Applied Films and Schmid: strategic alliance in the photovoltaic sector

Applied Films and Gebr. Schmid GmbH announced 20 October 2005 that they have entered into a strategic alliance. Applied Films joins an existing key solutions consortium of equipment suppliers to the P…

Applied Films and Gebr. Schmid GmbH announced 20 October 2005 that they have entered into a strategic alliance. Applied Films joins an existing key solutions consortium of equipment suppliers to the Photovoltaics sector which is lead by Schmid. Through this step Schmid completes its full spectrum offering of advanced equipment required for the economic production of wafer based solar cells and modules. Schmid is a leading provider of Photovoltaic, flat panel display and printed circuit board equipment, while Applied Films is a leading provider of sputter equipment for the flat panel display, architectural glass and packaging and electronics industries. The company will provide the alliance with high throughput sputtering equipment for anti-reflective and passivation layers for wafer based solar cells. The alliance agreement was signed on 20 October 2005 at the 15th International Photovoltaic Science and Engineering Conference & Solar Energy Exhibition (PVSEC) in Shanghai, China, by Christian Schmid, CEO and Managing Director of Schmid, and Jo Nell, Executive Vice President of Applied Films. The alliance combines the long-term experience of Schmid in the production and distribution of Photovoltaic (PV) specific equipment with Applied Films“ extensive thin film technology know-how to develop, manufacture and market high throughput In-line sputter deposition equipment. As a result of the agreement, Schmid“s product and service portfolio for the solar industry now covers all steps of the production value chain from wet etching to substrate handling, automation, anti-reflective and passivation coating to metrology and testing. “On our way to offer turn-key solutions, we are glad to have convinced Applied Films to join and strengthen our alliance”, said Christian Schmid. “Applied Films“ highly efficient sputter coating equipment for Silicon Nitride anti-reflection and passivation layers closed the last gap in our product portfolio. The system enables us to offer complete production lines with a superior cost of ownership in comparison to the commonly used PECVD process”, Schmid added. With a background in supplying sputter equipment to the flat panel and architectural glass industries, Applied Films started developing a thin film deposition system for PV applications in close cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy (FhG-ISE) three years ago. “Thanks to this successful cooperation we had been able to introduce our ATON(TM) high throughput system to the market end of last year”, said Jo Nell. “Since then, the PV market has developed continued to rapidly develop in a direction that favors our equipment offerings. There has been a demand for continuously increasing increments of MegaWatt/Peak (MWp) production capacity in the industry. As these increments have grown to the range of 30-50 MWp, our cost of ownership advantages become even more clear”, Nell added. Other members of the alliance include Asys (Screen printing), Rohm & Haas (Chemistry), Stangl (Vertical Batch), Sierra (Diffusion), 3-S (Lamination) and Somont (Stringer). Schmid will take the lead in the turnkey alliance which has established, and will guarantee, line performance and the efficiency of the wafer-based solar cells and solar modules which are produced. Regular audits of the lines to be installed ensure that customers always operate at highest productivity and with state of the art technology. Christian Schmid and Jo Nell see merit in cooperating with a number of renowned suppliers thus creating a powerful alliance of PV-solution providers. The alliance will be of significant benefit for the customers offering them new choices of optimal PV-equipment and processes at competitive prices. “This alliance recognizes that combining cutting edge R&D, intellectual property and engineering capabilities are the foundation for the further growth and success of the PV industry”, Schmid said.