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Solar panel clamp by Sparox 3D

Supplying Wien Energy to save thousands of Euros

Sparox 3D is a business-to-business platform that since 2018 has been manufacturing spare parts and custom products for Wien Energy and parent company Wiener Stadtwerk, as well as external clients.

The organization primarily serves customers in the energy sector, as well as transportation, and oil and gas — all industries that depend on legacy systems and which need to keep those systems up and running for as long as possible. When parts break, it is important to replace them quickly and desirable to optimize them against future failure if possible.

Sparox has recently pivoted from exclusively producing polymer parts on its Ultimaker 3D printers to producing green metal parts. Working with BASF Forward AM’s materials and the latter’s service provider Elnik GmbH for debinding and sintering of the green prints, Sparox can now obtain dense metal parts quickly and affordably while maintaining better control over their design. End-use items made this way are already in use within Wien Energy as well as external customers.

Challenge

Sparox had difficulty sourcing a clamp needed to secure photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. The clamp had been discontinued and the guide rail mounting was out of date.

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3D printed solar panel clamp created by Sparox 3D for their customer, Wien Energy

Solution

Replacements clamps were designed and printed using MFFF technology. Metal printing was chosen because the part needed to be durable and weather resistant to survive in outdoor conditions.

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This solar panel clamp used to be made from aluminum, but the part had been discontinued
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3D printing in stainless steel was more cost effective and resulted in a more durable and weather resistant clamp

Results

The resulting stainless-steel part was both weather resistant and more durable than the previous aluminum part. The cost saving of printing the part instead of overhauling the existing rail mounting was several thousand euros.

Interested in 3D printing metal?

Sparox 3D and Wien Energy have realized the power of MFFF in the energy sector supply chain.

Click below to get inspired by more stainless steel applications. Or discover how to buy the Ultimaker Metal Expansion Kit for yourself.

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