IPC Standards Development Efforts Radiate Into Solar Industry
Driven by its members’ needs, IPC – Association Connecting Electronics Industries® has announced that an IPC Solar Standards Committee has been formed and has begun work on standards for the poly-silicon photovoltaic (solar) industry, specifically the assembly of solar panels.
“IPC facilitated the birth of standards for both the printed
circuit board (PCB) and electronics assembly industries, so it’s only natural that IPC address the need for additional standards in the solar industry,” explained Jack Calderon, managing director, Lincoln International, and a member of IPC’s Board of Directors.
An organizational meeting was first held in May in Chicago. Subsequently, a standards committee was formed at a meeting on July 17, 2009 in San Jose, Calif. Committee members include representatives from Jabil, Flextronics International, Celestica, 3M Company, Bürkle North America Inc., Christopher Associates Inc, DEK, Indium Corporation, EFD Inc., Vitronics Soltec and Lincoln International.
At the July meeting, committee members identified seven areas of standardization that will be addressed by the committee and subcommittees:
1. Acceptability Guidelines for Solar Panel Lamination
2. Specification for Materials Used in Tabbing and Stringing
3. Acceptability Criteria for Tabbing and Stringing
4. In-Process Test Methods for Solar Panels
5. Visual Acceptance Criteria for Solar Panels – Final Module Assembly
6. Guidelines for Final Test with an Emphasis on Flash Test
7. Design Guidelines for Tabbing and Stringing
“It’s interesting how many of the solar assembly processes, from tabbing and stringing to lamination, have some commonality with the manufacture and assembly of PCBs,” said Thomas Cipielewski, clean technologies technical director, Jabil.
Cipielewski went on to explain that IPC’s current acceptability and performance standards, such as IPC-A-600, Acceptability of Printed Boards; IPC-A-610, Acceptability of Electronic Assemblies; and J-STD-001, Requirements for Soldered Electrical and Electronic Assemblies, are known and used by hundreds of thousands of technologists worldwide. “It’s exciting that we can develop much-needed standards for this segment of the solar industry,” he said.
“As solar energy manufacturing takes on a global scale, it is critical that comprehensive assembly standards, including DFM, process materials, workmanship, test and inspection, are developed and adopted across the industry. IPC, with active support from its members, is well positioned for this,” explained Dr. Dongkai Shangguan, vice president of advanced technology, Flextronics.
The next meeting of the IPC Solar Standards Committee will be Friday, October 30, 2009, in Anaheim, Calif.