In solar, saving money from start to finish is crucial. While headlines like, “2016 was the year solar panels finally became cheaper than fossil fuels,” can be exciting for the industry, it’s also a pain point for many manufacturers and solar panel mounters.
So what’s your solution? One cost-reduction strategy for solar is to reduce mounting system production costs. From ground pilings to roof mount rackings, choosing the most cost-effective fabrication process for your solar racking components can notably improve your profit margins. In particular, C-channels, or box channels, can be a significantly cost-effective part to produce if the correct process is used.
Top 3 Reasons to Roll Form Your C-Channel for Solar Savings
Roll forming for C-channels can save you time and money long-term. Roll forming is a continuous process of bending sheet metal by passing the material through various sets of rollers. Each set of rollers slowly bends the metal until the final shape is complete.
Solar racking typically involves producing many different parts, and due to these high-volume needs, roll forming can offer a lower cost by achieving efficiencies of scale. Roll formed C-channels also offers a lighter weight product that maintains similar structural properties and load bearing capabilities of other fabrication processes. Read on for more information about roll forming your solar racks’ C-channels.
Slit coil can be fed directly into any roll form line, and less scrap is lost to drop off. As a result, production is more efficient, less wasteful and more cost-effective. As the solar industry continues to grow, investing in low cost, highly scalable solutions like roll forming can make for much larger profit margins in the long run.
Roll forming mills also have in-line punching and cut-to-length capabilities, which allow a single production line to form and cut your solar racking components. Additionally, roll forming mills have the ability to install holes, punches and other features to accommodate unique racking and panel designs. Other metal forming processes require shapes to endure several processes or travel between mills for secondary processes, which increases the price per piece considerably.
The roll forming process allows for high-strength steels, so manufacturers can drop gauge and maintain structural integrity of C-channels. In turn, these lighter parts bring down the cost of material and inventory. Additionally, with a lighter product, you are able to optimize shipping by decreasing weight and increasing the number of parts you can fit on one truck.
Interested in learning more about roll forming C-channels for solar?
Download the Hynes Solar Profile Engineering guide for free and access C-channel designs, as well as C-section, Z-section and I-beam designs and section modulus requirements. If you have additional questions, contact Hynes at any time to discuss our roll forming capabilities.