Manz Automation AG arranges cooperation with Basler AG

08/08/2008 07:37:00 CEST

Exclusive cooperation to integrate Basler electroluminescence measurement in cell testers for crystalline silicon solar cells

  • Functionality of Manz Automation's fully automated cell tester increased to include Basler technology

Manz Automation AG, which, together with its subsidiaries, is one of the leading global technology providers in terms of market shares for systems and components for automation, quality assurance and laser process technology for the photovoltaic sector and for automation and wet chemicals for the LCD industry, has agreed a cooperation with Basler AG.

Basler specializes in optical quality assurance and has developed an electroluminescence measuring process which will be exclusively integrated into Manz Automation's cell testers – the final process in fully automated production lines for crystalline silicon solar cells. Basler has been able to optimize this process so that it can be used for the inline production of crystalline silicon solar cells. This method applies an electrical current to the solar cell. As a result of the thereby generated current, the solar cell emits a weak luminescence. This "light" can be recorded and evaluated by using ultra-sensitive optical measuring systems. Thus, defects in the solar cells, such as microscopic cracks or circuits missing contacts can be detected for the first time by a cell tester.

The close-knit cooperation in integrating Basler's inspection technology means that Manz has succeeded in generating a throughput of more than 2,400 solar cells per hour for the cell tester, despite the highly detailed measurements. This technology, which is being used in production equipment for the photovoltaic sector for the first time, can significantly reduce the breakage rate for module production. Volker Biemann, Basler AG's product manager for solar inspection solutions: "Integrating this solution allows microscopic cracks in solar cells to be reliably detected, thus reducing breakage rates. Experiments to date have shown that in addition to the microscopic cracks, which are relevant for breakages, other defects can also by easily recognized with the help of the images."

Dieter Manz, Manz Automation's CEO, is very pleased about the future cooperation: "Increasing the performance of our backend lines means we are taking another step towards grid parity. This will help us to enable our customers to cut costs and to boost the efficiency of solar modules." In addition, the CEO also underscored the project's significance: "This cooperation is another building block to set standards as well in future with our equipment, allowing us to offer the world's leading high-tech machines in the photovoltaic sector. The Manz cell tester is now not only the fastest machine on the market, but also the machine with the most comprehensive testing technology."

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