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: https://bit.ly/3bfPiy3
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.