As the demand for clean energy intensifies, the use of photovoltaics as a source of renewable energy will undoubtably increase as manufacturing and production costs reduce and photovoltaic efficiencies improve. Although traditional solar panels are becoming commonplace they can be bulky and are often installed in a fixed position.
Flexible photovoltaic products can be used in the same way as traditional solar panels, however this technology is not only flexible in its construction, but more easliy adapted to a broader range of applications. This type of solar panel is highly portable and can therefore make solar energy more readly available in a greater range of environments.
Lasers already play a key part in the manufacture of silicone and thin film solar cells, and the ongoing development of products such as flexible photovoltaic materials has seen the use of lasers expand even further within the industry.
Rofin is well established as a major player within the photovoltaic industry, with over 10 years experience and offering a comprehensive range of lasers which include CO, Nd:YAG, Nd:Vanadate, Disc, Fibre and Diode in Multi/Monomode, Q-switched and frequency-multiplied formats. Now, with over 1,000 lasers installed within the industry worldwide, the extensive applications experience gained by the company has been harnessed in a new turnkey reel to reel systemtargeted at the production of flexible photovoltaic products.
This new reel to reel system has been designed to incorporate multiple laser sources which can be used to perform several different processing tasks on Si, µSi, GIGS and organic cells, all within a single machine. Built upon a substantial granite base, the system incorporates high speed, high precision motorised axes to drive vibration proof optics when the system is being used used in the step and repeat mode.
For on-the-fly applications, beam positioning is achieved using fast and precise galvo scanning heads. A fully integrated vision system allows precise alignment with fiducials and also enables automated inspection tasks to be carried out within the machine.