12 August 2011

Singulus launches cluster-tool version of TENUIS CIGS coater 

Singulus Technolgies AG of Kahl am Main, Germany, which makes production equipment for the Optical Disc and Solar sectors, has launched a second generation of its TENUIS automated production system for wet-chemical coating of thin-film photovoltaic modules made of copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) on glass.

Its new modular cluster-tool design enables both savings in floor space and the simultaneous one-side coating of cadmium sulfide (CdS) buffer layer layers on two substrates. Due to new concepts in dosing and temperature control, the subsidiary Singulus Stangl Solar GmbH in Fürstenfeldbruck, Germany (which developed the system) has cut the process time by up to 20%, boosting production output.

Singulus says that the new TENUIS generation offers cost savings in the production of CIS/CIGS thin-film solar cells. Costs are also reduced by temperature profiles adjusted to the process and by the efficient use of process chemicals, so that the new system consistently exploits the savings potential in the manufacturing of thin-film solar cells.

Compared with its predecessor, the TENUIS GEN 2 version reduces not only production time but also the required floor-space (by 30%), saving footprint and maintenance costs accordingly. Also, due to the space-saving design, the new system can be integrated into existing production lines. For higher throughput, several production machines can be combined into a large production complex.

Singulus claims that the TENUIS GEN 2 also provides advantages upon commissioning and in the ramp-up stage. Because of the new cluster design, commissioning can commence in a modular fashion after a brief installation time and the first substrates can be coated. The cluster can subsequently be assembled simultaneously or consecutively. Correspondingly, the TENUIS GEN 2 can meet the increasing demands of the market with respect to reducing commissioning and ramp-up times, the firm claims.

Also, it is important for cell manufacturers to continuously advance processes and throughput to gain an advantage over competitors, comments Singulus. Correspodingly, the TENUIS GEN 2 allows a module for alternative processes to be run independently in the production line, so expertise can be gained on a production scale and under real-life conditions.

For example, the modular system enables the use of alternative coating materials such as zinc sulfide (ZnS). The process expertise of the Singulus Stangl developers can hence result in optimized operating costs and total costs of ownership.

The new coating system is also characterized by very stable and reproducible process results and very high up time, claims the firm. The re-launch of the TENUIS system is completed by a new software user interface. 

See related items:

US launch for GEN 2 version of Singulus’ VITRUM thin-film PV wet process tool

Tags: Thin-film PV wet process CdTe CdS CIGS

Visit: www.singulus.de

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