Applied Materials Inc. has released the Applied HCT MaxEdge wire saw, a new platform for slicing ingots into ultra-thin wafers that can help customers drive down the cost of manufacturing photovoltaic cells by up to $0.18 per watt, assuming a silicon price of $55/kg.
Key technical advances, including an industry-first dual-wire management system, enable the MaxEdge system to deliver significantly higher throughput and load capacity than competitive systems, while requiring much less factory floor space and fewer operators for equivalent megawatt output, according to Applied Materials.
By making thinner wafers, PV cell manufacturers can reduce the amount of silicon per wafer and lower the cost-per-watt of solar electricity. To produce thinner wafers, traditional wire saws must reduce the ingot length and the cutting speed. The uniquely designed MaxEdge system delivers ultra-thin wafers without sacrificing throughput by enabling larger loads and using thinner wires at higher cutting speeds, the company says.
The MaxEdge system's dual-wire management system employs four independently controlled direct drive motors and advanced process control to lower wire tension, reducing wire wear and decreasing ingot scrap and unplanned downtime. Reduced tension also allows smaller-diameter cutting wires to be used, resulting in less silicon loss without compromising yield.
Applied Materials: (408) 727-5555
SOURCE: Applied Materials