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Components and materials on the test rig

During normal operation, according to where they are installed, solar thermal systems and, more particularly, collectors are exposed to all kinds of environmental influences.

  • Radiation – UV radiation
  • Heat – Cold
  • Rain – Wind – Snow
  • Hail – Salt – Dust – Sand

In general system failures result in the overheating of all components and extreme temperature shocks. Collectors and systems must be able to survive such malfunctions without incurring any damage. Only selected components are able to withstand such strains over an expected minimum life-span of 20 years.

Standardized tests that take into account these particular requirements are not available for many of these components. That’s why SPF has introduced measurement and certification procedures developed in-house for a number of components that, from experience, are known to cause problems. This is especially important for those components and materials that have a considerable impact on the quality of a collector but that can only be tested using expensive methods and equipment.

Thanks to the measurement and certification procedures we provide, both component and collector manufacturers are able to assure their products’ to a high level. This is not meant to substitute careful in-house quality controls but only to provide an additional independent safeguard. For this reason SPF certificates and tests are often an integral part of quality assurance agreements or material specifications.

However, there are a number of materials and components for which, even at SPF, there are as yet no established test procedures. If required, specific test programmes and test methods can be developed with our customers. What is guaranteed, is that SPF can already provide the required infrastructure and that we are able to set-up customised test rigs at short notice.