Spire Demonstrates New PV Manufacturing Technology

July 11, 1999 by Jeff Shepard

Spire Corp. (Bedford, MA) announced that it has successfully demonstrated advanced photovoltaic module manufacturing technology under the first phase of a $4 million, three-year government contract. The automated systems developed under the contract will enhance and expand Spire's existing line of PV manufacturing and testing equipment, according to the firm. The company recently introduced its SPI-MODULE QAT 350 integrated module testing system and the SPI-BUFFER 350 module transfer and storage system at a demonstration at their headquarters. Both systems were developed under a Photovoltaic Manufacturing Technology (PVMaT) contract awarded to Spire by the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory in 1998. The cost-shared R&D contract calls for Spire to develop a series of automated manufacturing and testing systems to improve PV manufacturing technology.The SPI-MODULE QAT 350 is an automated photovoltaic module testing system that combines the advanced I-V measurement capabilities of the inverted SPI-SUN SIMULATOR series with high voltage isolation and ground continuity testing. The integrated automation system provides safe and efficient module alignment, transport, probing and testing of modules.The SPI-BUFFER 350 automatically loads and unloads framed or unframed modules onto a cart. The system is designed to bridge separate upstream and downstream automated processes, creating a continuous product flow by allowing off-line storage and retrieval of product.