Crossing Automation, Inc., a supplier of efficient, cost-effective automation solutions and engineering services, announced that its installation of a comprehensive material tracking system, consisting of its Auto ID and automated tracking system (ATS) software, Smart Storage asset tracking and Smart Storage racks, has been accepted by a major Taiwanese solar cell manufacturer. Representing an important win for Crossing in the solar/photovoltaics (PV) market space, the order demonstrates where Crossing's significant understanding of automated materials movement in semiconductor manufacturing can be applied to increase production efficiency in related markets.
"Crossing is a leading supplier of automation equipment to the semiconductor industry and as part of our growth plans, we are actively working to expand our solutions into adjacent markets," said May Su, vice president product marketing at Crossing Automation. "The PV space is one industry where we see significant potential for materials handling automation. We have been actively engaged in discussions with PV manufacturers to better understand and define the technology needed in the solar market and its match to our capability set. This order is a direct result of this collaboration and we are very encouraged about the opportunities available to us going forward in this growing market."
As part of the project, Crossing developed customized ATS software for solar cell carriers throughout the fab, carrier racks were incorporated with additional sensors to ensure proper placement on the rack, and the solar rack design and the layout itself was developed with input from the customer. The complete installation allows the fab to track solar cell lots by performance and efficiency, maintain production records for quality, reduce time for manually tagging carriers and eliminate binning errors. With radio frequency identification (RFID) carrier large read/write capability and tracking from HOST computer, cell carriers are managed for assignment to the next production step.
"Our RFID tracking technology and ATS software provided an ideal insertion point into solar manufacturing as most solar facilities rely on passive barcodes," continued Su. "By contrast, Crossing can deliver a complete history of materials being tracked and allow for dynamic real-time updates. With RFID's proven track record of preventing misprocessing and allowing for data mining to improve yields, it brings clear benefits to solar cell manufacturers and has already demonstrated its value in the current installation."