Product Briefing Outline: Rehm Thermal Systems recently announced the launch of an advanced new series of firing systems for solar cell metallization. The RFS and RFS-D Fast Firing Systems offer a range of advanced process features and thermal control that are claimed to enable PV manufacturers to move their processes to an entirely new level of efficiency and yield. The new systems recently underwent exhaustive testing by the Fraunhofer Institute ISE.
Problem: The current production of solar cells is largely accomplished in semi-automatic fashion and for higher throughput must transition to higher speed in-line production. The materials used in the Fast Fire metallization process create even greater quantities of residues at these higher throughputs that must be managed to control quality and yield. And, manufacturers require increasingly detailed traceability of the process steps…exactly how their solar cells are being manufactured in order to increase efficiency and yield.
Solution: The new Rehm Fast Fire Systems feature a host of innovative design features that are claimed to enable new levels of metallization process performance, including
very high throughput rates (e.g. transport speeds up to 6m/minute and multiple lanes).
Flexible transport systems are used to enable single, dual and triple lane handling of wafers. An Integrated residue management system is employed that maintains clean process chamber that supports extended maintenance intervals. The system includes profile control and process monitoring including reference products for baseline profiling. ‘Rehm Visu2’ software includes traceability tools, remote diagnostics and an extensive product library. A unique gas management system is said to improve thermal transfer efficiency without using supplemental heaters. This reduces energy consumption and is claimed to increases system insulation that combines to improve the COO. Separate heating and cooling zone transports are designed to improve the cooling gradient and shorten the necessary cooling zone length.
Applications: Solar cell metallization.
Platform: A complete lineup of thermal solutions for metallization now includes the RFS Firing System and RFS-D combination Drying and Firing System in addition to the model RDS series dryers. All feature low energy consumption and a compact footprint that are designed to optimize factory space while minimizing expense.
Availability: July 2009 onwards.