Product Briefing Outline: AMB Apparate + Maschinenbau GmbH is launching the Wet Wafer Separator 3000+, a new high-throughput wafer handling system designed for the thinnest 150 micron wafers in production through to 300 micron-thick wafers. The WWS 3000+ is focused on water bath system integration requirements where emphasis is placed on wafers being handled safely and reliably by gentle separation of the wafers from the stack in the water bath with reduced breakage rates without an impact on high throughput.
Problem: The continued high cost of solar-grade wafers due to demand from the PV industry has led to wafer cost reductions focused on reducing the thickness of wafers to current leading-edge thicknesses of 150 microns. These ultra-thin wafers are prone to breakage without correctly selected wafer handling systems specifically designed to limit wastage while enabling high-throughput in volume production applications.
Solution: The loaded carriers are lowered into a water bath. A feeder system brings the stack of wafers automatically to the pickup point. A newly developed pickup system separates the foremost wafer from the stack without any mechanical stress which results in reduced breakage rates. After separation, the wafers are moved out of the water bath to the transfer station along a special conveyer belt with a non-slip surface. The belt creates a large surface contact with the wafers which guarantees a gentle transport.
Applications: Wafer type: multi- and mono-crystalline silicon. Wafer geometry: Square and pseudo-square. Wafer thickness: 150 – 300 micrometers
Platform: With the technology used in the system, wafer damage and breakage is reduced to a minimum. High efficiency separating unit, combined with wafer control units and buffer systems, guarantee high production and yield.
Availability: The WWS 3000+ will be made available by the end of 2008.