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Smit Ovens makes headway in CIGS "In-line" production

The company has sold a total of ten roll to roll and sheet to sheet systems
Smit Ovens has successfully installed 10 in line production systems at five CIGS customer plants.
The systems cover selenium deposition, and/or crystallisation/annealing systems for pilot and or mass production, and development of thin-film CIGS cells that are produced using the two step CIGS manufacturing process. Both roll to roll and sheet to sheet applications are served.

Image illustrating roll to roll mass production

“Thermal processes are a key way to achieve competitiveness in this growing market. We’re already seeing cell efficiencies of 15 percent," says Wiro Zijlmans, CEO, Smit Ovens.
Smit Ovens says its In Line Production System design are proven to be more cost effective due to doubled output compared to existing batch and in line solutions. What's more, the systems demonstrate high flexibility and repeatability in production that offers improved layer quality, high uptime and productivity.
Some systems are equipped with active selenium reactors which are linked to the crystallisation/anneal reactor. The balance of the systems installed are configured for annealing of glass and flexible substrates. Control of the selenium pressure at different process steps is realised, offering overall process stability. For instance, output performance is less dependent on precursor parameters as the active selenium process is correcting for differences in pre-deposited selenium layer thicknesses.
“This milestone underscores the strong relationship we have with our customers, who aim to be leading players in the global CIGS cell market,” adds Zijlmans.
“As a machine builder, Smit Ovens has extensive experience in high-precision thermal solutions for the solar energy industry and we are eager to apply this know-how to new market areas such as CIGS. The Solliance Institute, which uses our R&D / Pilot System, is a highly valuable technology partner with a vast knowledge of CIGS materials, processes and requirements. The system at Solliance is available for Smit Ovens customers to use for verification and process development,” concludes Zijlmans.
The company is showcasing its products at the 27th PVSEC in Frankfurt, Germany, between September 25th and 28th, 2012.
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