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Title:
APPARATUS FOR TRANSPORTATION OF A SUBSTRATE USED IN THE MANUFACTURE OF A SOLAR CELL, SYSTEM FOR THE MANUFACTURE OF SOLAR CELLS, AND METHOD FOR TRANSPORTING A SUBSTRATE USED IN THE MANUFACTURE OF A SOLAR CELL
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2018/166599
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An apparatus (100) for transportation of a substrate (10) used in the manufacture of a solar cell is provided. The apparatus (100) includes a substrate support (110) configured for supporting the substrate (10), one or more beams (120) configured for moving the substrate (10) from the substrate support (110) at least in a first direction (1), at least one first actuator (130), at least one eccentric device (140) connected to the at least one first actuator (130) and configured for moving the one or more beams (120) at least in the first direction (1), and at least one second actuator (150) configured for moving the one or more beams (120) in a second direction (2) different from the first direction (1).

Inventors:
GISLON DANIELE (IT)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2017/056241
Publication Date:
September 20, 2018
Filing Date:
March 16, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
APPLIED MAT ITALIA SRL (IT)
International Classes:
H01L31/18; H01L21/677
Domestic Patent References:
WO2016086969A12016-06-09
Foreign References:
KR20110019826A2011-03-02
US20100239397A12010-09-23
US5571325A1996-11-05
JP2010076066A2010-04-08
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ZIMMERMANN & PARTNER PATENTANWÄLTE MBB (DE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . Apparatus for transportation of a substrate used in the manufacture of a solar cell, the apparatus comprising: a substrate support configured for supporting the substrate; one or more beams configured for moving the substrate from the substrate support at least in a first direction; at least one first actuator; at least one eccentric device connected to the at least one first actuator and configured for moving the one or more beams at least in the first direction; and at least one second actuator configured for moving the one or more beams in a second direction different from the first direction.

2. The apparatus according to claim 1 , wherein the at least one first actuator and the at least one second actuator are configured for independent movements of the one or more beams in the first direction and in the second direction.

3. The apparatus according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the first direction is a vertical direction and the second direction is a horizontal direction.

4. The apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 3, wherein the at least one second actuator is configured for at least partially compensating a movement of the one or more beams in the second direction caused by the at least one eccentric device.

5. The apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the at least one eccentric device includes, or is, an eccentric shaft.

6. The apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the at least one second actuator includes, or is, a linear motor.

7. The apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the at least one first actuator includes, or is, a rotary motor.

8. The apparatus according to claim 7, further including a movable support having at least one pivot bearing, wherein the at least one eccentric device is an eccentric shaft, wherein the eccentric shaft is arranged in the at least one pivot bearing, and wherein the rotary motor is configured for rotating the eccentric shaft.

9. The apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 8, wherein the at least one first actuator is connected to the at least one second actuator for moving the at least one second actuator in the first direction .

10. The apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 9, w herein the one or more beams include one or more seats configured to support a rear side of the substrate at an edge portion.

1 1. The apparatus according to claim 10, wherein the one or more seats are two or more seats spaced apart from each other in at least one direction of the first direction and the second direction, and wherein at least one seat of the two or more seats is mov eable in the at least one direction of the first direction and the second direction to change a distance between the two or more seats in the at least one direction.

12. The apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 1 1 , further including at least one detector dev ice configured for detecting a position of at least one of the one or more beams and the substrate with respect to at least one of the first direction and the second direction.

13. System for the manufacture of solar cells, comprising the apparatus according to any one of claims 1 to 12, and one or more process stations for processing of the substrate.

14. A method for transporting a substrate used in the manufacture of a solar cell, comprising: moving one or more beams at least in a first direction by operating at least one first actuator hav ing an eccentric dev ice; contacting the substrate by the one or more beams to lift the substrate from a substrate support; and moving the one or more beams at least in a second direction different from the first direction by operating at least one second actuator.

