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Home>MACHINE BUILDING & ENGINEERING>System Design>HIGH PROFILE JOB AT SOLAR PANEL CENTRE
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HIGH PROFILE JOB AT SOLAR PANEL CENTRE

25 September 2012

IPSOL Energy’s Centre of Excellence includes state of the art test and measurement equipment based around MiniTec Profile System machine framing and building components

IPSOL Energy provides specialist product test, R&D and consultancy services in clean energy, with particular emphasis on the rapidly expanding Solar Photovoltaic (PV) market. From its base in Nottingham, the Company operates the UK’s first and only fully accredited test-house for IEC certification of commercial solar panels. A strategic partner and a spin-out company from Loughborough University, IPSOL’s Centre of Excellence includes state of the art test and measurement equipment based around MiniTec Profile System machine framing and building components.

Recently completed IPSOL installations have included MiniTec’s structural elements and machine frame hardware for three separate IEC certification tests that each required the flexibility to accommodate a wide assortment of solar panel types and sizes as the Unit Under Test, and to provide a stable structure for various pieces of measurement or test-support equipment.

The projects covered an enclosed 30m3 Soak Room where PV panel performance is measured over long periods under simulated light and environmental conditions; a UV-Degradation test-stand that measures a solar panel’s resistance to UV exposure; and a Hail Test where 25mm diameter ice balls are ‘fired’ at the panel to test its ability to withstand such impact.

PRACTICALLY ALL OF THE FRAME CONSTRUCTION PARTS OF THE THREE IPSOL SYSTEMS ARE BUILT FROM STANDARD MINITEC COMPONENTS
 

From the initial contact MiniTec worked closely with IPSOL, using its own in-house design service to develop 3D CAD concept drawings for each test-stand, incorporating all of the salient information for IPSOL’s preferred measurement equipment that would eventually be fitted. "From the outset we were impressed with the consultancy that we received from MiniTec,” explains IPSoL’s CEO, Peter Khoury. "We had a good idea of what was required and gave them sketches to work with, but the attention to detail was particularly pleasing.”

Once the order was placed, these concept designs were developed concurrently as IPSOL sourced and supplied third party components such as UV lamps and lamp holders to MiniTec during pre-assembly to ensure their correct installation and to coordinate electrical cabling requirements.

The flexibility of the MiniTec Profile System allows for rails, hardware and frame construction to be easily adapted to accommodate changes during build.MiniTec’s Powerlock fastening system is a fast and effective frame connector that requires only the twist of an Allen key, with no profile pre-machining as found in competitive systems. This makes profile re-use and adaptation possible with minimum cost and effort – and also contributes to MiniTec enjoying what is said to be the fastest assembly time for all the available framing systems on the market today.

Practically all of the frame construction parts of the three IPSOL systems are built from standard MiniTec components including a novel hand operated hydraulic lift with four parallel cylinders that allows balanced vertical positioning of the large solar panels for the Hail Test. Manually operated slideways with locking mechanisms are used elsewhere to position panels or test equipment in horizontal and vertical planes, with Z axis positioning aided by a chain counterbalance arrangement that is integrated in the vertical column. The Soak Room’s Alumetal panels are finished in a matt black with tinted Perspex door panels. IPSOL has fitted a laser sensor measurement system to the Hail and UV test stands to enable precise and repeatable manual positioning for the various tests.

Key Points

  • MiniTec used its in-house design service to develop 3D CAD concept drawings for each test-stand
  • Flexibility of the MiniTec Profile System allows changes during build

 
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