4 April 2012

SoloPower selects Critical Manufacturing’s MES software for move into mass production

Critical Manufacturing S.A. of Oporto, Portugal, which creates software for solar, electronics and semiconductors manufacturing, says that SoloPower Inc is implementing its cmNavigo MES Productivity Suite - consisting of a manufacturing execution system (MES) and equipment integration program – in both its existing facility in San Jose, CA and its Portland, OR facility (which is due to begin high-volume production later this year).

SoloPower uses proprietary roll-to-roll electro-deposition manufacturing technology to produce low-cost thin-film copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules. It currently holds the record on module aperture efficiency for flexible CIGS-based modules, officially measured at 13.4% by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Targeting application on any rooftop, the cells are packaged into unique, flexible, lightweight solar modules that require less balance-of-system hardware and are easier to install than traditional solar panels, it is claimed. SoloPower’s operations in Portland are expected to ultimately have 450 staff and annual production capacity of 400MW.

“After developing the process in our demonstration line, the challenge was to introduce the proper equipment and automation to move to large-scale manufacturing with high product repeatability while controlling costs,” says SoloPower’s director of IT Ayush Jain. “It was clear that timely production information through automated data collection, advanced reporting and enforced manufacturing protocols were an absolute requirement for a successful technology transfer into production,” he adds. “cmNavigo MES had the modeling flexibility, and represented the best match for our needs.”

Critical Manufacturing says that its cmNavigo Manufacturing Productivity software was developed from the ground up on proven Microsoft technologies, providing extensive out-of-the-box functionality and lower cost of ownership. The system is scalable, suiting facilities ranging from small R&D environments to large-scale high-volume production. A full range of MES capabilities facilitate increased control, visibility and productivity for manufacturers seeking higher profitability.

“cmNavigo supports SoloPower’s innovative technology and use of automation to reduce costs, increase efficiency and maintain high quality,” says Jeff Peabody, Critical Manufacturing’s VP & acting managing director for North America. ”SoloPower has an aggressive schedule, complex environment and large quantities of data to be monitored. It’s an ideal application for cmNavigo, and the wide array of MES modules will allow them to minimize the total number of software solutions supporting the manufacturing operations.”

Tags: SoloPower CIGS MES software

Visit: www.solopower.com

Visit: www.criticalmanufacturing.com/products

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