Research, Development, and Design

At SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES, the Research, Development, and Design department employed an average of 73 people in fiscal year 2017 (previous year: 75 employees).

The Group's non-capitalizable development costs amounted to EUR 6.9 million in 2017 (previous year: EUR 12.2 million). In addition, costs in the amount of EUR 1.7 million were capitalized (previous year: EUR 0.1 million), primarily for the development of modular components for system concepts in the Solar segment. The capitalization rate stood at 19.8 % in fiscal year 2017 (previous year: 0.8 %). Amortization of capitalized development costs amounted to EUR 0.9 million (previous year: EUR 2.0 million).

Key development areas in 2017
The focus in fiscal year 2017 was once again on the creation and development of processing equipment for the production of CIGS solar modules as well as high-efficiency crystalline solar cells.

SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES developed a new version of the inline cathode sputtering system for use in CIGS thin-film solar technology. In this area, SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES is also working with a customer on coating processes to further improve and optimize the back electrodes of CIGS thin-film modules. The cathode sputtering system is equipped with a horizontal substrate transport unit and is modular in design. The vacuum process chambers are equipped with high-performance, rotatable round cathodes. First and foremost, the platform of SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES in this area seeks to meet the high demands of the solar industry for achieving productivity at low operating costs.

SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES has already developed, manufactured, and delivered numerous vacuum deposition systems for use in the solar industry. With the GENERIS PVD cathode sputtering system, SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES transfers the know-how of this coating machine to the field of HJT. In a fully automated system, solar cells are transported through the process chambers and coated on both sides. The GENERIS PVD guarantees a high degree of uniformity in the layer thickness and high reproducibility of the layer at high productivity and low operating costs. GENERIS PVD is designed especially for extremely thin substrates such as the wafer for HJT solar cells.

In the field of wet chemistry, the Company worked on optimizing the new LINEX inline processing equipment for cleaning and texturing wafers. With this, SINGULUS TECHNOLOGIES has developed to the production stage a new texturing process for processing multi-crystalline solar wafers. The Company also integrated a new process for diamond wire slicing of wafers in the LINEX inline system. In this way, the LINEX inline system can significantly reduce the costs and improve the performance of the cell.

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