1 5. The method of claim 14, wherein the method further includes detecting a position of the substrate with respect to at least one of the first direction and the second direction; comparing the detected position of the substrate to a reference position; determine a difference between the detected position and the reference position; and reducing the difference by operating the at least one second actuator.

Description:
APPARATUS FOR TRANSPORTATION OF A SUBSTRATE USED IN THE MANUFACTURE OF A SOLAR CELL, SYSTEM FOR TH E MANUFACTURE OF SOLAR CELLS, AND METHOD FOR TRANSPORTING A SUBSTRATE

USED IN THE MANUFACTURE OF A SOLAR CELL

TECHNICAL FIELD

[0001] Embodiments of the present disclosure relate to an apparatus for transportation of a substrate used in the manufacture of a solar cell, a system for the manufacture of solar cells, and a method for transporting a substrate used in the manufacture of a solar cell. Embodiments of the present disclosure particularly relate to an apparatus, system and method for handling thin substrates used in the manufacture of solar cells.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Solar cells are photovoltaic devices that convert sunlight directly into electrical power. Several different types of solar cells are known which differ from each other e.g. by the used semiconductor material as well as by the cel l technology, for instance thin film solar cells or silicon wafer based solar cells. Substrates used in the manufacture of solar cells can be silicon wafers made from cast square ingots, large blocks of silicon which are cut into thin discs or sheets. As a thickness of the substrates becomes thinner, handl ing of the substrates becomes more challenging. In particular, thin substrates tend to break easily. In order to reduce manufacturing costs, a yield and/or a substrate throughput should be high. [0003] In view of the above, new apparatuses for transportation of a substrate used in the manufacture of a solar cel l, systems for the manufacture of solar cel ls, and methods for transporting a substrate used in the manufacture of a solar cell that overcome at least some of the problems in the art are beneficial. The present disclosure particularly aims at providing an improved transport of substrates used in the manufacture of solar cells. SUMMARY

[0004] In light of the above, an apparatus for transportation of a substrate used in the manufacture of a solar cell , a system for the manufacture of solar cells, and a method for transporting a substrate used in the manufacture of a solar cell are prov ided. Further aspects, benefits, and features of the present disclosure are apparent from the claims, the description, and the accompanying drawings.

[0005] According to an aspect of the present disclosure, an apparatus for transportation of a substrate used in the manufacture of a solar cell is provided. The apparatus includes a substrate support configured for supporting the substrate, one or more beams configured for moving the substrate from the substrate support at least in a first direction, at least one first actuator, at least one eccentric device connected to the at least one first actuator and configured for mov ing the one or more beams at least in the first direction, and at least one second actuator con figured for mov ing the one or more beams in a second direction different from the first direction.

[0006] According to a further aspect of the present disclosure, a system for the manufacture of solar cells is provided. The system includes an apparatus for transportation of a substrate used in the manufacture of a solar cell according to the embodiments described herein and one or more process stations for processing of the substrate.

[0007] According to another aspect of the present disclosure, a method for transporting a substrate used in the manufacture of a solar cell is prov ided. The method includes moving one or more beams at least in a first direction by operating at least one first actuator having an eccentric device, contacting the substrate by the one or more beams to lift the substrate from a substrate support, and moving the one or more beams at least in a second direction different from the first direction by operating at least one second actuator. [0008] Embodiments are also directed at apparatuses for carrying out the disclosed methods and include apparatus parts for performing each described method aspect. These method aspects may be performed by way of hardware components, a computer programmed by appropriate software, by any combination of the two or in any other manner. Furthermore, embodiments according to the disclosure are also directed at methods for operating the described apparatus. The methods for operating the described apparatus include method aspects for carrying out every function of the apparatus.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0009] So that the manner in which the above recited features of the present disclosure can be understood in detail, a more particular description of the disclosure, briefly summarized above, may be had by reference to embodiments. The accompanying drawings relate to embodiments of the disclosure and are described in the following:

FIG. 1 shows a cross sectional partial view of an apparatus for transportation of a solar cell substrate according to embodiments described herein;

