3D-Micromac picks up 2.5 GW PERC tooling order

PERC production upgrades and new lines continue to be one of the major manufacturing trends within cell production in 2015. The latest deal sees 3D-Micromac increasing the number of its selective backside passivation opening machines provided to one particular customer from nine up to 36 units.

Without naming the customer, 3D-Micromac reports that it is supplying “one of the world’s biggest producers of solar cells.”

3D-Micromac will provide 27 of its microSTRUCT OTF units to the manufacturer by the end of the year. The first of the production tools were delivered to this particular manufacturer at the end of 2014.

The microSTRUCT OFT tooling allows the production of PERC PV cells, through laser processing to selectively remove backside part of the passivation layer. The German company reports that the tool can be used in “on-the-fly” manufacturing, meaning that its laser tool can process cells during transportation through the production line.

3D-Micromac says that its tool can be integrated into existing automated cell production lines. The company claims selective backside passivation opening can be achieved with the tool with “an excellent price-performance ration, but with productivity high above the average.”

“Already after a brief qualification phase our process know-how, customer orientation and service quality convinced them, so that we will now equip the production facilities in Asia with our laser equipment,” said Tino Petsch, CEO of 3D-Micromac.

In a recent interview with pv magazine, industry consultant Geotz Fischbeck said that despite the rapid uptake of PERC technology, it still only accounts for around 10% to 15% of cell production at present.

“PERC is not the standard yet, but it is being deployed rather quickly meaning that over the next two years this will be the new benchmark technology and 60-cell modules will have 270W to 285W and above for multicrystalline modules,” said Fischbeck. “Monocrystalline modules using advanced PERC cells will result in modules with up to 320W.”

3D-Micromac says that its microSTRUCT OTF laser units can be applied to both mono and multicrystalline cell production.