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Solar plant underpins production & saves costs with adhesive thread locking

01 April 2021

Threaded assemblies, subjected to load and vibrations, are often locked against self-loosening by either a mechanical locking device or an adhesive thread locker – or a combination of both.

The merit of this is easy to understand when the assembly is in a motor-driven machine, where obvious vibration can cause an unlocked nut and bolt gradually to unwind.  But what about a completely static object, like a solar panel?  Surely, that’s a good example of a bolt-down-and-forget application?

The short answer is no, it is not.  Panels are exposed to a variety of weather conditions, and wind will cause enough vibration for the panel mounting bolts to loosen over time.  Additionally, the panels are subject to thermal cycling; they are directly exposed to sunshine, shade and night-time temperatures, as well as seasonal variations.  The metal bolts therefore expand and contract with the changes in temperature, leading to an additional loss of torque.

A Japanese solar power plant decided to take action to prevent this from happening when it assessed the loss of revenue for the time that panels were out of commission, and the increased maintenance costs involved in rectifying bolt failure.  The solution was a specific adhesive thread locker that could be applied to already assembled nuts and bolts.

Read the full article in the April issue of DPA

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