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Separating improvements
The recent financial crisis changed the dynamics for the Solar manufacturing
industry with a greater emphasis on achieving grid parity through incremental
savings rather than wait for technological advances. German company
ACI-ecotec have developed an automated wet wafer separator tool and
discuss here how manufacturers can reduce costs and increase productivity.
aluable cost reducing potential can be causes for breakages actually were and
achieved and taken advantage of with discovered that the more a wafer is handled, the
a newly developed automated wet wafer separator more likely it is to be damaged. This may seem
from ACI-ecotec. The new tool has been obvious but by decreasing the number of manual
christened the ecoSplit IXL and is used where pre- work steps which are inevitably associated with a
cleaned solar wafers need to be separated inline high risk of breakage, in the ecoSplit IXL now
for final cleaning. The purpose designed inline makes it possible for manufacturers of solar wafers
separating system maintains an excellent efficiency to achieve greater cost and quality advantages
rate with an output capacity of at least 3000 wafers which, in today’s competitive environment, will
per hour, increasing the manufacturer’s immediate provide an edge in a market seeking to increase
output. The new tool also comes with a patented acceptance of solar as a viable alternative energy
separation technology that allows an especially source.
Issue III 2009
gentle separation that makes it possible for
manufacturer’s to reduce breakage rates to a low The ecoSplit IXL, provides automated separation
0.1%. Improving yield while increasing output can and feed of sawn, pre-cleaned solar wafers all the
only have one effect on overall costs. way through to final cleaning. This inline separation
Located in Germany’s Black Forest, an area that
can claim one of the longest manufacturing and
engineering histories, ACI-ecotec GmbH & Co. KG At least 3000 sawn and
was founded in 2004 in St. Georgen following a pre-cleaned solar
strategic acquisition and restructuring of ecotec wafers can be
GmbH by the ACI Group. The combined company separated per hour
is a provider of manufacturing equipment to the and fed to final
photovoltaic and automotive industries. ACI-ecotec cleaning with the new
has a strong history with the solar industry ecoSplit IXL. Thanks to
providing thin film contact systems, a carrier system unbeatable, patented
for silicon cells and wafers as well as developing separation technology
turnkey solutions in collaboration with partners. which assures
especially gentle wafer
Reducing breakage opportunity handling, breakage
When looking to develop a tool for wet wafer rates are minimised to
separation ACI-ecotec looked at what the major as low as 0.1%
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