Iowa Thin Film Technologies is completing a three-phase program
that has increased throughput and decreased costs in nearly all
aspects of its thin-film photovoltaic manufacturing process. The
overall manufacturing costs have been reduced by 61 percent through
implementation of the improvements developed under this program.
Development of the ability to use a 1-mil substrate, rather than
the standard 2-mil substrate, results in a 50 percent cost-saving
for this material. Process development on a single-pass amorphous
silicon deposition system has resulted in a 37 percent throughput
improvement. A wide range of process and machine improvements have
been implemented on the transparent conducting oxide deposition
system. These include detailed parameter optimization of deposition
temperatures, process gas flows, carrier gas flows, and web speeds.
An overall process throughput improvement of 275 percent was
achieved based on this work. The new alignment technique was
developed for the laser scriber and printer systems, which improved
registration accuracy from 100 microns to 10 microns. The new
technique also reduced alignment time for these registration
systems significantly. This resulted in a throughput increase of 75
percent on the scriber and 600 percent on the printer. Automated
techniques were designed and implemented for the module assembly
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