Wednesday, March 28, 2012

AQT selects Sapphire Automation to integrate solar cell manufacturing

SUNNYVALE, USA: AQT Solar, a leading developer of low-cost thin-film solar cells, has successfully transitioned to a fully automated WIP Management System to complete the integration of its Sunnyvale production facility.

AQT partnered with Sapphire Automation to drive greater operational efficiencies and further improve equipment utilization and planning. AQT anticipates that this platform will further improve its rapid technology development and deployment cycles and contribute substantially to ongoing cost reduction initiatives.

AQT’s WIP Management System is run by Sapphire’s Emerald software platform. Sapphire Emerald is highly modular, and provides complete visibility, control and coordination into manufacturing processes and production operations. The Sapphire solution provides a complete view of the factory floor through real time data captures from various factory floor tools and powerful dashboards.

Emerald’s open architecture supports industry standards such as E-10 for tool state management and Web services for data integration with enterprise systems. It offers immediate return on investment by delivering centralized data that improves productivity, automates traceability and eliminates manual paperwork. It can also record manufacturing cycle times and other critical data to empower engineers to spot bottlenecks and increase production output.

AQT Solar’s 24x7 manufacturing operations have been operational since the first quarter of 2012, and will ramp up substantially over the next few quarters. With the automated WIP Management System, AQT Solar has implemented the requisite infrastructure for this expansion.

“We are excited to work with Sapphire. Their proven ability to deliver the flexibility required to support dynamic manufacturing requirements made them a logical and ideal partner for AQT Solar,” said Skip Wong, VP of operations at AQT. “We will continue to expand our manufacturing capacity with the assistance of the Sapphire System and further improve our factory equipment utilization and throughput.”

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