Invasion! UFOs Seen Landing at Intersolar San Francisco

IronRidge Introduces Universal Fastening Object (UFO) to Streamline Solar Installation Process

IronRidge, Inc., a manufacturer of solar mounting products, today unveiled the Universal Fastening Object (UFO), an earth-shattering new product to accelerate installation of residential, commercial and ground-based solar installations. The UFO was introduced with a complete family of supporting products, all of which have been evaluated to the newly effective UL 2703 standard.

“This is not a clamp. The UFO is space-age technology built to go at warp speed,” said David Taggart, VP of Products at IronRidge. “It incorporates six different design innovations that solve real-world problems experienced by solar professionals every day.”

Inside the UFO

The IronRidge UFO (Universal Fastening Object) arrives fully-assembled and fully-lubricated, and features a low-profile circular clamp that is attractive and eliminates the need to orient the clamp as it is fastened. Instead, the circular clamp spins down and lands in perfect position on module frames.

The UFO also possesses an advanced T-bolt that allows it to stand freely in the rail while modules are placed. This completely eliminates the need for one person to position clamps as another person installs modules. Instead, the UFO allows one person to do both; then, as he or she fastens the UFO, an integrated Nylok patch auto-rotates and locks the T-bolt in perfect position in the rail.

Once fastened, the UFO electrically bonds with solar modules through an innovative 360° bonding washer. This washer design prevents displacement of the module as it’s fastened while also creating secure bonds in any orientation. The UFO has already been certified as a bonding method for over 400 solar module products.

What makes the UFO truly universal is its versatility. It is compatible with module frame heights between 30mm and 48mm, eliminating the need to stock multiple clamp sizes. As well, the UFO instantly transforms from a mid- to an end-clamp, simply by snapping on a Stopper Sleeve.

“Every feature of the UFO introduces a novel way of solving long-standing problems, and we’re equally proud that we were able to introduce these innovations while also improving the strength and reliability of our platform,” said Yann Schwarz, Director of Testing & Compliance at IronRidge.

Fully Listed to UL 2703

The UFO and associated products are included in the listings for IronRidge’s Flush Mount, Tilt Mount and Ground Mount Systems to the newly effective UL 2703 solar mounting standard. The new standard includes an intense 5kAmp surge test on every component, as well as rigorous mechanical and fire testing processes.

UL 2703 also acts as a system-level evaluation process, introducing additional benefits to the overall installation. For example, the new listing for the IronRidge Ground Mount System allows a single lug to ground an entire array. Or, another system-level benefit, is the certification of equipment grounding through the Enphase Microinverter System. Arrays installed with M215, M250, and C250 microinverters can be grounded through the Enphase Engage Cable.

“We all share the goal of making installers’ lives easier,” said Mark Baldassari, Director of Codes & Standards for Enphase. “Collaborating with mounting system companies like IronRidge allows us to create new value for customers without adding parts or cost to the system.”

UFO Family

In addition to the UFO, IronRidge also unveiled an entire family of supporting components:

  • Stopper Sleeve: The Stopper Sleeve is a simple aluminum sleeve designed to snap onto the UFO, instantly transforming it into an end-clamp. The Stopper Sleeve supports the UFO’s bonding capabilities, meaning that it acts as a bonding end-clamp, capable of bonding “island” modules in arrays.
  • Bonded Splice: IronRidge updated its rail splice to incorporate bonding capabilities. The Bonded Splice eliminates the need for a separate grounding strap and star washers, while still featuring the seamless internal splicing capability for which IronRidge splices are known.
  • Grounding Lug: The new Grounding Lug features a low-profile design with an angled terminal screw, allowing installers to secure the grounding conductor using a standard socket. The new lug arrives assembled and supports omnidirectional installation.
  • Bonded Attachments: Finally, the IronRidge L-foot and FlashFoot now include Bonded Attachment Hardware. The new hardware combines bonding bolt technology to ensure FlashFeet and L-feet are connected to ground with step-nut technology to allow a single socket to be used throughout the assembly process.

Design Assistant™ Software

On July 29th, Design Assistant™, IronRidge’s free web-based design tool, will be upgraded to support the new products. In addition, Design Assistant will introduce the third and final product in its visual software suite. The visual suite makes it easy for users to input and review mounting system designs, saving time and reducing materials costs.

About IronRidge

IronRidge designs and manufactures mounting hardware for residential and commercial solar systems. For more than 15 years, IronRidge has worked closely with installers and integrators to build products that are strong, simple and help minimize the total cost of installation.

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