Our Precision Wafering Systems (PWS) division, an industry leader forwafer saw technology was acquired in 2007. With its 25 years of marketleadership in wire saw technology, PWS continues to contribute many key technology advances to this critical area ofthe PV business.
The Photon feature article, “Are diamonds a wafer’s best friend?”gives an in-depth look at the relentless drive to lower costs of cutting multi-and monocrystalline silicon ingots into wafers – including theuse of diamond-coated wire. Since silicon material accounts for a majorportion of the total cost of today’s crystalline silicon solar cells,the focus for improving wire saw technology is slimming down the wafersand reducing kerf loss.
Diamond wire is coated with abrasive diamond particles to achieve afaster cutting speed with less wear on the wire while eliminating theneed for abrasive slurry… but it still remains to be seen if theadvantages of diamond-coated wire can actually compete with themanufacturing costs of slurry saws: diamonds are expensive and thediamond-coated wire is more sensitive to vibrations, twists and bending.
Applied currently offers a leading diamond-wire based saw for ingot squaring,and we are actively working to create a robust, production-worthysolution for wafering.
The goal is to help our customers accelerate their roadmaps with best of breed technology that lower cost per watt.