FIG. 2 shows a detailed cross sectional view of an apparatus for transportation of a solar cell substrate according to embodiments described herein;

FIG. 3 shows a sectional view of an apparatus for transportation of a solar cell substrate according to embodiments described herein;

FIG. 4 shows a sectional view of an apparatus for transportation of a solar cell substrate according to embodiments described herein;

FIGs. 5A and 5B show schematic views of walking beams according to embodiments described herein; and FIG. 6 shows a flow chart illustrating a method for transporting a substrate used in the manufacture of a solar ceil.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS [0010] Reference will now be made in detail to the various embodiments of the disclosure, one or more examples of which are illustrated in the figures. Within the following description of the drawings, the same reference numbers refer to same components. Generally, only the differences with respect to individual em.bodim.ents are described. Each example is provided by way of explanation of the disclosure and is not meant as a limitation of the disclosure. Further, features illustrated or described as part of one embodiment can be used on or in conjunction with other embodiments to yield yet a further embodiment. It is intended that the description includes such modifications and variations.

[0011] Substrates used in the manufacture of solar ceils can have a thickness of less than 0.2 mm, making a handling of the substrates challenging. In particular, such thin substrates tend to break easily. The present disclosure uses at least one eccentric device for moving one or more beams to gently contact and pick up the substrates for transportation. In particular, the at least one eccentric device can provide a variable speed of the one or more beams in the first direction. The speed can be reduced or at a minimum during the pick-up action from the substrate support. Further, the present disclosure can rapidly transport the substrates to a receiv ing position in a precisely aligned manner.

[0012] FIG. 1 illustrates a cross sectional partial view of an apparatus 100 for transportation of a substrate 10 used in the manufacture of a solar cell according to embodiments described herein.

[0013] The apparatus 100 includes a substrate support 110 configured for supporting the substrate 10, one or more beams 120 configured for moving the substrate 10 from the substrate support 110 at least in a first direction 1, at least one first actuator 130, at least one eccentric device 140 connected to the at least one first actuator 130 and configured for moving the one or more beams 120 at least in the first direction 1 , and at least one second actuator 150 configured for mov ing the one or more beams 120 in a second direction 2 different from the first direction 1. The one or more beams 120 can also be referred to as "walking beams " '.

[0014] The substrate 10 has a front side and a backside. One or more conductive line patterns, such as fingers and/or busbars of the solar cell, can be provided on at least one of the front side and the back side of the substrate 10. The one or more beams 120 can be configured to contact the back side of the substrate 10. In particular, the backside of the substrate 10 can be a side or surface of the substrate 10 facing towards the substrate support 1 10. The front side of the substrate 10 can be a side or surface of the substrate 10 facing away from the substrate support 1 10. As an example, the front side can be an upper side or upper surface of the substrate 10 and the back side can be a lower side or lower surface of the substrate 1 0 with respect to the first direction 1 , which can be a vertical direction.

[001 5] The at least one eccentric device 140 is connected to the at least one first actuator 130 and is actuateable by the at least one first actuator 1 30. In other words, the at least one first actuator 130 is configured to actuate or operate the at least one eccentric device 140 to move the one or more beams 120 in the first direction 1. The at least one eccentric dev ice 140 provides a variable speed of the one or more beams 1 20 in the first direction 1 e.g. depending on a rotational or angular position of the at least one eccentric device 140 with respect to a rotational axis of the at least one eccentric device 140. The speed of the one or more beams 1 20 can be reduced or at a minimum during the contacting of the substrate 10 for lifting the substrate 10 from the substrate support 1 10. The speed can be increased when the substrate 10 is supported by the one or more beams 120 and/or when no substrate 10 is lying on the one or more beams 1 20.

[0016] According to some embodiments, which can be combined with other embodiments described herein, the at least one first actuator 130 can be configured to move the at least one second actuator 150 at least in the first direction 1 via the at least one eccentric device 140. As an example, the at least one first actuator 130 is connected to the at least one second actuator 150 for moving the at least one second actuator 150 in the first direction 1, for example, together with the one or more beams 120.

