First Solar and Arkema test Kynar Flex cable ties on California solar site

Arkema, First Solar and Nile Polymers have joined forces on test data confirming that cable ties made with Kynar Flex PVDF may be an answer to low maintenance in extreme environments.

First Solar conveyed a periodic replacement problem to high-performance polymer manufacturer Arkema. First Solar was seeing instances of nylon cable ties breaking down and cracking in severe heat and chemical-contact environments. With more than 50 years of experience in supplying Kynar fluoropolymers in outdoor weathering environments in the form of architectural finishes, corrosive waste piping and cable jacketing, Arkema recommended that First Solar consider Nile Polymers’ commercially available cable ties made with Kynar Flex PVDF resin.

A joint Arkema-First Solar technical service team set up an outdoor testing program utilizing approximately 10,000 Kynar Flex PVDF cable ties at a First Solar site in Southern California for one year, where Nylon 66 cable ties had seen some failures in less than six months. After one year in the challenging field environment, all of the tested Kynar Flex PVDF cable ties exhibited properties similar to a control. In parallel, laboratory accelerated tests involving 4,000 hours of Xenon Arc exposure showed little change in the physical and mechanical properties of the Kynar Flex PVDF samples, while various nylon samples showed a quick deterioration of physical properties over the same time period. In addition, testing under thermal-cycling, damp-heat and freeze-thaw conditions showed no change in the properties of Kynar Flex PVDF cable ties, while more significant reductions were seen with the nylon (polyamide) cable ties.

Replacing cable ties due to failure is five- to 10-times the cost of the original cable ties. Building the assembly right the first time with a tie that could likely last the entire lifetime of the system can result in significant long-term cost savings. With First Solar’s commitment to excellence in operation and maintenance of solar facilities, the option of Kynar Flex PVDF cable ties deserves mention. First Solar plans to continue the testing program to obtain a full assessment on the relative performance of a cable tie made with Kynar Flex PVDF as part of its overall product durability program.

News item from Arkema

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