Cost Pressure in PV Systems Manufacturing
Extreme fluctuations in demand on the PV market challenge both PV system manufacturers and the supplier industry. Who can possibly keep up with the “killer cycles for the plant engineering industry,” as an industry professional recently phrased it. What is the recipe for success when it comes to surviving in the market? Last year, many companies tried to secure market share through large production capacity increases. Now, on top of declining federal PV subsidies around the world, excess capacity is placing additional cost pressure on companies. Numerous German companies are market leaders in plant engineering, and their systems are used to produce in China and other growing PV markets. How long will the “Made in Germany” factor still last, and what constitutes it anyway?
Decker Anlagenbau GmbH from Germany is a medium-sized company of 50 employees. It builds special systems for wet chemical processes that are used in the PV and semiconductor industries for the surface treatment of highly purified silicon. Its customers include major silicon manufacturers such as Wacker and MEMC. Decker management believes that the key to long-term success is not one bright idea or a single promising patent, but a broad arrangement of competency, strategy and networking.
High Throughput at Low Costs
Across the board, it is becoming apparent that PV module producers are not able to increase profits even though sales are growing. The same applies to the entire value-added chain. As a result, there is demand for systems that operate in a cost-effective manner, are highly efficient and that continually reduce the consumption of resources. This allows companies to offer high-quality and cost-effective products that are always a step ahead of the competition in the highly competitive market. Decker Anlagenbau is building on automated processes and increases efficiency by developing fully automated analysis tools that, as an example, analyze the various medium concentrations during the process in order to allow for optimal usage of the chemicals being employed. For plant engineering companies, being able to offer the highest quality at a low price primarily means increasing throughput rates with very fast systems. In areas where batch processing is used, the throughput rate can be increased if continuous processes can be implemented instead. Such tools include the innovative band filter that Decker developed for the wet chemical cleaning of silicon granulate. By integrating silicon cleaning into the production cycle as a continuous process, it allows for economical silicon recycling on an industrial scale. The development was distinguished with the Intersolar Award 2011 and is already used by large technology suppliers. In this manner, modules that break and scrap from wafer cutting can be recycled and used again in the production process. This will continue to gain importance and become more profitable as the production quantities of solar module manufacturers continue to grow. Re-cycling of old solar systems is another market segment where significant future growth is expected, since manufacturers will be responsible for the recycling of old systems in the future. The future demands economical recycling.
In this way, innovation processes are initiated far in advance through collaboration with big industry players. The expertise of the involved engineers doesn’t develop during a single project, but requires years of experience. Someone who is very familiar with the customer and their processes, system types and process technologies has an advantage and can offer custom systems that integrate seamlessly into the customer’s production line. Every manufacturer has its quirks that result from the company’s history. The solutions must be just as individual so that they integrate seamlessly into the manufacturing process. Smooth integration is a requirement for low-maintenance operation.
Economics doesn’t work without ups and downs. In order to stay on the ball over the long term and to be successful, it is important to gain independence from extreme market fluctuations by giving the company several legs to stand on. Decker Anlagenbau GmbH is therefore also involved outside of the PV industry with successful engagements in surface technology for other industry branches such as the automotive supplier industry.
DECKER is experienced in processing of various silicon materials like ingots, chunks, wafers and granule. Our profound knowledge in cleaning, etching, drying, recycling, handlng and waste gas treatment is appreciated by customers in the semiconductor and PV industry. Specific, tailor-made solutions, often developed in close cooperation with our customers, have met acceptance in high degree. Our modern business facilities are located in Germany/Bavaria nearby Nuremberg.
Decker Anlagenbau GmbH
Tel: +49(0)84 62 2006 17-0
Fax: +49(0)84 62 2006 17-11