Astronergy upgrades production line in Germany
Efficiency increased by 40%
The solar module manufacturer Astronergy has upgraded the first of its five production lines to enable significantly higher throughput. This will allow the company – a subsidiary of the Chint Group, a leading international manufacturer of industrial electronics – to cut the unit costs of its modules and thus to ensure it remains competitive in the German and European markets. Astronergy has been continuously investing in and optimizing its manufacturing lines since 2014, in order to ensure its production in Germany is always at the cutting edge of technology.
The K-line – made by Astronergy
Instead of 700 modules, the “K-line” can now produce 1,000 modules per day with the same high quality. And improvements to system self-diagnostics, as well as some reinforced components, have also helped to cut downtime. This means that the K-line requires less frequent maintenance. Additionally, retooling of the system was simplified to enable a quicker changeover between different types of module production.
The K-line was implemented by the Astronergy engineers themselves. Andreas Lindner, Engineering Director at Astronergy, says: “The whole team is extremely proud, especially as they planned, built and started up the line themselves. We did slightly underestimate the amount of work required to bring the line into operation, but we used the time to deploy better equipment with greater uptime and even better accuracy, e.g. when applying the strings. This makes the new line much more productive, which is important for us to be able to manufacture competitive solar modules.” And since the line was developed using the company’s own know-how, any problems which arise can be resolved directly with minimal delays.
The K-line was completed in mid-December and is now fully ready for operation after a successful test run. Thanks to the valuable work performed by its own engineers, Astronergy even managed to bring the new line into operation under budget. The company plans to begin work on the retooling of the second line shortly. This should be completed in the summer of 2018. These investments once again underline the long-term development and safeguarding taking place at the site.
Greater competition creates need for maximum efficiency
The site in Frankfurt (Oder) has become one of Europe’s largest production sites for polycrystalline and monocrystalline modules. The manufacturer is also seeing a rise in demand for monocrystalline modules. In 2017 more than 25 megawatts (MW) of this type were sold, and the upward trend continues. Within Europe, there is also a rise in inquiries from Benelux, Scandinavia, Italy and Poland.
Sebastian Mäscher, Head of Sales at Astronergy, says: “We know from experience that our customers have faith in us thanks to our consistent product quality, our close, long-standing partnerships and the whole set-up of the company, with the backing of an extremely strong international group.” To continue strengthening and improving the company’s position in the German and European markets, however, distribution must be yet more closely monitored and sustainably developed, says Mäscher.
Astronergy is among the leading international manufacturers of premium-quality photovoltaic modules under Chinese management. The German subsidiary Astronergy Solarmodule GmbH (ASM) specialises in crystalline solar modules. The production lines have a total capacity of 350 MW, and are some of the most modern manufacturing facilities in the world. Astronergy currently employs around 300 members of staff in Germany and is listed as a tier 1 supplier.
Astronergy is part of the Chint Group from China, one of the world’s leading companies for low-voltage technology, energy transmission and industrial electronics. The Chint Group was founded 30 years ago and consists of eight subsidiaries and over 2,000 distribution centres around the world. Over 30,000 people are employed by the Chint Group, and its turnover in 2017 was in excess of $7 billion.
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