New for PV Production: the SSG String Gripper from Schmalz
The logical next step – vacuum specialist Schmalz has added the SSG string gripper to its product range for the photovoltaic process chain and presents for the first time a modular gripping system especially for handling PV strings.
- The newly-developed SSG string gripper from Schmalz for the manual or automated handling of photovoltaic strings.
No marks left behind, accuracy of positioning, process reliability: the advantages of vacuum handling in photovoltaic production are indisputable, but the right kind of gripper has to be used. While there are now standardized gripping solutions for handling wafers, cells and modules, string handling requires improvised equipment that is often complex and costly. The vacuum specialist Schmalz is filling this gap with the new string gripper series for manual handling (SSG-M) or automated handling (SSG-A). The high process requirements are identical in both applications: On the one hand, marks and damage to cells have to be avoided, and on the other hand, factors such as leakage, uneven surfaces and different surface characteristics make handling delicate workpieces more difficult.
Two gripper variants for manual and automated string handling
To meet these requirements, the SSG-M and SSG-A string grippers are packed with intelligent design features and benefit from wide-ranging process knowledge. Both variants are compact gripper units, comprising an aluminum profile with a vacuum line, switching technology, valve technology and suction pads. The integrated vacuum ejector ensures that the string is picked up gently and reliably, even if cells are deformed, perforated, broken or missing entirely. FG 19 suction pads with 2 1/2 bellows are responsible for gripping the cells securely. They have a long, extra-thin sealing lip, which creates an optimal seal even with unevenness due to tab wires or busbars. While the small inner diameter of the FG suction pads stops the workpiece from being pulled in unintentionally, the special material HT1 stops any marks being left on sensitive workpieces.
With all of these properties together, the SSG has some impressive advantages for the user: the gripper itself has a low weight, it can be used for the first time quickly and without additional effort for installing hoses, handling is safe even if the suction pads are only partially covered and the strings can be gripped free of contamination or damage.
Less damage, more process efficiency
The advantages of the string grippers from Schmalz have an effect in both manual string handling and in dynamic robotics applications.
The SSG-M variant for manual string handling is particularly suitable for repairs off the automated production line. Damaged strings can be taken out of the process carefully to be worked on and then brought back to the production line again.
The SSG-A variant for automated string handling was developed especially for the lay-up process. During this step, the soldered cells are taken from the tabber/stringer – in some cases, they are also held in front of testing equipment for a visual inspection – and laid down on a film bed for lamination.
Whether it is used for manual or automated handling, the SSG string gripper from Schmalz ensures increases in productivity and quality in the whole manufacturing process, thanks to gentle and reliable vacuum handling.
The Schmalz string gripper is available for strings with 8, 10 or 12 cells, for cells sizes of 125 mm or 156 mm and for different cell spacings. The length of the modular system ranges from 1,233 mm
to 1,853 mm. Operating the SSG-M is made easier by sturdy handles and a manual control valve to switch the vacuum on and off. The SSG-A can be connected flexibly by a flange adapter to all common robot types and offers added value in the production of photovoltaics with useful accessories such as the sensor holder for parts inspection or the pneumatic valve for controlling the compressed air.
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Questions regarding public relations:
J. Schmalz GmbH
Aacher Strasse 29
Tel.: +49 (0)7443 2403-506
Fax: +49 (0)7443 2403-9506
Questions regarding usage:
J. Schmalz GmbH
Aacher Strasse 29
Tel.: +49 (0)7443 2403-105
Fax: +49 (0)7443 2403-9105