New Product: ACI-ecotec launches first fully automated contacting system for thin film

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Product Briefing Outline: Together with a thin-film PV manufacturer in Eastern Germany, ACI-ecotec GmbH & Co. KG developed the first fully automated contacting system for thin-film modules. Now in its 2nd revision and said to be currently in use with many key module manufacturers, enables a fully automated contacting of a complete thin-film module using industry accepted conductive adhesive. The system is designed and has proven to offer, fast, safe and reliable contacting, offering a very fast return of investment for automation at this crucial production step.

Problem: From the final front-end process of producing a thin-film module, it must be electrically contacted to become a complete working module. This contacting step is the first back-end production process of Thin-Film solar modules; that for current state-of-the-art module fabrication plants require a high level of high speed process automation that would integrate into the production line. The final efficiency of a module is very much dependant on the quality of the contacting, so the target is to develop and offer a reliable, fast and fully automated contacting solution for a complete module. The market cost per module is dropping, and additionally the output of a module needs to increase through higher quality automated contacting, thus increasing production yields for Thin-Film modules.

Solution: The advantages for automation at this step are quite clear; firstly to provide a fully automated and reliable contacting system, and secondly to provide a fast solution. The ecoContact is a contacting system that offers a very short ROI and a low COO by providing a totally safe, proven, and fast automated contacting method for Thin-Film module production. The patented technology offers a solution for nearly all glass sizes and thin-film technologies, e.g. CIGS, a-Si, µ-SI, Tandem, etc, with a very short changeover time from a recipe driven control system. For an inline configuration, the process steps are running concurrently to provide a cycle time of less than 40s.

Applications: Fully automated longitudinal and cross contacting using conductive adhesive.
Platform: The ecoContact system uses an Inline twin head contacting technology to apply the conductive adhesive, the bus-bar, and where required, the insulation tape. The advanced control system employs system wide sensors to control and monitor safe process handling, whilst the GUI screen provides a live status display with error logging. If required this system can also provide contactless module identification through advanced laser nano-technologies from project partners, (boraIdent).

Availability: Currently available on a 25 – 30 week lead-time from purchase order.

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