Electric Butterfly™ Array
The Electric Butterfly™ is a stand-alone two-axis tracking solar array that maximizes energy generation by adjusting constantly to track the sun. It stands 14 feet tall with a 40 foot wingspan, and is fitted with 72 solar modules. The robust design of the Electric Butterfly™ is designed for deployment in vulnerable locations to power critical infrastructure where reliability and independence from the grid are a concern. It is custom designed using American steel to withstand 140 mph hurricane force winds, tidal surges, grass fires, and Class 5 earthquakes. It includes a custom-designed heavy-duty gearbox and incorporates several features to guard against sabotage, including shielding its electronics from EMPs and operating independent from the internet.
The target production of 72 Arrays/day requires several leading edge techniques to be used to meet demand. The manufacturing processes are mainly limited to roll forming, burn tables, sub-assembly welding and painting. This minimizes the variety of training required and allows cross training and production labor flexibility.Roll forming of parts will permit the volume of formed parts to be produced to meet maximum capacity requirements. This process will produce high quality, consist parts with minimum labor input. The two largest parts, the Mast and the Elevation Axis, are large tubular cross section shapes. There is only one machine for each part. But to reduce downturn risk the roll former dies are build on skids and can be interchanged in case of one line or the other has an unplanned outage. Other roll formed parts in the plant use the same production concepts. Parts produced from plates are burned on large burn tables. Each table is able to handle 4 of the plates at one time. Two plates are cut at a time while the previous two burned plates are loaded on pallets to be delivered to the sub-assembly areas. Special features of these tables allow for edge treatments to facilitate the multiple pass welding required on thick plates during sub-assembly. Also, bolt holes are cut at the burn table and eliminate the need for additional drill/machining operations. Labor is minimized since the recently burned parts can be removed while the two new plates are being burned. Four sub-assembly weld stations produce finished Elevation Axis sub-assemblies. Each sub assembly involves several weld heads with each requiring multiple passes to be completed. Using multiple weld stations and sequentially staging the process startup of each unit allows maximum production of finished sub-assemblies with optimum labor usage. Components of the Array in most factories would require multiple lines for painting. However, by using leading edge painting technology this plant requires only a single paint line. Using computer recognition and control, with separate entry locations for each part type the line can apply paint to all the required parts/sub assemblies found on the Array. Once the part is recognized the paint system knows where to send the part, the speed to move it through various operations and the heat up/cool down temperatures required based on size and weight. The completed part is then delivered to the proper shipping location for packaging and shipment.