3S Industries AG develops new soldering technology to connect the cells for Solar Impulse
Engineers from all fields are working together on the first prototype of the solar airplane planned to fly night and day with no fuel and zero polluting emissions. Important know-how for the solar propulsion system is being supplied by 3S Industries AG and solar module experts from the Swiss group of companies have developed a new, particularly high-value technology for connection of the plane’s solar cells. From that technology, a new product has already evolved for the manufacturers of solar modules.
Flying only using solar energy and with a degree of power that would be just about sufficient to illuminate a shop window is a task that can only be achieved if existing technological barriers are pushed back, and pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, are both fully behind the project.
“We are building a type of airplane in which everything is new, from the aerodynamics, through the structure and production methods all the way to the propulsion and flight performance”, says André Borschberg. “Various research initiatives and partnerships are helping us to work out the necessary, innovative solutions”, says the trained engineer, pilot and management expert Borschberg.
The Solar Impulse team’s search for completely new solutions effects, among other things, optimisation of the solar panel which converts the radiation energy of the sun into electrical energy for mechanical propulsion of the airplane. For this purpose, 12,000 photovoltaic cells of mono-crystalline silicon are used, serve as energy generators and simultaneously strengthen the surface of the wings. The highly sensitive cells and their connections may not break, even under extreme pressure such as when the airplane flies through turbulence.
Following successful tests, the scientists at the 3S location in Lyss have now begun with series connection of the cells for Solar Impulse. The series-orientated, manual processing of the ultra-thin solar cells takes place on a soldering table which was specially developed by Somont. For the first time, the soldering table enables a reproducible soldering process for the exchange of defective cells from automatic production.