On the weekend of 17 & 18 April, it was time for us to get away from our desks and get to work with the jigsaw! Our goal for the weekend was to build two new facilities on our test field at the Lichtwiese in Darmstadt.

The planning

Already at the beginning of the year, we all knew that this build-up would be marked by the Corona pandemic.  Towards the end of March, the thematic groups of manual, construction and performance sat down and started planning. In addition to organising the purchasing and planning the schedule, the main focus was on developing a hygiene concept so that the set-up could take place despite the Corona pandemic.

The set-up

At 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, the set-up weekend kicked off. Beforehand, all participants did a Corona quick test, as it was planned in the hygiene concept. All tests were negative and the construction could begin. The group was divided into five teams, which were to stay together for the weekend in order to reduce the number of contacts within the group.

After the initial finding phase of the teams – many participants had never seen each other “in real life” before due to the pandemic – things got off to a productive start. By the time we had lunch together, the tools for teams 1 & 2 were ready, the wood for team 3 had been cut and team 4 had painted the first layer. Towards evening, the pipes were bent, a large part of the sheet metal for the absorbers was beaded, the two wooden boxes were assembled and the steel rack was painted.

On Sunday, the motivated team continued at 10 am. Everyone tested themselves on the second day as well – better safe than sorry. After the remaining metal sheets were bent, the assembly of the absorbers could begin. The metal sheets were connected to the pipes and painted black. Meanwhile, the wooden boxes were lined with mineral wool. After that, the wooden boxes only had to be integrated into the racks, the absorbers inserted, the glass panes carefully placed and everything made watertight. At about 6 p.m. we were finished and the result was definitely something to be proud of!

The result

The aim is to evaluate design changes with the two new installations. For this purpose, test series are planned for the summer to quantify the effects of different insulation materials, other pipe bends, etc. It is therefore important that both absorber boxes are identical. This is now the case with DE02 & DE03. The rack of DE02 was welded from metal, as our plants in Tanzania are on steel racks and this variant should also be illustrated in the manual. In summer, both systems will be “refuelled” via a central water supply, so that the test operation can take place without us on site. Our MONA system will record the data and send it to us via mobile radio.

As important as the set-up was for the research operation in the summer, it showed us above all that our team continues to work productively even during the pandemic.

We are excited about the commissioning of both facilities in the coming weeks and long for the next group event in “real life”!