New PV Standards Initiatives Aim to Lower Manufacturing Costs


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New PV Standards Initiatives Aim to Lower Manufacturing Costs

PV Automation Committees Formed to Focus on Equipment-to-Equipment Communication, Cell Transport Carriers, and Single Substrate Tracking

SAN JOSE, California — October 6, 2010 — 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.

The SEMI International Standards program plays an essential role in enabling low cost, high-quality manufacturing. The new global PV Automation Committee is an important milestone for the industry. Since 2007, SEMI’s involvement in PV Standards has grown to include over 10 task forces with participation from over 400 industry volunteers from major companies across the manufacturing supply chain. Committees are now in place in Europe, Japan, North America, and Taiwan. The SEMI PV Standards Committee has now developed and published12 Standards for both crystalline and thin-film operations, with over 20 other activities underway. This is a major accomplishment but significant challenges remain.

Pre-competitive collaboration is difficult, involving hard work by industry experts, but it creates significant benefits for the industry as a whole, for companies participating, and for individuals involved in the process. If your company wants to be involved in efforts to shape the future of PV, learn more by visiting www.pvgroup.org/standards.

The SEMI Standards Program, established in 1973, covers all aspects of semiconductor process equipment and materials, from wafer manufacturing to test, assembly and packaging, in addition to the manufacture of flat panel displays, photovoltaic systems and micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS). More than 3,000 volunteers worldwide participate in the program, which is made up of 20 global technical committees. Visit www.semi.org/standards for further details about SEMI Standards.

About SEMI PV Group

SEMI PV Group is a member-driven trade association dedicated to serving the PV manufacturing supply chain. Members of the PV Group provide the essential equipment, materials and services necessary to produce clean, renewable energy from photovoltaic technologies. The PV Group mission is to advance industry growth, support continuous efficiency improvements and promote sustainable business practices through international standards development, events, public policy advocacy, EHS support, market intelligence, and other services.

Association Contact:
Deborah Geiger

SEMI PV Group
Tel: 1.408.943.7988
Email: dgeiger@semi.org

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