SAN JOSE, USA: SEMI announced the recent formation of new PV Automation Standards Committees in Japan and Europe.
The new PV Automation Committees will initially focus on efforts related to equipment-to-equipment communication, cell transport carriers, and single substrate tracking, while the existing PV Committee will continue to handle non-automation issues such as material specifications and test methods.
The Europe Committee is co-chaired by Tino Korner (Q-Cells), Eberhard Teichmann (Peer Group) and Martin Zennig (Jonas & Redmann) while the Japan Committee is co-chaired by Terry Asakawa (Tokyo Electron) and Emi Ishikawa (Atelier Ishikawa).
The new global PV Automation Committee currently has two Task Forces, but activities are anticipated to expand, as the PV industry is rapidly recognizing the essential role that Standards play.
The Carrier Task Force is working on standardization of equipment load ports and transport systems, resulting in both direct and indirect cost savings throughout the whole supply chain, less risk during ramp-up, and less effort for integration of production lines. The PV Equipment Interface Specification (EIS) Task Force is focusing on reducing costs at all points where software interfaces exist between different pieces of equipment.
Advanced automation of the PV manufacturing process will make a major contribution to reduced costs for solar cells and panels. Automation will increase throughput, improve product quality and yields, and lower maintenance and operational expenses. No single company can fully realize these benefits without working closely with their suppliers and their competitors.
Highly automated and advanced manufacturing systems are composed of multiple equipment types, technologies and supporting products from best-in-class suppliers from around the world. Enabling these different processes, products and technologies to work seamlessly and cost-effectively together requires industry standards.
Industry standards are also a natural consequence of technology roadmaps. Early efforts by the Crystalline Technology Manufacturing (CTM) Group, a special interest group made up of major European cell makers and operating under SEMI PV Group, have already identified specific areas where a standardized approach to manufacturing challenges will be beneficial, allowing collaboration in non-competitive areas, empowering the industry to focus on innovation.
Source: SEMI, USA.