On Fasteners

Let’s geek out on tracker fasteners. Decades ago we welded tubes and other components in the field. That worked great until we started some big fires…and welding is a high skill task that is difficult to scale with quality.

Nuts and bolts are well understood, and tools are cheap. But for the spinal system of a PV plant, they present issues: initial preload scatter, assembler training, risk of galling, and self-loosening. Here’s a great Whitepaper example for how swaging with fasteners are better for the lifetime of the plant by Matrix Engineering and Arconic Fastening Systems:

To address these concerns, Nextracker predicated its NX Horizon smart solar tracker on engineered fasteners such as lockbolts & blind oversize rivets. This class of fasteners addresses zero-failure tolerance applications like aeronautical fuselages, truck frames, and railcars…and trackers. Nextracker has deployed >200 million without a single known failure of a properly installed part. They also provide theft deterrence and electrical grounding. The only complaint was the tools for their installation – initially designed for factories, not construction sites. Over the last six years, we have supported partners to increase tool uptime >300% to deliver the high-velocity installation metrics seen here, in this LinkedIn post. Now, EPCs and owners can enjoy rapid installation and O&M fastener integrity.

#sustainability #PV #innovation