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Manz AG in Reutlingen, Germany, is a leading global high-tech equipment manufacturer.

Over the past few years, the company has developed from an automation specialist to a provider of integrated system solutions for the production of crystalline silicon solar cells and thin-film solar modules, as well as the manufacturing of flat panel displays. A new business area is the development and manufacture of production systems for lithium-ion batteries.
 
Product Line Up
Crystalline Solar Cells
The conversion of sunlight into electrical energy is carried out in solar cells, the core component of photovoltaic equipment. The process of manufacturing this equipment includes a variety of steps – from extracting silicon to manufacturing the modules. Within the value chain of manufacturing crystalline solar cells, Manz AG focuses on the third stage: the process of going from wafer to cell.

Almost all of the world’s larger manufacturers use Manz systems for manufacturing solar cells. Our core areas include:
- Automation
- Test & Inspection
- Metallization Lines
- Laser Processing Technology
- Wet Chemistry
- Vacuum Technology


When developing new processes, our focus is on the economical manufacture of solar cells. Doing so means Manz has a hand in increasing efficiency and cutting costs in the field of photovoltaics. In conjunction with high-performance image-processing systems, precise and fast robotic systems allow for takt times of under one second with minimal breakage rates. With throughput of 2,400 wafers per hour, our integrated 60 MW back-end line is currently the fastest production line on the market for the metallization (screen printing), laser edge isolation, inspection, and sorting of solar cells.

Within this third stage of the value chain, Manz AG’s products cover approximately 70% of all investments made.
 
Automation - automation made by manz
Manz AG offers economical in-line automation systems for the manufacture of crystalline solar cells: These systems range from those that load and unload processing machines to complete automation solutions with integrated buffer systems and the ability to connect them to central manufacturing computer systems. Precise and fast robotic systems connected with high-performance image-processing systems ensure that breakage rates remain low while machine availability remains high. With tact times of less than a second, equipment with a total yearly output of up to 100 MW can be manufactured using only one production line.

The SpeedPicker is a new automation system which was specially developed for the requirements of the solar market.

Compared to other systems in the market, the system is the most powerful in terms of:

- Space: 50 % reduction
- After sales costs: 50 % reduction
- Investment: 50 % reduction
- Safe wafer handling with lowest breakage rates of 0.05%
- 0.5% lower breakage rate than competitive products

Manz’s standard systems include:

- Loading and unloading of cleaning and texturing equipment
- Loading and unloading of diffusion equipment
- Loading and unloading of PSG etching equipment
- Loading and unloading of anti-reflective coating equipment (the SiNA® series, for example)
- In-line box buffer systems with a capacity of up to 10,000 cells
Test & Inspection - quality made by manz
Testing and measuring wafers and cells during manufacturing is an important means of controlling the quality of manufactured cells. Even the tiniest mechanical defects in the cells – such as micro-cracks, for example – can have a negative impact on the efficiency of the entire module or render it completely unusable. For the purposes of quality control, Manz manufactures complete wafer testing systems, which are used by wafer manufacturers for their end-of-line inspection and by cell manufacturers for their receiving inspections. The testers and sorters are characterized by their modular design and can be equipped with a variety of testing and measuring systems:

- Testing the wafer’s geometry
- Testing for micro-cracks
- Measuring the wafer’s level of contamination
- Measuring the electrical resistance and carrier lifetime
- Measuring the thickness of the wafers and the total thickness variation
- Measuring the saw marks
- Measuring bow and warp

After further production steps, the cell-testing and -sorting modules in the back-end area of the plant measure the various levels of quality and sort each cell into the designated module class. The cell testers are suitable for both end-of-line inspections after manufacturing cells as well as for carrying out receiving inspections when manufacturing modules. The system can be equipped with the following testing and measuring systems:

- I/V measurement (sun simulator)
- Measuring with electroluminescence
- Front-side printing inspection
- Back-side printing inspection
- Color measurement
 
Metallization - contacts made by manz
Metallization – i.e. printing a conductive layer onto cells – is an important process in the manufacture of crystalline solar cells.
In this area, Manz offers both high-output printing systems as individual modules, as well as a complete back-end line. With a throughput rate of 2,400 cells per hour in a single production line, these tools have the following integrated processes in addition to the actual printing process:

- Automation/loading with integrated micro-crack inspection
- Front-side printing with integrated printing inspection
- Back-side printing with integrated printing inspection
- Drying furnace
- Firing furnace
- Laser edge isolation

Cell tester and sorter with
- I/V measurement (sun simulator)
- Electroluminescence measurement (automated detection of micro-cracks, process control)
- Inspection of front-side printing
- Inspection of back-side printing
- Color measurement
Laser Processing Technology - efficiency made by manz
Manz AG is working intensively on new methods to increase both the efficiency of solar cells and throughput rates, while at the same cutting solar cell manufacturing costs.

