HelioVolt has implemented the GE Intelligent Platforms’ Proficy software suite in its CIGS thin-film PV module manufacturing plant. GE says the Austin, TX-based company chose its software to increase plant yield and throughput, while meeting strict control and traceability requirements.
The software system used at HelioVolt is made up of five core elements of the Proficy suite, providing the company with robust redundancy, enhanced data security, reliable information and increased control of every aspect of operations through access to critical data, according to the GE unit. By delivering web-based visualization and real-time analytics, operators are able to increase efficiency and optimize production processes in real-time, resulting in reduced costs and increased profitability.
“Our automated and fully integrated manufacturing process, from substrate to final module assembly and test, allows us to reach high manufacturing efficiencies and low costs more rapidly than other competing technologies,” said Iga Hallberg, HelioVolt’s VP of business development. “The Proficy solution can help us to keep plant yield and throughput high, as well as ensure quality. Ultimately, this will lead to better and more cost-effective solar modules for our customers.”
As a new company, HelioVolt needed a solution that is easily replicated to new plants, but also needed a way to scale data storage for up to 30 years to satisfy warranty requirements. In addition, high-volume manufacturing was a must to drive cost down while maintaining quality.
“HelioVolt had some tight project deadlines to meet to satisfy their investors, so only a turnkey solution supported by rapid implementation services would work for them,” said Erik Udstuen, VP of software and services for GE Intelligent Platforms. “Proficy offers a complete lean manufacturing solution that provides the flexibility to add equipment and optimized work processes as HelioVolt scales its business.”
“GE’s experience in manufacturing as well as the company’s ability to get a complete system up and running in a short time-frame were key to working with HelioVolt,” concluded Hallberg. “We are looking forward to a bright future in the solar business and we think this software solution will help us get there.”