[0017] According to some embodiments, the first direction 1 can be a vertical direction and/or the second direction 2 can be a horizontal direction. The term "vertical direction" is understood to distinguish over "horizontal direction". That is, the "vertical direction" relates to a substantially vertical movement, wherein a deviation of a few degrees, such as up to 5° or even up to 10°, from an exact vertical direction is still considered as a "substantially vertical direction " '. The vertical direction can be substantially parallel to the force of gravity. Likewise, the term "horizontal direction" relates to a substantially horizontal movement, wherein a deviation of a few degrees, such as up to 5° or even up to 10°, from an exact horizontal direction is still considered as a "substantially horizontal direction".

[0018] The at least one first actuator 130 can be configured to move the one or more beams 120, and optionally the at least one second actuator 160, between a first position and a second position in the first direction 1 . As an example, the first position can be an upper or topmost position of the one or more beams 120, and the second position can be a lower or lowermost position of the one or more beams 120. When moving from the second position to the first position, the one or more beams 120 can move towards the substrate for contacting and picking up the substrate 10 from the substrate support 110. When moving from the first position to the second position, the one or more beams 120 can move towards the substrate support 1 10 e.g. for placing the substrate 10 on the substrate support 1 10. In the second position, the one or more beams 120 do not support the substrate 10, and the substrate 10 is supported on the substrate support 110. The at least one second actuator 150 can move the one or more beams 120 in the second direction 2 without transporting the substrate 10. In some implementations, the one or more beams 120 can be moved between the first position and the second position with the variable speed in the first direction 1 due to the at least one eccentric device 140, even if the at least one first actuator 130 is operated at a constant speed.

[0019] In some implementations, the one or more beams 120 are movable in the second direction 2 between a first reference position and a second reference position using the at least one second actuator 150. As an example, when the one or more beams 120 and/or the at least one second actuator 160 reach the first reference position along the second direction 2, the one or more beams 120 and optionally the at least one second actuator 150 can be lifted (i.e., moved from the second position to the first position ) in the first direction 1 by operating the at least one first actuator 130. The one or more beams 1 20 can contact and lift the substrate 10 from the substrate support 1 10. The substrate 10 can then be transported in the second direction 2 unti l the one or more beams 120 and/or the at least one second actuator 160 reach the second reference position. In the second reference position, the one or more beams 1 20 and optional ly the at least one second actuator 1 50 can be lowered by operating the at least one first actuator 130. The one or more beams 120 can place the substrate 10 on the substrate support 1 1 0. The apparatus 100 can be configured to move the one or more beams 1 20 repeatedly between the first reference position and the second reference position in order to transport a plurality of substrates in the second direction 2. [0020 ] According to some embodiments, which can be combined with other embodiments described herein, the at least one first actuator 1 30 and the at least one second actuator 1 50 are configured for independent movements of the one or more beams 120 in the first direction 1 and in the second direction 2. In other words, a movement in the first direction 1 does not necessarily cause a movement in the second direction 2, and a movement in the second direction 2 does not necessarily cause a movement in the first direction 1. A movement of the one or more beams 1 20 and of the substrate 10 can be precisely controlled using the independent movements. As an example, a movement of the one or more beams 1 20 in the second direction 2 caused by the at least one eccentric device 140 can be compensated by independently operating the at least one second actuator 120.

[ 002 1 ] According to the embodiments described herein, movements in the first direction 1 can include movements parallel and anti-paral lel to the first direction 1 , for example, upward and downward movements of the one or more beams 120. Likewise, movement and the second direction 2 can include movements parallel and anti-parallel to the second direction 2, for example, back and forth movements of the one or more beams 120.

[0022] FIG. 2 illustrates a detailed cross sectional view of an apparatus 200 for transportation of a substrate 10 used in the manufacture of a solar ceil according to embodiments described herein.

