Manz moves manufacturing close to market

As an indication of the importance of the Chinese manufacturing market, and the potential for low-cost manufacturing, southern-German equipment supplier Manz has held the grand opening of its Manz Suzhou fab. Photovoltaic, flat-panel display and printed circuit board equipment will be produced at the fab.

Speaking at the event, held on the eve of the biggest Asian solar trade fair SNEC, CEO Dieter Manz said that the location will allow better access to its clients. "The fab in Suzhou will also house a technology and training center. Manz is thus able to validate and optimize manufacturing processes together with its customers on Manz equipment directly in China."

The motto "Engineered by Germanz" was used at the opening, which the company said highlights its commitment to produce "German engineering" at "local prices".

At SNEC Manz will present its new wet-chemical tool, which Dieter Manz said will, "really close the gap in the PV processing chain previously uncovered by Manz".

The rise of Chinese equipment manufacturers was noted earlier in the year, in a report produced by NPD Solarbuzz, and the Manz move can be seen as a strategy to directly challenge these emerging rivals. Amongst fierce competition over price in the photovoltaic industry at present, Manz is banking on Asian photovoltaic manufacturers moving to update equipment in an attempt to drive down costs.

On top of its silicon-photovoltaic equipment, Manz also producers a turnkey CIGS line. Early this year it took over neighboring Würth’s production lines, which it now uses to optimize its CIGS equipment. The June edition of pv magazine features an article on the advantages of CIGS thin film technology.