03/07/2011 17:49:00 CET
- Major demand for crystalline and thin film solar technology
- Expansion at Suzhou site as basis for further growth in China
Manz Automation AG, one of the world's leading technology providers for the photovoltaic and Flat Panel Display (FPD) industry, is reporting a positive outcome from the "5th SNEC PV Power Expo" in Shanghai. The company acquired orders and letters of intent for a volume totalling around EUR 25 million at one of the world's most important photovoltaic industry trade fairs. These relate to both systems for the laser structuring and wet-chemical processing of thin film solar modules, and crystalline solar cell manufacturing machinery.
In particular, the new SpeedPicker automation systems that were launched at the end of last year elicited strong demand from Asian customers. At the same time, this highlights the trend whereby newly constructed factories in China are increasingly also being fully automated from the outset. Here, too, rising quality requirements and essential cost-reductions can now only be met by innovative automation systems entailing the highest level of throughput and the lowest breakage rates.
Following the successful certification of the first Manz OneStep selective emitter technology at customers, the company has now also received several follow-up orders for these systems from prominent solar cell manufacturers from China and Germany. Solar cell efficiency can be increased by up to 0.5% using the Manz laser systems – while at the same time incurring the lowest additional costs compared to competitor systems. As a consequence, the Manz OneStep selective emitter technology makes a considerable contribution to enhancing the commercial efficiency of crystalline solar cell production lines.
In view of the progress achieved at the trade fair, lively interest among specialists in the company's technologies, and specific consultations with customers about future projects, the Management Board anticipates additional follow-up orders that should provide an additional boost to Manz Automation's growth.
Dieter Manz, CEO of Manz Automation AG, expressed his satisfaction as follows: "We continue to report strong demand for our products from the solar area. A particularly positive point to note in this context is that, along with a continued high level of new order inflow in the crystalline solar cellar area, the thin film area is now also picking up significantly. Investment projects that have already long been in the planning stage are now gradually being actually implemented, especially where Asian manufacturers are concerned. Our aim is not simply to participate in this positive trend, but also to play an active role in helping to structure it. We are optimally prepared for this with our innovative and groundbreaking technology portfolio."
The company took the decision as early as last year to further expand its production capacities in China in order to continue to cater to the growing significance of the Asian solar industry for the company. This decision was implemented on February 25, 2011 with the groundbreaking for the new plant at the Suzhou site. The company is already active at this location with around 350 employees, and produces wet-chemical systems for the FPD and PCB industry. The total production area will be more than tripled as a result of the new construction, with its first construction stage amounting to around 20,000 m², which should be finished by the start of next year. Along with systems for the FPD area, the first stage entails the construction of systems for crystalline solar cell production at the new plant in China. The plant is currently planned for around 700 employees initially. The company already has options for further areas for future expansion at the new site that offer the scope for short-term development.
Dieter Manz emphasised the great significance of the expansion of the site at Suzhou: "China is already an enormously important market for us that will continue to grow in importance in the future. We regard geographic proximity to our customers as a critical competitive advantage in this context, allowing us to best meet the Chinese photovoltaic industry's requirements. With the expansion of our production capacities and vertical range of manufacturing on a local basis, Manz Automation will enjoy an excellent starting base in the future to continue its path of dynamic growth. German engineering and Germany quality standards in combination with attractively priced local production will further strengthen our competitive position, and consequently our leading market position."