May 13, 2008
For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Shayna Watson
Optomec and Manz Automation enter into a strategic partnership agreementManz will OEM Optomec's print technology for producing high-efficiency solar cells
Albuquerque, New Mexico-May 13, 2008: Optomec, a global leader in the emerging field of printed electronics for Solar, Display, Aerospace and Life Science applications, has entered into an exclusive OEM partnership agreement with Manz Automation AG to jointly pursue applications in the Solar market.
Manz Automation AG, based in Reutlingen, Germany, is one of the world's leading suppliers of automation, quality inspection, chemical wet processes and laser process technology for the photovoltaic and LCD industry.
As part of the agreement, Manz will integrate Optomec's patented M3D Aerosol Jet deposition system into their back-end solar cell manufacturing lines to allow contact free deposition of metal collector lines. Optomec's M3D printing solution is able to print much finer lines than is currently possible with traditional screen-printing. These narrower, high integrity collector lines have higher conductivity and a lower shadowing effect, thereby increasing photovoltaic cell efficiency. In addition, because the process is non-contact, Optomec's M3D process can print on thinner wafers and with less breakage than screen printing techniques. The Optomec print solution, together with an additional electroplating process, has shown efficiency improvements of 0.5 -1% and greater in absolute figures.
Dr. Stefan Glunz, Head of the Department of Silicon Solar Cells-Development and Characterization at Fraunhofer ISE states that "The M3D Aerosol Jet technology has the potential to increase the efficiency of solar cells significantly due to the reduced shadowing losses of the contact fingers. At the same time, it greatly reduces the mechanical stress on the wafer, which is essential for the effective production of solar cells on thin wafers". Dr. Glunz (whose team did the first investigations of M3D for solar applications) further states "Our department at ISE has been working closely with Optomec for the past 24 months as Optomec evolved its printing solution from lab to production ready".
Manz CEO, Dieter Manz is very enthusiastic about the cooperation: "The Optomec technology integrated into the Manz back end line will allow the solar cell manufacturers to make a big step in the improvement of cell efficiency, to further reduce the breakage and to ultimately use thinner wafers. This will help our customer to drive down the overall cost of PV rapidly."
David Ramahi, President & CEO of Optomec, stated "We are extremely pleased to have Manz as our strategic partner for the photovoltaics market. Manz is an established leader that is uniquely qualified to deliver high-throughput, high-yield solar cell production solutions, and we are confident that working together we will successfully introduce this new metallization technology and the higher cell efficiencies it enables."
Optomec is a world-leading provider of additive manufacturing systems for high-performance applications in the Electronics, Photovoltaics, Life Sciences and Aerospace markets. Optomec's M3D Aerosol Jet Deposition System is a breakthrough printable electronics solution that produces much finer feature sizes than traditional screen printing and ink-jetting processes. The M3D system utilizes an innovative aerodynamic focusing technology that prints electronic and physical structures with feature sizes down to 5 microns. Optomec has more than 50 M3D customers in 10 countries, as its sales of M3D products to industry have been doubling each year.
Manz Automation AG
Manz Automation AG develops and manufactures systems and components for automation, quality inspection, wet chemical cleaning and etching processes and laser process technology. The company's core competences are to be found in robotics, image processing, laser technology and control technology. The newly acquired daughter company, Intech, develops and manufactures wet chemical process tools for the LCD and PCB industry. Manz Automation AG thus unites bundled expertise from elementary technology areas to achieve optimum results for its customers. The company has three divisions: photovoltaic (systems.solar), LCD (systems.lcd), and components and OEM systems (systems.aico) for automation in various sectors of industry including the life science industry. Reutlingen based Manz Automation AG was formed in 1987 and has branches in the USA, Taiwan, Korea, China, Spain and India. Moreover, the company also produces in TÃ¼bingen, Slovakia, Taiwan, China and Hungary. The Manz Group recorded revenues totaling around 71.3 million in fiscal year 2007, up approx. 63% year-on-year. More than 55% of revenues are recorded abroad, in particular in Asia.
With a staff of over 600, Fraunhofer ISE is the largest solar energy research institute in Europe. The work at the Institute ranges from the investigation of scientific and technological fundamentals for solar energy applications, through the development of production technology and prototypes, to the construction of demonstration systems.
M3D and Aerosol Jet are registered trademarks of Optomec, Inc.
Manz Automation AG
Tel.: +49 (0)7121 - 9000-21
Fax: +49 (0)7121 - 9000-99