[0023] According to some embodiments, which can be combined with other embodiments described herein, the at least one first actuator 130 includes a rotary motor 132. The at least one second actuator 1 50 can include a linear motor 152. The at least one first actuator 130 and/or the at least one second actuator 1 50 can be selected from the group consisting of electric motors, magnetic motors, electromagnetic motors, pneumatic motors, stepper motors, and any combination thereof.

[ 0024] In some implementations, the apparatus 200 includes a fixed support 2 1 0 and/or a moveable support 220. The fixed support 2 1 0 can be stationary, i.e., not moving. According to some embodiments, the at least one first actuator 1 30 can be connected to, e.g. arranged in, the fixed support 1 1 0. The moveable support 220 can be moveable with respect to the fixed support 2 1 0. In other words, the movable support 220 is not stationary. The one or more beams 1 20 can be connected to the moveable support 220 e.g. via the at least one second actuator 1 50, such that the one or more beams 120 can be moved together with the movable support 1 20 the first direction 1 using the at least one first actuator 130.

[ 0025 ] According to some embodiments, the movable support 220 can have at least one bore 222. A bearing (not shown ), such as a pivot bearing, can be arranged in the at least one bore 222. According to some embodiments, which can be combined with other embodiments described herein, the at least one eccentric device can include, or be, an eccentric shaft 142. The eccentric shaft 1 42 can be provided in the bearing such that the eccentric shaft 142 can rotate within the bearing around a rotational axis 144. The rotation around the rotational axis 1 44 can provide a movement of the movable support 220 at least in the first direction 1. In particular, the at least one first actuator 130, such as the rotary motor 1 32, can be configured for rotating the eccentric shaft 1 42 such that the movable support 220 and the one or more beams 1 20 connected to the movable support 220 can be moved at least in the first direction 1.

[0026] In some implementations, the rotation of the rotary motor 132 can be converted in a movement of the movable support 220 using a transmission arrangement. The apparatus 200, and particularly the transmission arrangement, can include a drive shaft 230 and at least one first pulley 240, wherein the drive shaft 230 is configured to transfer a rotation of the rotary motor 1 32 to the at least one first pulley 240. The apparatus 200, and particularly the transmission arrangement, can further include at least one second pulley 250 and a drive belt 260. The drive belt 260 connects the at least one first pulley 240 and the at least one second pulley 250. A rotation of the rotary motor 132 can be transferred to the at least one second pulley 250 via the drive belt 260. The eccentric shaft 142 can be connected to the at least one second pulley 250 such that the movable support 220 can be moved at least in the first direction 1 by a rotation of the eccentric shaft 142 provided by the at least one first actuator 130 using the transmission arrangement. [0027] The movable support 220 can be connected to the at least one second actuator 150. The one or more beams 120 can be connected to the at least one second actuator 150. The at least one second actuator 150 can be moved at least in the first direction 1 via the movement of the movable support 220 provided by the at least one first actuator 130.

[0028] According to some embodiments, the at least one first actuator 1 30 can be connected to the at least one second actuator 150 for moving the at least one second actuator 150 at least in the first direction 1. The at least one second actuator 150 can be arranged on, e.g. on top of, the at least one first actuator 130. As an example, the at least one first actuator 1 30 can provide a support for the at least one second actuator 1 50. The at least one second actuator 1 50 is configured for moving the one or more beams 1 20 in the second direction 2 different from the first direction 1. The at least one second actuator 1 50 can include, or be, a linear motor 1 52. As an example, the at least one second actuator can be a linear drive such as a linear motor or a spindle drive.

