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Cognex solutions inspect, identify, and trace every step of the solar manufacturing process.

Solar manufacturers and machine builders rely on Cognex vision technology throughout the photovoltaic (PV) production chain, from wafer handling to PV cell fabrication and module assembly. Cognex vision systems perform precision alignment and inspect materials at every stage of the PV manufacturing process. Image-based industrial barcode readers identify and track wafers and PV cells along the supply chain through final module assembly. Vision tools locate features of wafers, dies, and packages under extremely challenging conditions and can detect low contrast and noisy images, variable fiducial patterns, and other part variations.

Cognex handles a wide range of applications in the solar PV cell and module manufacturing process, including:

  • Chip and edge damage detection
  • Finger quality inspection
  • Bus bar quality inspection
  • Color consistency measurement
  • Coating quality inspection
  • Alignment prior to solder paste screen printing and stringer assembly
  • Identification and traceability
Wafer Processing, Inspection, and Identification

Wafers, also known as slices or substrates, are thin pieces of semiconductor material used in the manufacturing of photovoltaics, which convert light into electricity. Machine vision automates wafer handling; enables precision alignment; and inspects bus bars and AR coating to create thin, high quality wafers with a fine pitch. Quality inspections help manufacturers avoid wafers which are warped, flipped, chipped, contain saw marks, or display contour defects.

Solar PV Cell Fabrication

Cognex machine vision products monitor and inspect wet processing, metallization, firing, and color sorting for high quality PV cell fabrication. Industry-leading machine vision software detects cell orientation and cells defects; aligns PV cells for screen printing; inspects cells edges with laser edge isolation; sorts and grades cells by color; and performs back print and front print registration inspections.

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