BAD STAFFELSTEIN, GERMANY: PV specialist IBC SOLAR AG is establishing new quality standards for its solar modules. Through external production audits, the photovoltaic company is ensuring that its modules are not only high quality, but also that the entire manufacturing process runs transparently and flawlessly.
IBC SOLAR developed with the renowned independent German testing institute SGS-TÜV GmbH the criteria for the “Certified Supplier” audit, a second party audit that assesses manufacturers of solar modules. It is not only production quality that comes under scrutiny, but also company management and topics such as social responsibility.
“Management, organization and manufacturing processes are the main focus today. In the past, it was necessary to identify product flaws and then eliminate them, but modern companies place more emphasis on eliminating possible sources of errors beforehand,” explains Dirk Schmidt, Key Account Manager Systems & Services Certification of SGS-TÜV.
“Efficient forms of organization and processes are an important basis for first-rate quality in every industry and business, regardless of its size. Uniform standards enable international comparison of manufacturing processes and services. We have developed an extensive criteria catalogue together with IBC SOLAR; our experienced auditors therefore ensure high standards in certified manufacturing companies.”
The test seal covers areas including the general impression of the company, data transfer and the security of IT, the adequacy of the production machines, quality management, the extent of the test equipment, the test processes and production control, amongst other things.
In addition to these scrupulous details, flexible aspects such as dealing with employees, employees’ qualifications and working conditions are considered in the test. In order to become a “Certified Supplier”, companies must demonstrate the corresponding qualifications in a test lasting several days.
“The safety and quality of our products starts at the manufacturer. With this certification, we want to define uniform standards and maintain these in the long-term in order to guarantee the end customers the highest level of quality,” explains Marco Siller, Product Management Director at IBC SOLAR.
“With this audit, we want to support our suppliers in fulfilling the environmental and social criteria in their production processes. We are bringing our 28 years’ business experience to the certification.”