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Evaluating factory performance of photovoltaic manufacturing lines by using log data

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By Fabian Böettinger, Project Manager, Fraunhofer IPA; Christian Fischmann, Project Manager, Fraunhofer IPA; Kevin Reddig, Team Leader, Fraunhofer IPA; Martin Kasperczyk, Project Manager, Oerlikon Solar AG

Investments in large photovoltaic factories can lead to high capital expenditure. To achieve a fast return on investment, it is essential to ensure a high utilization of process equipment. Optimization of photovoltaic factory performance requires a fundamental understanding of the processes as well as of the material flow and manufacturing equipment. Fraunhofer IPA has developed an approach to gather and analyze the factory data in order to detect and understand the logistic influencing factors. With this factory data, the performance of material flow systems and production equipments can be evaluated, leading to detection and elimination of inefficiencies in the manufacturing lines. The methods of acquiring and analyzing factory performance data as outlined in this article mainly focus on thin-film manufacturing lines, but are also applicable to crystalline technologies.

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The second edition of Photovoltaics International was published in November 2008. It includes the cost benefits of conversion of used 200mm semiconductor fabs for the PV industry by CH2M Hill in Fab & Facilities, in-line plasma-chemical etching from Fraunhofer IWS in Cell Processing and NREL presents design criteria for back- and front-sheet materials in PV Modules.

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