Optimizing the total cost of ownership is one of the most essential keys to improved production efficiency in PV module manufacturing. The All-in-One concept developed by Endeas enables dramatic improvements by increasing productivity while keeping the costs in control.
All-in-One testing systems include all testing tools that are needed at the end of PV module production lines, conveniently integrated in one machine. All this is accomplished without sacrificing throughput or measurement quality.
Endeas designs, develops and manufactures innovative testing technologies in close co-operation with its customers in the photovoltaics industry. Keeping a close eye on the market needs helps the company discover new ways to help manufacturers make their production more efficient without having to make any compromises in the quality of the modules.
Less is more in PV module testing
“It goes without saying that the level of productivity is in every company’s interest in this industry”, Jaakko Hyvärinen, CEO of Endeas emphasizes. “To be successful in the long run, the actual cost per unit has to be extremely competitive.”
During a typical PV module manufacturing process, the modules have to go through a wide variety of tests; this means that the manufacturers have had to make substantial investments in their production and testing facilities. Several machines add up to a long production line which again requires plenty of space. In addition, since there is at least one professional required to operate each machine, the cost of personnel soon becomes one of the most pressing challenges.
The industry in turmoil
The supply of PV modules is increasing dramatically, and while this development is driving down the selling prices, more and more companies find themselves between the rock and a hard place: production levels have to be raised considerably in order to even survive, yet alone thrive in a business that is, slowly but surely, evolving from a niche industry into a mass production business.
“Typically, a testing line can tie up four professionals; one for EL, Hipot, flasher and visual inspection each”, Hyvärinen mentions. “In addition, when space is sparse, line upgrades and such necessary machinery development becomes challenging. This makes it increasingly difficult to keep up with the growing quality requirements as the industry evolves at an accelerating pace.”
Smoother process means better agility
The Endeas All-in-One concept enables smooth operations and minimum use of space. As there is no more need for separate Flasher, EL, Visual or Hipot testers, a lot less space and operating resources are required. Less equipment efficiently translates into higher production line uptime.
As the All-in-One concept reduces the need for floor space, it opens up new possibilities for line upgrades. In addition, shorter production lines can be ramped up faster, including the training of operators and engineers.
Speed meets reliability
The All-in-One concept is already available in selected QuickSun® testing machines (QuickSun 650, QuickSun 650Lab). Featuring several functions in a single machine, it can keep up with the speed of the fastest production lines – reaching the testing capacity of up to 200 modules per hour.
“Minimized module handling time, along with the fact that electrical contact is needed in only one machine, can substantially contribute to cost savings”, Jaakko Hyvärinen points out. “Also, replacing four equipment with just one reduces the Mean Time Between Failures and enables faster preventive maintenance. This brings additional benefits in the form of higher production line uptime.”
While the All-in-One concept considerably lowers the total cost of ownership, it also helps ensure consistent quality and reliable results. In the long run, it helps module manufacturers take the opportunities of solar energy further by boosting the production chain and enabling future-proof, sustainable ways to produce energy.