The proper alignment of facets on a dish engine concentrated solar power system is critical to the performance of the system. These systems are generally highly concentrating to produce high temperatures for maximum thermal efficiency so there is little tolerance for poor optical alignment. Improper alignment can lead to poor performance and shortened life through excessively high flux on the receiver surfaces, imbalanced power on multicylinder engines, and intercept losses at the aperture. Alignment approaches used in the past are time consuming field operations, typically taking 4–6 h per dish with 40–80 facets on the dish. Production systems of faceted dishes will need rapid, accurate alignment implemented in a fraction of an hour. In this paper, we present an extension to our Sandia Optical Fringe Analysis Slope Technique mirror characterization system that will automatically acquire data, implement an alignment strategy, and provide real-time mirror angle corrections to actuators or labor beneath the dish. The Alignment Implementation for Manufacturing using Fringe Analysis Slope Technique (AIMFAST) has been implemented and tested at the prototype level. In this paper we present the approach used in AIMFAST to rapidly characterize the dish system and provide near-real-time adjustment updates for each facet. The implemented approach can provide adjustment updates every 5 s, suitable for manual or automated adjustment of facets on a dish assembly line.

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