To do so, Manz AG uses high-efficiency laser processes which can be used to achieve this goal.

To generate a selective emitter, Manz AG uses a laser-based procedure developed by the IPE (University of Stuttgart Institute for Physical Electronics). With this technology, using an additional laser-processing step, the level of doping under the contact structure which is applied in a later stage of the process is increased significantly.

In conjunction with Manz’s HAP (high-accuracy printer), an increase in the solar cell’s efficiency of up to 0.5% can be achieved. During the development of these systems, Manz took steps to ensure that existing cell production lines could be upgraded.

Manz’s laser systems can also be used in other process steps:
- Laser edge isolation
- Laser drilling to generate back-contact cells such as MWT and EWT
- Opening dielectric layers
 
Wet Chemistry - wet chemistry made by manz
Manz offers newly developed wet chemical solutions for manufacturing crystalline solar cells. This includes the manufacturing stages of cleaning, saw damage removal, texturing, phosphosilicate glass removal, and one-sided etching processes. In this context, Manz uses experience and expertise from Manz Asia, which has been focused on the manufacture of wet chemical equipment for over 20 years. Manz Asia is the market leader in the field of wet chemical equipment for the manufacture of printed circuit boards and flat panel displays and – having installed more than 2,000 pieces of equipment – is the market leader in the electronics and FPD industries.

Wet chemical equipment from Manz is characterized by the following innovative features:

- Minimal breakage through the use of sponge rollers
- Completely closed system
- Drive mechanism using magnetic clutches for the highest level of safety
- Easy to operate using the Manz touch screen
- Highly integrated Manz automation solutions
- Lowest total costs
- Extremely economical use of chemicals and water
 
 
Thin-film Solar Modules
total fab solution made by manz
When developing new concepts, our focus is on the economical manufacture of thin-film solar cells. The resulting cuts to production costs contribute bit by bit to grid parity being reached. Manz AG’s products combine both an increase in efficiency as well as significant savings. This means we offer our clients around the world the ability to meet their increased competitive demands.

Manz AG unites its entire range of services for the efficient manufacture of thin-film solar modules under the “Total Fab Solution” concept. Based on long-term experience in the development and implementation of automation solutions for entire factories in the FPD industry, Manz can offer a wide-ranging portfolio of products for glass handling, storage and buffering of glass substrates, and conveying equipment. In addition, Manz offers equipment for mechanically scribing CIS and CIGS layer systems as well as equipment for laser scribing and laser edge isolation for all established thin-film systems (aSi, aSi/μcSi, CI(G)S, and CdTe), and laser cutting equipment for cutting glass substrates. Wet chemical etching equipment to clean or pre-etch the TCO layer rounds out Manz’s range of products.

The Manz Group is the global market leader for laser-scribing equipment, with an estimated market share of approx. 60%, and sets international standards when it comes to equipment for manufacturing thin-film solar modules.
 
Automation - thin-film automation made by manz
Manz can look back on a long, successful history of providing automation solutions for the FPD industry. Our automation solutions have now been on the market for 15 years. And Manz has been successfully applying exactly this expertise to the field of photovoltaics for many years. Our customers are the ones who can truly profit from the benefits of this long-term experience: Manz has well-engineered, advanced and innovative solutions at its disposal for handling glass substrates, which are primarily characterized by the low level of maintenance they require and their high level of process stability.

The equipment’s low operating costs and high productivity – as a result of low tact times and minimal breakage rates – both play significant roles in contributing to a successful manufacturing process.

Our automation solutions, which were developed, together with the Fraunhofer Institute, especially for use in clean-rooms, have become a well-known and established part of the photovoltaic industry over the past few years.

- Handling of all major substrates for thin-film solar modules with 6-axis robots
- Buffer systems
- Conveyor systems
- Loading and unloading of trolleys

Our newly developed concept of a central automation corridor for Fab automation provides many advantages:

- Saving of storage space due to „chaotic storage“
- Higher flexibility: the central robot unit reaches every substrate cassette very quickly. This leads to shorter cycle times.
- Cost advantage: the enclosed cassette stations can be purged with inert gas or dry air. This reduces the clean room class requirements for the entire Fab.
- The central automation corridor is modular and can be extended as required. It can also be applied to different glass sizes.
Scribing Equipment - Laser & mechanical scribing by manz
Manz’s scribing systems are optimized for the highest level of precision – for every scribing process needed during the manufacture of thin-film solar modules. And Manz’s equipment can be used for both high-precision mechanical (P2, P3 for CI(G)S substrates) as well as laser-assisted (P1, P2, and P3) scribing. During the manufacturing process, active tracking (Manz’s Inline Precision Control System) allows dead areas to be reduced by 150 µm–300 µm, a new milestone compared to other systems on the market. Doing so significantly increases the efficiency of the solar modules.

