Cristian Jacome, Daniel Espinoza, Dario Calle Reyes, Roni Alima, Thierry Momplaisir, Thomas Gallagher, Zhu Wenzhe
The Helio-One heliostat module is a novel combination of unique actuation with practical structure to create a module with high precision, modularity, and reflectivity. Beginning with a house of quality analysis, leading into iterative design prototyping and testing, the Helio-One module was carefully crafted to achieve the highest quality design. The overall design consists of a base with a control box, standing body structure, and four reflector assemblies. With its tree-like body structure made primarily of C-PVC, the Helio-One module supports four reflectors of 0.25 m2 each, one on each “branch”. The module achieves 359° of rotation in the azimuthal direction through its standing base and 270° of rotation in the elevation for each individual heliostat. All these motions are reached while maintaining strict IP-55 regulations by using rubber seals and tight fits. Using only five stepper motors to control four individually rotating reflectors, Helio-One presents a cost-effective method for multi-axis rotation. Helio-One uses a planetary gear mechanism for base azimuthal rotation and standard gears for elevation rotation at each reflector, achieving an accuracy of 0.9° in both directions. A 25:6 gear reduction ratio is on the planetary gear and a 4:1 gear ratio is used for elevation. A Nema-23 stepper motor controls the azimuthal rotation and four Nema-17 stepper motors are used for elevation. The uniquely unified structure of Helio-One reduces wiring complexities and entanglements all while encasing critical electrical and mechanical components.