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Temperature measurement solutions for the solar industry

Process optimisation via infrared noncontact temperature measurement and temperature data logging and profiling.

Raytek and DATAPAQ, two leading manufacturers of temperature measurement devices, are showcasing their products at glasstec in D¸sseldorf (21-24 October 2014), Hall 14, Stand A39. We take a look at what the two companies have to offer.

Raytek offers a complete line of Raytek and Ircon branded infrared (IR) sensors, line scanners and process imaging systems which are designed for noncontact temperature measurement applications in the solar manufacturing industry. 

Raytek Infrared Line Scanner MP150 and Ircon Pyrometer Modline 5.

Infrared thermometers provide an effective solution for online process monitoring, where measuring and controlling temperature is critical to productivity and product quality. Solar applications for IR sensors range from silicon and wafer production, to photovoltaic cell and module manufacturing.

In polysilicon production, for example, the Raytek and Ircon infrared solutions are ideal for noncontact temperature measurement in CVD reactor environments. The Ircon Modline 5 and the Raytek Marathon MR and FR two-colour ratio thermometers are insensitive to sight path obstructions, including deposits on reactor windows and cloudy process conditions inside the reactor. Employing variable focus, high-resolution optics, they allow users to properly target small diameter polysilicon rods.

The high performance Ircon pyrometers Modline 5 and Modline 5R, as well as the Raytek Marathon MR and Marathon MM offer critical features for single crystal silicon production. These short wavelength, single-colour and two-colour ratio thermometers include variable focus and high resolution optics. They provide a very small measurement spot size at the silicon liquid/solid interface. This is necessary for controlling the crystal pulling process. An integrated video camera allows for real-time video output of the process environment, and built-in sensor, self-calibration/field calibration capabilities reduce maintenance requirements.

During thin film deposition/lamination, improper process temperatures can lead to voids or de-laminations, as well as poor PV module performance and failure. In this application, the GS150 Process Imaging System, based on the Raytek MP150 Line Scanner, comes with a comprehensive image capture and analysis software, providing a spectral response that allows the line scanner to accurately measure the process temperature of the underlying glass substrate. 

The system’s high-resolution scan rate helps to detect the smallest process anomalies or defects. Advanced measurement software allows easy image capture, analysis and archiving. Ethernet communications with OPC connectivity ensures fast, low-cost integration into process control systems.

The Ircon Modline 7V pyrometer model has been specifically designed for the semiconductor industry and is used in silicon wafer MBE, and silicon and gallium arsenide wafer deposition.

Ircon Modline 7 with PROC-7 Processor Box.

Another product for the PV industry is the Raytek Pi20 Thermal Imaging Camera with image analysis software that enables users to identify bad cell interconnects in thin film silicon PV modules. Defects in the cell interconnection can be readily identified by a precise thermal signature.

Raytek Pi20 Thermal Imaging Camera.

Throughout the solar industry, Raytek and Ircon noncontact temperature measurement solutions help manufacturers to recognise equipment malfunctions and process problems before they result in costly downtime. This makes them valuable additional tools for plant and equipment maintenance and repair prevention.

Adding insight to PV processing

DATAPAQ offers a wide range of data loggers and thermal barriers for in-process temperature data logging and profiling. They provide control and optimisation of various steps in PV cell manufacturing processes, and effectively maximise product quality.

The SolarPaq product line from DATAPAQ provides a comprehensive program of temperature profiling systems for monitoring all steps in photovoltaic (PV) cell manufacturing, including systems for anti-reflection coating, contact firing, PV module lamination and contact paste drying processes. The application-tailored data logger is suitable for ovens with clearances as low as 10 mm. The DQ1840 logger withstands two to three minutes at up to 300 ∞C without additional thermal protection. 

It is housed in a rugged stainless steel enclosure designed to reflect heat energy. Any absorbed energy slowly heats up the high-mass case protecting the electronics. The status indicators and buttons are all recessed to protect them from direct heat and minimise heat entry to the logger circuits. The four-channel data logger stores up to 55,000 readings per channel. It can take up to 20 readings per second, ensuring that even the smallest temperature deviations are captured. 


Based on a low-height data logger, the DATAPAQ SolarPaq system is ideally suited for monitoring contact paste drying processes.

The DATAPAQ Insight software features many PV-application-specific analysis tools that enable even inexperienced users to quickly gain an overview of the process. The Insight software provides the information required to optimise both product quality and production throughput at every stage in the PV manufacturing line.

DATAPAQ’s latest product for the PV industry, a dedicated temperature profiling solution for the manufacture of copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) photovoltaic panels, is the first in-line solution for this vacuum coating process which until now has been very difficult and costly to measure. Employing an all-new thermal protection technology, the SolarPaq system takes measurements from the glass substrate as it passes through the multi-chamber coating process. 

The protective thermal barrier features a series of reflective surfaces and a central heat sink; this combination ensures continued consistent performance in vacuum applications while eliminating the possibility of outgassing into the process.

Novel high-performance thermal protection technology enables temperature profiling in vacuum processes.

The SolarPaq system passes through the process chambers along with the products, taking accurate readings even with the plasma activated. This enables operators to optimise the coating process and, hence, cell efficiency. Measuring merely 18 mm in height, with a 146 mm square footprint, the application-tailored logger and thermal protection fit into a standard cell carrier, allowing production to go on without disruption. The VB7400 thermal barrier features a unique reflective plate insulation technology that precludes outgassing in vacuum processes and withstands the harsh thermal and electrical environments within the plasma chamber.

While it is optimised for the anti-reflective coating process, it has also found use in other low-temperature vacuum coating processes in lens production and glass coating. It is suitable for repeated use in both process set-up and regular monitoring. On exiting the process, the temperature profile can be downloaded from the DQ1863 logger and analysed with the user-friendly Solar Insight software which provides various process-specific functions. 


Raytek(r), DATAPAQ(r) and Modline(r) are Registered Trademarks

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