Laser edge deletion for photovoltaics

Feb. 10, 2009
4JET's INLINE systems can be equipped with several laser technologies and allow full area processing of the entire surface of a solar panel.

4JET Sales Service GmbH (Huckelhoven, Germany) adds a new machine to its portfolio for the thin film photovoltaics industry. The INLINE systems can be equipped with several laser technologies and allow full area processing of the entire surface of a solar panel. Applications include edge deletion, selective perforation, P4 isolation scribes as well as marking or drilling of glass.

The compact unit is a co-development of 4JET and Maschinenbau GEROLD GmbH. The unit is suitable to process all standard panel sizes including G8 formats with 2600x2200mm dimensions. Glass panels are pre-centered and their position is measured precisely. 4JET's dynamic ABC (Automatic Beam Control) beam delivery system enables compensation of glass warpage and size tolerances of the panels.

Depending on the application the units are equipped with diode-pumped solid-state or fiber lasers. 4JET supplies customer- and application-specific process technology and integrates a turnkey solution. Depending on the required throughput, several modules can be installed sequentially.

The 4JET design allows full area processing of the entire panel surface and allows programming of each individual edge width depending on the glass tolerance.

Laser edge deletion
One of the most important applications is laser edge deletion. The new INLINE systems add to 4JET´s portfolio of proven robotic laser edge deletion cells that are used in a-Si, CIGS, and CdTe thinfilm ablation.

The precise and abrasion-free edge deletion has impact on the durability and efficiency of solar panels. The high level of automation, the cost efficient design and the abrasion-free precise ablation process reduces the cost per panel and enhances the quality when compared to other systems such as sand blasting, grinding wheels, or other laser systems. The laser process provides a clean surface that has multi Giga Ohm resistance and does not require further treatment prior to the lamination process.

The INLINE platform also enables performing a cost efficient P4 isolation cut that generates a sharp edged groove between the active area of the solar panel and the edge. Using an INLINE system with 532nm and/or 1064nm wavelength eliminates the need for an isolation cut in the more expensive P3 scribing systems.

Another potential use for the INLINE system is the selective laser ablation to create semi-transparent solar panels for use in building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV). This requires full area processing of the panel´s surface.

Drilling and marking
The modular design of the INLINE also allows integration of marking lasers, that either engrave into the glass or create an inverted mark by ablation of the coating. It is also possible to integrate a glass drilling system.

Peripheral and optional modules
The INLINE series is offered with different optional processes, including a newly developed process to expose molybdenum on CIGS solar panels, a process validation module and mechanical brushing systems. Through the cooperation with Maschinenbau GEROLD GmbH, 4JET can also offer material handling and automation solutions.

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