Low operating costs are just one of the many benefits of Manz’s scribing equipment. High throughput and maximum efficiency are valued by long-term Manz clients. This is primarily the result of the parallel processing, which allows tact times to be reduced while still maintaining the high level of quality.

Another notable characteristic, in addition to the high-precision processes and the high quality of the products, is the equipment’s sophisticated and flexible design. It allows the equipment to be easily integrated in completely automated production lines.

Mechanical Scribing
- Substrate sizes 600 × 1,200 mm to 1,100 × 1,700 mm
- High-precision machine base built from polymer concrete
- High-precision dynamic linear motor drive
- Image processing for substrate calibration and compensation
- Different types of scribe heads to adjust for system throughput
- Efficient exhaust unit

Laser Scribing
- Substrate sizes from 600 × 1,200 mm up to 2,200 × 2,600 mm
- High-precision machine base built from polymer concrete
- High-precision dynamic linear motor drive
- Inline Precision Control
- Up to 16 lasers operating simultaneously for maximum throughput
- Integrated laser with 532 and 1,064 nm
- Efficient exhaust unit
 
Cleaning and Etching Equipment - cleaning made by manz
With over 20 years of experience and more than 400 pieces of equipment delivered and installed, Manz Asia is one the largest suppliers of cleaning and etching equipment for the FPD and PCB industry, which gives the Manz Group access to extensive expertise in the field of wet chemistry.

Using this expertise, Manz has developed innovative wet chemical equipment for manufacturing thin-film solar modules. This includes systems for cleaning glass substrates and systems for pre-etching the TCO layer.

Both systems are characterized by a number of benefits in comparison to conventional equipment: Their compact size and modular design allow the machines to be integrated into existing production lines efficiently and in a way that saves space. Both glass-cleaning and TCO etching systems are available for all common substrate sizes. It goes without saying that the systems were designed for maximum throughput and productivity and that they fulfill the highest demands of the PV industry. The systems’ well-engineered design reduces the need for consumable parts and cuts operating costs.
Laser Edge Isolation and Laser Cutting -
laser edge ablation made by manz
An extremely reliable laser edge ablation process is required to manufacture high-quality thin-film solar modules. This process, which is carried out prior to laminating the glass cover, ensures that the coated glass is well isolated.

Conventional methods of edge ablation, such as sandblasting or grinding the edge, require a lower initial investment; however, due to their high operating costs, they are less economical over the long term. In addition, the edge ablation process using these methods has drawbacks – such as reduced product quality and productivity.

In comparison, laser edge ablation equipment from Manz has been a fixture on the market for many years, and is well known for its extremely high level of performance and reliability. Cutting rates of up to 60 cm²/s can be achieved with these systems. During the laser edge isolation process, the glass is neither damaged nor negatively affected. High process accuracy, cost effectiveness, and low tact times are the decisive advantages of Manz’s laser edge ablation systems, which can be used for all currently available thin-film substrate sizes.
 
Manz CIGSfab
Manz is the only supplier of an integrated and fully-productive turn-key production line for CIGS modules that generates profit.

The CIGS production offers low production costs due to high internal value creation at Manz and many years‘ optimization of production at Würth Solar. It is the turn-key line with the highest efficiency in mass production (currently 12.8%). Additionally, there is a very high cost reduction potential thanks to the unique cooperation of machine manufacturer, research institute and experienced module manufacturer.

Manz can offer a maximum investment security with its thin-film fabs due to the high potential increase of efficiency and the believable technology and cost roadmap. On the technological side, Manz has exclusive access to research results of the ZSW. With 20.3%, the ZSW holds the world record for efficiency for all thin-film technologies and employs the world‘s leading research experts in the CIGS sector.

Another unique success factor of the CIGSfab is the support of Würth Solar in all stages from the planning to the realization as well as the initial operation of the production lines. Customers can convince themselves about the technology in the Würth Solar 30 MW CISfab which will also be used for further development. With the CISfab, Würth Solar managed to become the largest installer of CIS modules worldwide.
 
In the area of CIGS production technology, Manz is offering a complete, fully- integrated production line for CIGS modules.
The CIGSfab is offered with a capacity of 60 or 120 MW.
Technical building equipment as well as building and infrastructure are offered via partner companies.
 
