Despatch gets $5 million order for PV equipment from European solar-cell manufacturer

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Despatch Industries has booked a $5 million order for photovoltaic manufacturing equipment with an unnamed European solar-cell manufacturer. The deal is for multiple units of the process tool company’s newest generation of multilane firing infrared furnaces.

The Minneapolis-based firm said that the new furnace is an important addition to its in-line product portfolio and fits well with the industry’s commitment to in-line processing results. The CDF-9024 drying-firing model has a wider belt to accommodate multiple lanes of cell processing and is capable of producing more than 2400 cells per hour.

Very fast ramp rates optimize contact formation on silicon wafers with shallow emitters and silicon nitride coating, according to the company. Rapid heating and cooling allows firing the contact through the silicon nitrate, while rapid cooling prevents damage to the junction.

In addition to increased throughput, the new model introduces a touchscreen graphical user interface, eye-level electronics access, and push-button chamber access. The company says that the new features focus on making the equipment user-friendly and easy to maintain. The exterior of the unit has been redesigned to include easy lift door access to the upper electronics panels.

“Our customer is a recognized leader in the crystalline solar industry, and this is a great opportunity for Despatch to expand our presence amongst European solar-cell manufacturers,” stated Steve Oman, the company’s director of global sales. “As we continue to grow and expand our global reach, we are further equipped to offer our worldwide customers the local technical and process support that are so critical to their success.”

Despatch says it has sold more than 8 GW of solar production capacity worldwide and claims that its firing furnaces are the global market-share leader.

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