September 2012 – Smit Ovens announces milestone for “In Line” CIGS Production

Eindhoven, The Netherlands, Friday, September 14, 2012 – Smit Ovens today announced the successful installation of 10 in line production systems worldwide at five customers in CIGS applications. The systems cover selenium deposition- and or crystallization/annealing systems for pilot and or mass production and development of thin-film CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium Selenium) cells that are produced using the two step CIGS manufacturing process. Both roll to roll and sheet to sheet applications are served.

Smit Ovens In Line Production System design are proven to be more cost effective due to doubled output compared to existing batch and in line solutions. In addition the systems demonstrate  high flexibility and repeatability in production that offers improved layer quality, high uptime and productivity . Some systems are equipped with active selenium reactors which are linked to the crystallization/anneal reactor. The balance of the systems installed are configured for annealing of glass and flexible substrates. Control of the selenium pressure at different process steps is realized, offering overall process stability. For instance; Output performance is less dependent on precursor parameters as the active selenium process is correcting for differences in pre-deposited selenium layer thicknesses.

“This milestone underscores the strong relationship we have with our customers, who aim to be leading players in the global CIGS cell market,” says Wiro Zijlmans, CEO, Smit Ovens. “Thermal processes are a key way to achieve competitiveness in this growing market. We’re already seeing cell efficiencies of 15%. And with advance thermal processes manufacturers can get close to production costs as low as € 0.04 per Watt for the selenization process including the selenium contribution– a crucial threshold for creating a mass market for thin film CIGS photovoltaic’s.”

“As a machine builder, Smit Ovens has extensive experience in high-precision thermal solutions for the solar energy industry and we are eager to apply this know-how to new market areas such as CIGS. The Solliance Institute, which uses  our R&D / Pilot System , is a highly valuable technology partner with a vast knowledge of CIGS materials, processes and requirements. The system at Solliance is available for Smit Ovens customers to use for verification and process development” said Smit Ovens CEO Wiro Zijlmans.

Smit Ovens is exhibiting on the 27th PVSEC in Frankfurt, Germany, September 25-28, 2012. We invite you to visit our exhibit stand located at Hall 3.0 C16 to learn more about our technology and equipment.

About Smit Ovens
Founded in Nijmegen, the Netherlands in 1936, Smit Ovens is a leading supplier of customized thermal equipment and processes for the glass and photovoltaic’s industries. It employs around 50 people and currently has around 3000 installations operating, including some 110 in the solar industry.

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