Non-Contact Solar Wafer End Effector handles thin solar cells.

Press Release Summary:

Utilizing Non-Contact Transfer units (NCT), End Effector creates dynamic lifting force using positive airflow to handle solar PV wafers without physical contact with their surface. Edge guides align and constrain wafer during transport, while presence sensor enables constant detection and feedback for integration with SCARA, 6-axis, or Cartesian robots. Unit is available for 156 mm polycrystalline and multi-crystalline solar cells, and handles and transports wafers from 50-300 µm thick.

Original Press Release:

Rexroth Introduces New Non-Contact Solar Wafer End Effector - SEMICON West 2010

Non-Contact End Effector is ideal for handling thin, delicate solar cells

Rexroth's Non-Contact End Effector works where vacuum and suction cup end effectors fail. Contactless end effectors provides safe, reliable handling for polycrystalline and multi-crystalline solar cells.

(Pleasanton, CA - Using Rexroth's Non-Contact Transfer units (NCT), the End Effector creates a dynamic lifting force using positive airflow (Bernoulli principle) to handle solar photovoltaic wafers without requiring a physical seal with their surface. This means that handling and transporting delicate solar wafers is no longer a problem, allowing the automation of processes that were previously achieved only by manual labor.

The NCT's use compressed air to create an area of low pressure on the bottom of the End Effector. This low pressure provides a lifting force, similar to a vacuum suction cup. At the same time, air needs a space to escape, which creates a gap between the wafer and the End Effector. The exiting airflow prevents the wafer from contacting the End Effector, even if the wafer is warped.

Integrated edge guides (gripper flaps) align and constrain the wafer during transport for safe handling. For integration with SCARA, 6-axis, or Cartesian robots, a wafer presence sensor provides constant detection and feedback, allowing the robot to activate the End Effector when the wafer is detected.

The Non-Contact End Effector is available for standard 156 mm polycrystalline and multi-crystalline solar cells, and can reliably handle and transport wafers with 50-300 µm thickness.

Bosch Rexroth AG is one of the world's leading specialists in the field of drive and control technologies. Under the brand name of Rexroth the company supplies more than 500,000 customers with tailored solutions for driving, controlling and moving machinery used in industrial and factory automation as well as in mobile applications. Bosch Rexroth is a partner for industrial applications, factory automation, mobile applications and renewable energy development. As The Drive & Control Company, Bosch Rexroth develops, produces and sells components and systems in more than 80 countries. In 2008 Bosch Rexroth AG, part of the Bosch Group, achieved sales of around $8.3 billion (5.9 billion Euro) with 35,300 employees. Visit for more information.

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