Product Manufacturing Development: Scale-Up to Ramp-Up
The historical solar energy industry manufacturing model has been centered on solar cell efficiency design in isolation from manufacturing platform considerations. EMC inverts this model with focus on manufacturing first, then designing solar cells specifically for our mature and proven scale-up to ramp-up process. This leads to low cost product with the ability to increase cell efficiency ratings built into the production processes without a long and complex upstream supply chain reconfiguration.
Devising, testing, proving and implementing processes, formulations and materials on a scale-up specific pilot production line.
Transferring and implementing the proven scale-up “recipes” on to full scale, inline, high speed 4GW GigaSpeed™ manufacturing line.
Our manufacturing development process uses existing high-speed roll-to-roll production lines and tools at Kodak, leveraging over 50 years of complex material and printed electronics knowledge. Collectively, the Kodak and EMC team have a history of scaling-up over 80 new products using this established scale-up to ramp-up process.
Dr. Tom Tombs, EMC CTO
“At Kodak we manufactured film products up to 1.5 meters wide and as fast as 1,000 feet per minute. Some film products had 15 layers that were deposited in-line and roll-to-roll manufacturing was done in total darkness because of light sensitivity. EMC BackbonePV™ will be manufactured on 1.5 meter wide substrates at 100 feet per minute and requires only 6 to 8 layers depending on the product type.
Our scale-up experience on Kodak’s pilot line has proven that roll-to-roll solar module production is well within the knowledge base of EMC and our partners. High speed photovoltaic device production does have unique challenges and our solutions have allowed us to file valuable patent applications.”
A Refined Process
The vertically integrated production line process starts with a purpose built scale-up pilot line specifically calibrated to enable transfer of final high-speed full production “recipes” onto the GigaSpeed™ line. Starting with the pilot line tool, EMC scales up the production parameters, inks, materials and ultimately final processes (many of our core patents cover inventions from this stage).
After transfer of “recipes”, the GigaSpeed™ line is put through a ramp-up process to reach final production. Each one of the planned BackbonePV™ products runs through this highly refined and proven process.