BrightView Systems debuts inline process control and optimization tool for thin-film PV production

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Debuting what it calls the first inline process control and optimization tool developed specifically for thin-film photovoltaics manufacturers, BrightView Systems has introduced its InSight M series monitoring system. Based on the company’s wide area metrology (WAM) technology, the platform features continuous monitoring and whole-panel mapping of critical and process parameters at full production throughput and for 100% of manufactured glass and flexible panels.

The Tel Aviv, Israel-based firm says that the WAM tool can be easily integrated at the TCO, microcrystalline silicon stack, and other key processing steps inline and offline in single- and multijunction amorphous and micromorph silicon as well as cadmium-telluride and other TFPV production lines.

Use of the tools improves average panel efficiency, enhances line productivity, and verifies full compliance with strict durability and quality requirements, according to BrightView. The system architecture can be integrated into the design of new production lines or inserted into existing Gen 5 and 8.5 facilities.

Featuring the company’s patented True Cell technology, InSight can measure and map critical layers on-the-fly within the actual product stack, providing continuous process fingerprinting that helps drive production improvement, excursion detection, chamber matching, and line productivity.

A suite of operating interface and software modules complement the BrightView hardware, facilitating easy implementation and customization of intelligent line monitoring recipes, spanning all production stages, from process integration through pilot and multilocation volume manufacturing, according to the company.

BrightView claims that the methodology offers customers with round-the-clock visibility into their manufacturing process, providing return on investment for in-line monitoring within days of InSight installation.

The company announced in October that it had successfully integrated and validated its system at Signet Solar’s a-Si fab in Mochau, Germany, where the firms said the WAM tool and its suite of optimization applications have demonstrated its contribution to both panel efficiency and factory productivity. 

Benny Shoham, CEO of BrightView, told PV Tech at the Solar Power International 2009 show that the company’s approach has the potential to increase factory revenues by at least 10%.

For a tandem a-Si 60MW production line with 8.5% stabilized panel conversion efficiency, he claimed that the WAM technology can improve de facto efficiencies by 0.65% and push up productivity by 5.2%.

The combined effect of the improvements can lead to >$19 million in additional factory line revenues, translating to a return on investment time-frame of six months, he added.

“By combining an inline metrology technology and matching spatial data analysis solutions that are driven by in-depth knowledge of thin-film PV process and volume production, the InSight M Series is the integral solution for improving thin-film PV panel efficiency and long-term reliability,” stated Shoham in the press release. “Thin-film manufacturers are now able to differentiate their products and optimize their production lines in order to boost productivity, and profitability.”

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