By Tobias Himmeter - Mechanical Engineer at IDEEMATEC
The IDEEMATEC Horizon L:TEC® Tracker is IEC 62817 certified, but what exactly does that mean?
What is IEC 62817?
The IEC 62817 standard has become a worldwide standard in the tracker industry in recent years. Alongside UL3703 for the American market, it is the most important standard for testing the performance of tracking systems.
For IDEEMATEC, the testing components include the tracker itself, the AC control unit and the patented decoupled drive system.
How is it achieved?
During certification, the tracker has to prove itself in various disciplines, including mechanical and electrical tests. IDEEMATEC’s partner for the certification was CERE (Certification Entity for Renewable Energies S.L.) in Spain, who performed the testing in their laboratory and provided the final certification.
The stress tests include a climate test in which the components are exposed to various simulated environmental influences in a climate chamber.
The temperatures are oriented to the fluctuations of the day-night cycle and oscillate between -20°C and +55°C. Humidity is also a variable that is changed during the tests. Everything from tropical environments to the cold and dry conditions of winter are tested. After that, of course, the drive components must still be functional.
These tests were carried out on all electrical components installed on the tracker, including our specially developed tracker control unit. The tests were performed in a CERE test laboratory near Madrid.
Emulating real loads
The IEC testing also includes mechanical tests that use weights to simulate wind, snow and earthquake loads. A formula is used to calculate a torque that is applied to the table. This weight is attached to the tracker and removed again.
The test is passed if the tracker returns to its original state within a certain range, i.e. no plastic deformation has occurred. The patented, decoupled drive of the L:TEC® passed this test without any damage.
Another important part of certifying the tracker according to IEC is the accelerated mechanical cycling test. This involves using specially developed software to make the tracker simulate the movements of 10 years of tracking in a shorter time. The goal is to confirm that the gearbox, motor and other components of the drive can withstand the continuous load. Since IDEEMATEC’s components are designed for much longer lifetimes of the powerplants, this test was performed with great excellence
In general, it can be said that the IEC 62817 test covers many areas. All external loads that occur in reality are tested. This not only helps us to understand the tracker better, but also helps customers to trust and invest in the product.