Product Briefing Outline: Despatch Industries has introduced the ‘UltraFlex’ dryer and firing furnace with ‘Microzone’ Technology. This new tool is designed to provide next generation capabilities in performance, profile flexibility and reduced cost of ownership.
Problem: The crystalline silicon solar cell manufacturing cost per Wp can be lowered by increasing production volumes and yield, by producing higher efficiency silicon solar cells and by reducing silicon usage through reduced wafer thickness. Because silicon and aluminum have different thermal expansion coefficients, a bow is created in the wafer during the high temperature firing process. Tradeoffs in efficiency, breakage and yield have slowed the industries natural migration to thinner wafers.
Solution: Despatch Industries has taken its current dryer and firing furnace and reengineered it top to bottom to create a smarter, more efficient tool with a smaller footprint and a first-of-its-kind configuration. The UltraFlex system has a redesigned airflow system for increased efficiency. Despatch also developed new, custom lamps that operate at optimal levels for extended life and enable maximum absorption of energy into each cell. The company’s Microzone technology provides customers with infinite profile flexibility, independent of belt speed. Microzone lamps are configured to create the sharp divisions and tight control necessary to adapt to the industry’s ever-changing pastes and cell architectures. The tool’s efficient configuration incorporates a four meter drying section that provides optimal drying at faster belt speeds, and yet, the system is two and a half meters shorter than comparable systems, according to the company.
Applications: Crystalline solar cell metallization firing.
Platform: The UltraFlex incorporates the company’s patented, push-button chamber design, and now features a smooth, easily cleanable interior to minimize maintenance time. The system can also achieve rapid thermal ramping and cooling rates of up to 200™C per second to create precise profiles and intervals above critical temperature thresholds. A new, patent-pending VOC Thermal Oxidizer is integrated into the dryer to provide virtually maintenance free elimination of VOCs at point-of-generation.
Availability: September 2009 onwards.