ABB has announced that it has upgraded its IRB 6640 robot to create a new clean room version.
Working in close cooperation with strategic partners from photovoltaic industry, the project was undertaken in response to the strict specifications for thin film production processes used in solar module manufacturing; where cleanliness is a critical factor.
The new clean room version of the IRB 6640 meets all necessary process and clean room specifications for the industry.
Thin film manufacturing consists of applying various semiconductors and electrical interconnecting layers to a glass substrate carrier.
Any contamination, even in the micron range, reduces the power rating of the modules. The degree of cleanliness required, plus the diversifying sizes and high weight of the glass substrates, precludes using traditional manual production methods.
It is therefore impossible to construct the modules in an economic way without using clean robots. The new clean room version of the IRB 6640 meets all necessary process and clean room specifications for the industry.
Certification was undertaken by the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart. They rigorously tested the six-axis articulated robot over a period of seven weeks and included evaluation and compilation of all relevant documents.
The primary objective was to evaluate the IRB 6640's clean room suitability and surface cleanliness attributes. The first step was to establish the test environment, decontaminate the robot and define the operating parameters.
This included the speeds of all robot axes (50% and 100%) and the wrist payload (100%). In addition, possible sources of contaminating particles were isolated.
Measurements were subsequently taken for 100 minutes per axis and per speed. These generated 100 test results for the analysis. The evaluation was done in accordance with relevant specifications (VDI, etc.).
The IRB 6640 clean room robot passed all tests and now fully meets the stringent class 5 clean room specifications. With its large working range and high payload, it is ideally suited for thin-film manufacturing.
The IRB 6640 clean room robot features minimal maintenance and maximum availability, while precisely and cost effectively adhering to specification requirements. Its ideal motion controller optimises efficiency.
Additional features include high speed, short cycle times, easy programming and the ability to synchronise with external devices such as tracks, motors and positioners.
ABB’s new IRB 6640 clean room robot will help the thin film photovoltaic sector to improve productivity by lowering manufacturing costs, while at the same time raising production output, achieving consistently high quality and improving workplace health and safety.
Technical details – Clean room robot IRB 6640
ABB clean room robots have three paint layers: a prime coat, a white paint layer and a clear top coat. Screws and inspection panels are covered with plastic prior to painting, which is subsequently removed when the paint dries.
Some screws and panels are then protected again using removable covers, which facilitates cleaning. Inspection panels are not painted.
Some of the cables are installed in an enclosed cable carrier, which enables them to be properly transported and at the same time prevents worn areas - even those that are not visible - from being exposed.
Any areas that could potentially cause contamination, etc. are sealed at the factory using metal plates. The clean room robots are cleaned before they are shipped to customers and are protected by a double layer of plastic. The first layer is removed just outside the clean room to prevent.