California — Mechatron Solar says its been approved for a U.S. patent for its dual-axis tracker, which utilizes a gearless, zero-backlash technology with a double brake design.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved the Mechatron design on July 23, following a 30-month review.
The gearless, zero backlash, single-line ball bearing ring design was tested in extreme weather locations with high winds, ranging from desert to freezing locales, and performed well in conditions where geared trackers demonstrate cracking and failure. The rotation mechanism of the Mechatron flagship tracker, the M18KD, met the needs for high accuracy in movement, rigidity, and adjustable functions while eliminating play and backlash.
The M18KD is the largest dual-axis tracker currently available, with a panel table that supports 90 solar panels of 144-cells each.
The company recently announced two new models also based on the same gearless, zero-backlash technology. The new M16KD agriculture model features extra spacing between vertical panel stacks to permit more light to reach crops beneath the tracker. The new M10KD residential model features a reduced size table of 49 panels, to better fit into limited space requirements.
The zenith or North-South axis actuation of the M18KD tracker is performed with standardized hydraulic components that have been refined for sub-zero operations. The zenith axis can move from a flat position to a maximum of 70 degrees of inclination, which facilitates snow and soiling shedding.
The azimuth axis can rotate 360 degrees. The performance of the tracker is enhanced by an advanced astronomical algorithm software platform, GPS and other sensor capabilities.
The azimuthal axis rotates with a stepped approach that can be compared to the walk of a caterpillar in a sequence of “Catch-Move-Release-Return” movements, imparting an advanced safety feature. The design of the central brake makes the system highly durable and virtually unbreakable.