Synova-Manz Automation Partnership Unveils Fully Automated Photovoltaic Manufacturing System for Edge Isolation


Manz Integrates Synova Laser MicroJet(R) into Inline Laser Edge Isolation System-ILE 2400

MILAN, Italy, Sept. 4 - EU PVSEC - Manz Automation AG (Reutlingen, Germany), a leading systems and components supplier, and Synova SA (Lausanne, Switzerland), the world pioneer of water jet-guided laser technology, today unveiled the ILE 2400, an inline laser edge isolation system for photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing of mono- and multi-crystalline solar cells. Integrated with Synova's proprietary water jet-guided laser technology - Laser MicroJet - the ILE 2400 enables manufacturers to effectively isolate the edge of PV cells to prevent short circuits. This inline, fully automated system is set to address the industry's need for manufacturing tools aimed at improving solar cell efficiency and, ultimately, cell yield. This week, for the first time, the ILE 2400 is on display at the 22nd European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference (EU PVSEC) in Milan. The ILE 2400 will be production ready in Q4 2007, and Manz will be accepting orders for the system beginning December this year.

The ILE 2400 provides a new and alternative approach, primarily for solar cell edge isolation, with secondary applications including cutting and drilling. Edge isolation, a technique used to prevent parasitic shunts between the front- and back-sides of the cell, prevents short circuits to improve cell efficiency. Current technology approaches for the application include: plasma etching, conventional lasers and diamond saw blades. Each process, however, yields a set of limitations such as heat and silicon surface damage, as well as contamination caused by processing debris - all of which reduce cell integrity. Utilizing the Laser MicroJet approach, these factors are negligible given its gentle, cooling and self-cleaning capabilities.

"Our active collaboration with Synova has led to a successful integration of its Laser MicroJet into our solar manufacturing platform, and we're realizing the combined system's increasing competitive technology benefits in terms of precision, throughput and yield," said Manz's chairman of the board, Dieter Manz. "These benefits the ILE 2400 affords positively impact cell efficiency and overall manufacturing costs, and as demand for cost-effective equipment continues to heighten, we're well-equipped to address our customers' needs."

Synova Chief Executive Officer, Bernold Richerzhagen, noted, "We're excited to be working closely with Manz, and to be a part of enabling this emerging market with the introduction and development of this Laser MicroJet-integrated system. This licensing partnership - the first since our business model shift - is evidence of the versatility of Laser MicroJet's abilities to enable improved manufacturing results across various industries."

Richerzhagen added, "We look forward to continued collaboration with Manz to explore Laser MicroJet's application possibilities beyond edge isolation to discover new applications that will fully utilize our technology in the PV market."

The development of the ILE 2400 follows on the heels of the Synova-Manz technology licensing partnership announced earlier this year. The partnership is solely dedicated to developing cost-effective manufacturing equipment for mono- and multi-crystalline solar cells that enables improved cell efficiency. Under the terms of the agreement, Synova will spearhead all R&D efforts, while Manz will drive the manufacturing, sales and service operations on a worldwide and PV-exclusive basis. This licensing partnership is one of several Synova is establishing following a business model expansion beyond direct manufacturing and selling.

Editors interested in learning more about the new ILE 2400 are invited to visit Manz Automation's booth located in Hall 20, Booth #5 at the 22nd EU PVSEC held September 3-7 in Milan, Italy.

About Manz Automation

Manz Automation AG develops and manufactures systems and components for the automation, quality assurance and laser process technology. The core competencies of the business lie in the areas of robotics, image processing, laser technology and control technology. Using these, Manz Automation AG unifies the combined know-how from basic technology areas in order to reach an optimal solution for its customers. The company is divided into divisions for photovoltaics (systems.solar), LCD (systems.lcd) as well as for components and OEM systems (systems.aico) for use in automation in various industries. In addition, Manz Automation AG plans in the future to also equip laboratory systems of the Pharmaceutical and Life-Science industries with its technology (system.lab). Manz Automation AG was established in 1987 and is based in Reutlingen, Germany, with agencies in the U.S., Taiwan, Korea, China and Hungary. In fiscal year 2006, the Manz group earned revenues of approximately 44 million EUR, almost 50% more than in the preceding year. Over 60% of the revenue came from abroad, especially from Asia. Since the 22nd September 2006, the shares of Manz Automation AG have been quoted in the Entry Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange under ISIN DE000A0JQ5U3 and the stock number A0JQ5U.

About Synova

Founded in 1997, Synova is the world pioneer and patent holder of Laser MicroJet(R), a state-of-the-art water jet-guided laser technology that combines the advantages of a laser beam and water to address the exacting manufacturing specifications and low cost-of-ownership (CoO) requirements associated with volume production of semiconductors, flat-panel displays, photovoltaics (solar cells), medical instrumentation and automotive devices. Thanks to this innovative technology, Synova is revolutionizing the engineering playing field and fast emerging as the ideal provider for high-precision laser applications in these core markets. Additionally, Synova is satisfying growing demand across diverse markets through strategic licensing partnerships with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), end users and R&D institutes. Headquartered in Lausanne, Switzerland, Synova is a privately held company with subsidiaries located in Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and the United States. Additional information about the company is available on the Internet at http://www.synova.ch/

About Laser MicroJet(R)

Synova's Laser MicroJet is a revolutionary cutting process combining a laser beam and a water jet, where a hair-thin water jet guides the laser beam onto the wafer. Utilizing the difference in the refractive indices of air and water, the technology behind Laser MicroJet creates a laser beam that is completely reflected at the air-water interface, similar in principle to an optical fiber. This lack of deviation is maintained through and beyond the work piece, facilitating the accurate cutting of porous or layered materials. Also, contrary to standard laser processing technology, the Laser MicroJet uses the water jet to cool the material surface for optimal protection against thermal damage. At the same time, water is used as a natural layer of protection to prevent deposition or contamination. Both of these surface protection features offer significant improvements to standard cutting processes that boost device yields.

Laser MicroJet(R) is a registered trademark of Synova.

CONTACT: Arnaud Brule of Synova SA, +41-21-6943500, fax, +41-21-6943501, brule@synova.ch; or Karen Do of MCA, Inc., +1-650-968-8900, fax, +1-650-968-8990, kdo@mcapr.com, for Synova SA; or Birte-Christina +Benecke of Manz Automation AG, +49 (0)7121-9000-21, fax, +49 (0)7121-9000-99, bbenecke@manz-automation.com; or Ulrich Wiehle of Cometis AG, +49 (0)611-205855-11, fax, +49 (0)611-205855-66, wiehle@cometis.de, for +Manz Automation AG

More from Machinery & Machining Tools

All Topics