Long life polymer bearings offer a solution for a critical point of failure on largescale solar panels, nullifying the need for regular maintenance in the harsh, arid and dusty climates where solar farms are traditionally located with a dramatically improved lifespan.
Solar panels aligned with the sun. Image : igus South Africa
These versatile bearings allow for quicker and easier installation too and have a run time guarantee of 25 years.
Solar panels need to track the sun for maximum efficiency and the bearings are critical components that facilitate the movement, usually take a beating and requiring regular maintenance to operate for any length of time in harsh African environments. igus South Africa has introduced its no-maintenance long life pillow block bearing to solve this issue.
Gerrit-Jan Cronselaar, of Super Armature Winding Africa, the designers and manufacturers of the SolTrac line of solar trackers, has commented on how the pillow block design has eased the installation of its system, as slight misalignment of the piles driven into the ground can be accommodated in the bearing itself rather than the pile/mounting hardware – saving time, money and effort.
“Our bearings are a lubrication-free solution, whose durability has been tested in the laboratory and is guaranteed for 25 years. Tests in our own 3 800 square metre test laboratory in Germany showed that the service life, wear resistance and load capacity were examined under real loads of the daily motion sequence, simulated in a time-lapse.
“The number of movements achieved under a load of 1.5 tons corresponds to a service life of 72 years. This is why igus guarantees a runtime of 25 years, which corresponds to the standard service life of a solar module,” says Ian Hewat, managing director of igus South Africa.