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IPC shining light solar industry standards committee formed

15 August 2009 1,302 views No Comment

Solar-panel glut or no glut, the IPC—Association Connecting Electronics Industries has formed and has begun work on standards for the polysilicon photovoltaic industry, specifically the assembly of solar panels.

The move makes some sense. The industry group has a history of facilitating standards for both the PCB (printed circuit board) and electronics assembly industries. And, as Thomas Cipielewski, Jabil’s clean technologies technical director, said in a statement supporting the IPC move, “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.”

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 well known and accepted.

IPC believes that 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. And IPC, with active support from its members, believes it is well positioned for this.

The IPC has held an organizational meeting in May, and a standards committee was formed at a second meeting in July, in San Jose. Committee members include representatives from Jabil, Flextronics International, Celestica, 3M Company, Bürkle North America, Christopher Associates, DEK, Indium, EFD, 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

IPC reports that the next meeting of the IPC Solar Standards Committee will be Friday, October 30, in Anaheim, Calif. Companies wishing to participate in the committee are invited to contact Anthony Hilvers, IPC vice president of industry programs, at +1 847-597-2837 or AnthonyHilvers@ipc.org.

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