NEXTEER and Stahlin Non-Metallic Enclosures take proven automotive technology to the alternative energy market

The Situation

Global automotive supplier, Nexteer Automotive, was committed to expanding into the alternative energy market by applying its advanced electronic power-steering technology and manufacturing expertise to the design and development of the SunSteer™ solar tracking actuator.

Actuators track the sun across the sky and make sure that solar panels automatically follow at an optimum angle.

The Challenge

SunSteer™ components are manufactured to precise tolerances using state of the art materials and processes designed to meet stringent standards (ASTM, SAE, TS16949, MIL, and ISO). Under normal operating conditions, SunSteer™ will accurately track the sun to +/- 1.0 degree while consuming less than $2.00 of energy per year.

To ensure optimum performance and reliability, a major element in this product challenge was to ensure that sensitive controls were well-protected from diverse and potentially-damaging environmental factors.

The Solution

Stahlin Non-Metallic Enclosures were selected to safeguard the control system for the SunSteer™ solar actuator.


Because of Stahlin’s reputation in the solar industry as a U.S.-based molder capable of compounding and producing its proven non-metallic enclosures under one roof.

Stahlin molds its enclosures using the most unique sheet molding compound formula available on the market — SolarGuard® — a patented, non-halogenated system that outperforms other formulations by as much as 60% in its ability to retain gloss and color after exposure to concentrated UV light.

“Stahlin non-metallic enclosures have a strong reputation in the solar industry, with excellent performance and time-tested designs. We feel the enclosure truly compliments our SunSteer™ line. The final choice of the enclosure for the actuator was made easy by the attention given to the project by Stahlin’s professionals. They were able to meet both our technical needs, as well as customize their product to our specifications.” - Dave Westphal, Nexteer’s Global Director of Lean Manufacturing.

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