Solar cell manufacturer upgrades production with MES software
CaliSolar will use systems to track, monitor and provide product visibility of material, as well as to control key assets.
CaliSolar, a manufacturer of solar cells using upgraded metallurgical-grade silicon (UMG-Si), is installing manufacturing operations software to support photovoltaic production in its new facility in Sunnyvale, CA. CaliSolar will use the new systems to track, monitor and provide product visibility of material—starting with raw silicon and including ingot, brick, wafer, and solar cell production—as well as to control equipment and other key assets.
The supplier of this suite of software, Eyelit, Inc., specializes in solutions for visibility, control, and coordination of manufacturing operations in the aerospace CaliSolar’s director of manufacturing technology. “We’ll benefit from Eyelit’s knowledge and experience. Their understanding of PV was clear and helpful in providing a flexible software licensing model better suited for the PV industry.”
CaliSolar will utilize Eyelit’s FactoryConnect middleware for factory automation and direct tool connectivity. Eyelit's Asset Management will provide tool monitoring, management of calibration and preventative maintenance, as well as built-in warnings, alerts, maintenance operations, and tasks all focused on higher utilization of equipment. CaliSolar also plans to implement Eyelit’s quality management for real-time statistical process control (SPC) and deviation management.
CaliSolar was founded in 2006 by Dr. Kamel Oundadjela, Dr. Fritz Kirscht, and Dr. Eicke Weber. It is a private company with a development center Berlin, Germany, headquarters in Sunnyvale, CA, and a fully integrated manufacturing facility under construction in Sunnyvale.
According to Dan Estrada, Eyelit vice president of sales and business development, Eyelit’s solar customers include both silicon and thin-film solar manufacturers. The company is based in Toronto, Canada.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.