Heraeus Photovoltaics has unveiled a new comprehensive supply chain strategy to ensure AG silver powders for its product line.
As part of the plan, Heraeus has implemented a multi-supplier sourcing strategy, an expanded safety stock policy and redundant paste options for customers.
The German group said it made the changes in order to quickly respond to recent events that affected the operations of a major supplier of silver powder. The incident revealed that the global PV industry could be vulnerable to an even short-term interruption of the supply of key raw materials.
Dowa Hightec, a Japanese supplier of silver powder for PV silver paste, halted production after an accident at its factory earlier this month. While the company reportedly resumed part of its production this week, the event is said to have led Heraeus to take steps to better ensure its own supply.
Although it did not name Dowa by name, Heraeus said it was prompted by the event to strengthen its supply chain and manufacturing strategies despite the fact that it experienced a very partial impact. To that end, Heraeus has expanded its trading partner network to include additional silver powder suppliers as well as a careful safety stock policy. The company is now releasing its newest family of pastes based on different silver powders. The purpose of this family-release is the round-up completion of Heraeus’ set of redundant pastes which back each other up.
Heraeus said its redundant product offering would help to further decrease key material dependency. Samples of the new paste family are already available and have been shipped to customers.
The company said the approach would assure customers to be assured that their current and future PV needs would not be vulnerable to events or interruptions that could have potentially negative impacts on business.