07. Oct 2008

Lamination Day at Robert Bürkle GmbH confirms the trend:

Category: Photovoltaics

 

The Module Production Gets Faster

The solar sub-supplier sector is on the brink of new tasks: The constant request for long-living modules, always shorter cycle times in production as well as better flow properties of the adhesive foils determine the trends. This is the result of the first Lamination Day that the plant manufacturer Bürkle has held on 03rd July.

 

 

What do solar modules and the glass dome of the Bundestag in Berlin have in common? In both cases adhesive foils are used for joining the glass panes. And as the development of the safety foils is very important for the photovoltaic industry, the manufacturers Kuraray and DuPont gave an idea of the corresponding product development. "The high oil price and the pertinent concern of the raw material securing are in our mind", said Ralf Eschrich, sales manager at Kuraray Europe GmbH. And it makes no difference what kind of composite foil is used for the glass panes of the solar modules. Both current plastics PVB (Polyvinylbutyrale) and EVA (Ethylenvinylacetate) are based on crude oil. At the moment the company is researching for an ameliorated ventilation characteristics of the foils. And the company also wishes to modify the hygroscopic properties in order to give the foils a longer life. Nowadays module manufacturers are demanded to give a warranty of 25 years.

 

A similar development is reported by the head of the European Activities, Mr. Michael Fehling, from the research laboratory of DuPont. The foils resp. the plastic plates of the company should absorb less moisture, too in the future. The manufacturer also works on optimizing the compound materials in such way that the same can be used for multiple production processes and they also work on the UV resistance. The main focus is on the "good flow of the material in the lamination process". This enables the manufacturer to reach high cycle times.

 

But the more than 70 expert visitors also came to the Black Forest in order to test the first multi-opening laminator, the "Ypsator(R)" in the world live. Buyers, technicians and engineers of, among others, the leading companies Ersol, Oerlikon and Schott-Solar, examined the 17m line in a yellow and grey paint coating. The laminator ejects up to ten modules per cycle on 5 openings. "No matter if crystalline or thin film", explains the product manager Dagmar Metzger, "and also in half the time of the previously normal cycle". The total capacity is with around 500.000 modules per year or an annual power capacity of 40 MWp.

 

The advantages of the multi-opening laminator are in its process guiding and reproducibility", explains the development manager, Norbert Damm, in the production hall in Freudenstadt. The three-stage process, the Ypsolar(R) Technology, is new. The concrete functioning is as follows: In the first step, the modules are prelaminated. This means that that the moisture and air pockets are removed from the sandwich in a vaccum and that a vacuum-tight compound is created. Then the process is interrupted and, in a second step, lamination finished in a subsequent press. In the third step, the "Cooling", the Ypsator(R) cools down the solar module from 150 °C to hand warmth. The advantage of this work-sharing is the following: the glass modules can be laminated with less stress - this reduces the glass breakage a lot.

 

Material producers and machine and plant manufacturers of the photovoltaic sector carry out development and research work commonly. That is why Bürkle presents a laboratory laminator in its own innovation center for test purposes. Customers and suppliers can test foils, glass panes, etc. with different parameters there. They will accept this offer willingly.

 

Especially because the Lamination Day gave the opportunity to discuss on the missing experience with different foils and components openly. But lamination is a core competence at Bürkle, as the Freudenstadt company has been supplying lamination lines and presses for the wood, semi-conductor and plastic card industry worldwide for many decades.

 

Ypsator(R) and Ypsolar(R) are registered trademarks of Robert Bürkle Gmbh Germany


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