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KUKA innovation at the Photovoltaic Technology Show 2009

KUKA innovation at the Photovoltaic Technology Show 2009
Solar modules for a perfect frame (of mind)

Augsburg, 17 February 2009 (pk) – KUKA Systems is presenting its new ROBO FRAME module (for which a patent application has been filed) at this year’s PTS (Photovoltaic Technology Show) trade fair in Munich. Furthermore, KUKA Systems will also be displaying there its entire product range for flexibly automated production systems for solar modules.


ROBO FRAME uses an industrial robot with a high payload capacity for the automatic framing of solar modules. The main advantages of this production process are the prevention of deformation and scratching, improved quality of the end product, and greater throughput of the production system as a result of precision and high availability.

In the ROBO FRAME system, the robot grips the prepared laminate on the glass side and guides it precisely into the prepared frame parts. In a sequence of four steps, the long frame parts are joined first, then the short frame parts into which the corner connectors have already been inserted automatically. Addi-tional clips and a level support plate ensure that the forces applied to the lami-nate during assembly of the frame parts are kept to a minimum, thereby pre-venting deformation.
The separate feeding of the long and short frame parts prevents relative mo-tions from occurring and thus eliminates the risk of scratches on the profiles.

The ROBO FRAME unit consists of the KUKA robot with framing gripper, a sta-tion for pressing in the corners, two framing tables, an optional vertical buffer for one hour’s production volume, an optional corner key separator and the wetting channel for the adhesive tape.

“What makes ROBO FRAME stand out from competing systems on the market is the ability to process materials with large tolerance ranges reliably, thereby ensuring high quality of the end product,” affirms Peter Kiemstedt, Sales Man-ager Solar at KUKA Systems. “Particularly with a view to costs for the input ma-terials, there is a direct correlation between quality or tolerances and costs,” he adds.
The framing of solar modules today typically involves slightly overdimensioned frames in order to accommodate the tolerances of the glass and the frame parts. During the joining process, this means that the laminate must not be pressed right up against the frame, but must be joined according to specified dimen-sions. The KUKA robot combines high forces with the required precision and is thus ideally suited to this task. As a tried-and-tested industrial product, manufac-tured in large numbers, the KUKA robot has the added advantage of guaranteed high availability. This, as is well known, is a decisive factor in the actual throughput of an automatic system.

At 1.2 t, the joining forces that can be achieved are comparable to those of a conventional frame press. The process is not rigidly configured for use of dou-ble-sided adhesive tape so other sealing methods are also possible.
The tools can be adapted to various frame sizes. Furthermore, the flexibility of the KUKA robot allows combination with additional automation tasks, thus facili-tating scalability of the system, e.g. for lines with an annual power output of 50 or 100 MW.

KUKA ROBO FRAME is complemented by automatic trimming with KUKA ROBO TRIM (trimming of the laminates to remove projecting edges), automatic application of the adhesive tape with KUKA ROBO TAPE, a camera system for frame inspection, and KUKA ROBO FINISH for the permanent closure of the edges by means of crimping or screws and for deburring the edges.

Further product information is available at www.kuka-systems.com -> Down-loads
The KUKA Systems GmbH booth at the Photovoltaic Technology Show 2009 from 04 to 06 March 2009 in Munich is located in Hall C2, No. J31.

KUKA Systems
KUKA Systems is an international supplier of flexible robot-based automa-tion systems for the automotive, aerospace, energy and general industries.
Some 3,600 employees work on ideas, concepts and solutions for auto-mated production and the provision of products and services for virtually all tasks in the industrial processing of metallic and non-metallic materials.
The range is presented and marketed internationally via the subsidiaries and sales offices in Europe, America and Asia.
KUKA Systems recorded an order volume of around 938 million euro for the 2007 business year.

Further information:
KUKA Systems GmbH
Marketing / Corporate Communication
Markus Meier
Tel. +49 821 797 2483
Fax +49 821 797 1951
e-mail markus.meier@kuka.de