Copyright © 1997-2017 Argus International. All rights reserved.
COMPRESSED AIR SERVICE REQUIREMENTS
9524S Single Side Photovoltaic Thin Film Spray Application System
The 9524S series spray applicator was designed to apply thin coatings to solar panels. The 9524S employs an HVLP atomizing spray head which is mounted to the shuttle conveyor assembly. The HVLP spray head is quickly swept from side to side as the panel passes below on the Pin conveyor. Controlling the sweep width minimizes materials usage. Application thickness is accurately controllable and highly repeatable by adjustments on the atomization nozzle orifice, material flow rate and conveyor speed. The 9524S Thin Film Spray Coater provides a high degree of control and simplifies the thin film coating process significantly.
Panels, which are sprayed, may be dried and processed using traditional techniques. Argus International markets an innovative drying oven, which employs infrared heating to dry coated panels in about 3 minutes rather than the 30-60 minutes currently, required. This unit allows boards to pass directly from the spray coater into the drying oven for reduced handling. Typical process speed is 4.0FPM [1.2 m/min].
SIDE CONTROLS: Left or Right Operator Controls.
INK LINES AND PRESSURE TANKS: 3 to 5 Spray Lines and (2.5, 5 or 10 gal.) [9.5, 19 or
38 liter] Vessels Sizes.
PARTS: Recommended Spare Parts Package.
USER INTERFACE UNIT OF MEASURES: English or Metric Units.
INTERFACE LANGUAGE: English with Metric Units and one of the following: Chinese, Danish, German, Italian, Russian or Spanish.
FILM IR OVEN: Employs infrared panels to speed the drying process to a highly efficient 3 minutes.
ELECTRICAL SERVICE REQUIREMENTS
Circuit Breaker service is 3-phase configuration with a good Ground.
9524 Single Side
EXHAUST SERVICE REQUIREMENTS
Machine is supplied with a blower for each spray chamber.
Machine is equipped with an interlock that will not allow activation of the heat sources without proper exhaust.
||Port Quantity and Size|
9524 Single Side
||2000 cu ft/min [57 cu m/min]
||One 10" [254mm] Diameter|
Make-up air to the installation area must be at least 2000 cu ft/min [57 cu m/min] for the 9524S single sided. Insufficient make-up air will result in fumes and over-spray in the work area, causing the machine to operate improperly.
102" x 63" x 68"
[2.6m x 1.6m x 1.7m]
PRACTICAL THIN FILM COATING APPLICATION GUIDE
It is important at this point to reiterate that Argus International must be viewed as a full partner in aiding in the development of a complete understanding of the Thin Film Coating Process. Thin Film Coating is not an exact science, principally because of the variations in panel surfaces, coating material suppliers, cleanliness, maintenance and many other details. The operator must have a firm understanding of the causes and effects of variables in thin Film Coating. This section of the manual is devoted to furthering that understanding.
Crating dimensions and weights are approximate and may vary within 10%.
Quality Thin Film Coatings result from attention to detail. Assuming the solar panels arrive at the spray coater with a quality surface, the following parameters will have major effects on the final coating:
||Normal Adjustment Range
|Conveyor Speed fpm [mpm]
||2 to 6 [.6 to 2]
|Atomization Air Pressure psi [bar]
to 50 [2.1 to 3.4]
|| 0 
|LPISM Tank Pressure psi [bar]
||12 to 20 [.8 to 1.4]
|Spay Gun Temperature ° C
||80 to 90
Air ° C
||75 to 95
9524S Left-Hand Controls Facilities Floor Plan
CONTROL AND OPERATION
The 9524 is equipped with several key components, and the following figure identifies the major elements of the machine. The operator should be completely familiar with these elements prior to attempting to operate the equipment. Argus International will provide on site training for process, operation and maintenance upon request.
Figure: Major Components of the 9524S Spray System with right-hand controls
Figure: Major Components of the 9524S Spray System with left-hand controls
- Edge Conveyor System - The solar panel must move through the spray chamber with a minimal contact area. A pin conveyor, which can
be adjusted to the individual board width, fills this requirement. The conveyor speed may be adjusted from 2 to 6 feet per minute
(.6 to 2 meters per minute). Shielding is provided inside the spray chamber to protect the conveyor rails from Coating Material build-up.
- HVLP Spray Head - The Coating Material is sprayed onto the panel via a high-volume; low-pressure (HVLP) spray head. The HVLP spray
head utilizes opposed air jets directed at a continuous stream of Coating Material to generate atomized particles, which are directed
at the solar panel by the atomization pressure coupled with directed air flow. Spray pattern, air pressures, Coating Material flow
rate and orifice size all affect spray head operation. See Appendix M in Manual.
- Heating System - Both the atomization air and gun
body are heated during spray, which momentarily drops the viscosity of the Coating Material, making it easier to atomize. The heaters
are controlled from the touch screens.
