Ferrotec Announces Ferrofluidic® Vacuum Rotary Feedthrough Solutions Optimized for Solar and Photovoltaic Manufacturing

San Francisco CA, USA—Ferrotec Corporation, a global leader in supplying materials, components, and precision system solutions to the semiconductor manufacturing industry, today announced the availability of a series of Ferrofluidic® vacuum rotary feedthrough and subsystem capabilities optimized to reduce costs, improve integration, and enable evolving process technologies in solar and photovoltaic manufacturing applications.

With the growing emphasis on green power and alternative energy technologies, the global market for photovoltaics (PV) is growing at an unprecedented rate. As the market opportunities increase, photovoltaic manufacturers are seeking process innovations and new manufacturing techniques to reduce costs and improve manufacturability. While photovoltaic manufacturing shares many common processes with semiconductor and flat panel display manufacturing, the PV industry is attempting to reshape some of these processes in order to drive down costs, increase capacity, reduce cycle times, and increase operational uptime.

“As the industry standard for vacuum rotary feedthroughs in semiconductor and flat panel display manufacturing, Ferrotec understands the unique challenges that photovoltaic manufacturers face. With over thirty years of customizing seals for the semiconductor manufacturing industry, Ferrotec is uniquely positioned to provide next generation motion and sealing solutions for the evolving photovoltaics market,” said Zhixin Li, general manager of the vacuum solutions division of Ferrotec. “By working with Ferrotec during the development of their tools and processes, equipment builders and photovoltaic material producers have access to our vast library of motion and sealing optimizations, enabling larger sizes, higher capacities, faster throughput, improved integration, and significant system cost reductions.”

Ferrotec offers a broad range of vacuum rotary feedthrough and subsystem optimizations for photovoltaic manufacturers. With the wide variety of processes and production methodologies being leveraged in the industry, Ferrotec typically works directly with system manufacturers to identify their system requirements, then optimizes an integrated motion and sealing solution for their application. Optimizations may target unique thermal requirements, rotational and torque challenges, unusual size constraints, or even advanced robotic subsystem designs.

“As an industry leader in photovoltaic manufacturing equipment, Roth & Rau automated manufacturing systems are recognized in the solar industry for their high throughput and exceptional process stability. When we were developing our substrate transport system, we turned to Ferrotec for a series of specially optimized vacuum rotary feedthroughs that offered low drag torque to reduce the number and size of driving motors, high operating temperature capability and unparalleled reliability,” said Dr. Dietmar Roth, CEO of Roth & Rau. “Ferrotec’s vacuum rotary feedthroughs dramatically reduce the maintenance requirements on this critical component, enabling us to increase our long term process stability and providing our customers with increased system uptime.”

Ferrotec’s component solutions enable the sustained process control and reliability that high volume production equipment like photovoltaics manufacturers demand. Advanced designs combine features into compact packages, including Ferrofluidic seals, precision bearings and positioning motors, direct cooling, and process monitoring. The company also offers high-torque solid shaft spindles that incorporate Ferrofluidic seals with direct couplings to maximize throughput and equipment uptime for the in-line coating systems used to deposit anti-reflecting and protective coatings on photovoltaics.