Solar customer came to RFC with an existing multiple part assembly that required multiple people to assemble out in the field. It lacked the flexibility to adjust and accommodate varying sizes of solar panels as well.
Some of the design constraints to overcome and to consider was the distance between the modules, panel height variation, the ease of assembly through minimization and integration of custom hardware.
RFC product development created multiple design ideas and presented to the customer via 3D printed concepts. RFC also provided FEA simulations on complex crush mechanisms needed for assembly.
A single open shaped custom profile incorporating features such as special hole cutouts, a crumple zone contained within the profile geometry, and an assembly assistant profile feature, enabled RFC to meet the design constraints of the existing product.
There were incorporated features of dual use such as special washers that would help keep the profile from separating at the bottom by being placed within profile thickness cutout.
The extended washer tab was designed to be at the same height as the original sharp flanges in order to function as grounding connectors. The cutouts incorporated allowed the part to crush around the bolt inwardly towards unused center space.
In the end, it was a one piece, pre-assembled, co-engineered design concept provided by RFC to the solar customer that would replace their existing multi part standard shape assembly. The overall custom design would eliminate labor time, costs and frustrations as well as allow for flexibility and durability over time.