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New IPC APEX EXPO™ Solar Assembly and Solar Living Pavilion Lights Up Growing Opportunities for EMS Industry

Feb 24, 2011

BANNOCKBURN, IL - The assembly of solar panels is very similar to the assembly of printed boards, making solar power a hot opportunity for electronics assemblers. A small but growing market, solar module production is projected to increase 273% from 2010 to 2014, according to iSuppli. Shedding some light on the rapidly advancing business of solar panel assembly, IPC will host the Solar Assembly and Solar Living Pavilion on the show floor at IPC APEX EXPO, April 12–14, 2011, in Las Vegas.

"Renewable energy sources will play an ever-expanding role in meeting future global energy demand," says Dave Torp, IPC vice president of standards and technology. He adds that although solar power is still relatively expensive when compared to other forms of power generation, analysts indicate it will have parity with those systems as early as 2014.

The Solar Pavilion will feature multimedia displays on panel assembly, lamination, tabbing, stringing and cell manufacturing from industry contributors. In addition, solar panels from Bombard Renewable Energy will be set up outside the exhibition hall to power a typical family room staged on the show floor.

Celestica will provide a multimedia display of solar panel assembly from start to finish. The display follows a crystalline silicon cell through all the assembly process steps required to make a crystalline silicone solar panel. Individuals familiar with the configuration of surface mount assembly lines will be interested to see the similarities and differences in the solar panel assembly process. The multimedia display was created at Celestica’s manufacturing operations in Toronto, Canada, which is being ramped up to meet the demand for new energy-generation alternatives through the Ontario Feed-In Tariff Program.

The fine art of interconnecting solar cells together, known as stringing operations, will be demonstrated with Komax Solar’s Xcell solar cell interconnection platform, Xcell X2. Its evolutionary technology for stringing and tabbing solar cells together optimizes efficiency in the stringing operations by utilizing one machine base for two string tracks, producing the world’s most compact solar cell interconnection machine.

Providing lamination equipment used in the solar module assembly process, Bürkle will display its Multi-Opening Lamination Lines called Ypsator® which are designed for high-volume lamination of crystalline and thin film solar modules. The Stack Lamination Line is available as a two-step or three-step system depending on throughput requirements. Due to the split lamination process, the standard lamination time is reduced by 40 percent.

As solar technology moves forward, one of the primary requirements to drive cost out is the need for standardization. At IPC APEX EXPO, IPC standards committees will continue development of assembly standards for tabbing and stringing solar cells, and for lamination of crystalline solar cells, as well as requirements standards for final assembly of solar panels. To participate in these standardization efforts, contact David Torp, at DaveTorp@ipc.org.

IPC APEX EXPO will also host a technical conference session on solar power (S25) with presentations on the solar PV business outlook, technology roadmap, reliability overview and a look at the impact on the PCB/PCBA industry. One-day or full conference registration is required to attend.

A free Exhibits-Only registration to IPC APEX EXPO is available to pre-registrants at http://www.IPCAPEXEXPO.org/register. The Exhibits-Only registration includes free access to the exhibition and Solar Assembly & Living Pavilion as well as all free special events. For more information, visit http://www.IPCAPEXEXPO.org.

IPC (www.IPC.org) is a global trade association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 2,700 member companies which represent all facets of the electronics industry, including design, printed board manufacturing, electronics assembly and test. As a member-driven organization and leading source for industry standards, training, market research and public policy advocacy, IPC supports programs to meet the needs of an estimated $1.5 trillion global electronics industry. IPC maintains additional offices in Taos, N.M.; Arlington, Va.; Garden Grove, Calif.; Stockholm, Sweden; Moscow, Russia; Bangalore, India; Shanghai, Shenzhen and Beijing, China.

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