- Shuttle Conveyor - The Shuttle Conveyor Assembly, which is driven by a stepper motor, is designed
to move the HVLP Spray Head in a horizontal sweeping motion perpendicular to the direction of solar panel travel. Sophisticated electronics
allow very high Shuttle Conveyor speeds with exceptional smoothness and lack of vibration. The pitch setting on the touch screen adjusts
the shuttle speed, relative to the conveyor speed, and sweep width. It is possible to adjust the sweep width both left and right of
center to allow complete coating of the solar panel with minimal over-spray.
- Exhaust Port - The exhaust system for the 9524 is designed
so that air exhausts directly from the spray chamber, as solvents driven from the Coating Material during atomization must be removed
to prevent operator exposure. The exhaust port must be connected in accordance with local environmental laws. See Appendix A, in Manual,
- Facilities and Machine Specifications for details on exhaust requirements.
- Coating Material Reservoir (Pressure Vessel) - The Coating
Material reservoir supplies the HVLP spray head with a continuous flow of Coating Material. An adjustable air pressure is supplied
through the top of the reservoir; this applies pressure to the top of the Coating Material pool, and the supply tube, located in the
reservoir, allows Coating Material to be pushed out and delivered to the HVLP spray head.
- Touch Screen - The main control method is
through touch screen, allowing adjustment of conveyor speed, shuttle pitch, sweep distance, spray pattern and heat settings.
Switches - These switches cut power to the conveyor, shuttle, heaters and pneumatic controls. These switches do not cut the main power
to the machine or blower (see Circuit Breaker).
- Pneumatic Controls - Pressure adjustments and gauges for atomization air and Coating
Material reservoir air are located on the Plenum.
- Chain Cleaning System & Conveyor Drive - See Appendix K in Manual.
Rail Width Adjustment / Stepper Motor Assemblies - See Appendix L in Manual.
- Conveyor Direction Reversal Control and Indicator - This
control is built into the touch screen, and is provided so the operator or maintenance personnel can change the direction of the conveyor
chain should it become jammed or extremely coated with Coating Material.
- Circuit Breaker - This is where the electrician connects
the main power to the machine, and where main power of the machine can be powered to ‘ON’ or ‘OFF’.
- Power Indicators - These Indicator
lights alert the operator or maintenance personal that power is connected to the machine.
- Start/Stop Exhaust Control and Indicator
- This control is built into the touch screen to power on and off the exhaust. The touch screen indicator, EXHAUST ON, alerts the
operator or maintenance personal that the exhaust is activated.
- Start System Control and Indicator - This control is built into the
touch screen and starts the conveyor, and prepares system for activation. The touch screen indicator, SYSTEM STARTED, alerts the operator
or maintenance personal that the system is activated.
- Shuttle & Pneumatic Component Plenum - This cabinet contains electrical
wiring for the shuttle and pneumatic components and controls for the spray.
- Electrical Component Enclosure - This cabinet contains
the electrical wiring, control boards and PLC controls.
9524S Right-Hand Controls Facilities Floor Plan
- Conveyor Speed is controlled to within 1% of set speed. Conveyor speed is a variable in Thin Film coating thickness.
- Atomization Air
Pressure is controlled with a regulator, and generally affects spray pattern and particle size.
- Coating Material Tank Pressure is
controlled with a regulator, and directly affects the flow rate and thickness of the Thin Film coating.
- Coating Material Viscosity is
measured with a Zahn or Ford Cup. As a general rule, the Coating Material's flow rate to the HVLP spray head is a function of the
Coating Material's Tank Pressure.
The following general rules are based upon experience learned during product development and
PCB processing done by Argus International Process Engineering Group and Argus International PC FAB Processing Group.
- Coating Material
Tank Pressure, LPISM Viscosity and Conveyor Speed are the primary variables that affect Coating thickness.
- Orange Peel surface is
the result of spray particles which are too large. Particle size may be reduced by increasing the atomization pressure, or by reducing
the Coating Materials Viscosity.
- Coating Material usage may be significantly improved by processing panel’s nose to tail; boards are
loaded onto the conveyor without a gap in between. The HVLP spray head will then run continuously in AUTO MODE.
- For a given Coating
Material, the supplier will recommend a solvent dilutant. The dilutant should be used to clean all Coating Material delivery components.
Incompatible solvents may cause a coagulation of materials in the Coating Material's delivery tubes. The effect on the panel will
appear as concentric rings of thinned coating , known as fish eyes’ or ‘craters’.
- The ability of an Coating Material to adhere to
the edges of traces is largely a property of the selected Coating Material . However, it is possible to reduce the trace-covering
properties of the Coating Material by excessively thinning the material or setting the atomization pressure too high. It is best to
run the Coating Material Viscosity as high as possible and the atomization pressure as low as possible, without producing significant
‘mottling’ or ‘orange peel’.
- Coating uniformity on the board is largely affected by the Z-pitch (SPRAY PITCH), which is the distance
between each return stroke of the shuttle. Z-pitch ranges from 1.0-3.0 inches (25-75mm), but it is best to set the SPRAY PITCH as
low as possible without going beyond the shuttle speed limit. If this happens, the touch screen will display PARAMETERS OUT OF RANGE.
Reduce CONVEYOR SPEED or increase SPRAY PITCH settings until the message is cleared.