The Role of the Laminator/Coater in PV Backsheet Design and the Logic governing the design of Protekt®
The primary role of a PV Backsheet laminator/coater is to evaluate and select the best material commercially available. As a result, the chosen material sets reflect the best combinatorial solution to meet module manufacturer performance and cost demands.
The role requires a Best in Class laminator/coater like Madico, to be knowledgeable and evaluate all available materials. The evaluation process involves assessing each material’s specific process demands. Determine how they integrate into the operations process and more importantly, how each layered “choice” affects the next. This “cascade affect” simply means our first material layer influences the choices for the second layer; the second layer choice further influences the third layer; etc…
Fortunately, over the last 30 years, the range of polymers available to laminator/coaters has vastly improved. For example, in the specific area of fluorine chemistry, high quality materials with unique performance features are now readily available by a wide range of respected suppliers including; Arkema, Asahi, Daikin, Dupont, Honeywell, Mitsubishi, Saint-Gobain, and others. Importantly, these materials are available to players like Madico in both film or resin dispersion form.
For Madico, the fluorine chemistry selection is our “first” and most critical decision. And we are only comfortable to make it after having invested significant internal resources to study fluoro films and coatings performance in depth. We have developed a deep understanding of these materials and how their chemistry directly correlates to high performing and long lasting backsheets.
After a complete evaluation, many of these materials enter our design arsenal and may be used on future products, based on module manufacturer’s needs. We are confident in our ability to use Cast PVF, Hyalar (ECTF), Kynar (PVDF), and Tefzel (ETFE), and others. However, our current market-leading backsheet, Protekt®, does not incorporate these materials. Protekt® is a result of these examinations; it is a superior backsheet that exceeds third party standards and Madico’s rigorous internal performance expectations and standards.
Madico selected Protekt® coating simply because it provided excellent cost performance AND the broadest range of second layer choices. For, in making the first material choice, the cascade affect recognizes that it influences the next choice. In the end, Protekt® combinatorial design has superior performance properties using materials that have proven long term performance in harsh environments.
Madico is confident to compare our Critical to Quality (CTQ) to any other combinatorial material in the market place. We always welcome specific CTQ discussions with customers as we design our materials for customer needs.