CAD image of the box moulding machine
The box moulding table as seen when open
The Box moulding table

The solar panel box-moulding table is a machine for making the thermally insulated boxes of solar water heating collectors. It consists of a table-mounted frame in which the “empty” collector box is placed. After the unexpanded polyurethane is poured into the box, a core is lowered into the frame and locked in place. The core has to withstand the expansion pressure of the polyurethane (approx. 1.5m˛) and defines the inner shape of the box.

This new design was required by the solar panel manufacturer as an improvement on existing equipment. The design of the box changed and required a more intricate inner shape. Also the need for higher production outputs and less downtime needed to be addressed.

The main objective of the design was good life expectancy in a harsh manufacturing environment. Since no extreme production volumes were specified for the design, the operation was chosen to be entirely manual. To withstand the big expansion pressure, the core is locked in place with 5 hooks on either side. The unlocking and locking must be quick hence the locking levers are connected so that only two operator actions are required. The core is symmetrical and can be pivoted around its centre axis. This allows preparation of the topside while the core is still locked for curing. The core is guided vertically and is attached to a counterweight, allowing easy lifting.