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Electronics Production | September 07, 2007

VDMA founds section for<br>photovoltaic equipment makers

The German Engineering Federation concentrates forces for photovoltaic equipment in Germany.
The German Engineering Federation (VDMA) has founded the Photovoltaic Equipment Forum. This new section is the topic-oriented collaboration of the existing sectors Electronics Production (Productronics), Glass Technology, Energy, Organic Electronics, Robotics and Automation, Laser and Photonics, as well as Surface Treatment within the VDMA.

Photovoltaics (Electricity generated by light) is a booming market and German machinery and equipment manufacturers are leading suppliers for all parts of the value chain, from materials- and solar cell-production all the way to module manufacturing. This is also true for innovative thin
film modules and organic photovoltaics flexible printed solar cells. For a growing number of VDMA members photovoltaics has become the main business.

Germany is the biggest user market with 51 percent and the second largest producer with 20 percent worldwide. Japan, the USA, Europe and China are important export markets for all parts of the value chain, including machines. For the future, a continuation of the double-digit growth rates is expected for photovoltaics demand. The mechanical engineering industry is the key enabler for cost reduction and technological innovation in the mass production of photovoltaics.

Although the solar industry has seen a lot of progress here, there is still a tremendous demand for more efficient production technologies. This will only become reality through effective interaction along the process chain.

Major goal of the new VDMA Forum is to strengthen the competitiveness of the manufacturers of materials, machines, and equipment for photovoltaics. In the electronics production sector, VDMA has been active in photovoltaics already since 1995. The foundation of the Forum has now
allowed for the extension of this cross-section topic within VDMA. The Photovoltaics Equipment Forum facilitates the integrative, active presentation of photovoltaics for VDMA members, customers, and the public and will emphasize the relevance of the German mechanical engineering
industry, nationally and internationally. It provides a single entry point for services and enhances synergies and the expansion of the network of competence for photovoltaics within the VDMA. Dr. Eric Maiser, managing director of the Productronics Association within VDMA, is coordinator of
the Photovoltaics Equipment Forum.

The service portfolio of the Forum starts from the stronger cross-linking of the already existing VDMA activities, like for example technology- and market information, networking, roadmapping, trade fair- and public relation activities. The Forum will start a photovoltaics machinery statistics initiative as one of the first new activities. The Forum facilitates to use exististing resources more effectively, to identify and jointly work on comprehensive focal points, to expand the service portfolio and therefore to significantly increase benefits for members and the industry as a whole.

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