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23 November 2009


Atlumin establishes thin-film PV materials manufacturing in California

Renewal energy materials manufacturer Atlumin Energy Inc of New Hartford, NY, USA (a subsidiary of metals supplier MCP-Group) has established a 55,000 square-foot plant in Sunnyvale, CA to support renewable energy manufacturers (initially solar module makers).

The new plant should ship its first product (customer-specific rotary sputtering targets for solar module manufacturing) in January 2010, but will ultimately manufacture a full range of products for solar module manufacturers. The metals tellurium, selenium, indium, gallium, copper, and cadmium are the basis of most of Atlumin products.

“We are putting manufacturing roots in California to be local to many of our key thin-film customers’ manufacturing sites and development locations,” says VP of sales David Preische. “Close proximity is a component of our strategy to be super-responsive,” he adds. “Our new facility is within 10-20 minutes of many local customers. This proximity dramatically compresses response time and development cycles — speed counts in solar.”

At the new facility, Atlumin will provide metals, chemicals, and fabricated products (including specialized sputtering targets) as well as reclaim services (since some materials used in thin-film photovoltaics, such as indium and gallium, are valuable enough to support reclaim).

The plant will be equipped with the Atlumin Material Loop for the materials that it manufactures: a closed-loop system will link customer facilities to the plant in order to compress cycle time, reduce loss, minimize waste, and be environment friendly.

“We drive efficiency along several dimensions, such as, administrative, yield management, cycle time, and minimal process steps,” says VP of operations Tim Starkey. “The goal is to deliver consistently high-quality products via a just-in-time philosophy to help our customers continue to reduce their cost structure and accelerate their own ramp-up,” he adds. “Speed and quality drive their system costs down, enabling customer cost control: the same lessons that we learned in the hard-disc drive industry.”

The new plant will also provide a central location structure, housing product development, process engineering, application engineering, and sales administration (with the aim of enabling Atlumin to be efficient and responsive to customer needs).

Search: Tellurium Selenium Indium Gallium Cadmium