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Brushless motors suit solar tracking applications

Based on 20 years of experience in solar industry motion control and more than 150,000 units in the field, Dunkermotor’s new line of brushless dc Solar Tracker Motors (STM) with integrated fieldbus-enabled controllers are optimized to reduce both development time and installation costs in a variety of solar tracking applications. Electric energy production can be increased by 30% to 35% with solar tracking compared to fixed photovoltaic panel systems.

The new Dunkermotor STM line is designed to enable control of up to 127 motors over a 16,400-ft bus length by using the motors’ CANopen interface with a single, off-the-shelf PLC containing a solar tracking function block. The new motors can also be used with industrial PCs as well as Profibus and Modbus networks. The embedded intelligence of the STM motors’ integral controls, designed with up to 650,000 hour MTTF, greatly reduces bus traffic by running complex routines on board, such as homing and closing the position loop with an attached absolute encoder or inclinometer. In addition, the motors’ embedded intelligence can also take over mission-critical functions, such as returning to a safe position when the network is down.

The low-voltage brushless dc STM motors are available in three frame sizes (45, 65, and 75 mm) with powers up to 530 W and can be easily integrated with existing design slew drives, pan and tilt mechanisms, and linear actuators used in the solar industry.Where additional gear reduction is required, the STM motors can be mated to Dunkermotor’s modular planetary or worm reducers offering up to 678 Nm peak torques.

The standard STM motors are designed to be maintenance free for life. They are rated for IP65 environmental protection, employ special venting devices to prevent condensation, and feature special lubrication techniques for the low speed, high torque, and wide temperature ranges found in solar applications. The STM’s integral control also features speed and torque regulation capability to prevent mechanical damage.

For more information, contact Dunkermotor, 2511 Technology Dr., Suite 105, Elgin, IL 60124. Phone: (224) 293-1300.

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