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Electronics Production | August 29, 2007

The "Sunny Side" of Electronics Production

Electricity costs are increasing, and consumers are looking for alternatives. In 2005 alone, solar energy systems with an overall output of 912 megawatts (MW) were installed in roofs and in open areas in Germany compared to only 597 MW in the previous year.
This makes Germans the world champions in matters of "green electricity", because systems for a total of 290 MW were installed in Japan and for 100 MW in the USA in the same period, for example.

Productronica exhibitors display technologies for the complete photovoltaic production chain from silicon to ready-to-operate solar modules in the "MicroNanoWorld" exhibition area.

Germans are not only the pioneers in installing solar energy systems; 20 percent of all solar cells produced in the world come from Germany (Source: PHOTON International), and consequently the share in the 6.5 billion US dollar photovoltaic world market is very substantial. In addition, global sales of solar technology will grow to 16.4 billion US dollars by 2012 according to the marketing research institute Frost & Sullivan. The scarcity of solar silicon will slow the growth for a short time until probably 2009. Then the new production technologies in the form of innovative thin-film technologies will give a fresh impetus to the industry. Productronica, the leading world trade fair for electronics production (in Munich from 13 to 16 November 2007) will show the corresponding production systems for manufacturing solar cells, modules and systems according to state-of-the-art technology as a new exhibition highlight with the successful "MicroNanoWorld".

MicroNanoWorld has been an integral exhibition focal point for the future topics of microelectronics and nanotechnology for electronics in Munich since 2005 and ensures top-rate knowledge transfer. At Productronica 2007, the application-intensive MicroNanoWorld in Hall B5 is showing materials for microproduction, production processes for microsystems and micro assembly as well as measurement and testing technologies. In addition to photovoltaics, new topics this year are the production technologies for "organic electronics".

The close relation between the manufacturing methods for solar cells and semiconductors – as well as between LCD and plasma screens – predestines Productronica as presentation and communication platform for photovoltaic production. For example, wafers 0.3 mm thick made of high-purity solar silicon are processed in crystalline solar technology. A big trend in photovoltaics is the search for alternatives to the rare and expensive basic component high-grade silicon. The thin-film modules should be less expensive, but also have a long life and multifaceted uses. For example, resource-saving amorphic silicon is steamed in ultra-thin layers on glass. "Triple-junction thin-film silicon solar cells", which absorb red, green/yellow and blue light with help of three superimposed semiconductor layers, also achieve an especially high degree of effectiveness. Or production does without silicon all together, for example, with cadmium-telluride modules (CdTe) or via production using CIS technology (copper indium selenium), in which an active copper indium selenium (CuInSe2) layer only a few micrometers thick is placed directly on a large area of glass.

The complete range of electronics production is employed in manufacturing solar energy systems: starting from wafer or film production to cell production and connection to solar modules to handling in automation and all the way to measuring and testing technologies for the modules. The number of suppliers of production technology for photovoltaic manufacturing will be correspondingly large at Productronica 2007. These exhibiting include Gebr. Schmid, Freudenstadt, ASYS Automatisierungssysteme GmbH, FAP GMBH Dresden, Hilpert electronics AG, Newport Spectra-Physics GmbH and Schlenk Metallfolien, among others.

Productronica 2007 presents the complete range of electronics production as the only event worldwide to do so. With the integration of photovoltaics in the "MicroNanoWorld", the organizer Messe München is consistently pursuing its strategy to adapt the contents of the trade fair to the market at an early stage. Messe München expects more than 1,500 exhibitors and 44,000 trade visitors from throughout the world at this year's Productronica.

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