Engineering consumables and components distributor Bearing Man Group (BMG), as exclusive distributors for gears and drives manufacturer Varvel Group in sub-Saharan Africa for more than 40 years, has extended the supply of Varvel gearboxes and variators for small- and medium-power applications.
This includes customised worm gearboxes for installation in solar photovoltaic (PV) tracking systems.
“As part of BMG’s commitment to providing alternative energy sources with reduced impact on the environment, the company works in conjunction with Varvel specialists and South African PV component manufacturers, to design sustainable solutions for specific applications for local conditions,” says BMG ElectroMechanical division gears business unit manager Kelly Mac Iver.
She notes that, through close collaboration, BMG, Varvel and South African solar tracking solutions manufacturer PiA Solar SA have redesigned mechanical driving components for solar tracking systems, to enhance cost-effectiveness, increase installation speed and optimise the performance of every PV tracking installation.
“Customised Varvel worm gearboxes, which are designed to minimise efficiency losses associated with the energy conversion process, are incorporated in PiA Solar’s ContouR+ single-axis trackers. “These compact gearboxes, which are maintenance-free and sealed for the life of the unit, maximise efficiency by ensuring solar panels are always in the optimal position to track the sun,” she states.
The PiA Solar tracker solution consists of a horizontal single-axis tracker that is capable of contour tracking the sun, both along and between rows of solar panels (up to 60 modules a row and 32 rows wide). The modular design requires no cutting, drilling or welding on-site and forms a mass-balanced system, reducing wear and self-consumption of the PV plant.
The spring structure eliminates deviations in tilt within the rows, reduces peak power requirements of the electrical push-pull drive system that provides a constant tension drive beam and also protects against oscillation of the system at low tilts.
BMG’s lightweight Varvel worm gearboxes are installed on solar panels to ensure that they are constantly in an optimal position to be able to effectively track the sun. Versatile Varvel RT worm gearboxes have numerous advantages for PV installations, including an ingress protection rating of IP66 – certified by specialist laboratories, to guarantee resistance to dust and water.
Other significant features include a high ratio of 1120:1 and the non-back driveability design for locking the solar panels in place, to resist external forces from moving the panels off their stopped position.
The Varvel range, which is designed for flexibility and interchangeability with other leading gearboxes, as well as easy mounting and quick lead times, enables BMG to offer customised power transmission solutions to users of gearboxes in diverse sectors.
Apart from PV applications, Varvel gearboxes and variators are used for pumps, mixers, conveyors and cranes, scrapers, screw feeders, apron feeders, automotive equipment, lifting control and pipe processing. Each Varvel system can be custom-designed for specific requirements.