Innovation made by manz
 
Lithium-Ion Batteries
clean tech made by manz
The basis for this future-oriented business area is the successful synergy of expertise from Manz, the high-tech machine manufacturer, and the Majer company, which was acquired in 2008 and has long-term experience in the paper- and & film-processing market segment.

Machines for the manufacture of lithium-ion batteries have been developed and produced since the beginning of 2009. In addition to the ongoing manufacture of new system solutions, Manz has also decided to pursue the advancement of manufacturing technologies for the mass production of lithium-ion batteries. Manz’s services in this segment range from battery cell manufacturing (reel to cell) to assembling the individual cells into a battery system (cell to system). This means that, in addition to solar technology, Manz is also an early pioneer in the upcoming large market for electric vehicles.
FPD Flat Screens
experience made by manz
For more than 15 years, Manz AG has been a supplier of innovative automation systems for handling glass substrates of various sizes.

The substrates, with sizes of up to 2,200 mm × 2,600 mm at a thickness of only 0.7 mm, are primarily used in the manufacture of flat panel displays. Some of the most important characteristics of our systems are their clean-room suitability as well as their ability to handle the substrates both vertically and horizontally with extremely low breakage rates.

And the product range of Manz Asia complements our portfolio perfectly. It adds products including a complete spectrum of wet-chemical processing systems for the FPD and PCB industry.
Paper and Film Processing
high performance made by manz
The business division "Others" builds machines and equipment for the manufacture of packaging materials made from cardboard and film. The product range covers equipment for paper cans (composite cans), cheese boxes, and safety closures (bottle caps) for champagne and wine bottles.

Based on the spiral winding method used for composite cans, we also manufacture equipments and complete lines for cylindrical tubes and cores, with a focus on textile tubes used as yarn carriers for the synthetic fiber industry.

We offer complete solutions for the efficient production of composite cans, whose applications, e.g. especially within food industry, put high requirements to their tightness. They do not only comprise of machines and equipments, but also of material and process solutions.
 
Automation and Robotics
future technology made by manz
The basis for this future-oriented business area is the successful synergy of know-how from Manz, the high-tech machine manufacturer, and expertise from the majer.products divisions.

This area serves as a breeding ground for new future-oriented technologies in various branches which make use of Manz’s core competence in robotics, image processing, laser-processing technology, metallization, wet chemistry, metrology, control and motion technology, as well as web processing.

Whether as robotic systems for OEM clients, or as fully integrated process solutions – in the huge market for equipment and machine engineering, the Manz Group is the company to call when comprehensive solutions for motion and control systems are needed. Working in close collaboration with our clients, we develop industry-specific solutions that are sold all over the globe. As a system supplier, we offer applications for the packaging industry and the fiber composite technology. And especially in the clean-tech growth markets, the Manz Group’s systems comprise solutions for the future: Manz is, for example, developing and implementing the automation solution for manufacturing of fuel cells.
Printed Circuit Boards
pcb manufacturing made by manz
From PCs to cellular phones – from cars to airplanes. Printed circuit boards, or “PCBs” for short, are found in almost every area of our daily life. These devices are used to mechanically support and electrically connect electronic components in a wide variety of applications.

Manz Asia is one of the world’s market leaders in wet chemical processes and automation used in the manufacture of PCBs. Over 25 years of experience and groundbreaking developments perfectly complement Manz AG’s existing portfolio of products.

And you will always find Manz employees wherever our machines are used — individuals that make sure the machines do exactly what they were purchased for: Operate efficiently.
Services
service made by manz
Delivering our machines doesn’t signify the end of our close relationship with our customers, but rather the beginning. Wherever our machines are used, you will also find Manz employees – individuals on location that make sure the machines do exactly what they were purchased for: efficient operation. And bringing the machines into operation and servicing them are not the only important parts of our customer service. Training seminars, providing spare parts, and around-the-clock availability turn our customer service into a fair relationship with our customers.

spare parts made by manz
A machine is only as good as its availability. And nothing is worse than a machine that can’t be used. To prevent this from happening, we have a global warehouse management system. A spare part can be sent to you using the fastest method of delivery from wherever it is available. Because of this global infrastructure, we can satisfy your demands immediately and anywhere so that you can get the machine up and running again as fast as possible.

Training made by manz

It goes without saying that high-tech systems place high demands on the personnel handling an individual machine, an entire production line, or a more complex technological solution. And this not only applies to simply bringing a machine into service, but also to operating it during the productive stage. The better your personnel is trained, the more efficiently your machines will operate. That’s exactly why the Manz Group offers a comprehensive training program, which is not only used intensively by our customers, but also by our own employees. Because there is one thing we definitely won’t do – stand still. And that’s why we invest a significant amount of time and energy in our training program. Take advantage – and you, too, can reap the rewards.
         

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