Research Papers

Automatic Noncontact Quality Inspection System for Industrial Parabolic Trough Assembly

[+] Author and Article Information
Klaus Pottler

German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Technical Thermodynamics Solar Research, Plataforma Solar de Almería (PSA), 04200 Tabernas, Spainklaus.pottler@dlr.de

Marc Röger

German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Technical Thermodynamics Solar Research, Plataforma Solar de Almería (PSA), 04200 Tabernas, Spain

Eckhard Lüpfert

German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Technical Thermodynamics Solar Research, 51170 Köln, Germany

Wolfgang Schiel

 Schlaich Bergermann und Partner, Hohenzollernstraße 1, 70178 Stuttgart, Germany

J. Sol. Energy Eng 130(1), 011008 (Dec 28, 2007) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2804628 History: Received September 22, 2006; Revised April 24, 2007; Published December 28, 2007

The construction of solar thermal power plants with several thousand m2 of collector area requires quality control measures for components, subsystems, and the entire collector rows. While quality control has a significant potential to increase the solar field efficiency, the main objective is to assure high-quality standards for the whole solar field. Quality control, assembly documentation, and performance measurements are required by the investors. Based on previous R&D work in collector development and prototype qualification, measurement systems have been developed for use in solar field construction and operation supervision. In particular, close-range photogrammetry can be used to measure the geometry of collector steel structures. The measurement system consists of a digital camera, which moves around the structure automatically while shooting photos of the concentrator structure from various positions. The photos are evaluated with photogrammetry software to check the assembly quality. The whole measurement and evaluation procedure is computer controlled and is fast enough to be integrated in a solar collector production line. This paper deals with the required measurement accuracy and shows ways to reach, maintain, and control this accuracy in the rough environment of an on-site production line.

Copyright © 2008 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Space frame of a EuroTrough module with photogrammetry targets on the mirror support points just before the measurement

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Figure 2

Example of an inexactly mounted cantilever arm on a collector steel structure. Computed angular deviations (crosses) in milliradian.

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Figure 3

Definition of the glass bracket retaining points (GBRPs) and the angles formed by them for a cantilever arm of the Andasol-collector structure

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Figure 4

Influence of the measurement precision on the result for true angular displacements Δα of 0.0mrad, 0.5mrad, 1.0mrad, and 1.5mrad

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Figure 5

Camera movement tracks used for the measurement uncertainty simulation study for a comparison of the oval rail system with rotating arm systems (measurement targets and camera positions)

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Figure 6

Measurement precision simulation results for different camera tracking systems. The rail system provides better measurement precisions.

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Figure 7

Experimental setup for testing and optimization of all desirable features. The box in the middle is a three-dimensional camera calibration frame.




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