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Solar seminars in Italy

Post Time:Nov 12,2013Classify:Industry NewsView:43

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The first Solar Glass Conference, organized by Artech Publishing S.r.l., Milan, and Vitrum, took place at the Congress Center, Fiera Milano, on the third day of the Vitrum show. Four main topics were on the agenda: Glass science and market aimed at the production of photovoltaic modules and solar thermal panels; Italian and foreign glass production for photovoltaic, solar, thermal and coating use; technologies and machinery for processing glass to manufacture PV modules; and vacuumed glass tubes for manufacturing high efficiency solar thermal panels. Of the 10 speakers, five spoke in English and five in Italian. Jorma Vitkala, chairman of the organizing committee, Glass Processing Days, talked about Quality Requirements for Tempered Glass for PV Modules. He mentioned the GPD 2007 Quality Study by Helsinki University in his presentation. The study revealed the following, Vitkala said: measurement model for studying how end-users experience glass facades of buildings; what is perceived as good and bad in glass facades; which factors in the facade determine how it is experienced by people; reliable and trustworthy material of quality experiences for marketing communications; bench marking methods for comparing different glass facade solutions in the eyes of consumers or constructors and other professionals; measuring the effect of the perceived glass facade quality on the brand associations of the companies located in the building; and obtaining end-user/building owner/brand owner feedback to constructors and product development. Vitkala talked about the quality definitions and aspects for PV panels, including attributes, specifications and tolerances. “New PV and solar collector technology have opened up new markets,” Vitkala said. “The need for new high performance production are 3.8, 3.2 or 3.0 millimeter. The trend today is large glass sizes and distortion free heat treated glass. This is creating both challenges and opportunities for the glass industry.” Wilfried Uittenhove, sales manager, Solar Glass, AGC Flat Glass Europe, presented AGC Solar Glass Solutions. “[Solar glass] is a sunny business for flat glass manufacturers,” Uittenhove said. He described AGC’s solar glass product range, including PVs, thermal glass and specialized coatings. Thomas Rossman, sales director, Glass Technology Americas, Grenzebach Maschinenbau GmBH, Germany, discussed his company’s thin film line organization in Technologies and Machineries for Manufacturing Process of Thin Film PV Modules. “In the front end of the line, there are de-stackers, conveying technology, washers, laser scribe system and sputtering system,” Rossman said. “In the back end, there is cutting and snapping, camera inspection, edge grinding station, flat wire application/contacting, screen prints, PVB or EVA foil unwinding station, and back glass loading. And in back end 2, there’s assembly station, lamination, junction box attachment, framing and sealing, flasher and simulator, and stacking.” Klaus Puschman, Leiter Marketing/Produktmanagement, Lenhardt Maschinenbau GmBH, Germany, part of Bystronic, talked about TPS solar glass and adapting insulating glass production system for the PV world. Lenhardt has built a prototype for solar module production that spits out thin film modules every 30 seconds. That’s standard production speed for insulating glass but much faster than typical PV production lines. “TPS solar glass is a very flexible system used in construction and in cars and buses,” Puschman said. “It transfers the technology of insulating glass into solar glass.” Adrian Poly, business unit manager, i2S LineScan, France, talked about an inspection technology that increases productivity and quality at various steps of PV module manufacturing. “Solar panels are made of multiple layers of glass, coating, films and scribe lines,” Poly said. “At every step of the manufacturing process as more layers are assembled, more value is added to the product. [However,] each of those steps can add its specific defects.” The inspection technology, consisting of camera, lighting and dedicated image hardware, can detect defects at each step, remove them and classify them for better understanding and optimization, Poly said.

—By Sahely Mukerji, managing editor, Glass Magazine, AutoGlass magazine

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