Solarwatt AG and KUKA Systems GmbH - New turnkey production line for Dresden solar module manufacturer Solarwatt AG

In the next few months the Dresden company SOLARWATT AG will invest in a new highly automated production line for manufacturing crystalline solar modules

May 28, 2009

The line will occupy a production area of 3,800 m².  This project will allow SOLARWATT to increase its production capacity by 150 MWp. Both Dr. Frank Schneider, CEO of SOLARWATT AG, and Alan Macdonald, Managing Director of the S-TEC division of KUKA Systems GmbH agree that “the precision of the automotive industry is finding its way into photovoltaics.”  “The plant will operate in three shifts and produce one solar module every 28 seconds – in the proven SOLARWATT quality,” emphasizes Schneider. Despite the financial crisis, the two companies foresee a further increase in the demand for solar modules, since solar power is now more attractive than ever following the sharp fall in the price of silicon, cells and modules. At the same time as this expansion of production capacity, SOLARWATT is investing in a logistics facility.

The Augsburg automation specialist KUKA Systems has designed and developed the new plant and is supplying the production equipment for the manufac-turing process line: automated modules for glass destacking and washing, film application, string layup and cross-soldering station, lamination, framing, performance testing, sorting and packing. The system also includes the complete conveyor equipment and control technology. As well as a total of 29 KUKA industrial robots, KUKA Systems automation solutions such as ROBO FRAME, ROBO TRIMM and ROBO LOAD are also employed. These are well-proven and covered by many patents.

In addition to supplying and installing the components, KUKA Systems will be responsible for the turnkey commissioning of the complete line including the start of production, in the first half of 2010. The quality-related production know-how, many years of experience with automation projects and technology transfer from the automotive field into the energy sector tipped the scales in favor of KUKA Systems, the Augsburg system builder.

About KUKA Systems

KUKA Systems, member of the KUKA Aktiengesellschaft, is an international supplier of flexible robotbased automation systems for the automotive, aerospace, energy and general industries.

Some 3,780 employees worldwide work on ideas, concepts and solutions for automated production and the provision of products and services for virtually all tasks in the industrial processing of metallic and non-metallic materials. 

The Energy Division of the company offers engineering services, automated production modules and complete turnkey production lines for the photovoltaic, solar thermal and wind energy sectors. Key technologies from KUKA Systems also have applications in the fields of power station construction and energy system building. The range is presented and marketed internationally via the subsidiaries and sales offices in Europe, America and Asia. 

KUKA Systems recorded an order volume of around 855 million euro for the 2008 business year.

About Solarwatt 

SOLARWATT AG is based in Dresden and is one of the leading manufacturers of solar modules in Germany. Since its foundation in 1993, the company has grown continuously and currently employs 480 staff. Sales in 2008 amounted to 300 million Euro. Since 2005, SOLARWATT Cells GmbH in Heilbronn has been the company’s development and production location for solar cells.
SOLARWATT has a module production capacity of 170 MWp (Mega Watt peak).

The products include standard modules for solar power stations and for build-ing-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV), and also small modules and special mod-ules for unconventional architecture. A further business division handles the implementation of turnkey projects. The power per module extends over a spectrum from 2 watts to 320 watts.

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