A globally-renowned company with headquarters in Belgium, Bekaert group is a market leader in drawn steel wire products and applications, and a technological leader in its two core competences: advanced metal transformation and advanced materials and coatings. The group is also very active in the PV sector, and has become the world’s biggest supplier of the sawing wire used to cut silicon ingots into wafers. Here, Annie Chéenne, Global Sales and Marketing Manager of Sawing Wire, answers our questions.
PES: Bekaert is well-known as a specialist in wire, but can you tell us more about the company involvement in the PV industry?
Annie Chéenne: As you mentioned, Bekaert is the world’s largest independent manufacturer of drawn steel wire, well known for a variety of applications.
Bekaert is a global company that was founded in Belgium in 1880 and has developed an international position over the years. The group employs 23,000 people worldwide and serves customers in 120 countries. Bekaert is well-known for its steel cord products for tyre reinforcement (one out of every four tyres in the world runs on Bekaert steel cord), or for the Dramix steel fibres that are used to reinforce five million cubic meters of concrete every year.
Less known perhaps is the company’s involvement in the PV sector; the group is active in the thin films value chain, manufacturing and selling both rotatable targets and hardware for sputtering activities. Bekaert is also an expert in sawing wire, which is used in the crystalline photovoltaic industry.
Sawing wire is a high grade steel wire that can be used to cut a wide range of products. It serves as the abrasive carrier in a multi wire saw and is applied to slice silicon ingots into extremely thin wafers. Sawing wire is not a new activity for Bekaert, we have been developing this specific technology for more than two decades. Thanks to this expertise and to a global market approach, Bekaert is today the worldwide market leader in sawing wire for crystalline PV.