Critical Manufacturing, an enterprise which creates leading edge software solutions for the high-tech manufacturing industries of solar, electronics and semiconductors, announced that SoloPower, selected and is implementing cmNavigo MES Productivity Suite, comprised of a Manufacturing Execution System and Equipment Integration program, in its existing facility in San Jose, California and in its Portland, Oregon facility, which is expected to begin high-volume production later this year.
SoloPower seeks to make solar power possible on any rooftop in the world. The company employs a proprietary manufacturing technology to produce low-cost, high-efficiency CIGS-based photovoltaic cells and modules. It currently holds the record on module aperture efficiency for flexible CIGS based modules, officially measured at 13.4% by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The cells are packaged into unique, flexible, lightweight solar modules which ultimately require less balance-of-system hardware and are easier to install than traditional solar panels. SoloPower’s operations in Portland are ultimately expected to have a capacity of 400MW and employ 450 people.
“After developing the process in our demonstration line, the challenge was to introduce the proper equipment and automation to move to large scale manufacturing with high product repeatability while controlling costs.” stated Ayush Jain, Director of IT for SoloPower. “It was clear that timely production information through automated data collection, advanced reporting and enforced manufacturing protocols were an absolute requirement for a successful technology transfer into production. cmNavigo MES had the modeling flexibility, and represented the best match for our needs. Critical Manufacturing’s product and the people working on this project exceeded our expectations” he added.
cmNavigo Manufacturing Productivity software was developed from the ground up on proven Microsoft technologies, providing extensive out-of-the-box functionality and lower cost of ownership. The system is completely scalable making it ideal from small R&D environments to large-scale high volume production facilities. A full range of MES capabilities facilitate increased control, visibility and productivity for manufacturers seeking higher profitability and a competitive edge.
“cmNavigo supports SoloPower’s innovative technology and use of automation to reduce costs, increase efficiency and maintain high quality.” stated Jeff Peabody, Critical Manufacturing’s VP and acting Managing Director for North America. ”SoloPower has an aggressive schedule, complex environment and large quantities of data to be monitored. It’s an ideal application for cmNavigo and the wide array of MES modules will allow them to minimize the total number of software solutions supporting the manufacturing operations.”