How a sealant pump reduced solar panel waste by 50 percent

diagram

Diagram provided by Shanghai Shengpu.

Based in Shanghai, China, Shanghai Shengpu entered the solar market in 2008 and is a primary developer of systems solar manufacturers use to dispense sealant that bonds solar panels together. While Shanghai Shengpu’s dispensing systems are prevalent in the solar industry, its systems are also prominent in the gas and electronics industries. Shanghai Shengpu dispensing systems account for 80 percent of all solar panel bonding systems in China, helping to contribute to the $43 billion solar market, and several of its module manufacturing clients will be opening up facilities in the United States in the coming years.

Pump upgrade

Before Shanghai Shengpu took its dispensing systems to the solar panel market, it conducted an assessment of its existing equipment to confirm that it was still working with the best products to develop its dispensing systems. Every solar panel plant conducts a process called “framing,” where they attach an aluminum frame onto the solar panel. During framing, the dispensing system is used to lay down the sealant that adheres the aluminum frame to the glass panel.

Shanghai Shengpu evaluated the framing process and found that there was an opportunity to improve the existing system by incorporating a piston pump package from ARO, a brand of Ingersoll Rand.

Sealant dispensing systems all have a piston pump package that includes the transfer sealant, a metering unit to ensure dispensing accuracy, a dispensing valve for on/off control and a work table to hold the frame and control the movement of the dispensing valve. After the dispensing process is complete, the frames are transferred by machine or by manpower to the panel assembly machine. When developed correctly, a solar panel should last for about 25 to 30 years from installation to retirement.

For Shanghai Shengpu, an ARO piston pump package was a better fit for ensuring proper panel development compared to the previously used pump system for three key reasons:

  1. ARO piston pumps offer the right
    pressure for sealant dispensing
  2. ARO piston pumps offer service
    packages for pump repair or maintenance
  3. The ARO team proposed many pump
    suggestions that were applied to improve the dispensing process

“The implementation of the ARO piston pump package into our dispensing systems brought immediate benefits to our process,” said Fu Jianyi, general manager at Shanghai Shengpu. “The biggest improvement was the ARO team’s recommendation to implement a new follower plate. Previously, sealant was left behind in the drum resulting in a significant amount of waste. With the help of ARO, we improved the structure of the plate resulting in 50 percent less waste.”

With a wide selection of pressure ratios and displacement rates available, ARO offers a variety of application packages preconfigured with the right motor, piston pump, mount, controls and downstream accessories. Packages range and offer multiple configurations, including single-post, two-post and heavy-duty two-post, to ensure the best solution for the application. Preassembled and validated application packages eliminate the guesswork that comes with choosing the optimal pump. For Shanghai Shengpu, the ARO 55-gallon, two-post ram piston pump package was best suited for creating the dispensing system.

A Growing Market

When Shanghai Shengpu implemented the ARO piston pump package into its dispensing system development process, it was able to see significant improvements. In a market that is set to grow significantly over the next several years, ensuring that solar panels are developed the best way possible is only going to help the market get there faster.

Jim Artmann is Global Product Leader for ARO.

— Solar Builder magazine

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