31 August 2011
Solglide T and Solglide M families of bearings, launched by Saint-Gobain Solar, reduce the costs of initial investment, operations and maintenance for solar-tracking systems in solar power plants.
The bearings will be showcased at the 26th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (hall B7, booth B42) on 5-8 September 2011 in Hamburg, Germany.
Both types of bearings reduce friction and wear by 50%, compared to other models on the market, maintaining the tracking performance of actuating systems over the lifespan of the bearing. Besides offering enhanced performance and cost and labour savings, the Solglide T and Solglide M bearings enable solar companies to reduce their carbon footprint by locally sourcing components from one of Saint-Gobain's production facilities in their region.
Friction at the pivot point of the actuators can impair the accuracy and efficiency of solar-tracking systems. Saint-Gobain's Solglide T and Solglide M contain non-corrosive, durable materials, which help minimise the levels of friction that can occur over the lifetime of the bearing. Without the build-up of friction, the motion of the actuators is not limited, ensuring higher levels of accuracy in tracking and less manual labour required to adjust the actuators to counteract additional resistance.
Free of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and heavy metals, Solglide T and Solglide M bearings are designed with a unique fluoropolymer to be chemically resistant and self-lubricating. They are 100% weatherproof and perform under a wide temperature range—between -200°C and 260°C (between -328°F and 500°F) and exhibit no corrosion or loss of integrity under ultraviolet (UV) light.
Their uses and other material components are what differentiates the Solglide T from the Solglide M bearings. The Solglide M family of bearings comes standard at 1.57 millimetre (mm) thick with all stainless-steel backings, providing an economical and sustainable solution for applications requiring long-time durability and load requirements in challenging environments. The stainless-steel material provides corrosion resistance and load capability, enabling engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors to construct the actuator with a smaller shaft to save on material costs.
Solglide T bearings are available with a 1.5mm thick steel backing, in which the sliding layer is a proprietary polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) based compound. The Solglide T model is also available with a 3mm thick aluminium backing, offering an easy "drop in" solution when paired with aluminium frames. This prevents the challenges presented by bearings composed of less compatible materials, which can react with the aluminium to speed corrosion or require changes in the actuator design to account for different coefficients of thermal expansion.
Dimensions of the bearings are customisable and Saint-Gobain experts will work with manufacturers to determine which sizes work best for their particular applications. Saint-Gobain Solar also offers product-testing capabilities to ensure that the bearings will function flawlessly in the given application.