Our ultraviolet test chamber is used to test the life of materials exposed to harmful UV rays from long-term sun exposure. We test using UV light that is 60 times that of normal sun exposure at 35 degrees latitude. We test all of our exposed rubber, washers, and other materials for a 30-year life cycle under this intense exposure to ensure their long-term resistance and performance.
Salt Bath Corrosion
We put all of our components in the salt bath to check their corrosion resistance. This bath accelerates the actual life by constantly spraying a salt-spray mixture over the parts. We set the percentage of salt mixture and record the time to corrosion for all components.
Water Spray Chamber
This environmentally-sealed chamber allows us to simulate rain storms and check the slewing drive for leaks. The slewing drive is loaded into the chamber, the door is sealed shut, and then the chamber blasts the slewing drive with pressurized water. The water spray is constantly moving and hits the drive from all directions, allowing us to simulate more than real-life, worst-case scenarios.
Sand Spray Chamber
This sealed chamber simulates sand storms and checks the drive for dust ingression down to 1um-sized particles. The slewing drive is loaded into the chamber, the door is sealed shut, and then the chamber blasts the drive with particulates. The sizes of the sand molecules are specified and recorded to assure top performance in desert environments.
In our heat oven, we test materials in extreme desert temperature conditions. The materials we test include rubber, paint, plastics and other coatings.
Our in-house solar tracker is used for accelerated life cycle tests of applied torque, radial, and axial loads, and overturning movement. There is a special weighted cage structure so that we can mimic up to 120 square meter PV panel arrays.
Vertical Slew Drive Torque
In this apparatus, the slewing drive is mounted vertically with a weighted boom arm. With this we can exactly measure the power input versus the torque output to check absolute torque values and starting efficiencies. We also use this tool to do continuous life-cycle testing.
Heliostat Dual Axis Accelerated Life Cycle Test
This apparatus allows us to test our small dual-axis slewing drives used for positioning heliostats. It cycles both axes in an accelerated life cycle test.
Satellite Dish Rotator
We use a loaded satellite dish to replicate the loads of satellite positioning devices and test the strength of our slewing drives. This testing includes putting axial and radial forces, as well as torsional and bending stresses, on the drives.
With the high number of repetitive cycles in the solar industry, it’s important to fatigue test all of our components. Fatigue testing ensures our drives meet a one-time survival load test and can handle a repetitive load for more than 30 years without failure. Materials not properly designed and tested for fatigue loads will fracture under stress over time, thereby leading to a destructive failure. At Kinematics we use an automated yoke and piston in our R&D laboratory to give a 30-year count of cycles in just six months.
Horizontal Slew Drive Torque
In this apparatus, the slewing drive is mounted horizontally with a boom arm that engages an electronic force gauge. From this we can quickly check output torques of the slewing drives, which is important for calculating efficiency and for customers who wish to have a specified amount of torque out of their boom.
Bolt Tensile Tester
We destructively load each lot of the purchased fasteners used in our slewing drives to keep a statistical record of their actual breaking point. This allows us to continually reaffirm our survival load holding capacities. The machine uses a load screw to apply force, a gauge to detect the force at failure, and a computer system to calculate stress and record the values.
Slew Drive Steering Equipment Test Stand
The slewing drive is mounted under the large, blue ring gear on the right-hand side. Then an axial load is applied to the drive by way of an adjustable cylinder pressed through the center. The variable output torque is set by a brake at the end of the gear train. This allows the slewing drive to be tested with axial load and torque load together to simulate vehicle steering application.
We use a laser to check for consistent accuracy of zero backlash gearsets and slewing drives. The laser is projected on a receptor which very finely reads how closely the gearset can repeat a set of command functions. In our laboratory we can mimic solar field loads and use the laser to ensure the gearset can meet accuracy requirements of even less than 36 seconds or 0.17mRad.
Input Torque Check
To ensure our gearboxes will not draw too much power from the electric motor, we set input torque limits on the drive shaft and measure this on every assembly. This number must be recorded and approved before shipping.
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