MUNICH, Germany Laser beam specialist Rofin-Sinar Technologies Inc. (Plymouth, MI) plans to develop a new machine concept for the production of thin-film solar modules. For this purpose, the company has entered a strategic alliance with Reutlingen (Germany) based Manz Automation AG.
The partners plan to develop a new approach for PV production equipment. The approach combines laser edge ablation and laser cutting of thin-film solar modules within the production. According to a press release, the concept will allow the integration of two successive processes a laser ablation process developed by Manz and a Rofin-Sinar-developed process of cutting glas into a single production line.
The combination of the two processes within one machine will achieve significant cost reductions while at the same time it will lead to higher product quality since mechanical abrasive process steps can be omitted. "The result is cleanroom-quality solar cells," a Manz spokesperson said.
Within the cooperation, Manz will take the engineering functions of developing the production system and integrate the laser technology. Rofin-Sinar will be responsible for developing the laser-cutting technology. The technology will initially be implemented exclusively in Manz' own production lines; at a later point in time, the company plans to market the respective components to other equipment manufacturers, the spokesperson explained.