OTB Solar has ordered resonance ultrasonic vibrations crack detection equipment from RUV Systems for use with its automated turnkey solar-cell manufacturing production lines. The inspection gear will also be offered as an “extra-quality feature” of the integrated manufacturing systems.
An RUV 2.2 QC Automation offline fully automated crack detection tool will be shipped soon to OTB, where it will be deployed to analyze and demonstrate the performance of its production lines, specifically the issue of crack initiation, the companies said.
“For us it’s crucial to have clearness about this important quality aspect in cell manufacturing,” explained Paul Breddels, CEO of OTB Solar. “In what way does our equipment contribute to the breakage rate and is this within specified limits? Until now it was hard to distinguish which part of breakage is caused by bad wafer quality and which part by line issues.
“With RUV we will prevent doubts regarding this issue. We will use RUV’s sophisticated technology for rejecting damaged wafers.”
The next step is inline crack detection. The Dutch companies have begun a cooperative development project to integrate RUV crack detection into OTB’s Linex production lines, which have a throughput of 2400 cells per hour.
In another example of collaboration between the two firms, the RUV tools incorporate OTB’s wafer- and cell-handling systems.
“Not only the test results of RUV were good, it seemed a logical approach as well to use vision or optical imaging for other quality issues but use ultrasonics for detecting cracks,” noted Breddels. “We can improve the yield of the line and make it more cost efficient. So everybody benefits.”