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DALSA Corp. (Waterloo, Ontario, Canada), has entered the solar cell inspection market. The company's efficiencies and expertise in area scan, line scan, and embedded processing for inspection in the flat-panel display industry are now being applied to solar cell inspection, resulting in high quality, yet cost-effective inspection capabilities for the solar cell industry.
Machine vision is used for three general purposes by solar cell manufacturers: product inspection; identification and tracking; and product assembly. "DALSA's cameras and hardware are used in the initial part of the quality inspection process to verify patterns and edges, inspect coatings, and to check for micro-cracks," says Philip Colet, VP Sales and Marketing. "The precision of DALSA's image capture and processing technology contributes to the immediate and accurate detection of defects in this critical stage of the manufacturing process."
Solar cell manufacturers are under pressure to drive down costs in order to achieve "grid parity," the point at which the cost of solar energy is roughly equivalent to the cost of conventional power distributed on electric grids. Analysts forecast that his may occur in 2011 as module prices continue to drop. Ted Sullivan, Lux Research analyst and lead author of the report "Finding the Solar Market's Nadir," says, "As costs come down, you unlock bigger and bigger portions of the market."
Success factors for solar cell inspection include: image capture speeds, image resolution, and embedded processing capability.