The Use of Pumps in Solar Manufacturing


The manufacture of solar cells is a precise, but harsh, process. It involves hard, sharp, pulverized waste pieces of silicon particles and abrasive liquids that must be supplied to, circulated within, drained away, and filtered throughout the process. Doing much of the heavy lifting during the various stages of production are industrial pumps.

A number of different types of pumps are used in the production of solar cell technology, depending on the type of manufacturing process involved. Most processes involve both “wet” and “dry” applications, but few pumps are well suited for both. For example, pumps made with metal parts frequently corrode, and the sealing oil’s lubricating properties degrade under the abrasive liquids and sharp materials. Pump oil also can contaminate the solar cells and equipment. Some pumps also “pulsate” during liquid transfer, which can interrupt or clog the flow of material, resulting in pressure spikes and, ultimately, leakage.

Wet pumps often are not suitable for “dry” phases of production involving high powder loads that can cause rapid abrasion of internal components. Peristaltic or centrifugal pumps are one alternative in these applications, but they can be expensive and their uses narrow.

Pump malfunctions and maintenance downtime add time and costs to solar cell manufacturing operations, so getting just the right pump for the application is essential. Companies and engineers that specify pumps for solar cell manufacturing operations recommend pumps with the durability to stand up to highly abrasive materials and media with a minimum of maintenance. Versatile pump solutions that have the flexibility to work in multiple applications are preferred.

Fortunately, there is a pumping technology available that offers the design, materials of construction, flexibility, and operational efficiencies needed for most solar cell manufacturing processes: the Air-Operated Double-Diaphragm (AODD) Pump.


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