Toshiba Mitsubishi-Electric Industrial Systems Corp (TMEIC) announced April 19, 2017, that it has received orders for three units of the "TMBBM" busbar bonding machine from Triumph PV Materials Ltd (a China-based solar panel manufacturer).
Triumph PV Materials will introduce the TMBBM to its production line for CIGS solar panels. It is a solar panel manufacturer affiliated with China National Building Materials Group Corp.
The TMBBM is a machine that directly bonds electrodes such as aluminum ribbon to the glass substrate of solar cell. It features TMEIC's own ultrasonic welding technology.
While welding materials such as solder and paste are normally used to bond electrodes to substrates, the machine uses ultrasonic waves for direct bonding, eliminating the need for welding materials and reducing the solar cell manufacturing cost in the wiring process by about 50%, according to TMEIC.
Because contact resistance is reduced by direct welding, welding stability improves. In addition, it is a welding process at normal temperatures and can reduce environmental loads, compared with conventional processes. For example, it does not cause thermal damage to the substrate, foundation layer, etc.
Triumph PV Materials is building one of the world's largest manufacturing plants for CIGS solar panels in Bengbu City, An Hui Sheng, China. The plant is scheduled to have a production capacity of 1.5GW per year. Currently, the company is installing production lines equivalent to 300MW for the first construction phase. TMEIC's busbar bonding machines are planned to start operations in October 2017.
Triumph PV Materials is also building a new manufacturing plant in Jiangyin, Jiangsu, China, planning to introduce TMEIC's busbar bonding machines to this plant, too.
This time, TMEIC and Mitsuboshi Diamond Industrial Co Ltd (MDI) dealt with the sequence of processes from patterning to welding electrodes. And they established a system that ensures the quality of solar cells, improves yield rate and enables vertical start-up at the time of constructing a production line. TMEIC and MDI are the only Japanese suppliers whose products were employed for the project.
The two companies are considering continuing the partnership and entering the market for perovskite-based batteries, which are expected to be the next-generation solar cells, in addition to CIGS solar cells.