[ 0029] The at least one first actuator 130 and the at least one second actuator 1 50 can be configured for independent movements of the one or more beams 1 20 in the first direction 1 and in the second direction 2. In particular, the at least one first actuator 130 and the at least one second actuator 1 50 can be independently controlled. As an example, the at least one first actuator 130 can provide a vertical movement of the one or more beams 120 e.g. for lifting the substrate 1 0 from the substrate support 1 10 using an upward movement and for placing the substrate 10 onto the substrate support 1 10 using a downward movement. The at least one second actuator 1 50 can provide a linear movement of the one or more beams 120 e.g. in the horizontal direction to convey the substrate 1 0 along a transport path, which may be an essentially linear transport path . The at least one second actuator 1 50 can further be configured to compensate a movement of the one or more beams 120 in the second direction 2 caused by a rotation of the at least one eccentric device 140.

[ 0030 ] According to some embodiments, the linear motor 1 52 can include permanent magnets 1 54 and magnetic yokes 1 56. The permanent magnets 1 54 can be arranged on the magnetic yokes 1 56. The magnetic yokes 1 56 can be made of a magnetically soft material. The permanent magnets 152 can provide an arrangement of permanent magnets of alternating polarity. The magnetic yokes 1 56 supporting the permanent magnets 1 52 can be arranged along the second direction 2. Two or more assembl ies of permanent magnets 1 54 and the magnetic yokes 1 56 can be arranged essentially equidistant to each other in a third direction 3 perpendicular to the first direction 1 and/or the second direction 2. The third direction 3 can be an essentially horizontal direction.

[ 003 1 ] The linear motor 1 52 can include one or more spacers 158. The one or more spacers 158 can provide the essentially equidistant spacing between the two or more assembl ies of permanent magnets 1 54 and magnetic yokes 1 56. The one or more spacers 158 can be made of a magnetically soft material for shaping the magnetic field at the edges of the assembl ies of permanent magnets 1 54. Shaping the magnetic field can improve a f unctionality and a precision of the linear motor 1 52. The one or more spacers 158 can further be configured for supporting the one or more beams 1 20.

[ 0032 ] According to some embodiments, the linear motor 1 52 can further include one or more coils 1 59. The one or more coils 1 59 can be arranged on the movable support 220. The one or more coils 1 59 can be arranged along the second direction 2. The one or more coils 159 can be provided between the two or more assemblies of permanent magnets 1 54. Windings of the one or more coils 1 59 can be configured to provide a driving force for the linear motor 152 together with the alternating polarity of the permanent magnets 154. [0033] The one or more coils 159 can be configured for precisely driv ing the movable parts of the l inear motor 1 52 along the second direction 2. The movable parts of the linear motor 152, such as the magnetic yokes 156, the permanent magnets 1 54 and/or the one or more spacers 158 supporting the beams 120, can be guided in one or more rails 160. The one or more rails 160 can be mounted on a rail support 162. The rail support 162 in turn can be mounted on the movable support 220. The one or more rails 160 and the rail support 1 62 can extend along the second direction 2.

[ 0034] FIGs. 3 and 4 illustrate sectional views of an apparatus 300 for transportat ion of a substrate, such as a solar ceil substrate, according to further embodiments described herein. [0035] FIG. 3 illustrates the at least one second actuator attached to the movable support 220. The movable support 220 is shown in a lowered position, which can correspond to the second position of the one or more beams 120. The one or more beams 120 do not contact the substrates 10 and the substrates 10 are supported on the substrate support 1 10. The at least one second actuator, such as the linear motor 152, can move the one or more beams 120 in the second direction 2 without transporting the substrates 10.

[0036] In FIG. 4, the movable support 220 is shown in an upper position, which can correspond to the first position of the one or more beams 120. The substrates 10 are lifted from the substrate support 1 10. The at least one second actuator, such as the linear motor 152, can move the one or more beams 120 together with the substrates 10 in the second direction 2.

[0037 ] According to some embodiments, which can be combined with other embodiments described herein, the one or more beams 120 can be provided with one or more support portions 310, such as recessed beam portions, for supporting the substrates 10. Each support portion can be configured for supporting a respective substrate 10. The onc or more support portions 310 can be arranged essentially equidistantly along an extension of the one or more beams 120, e.g., in the second direction 2. The one or more support portions 310 can provide for an improved transportation of the substrate 10. As an example, the one or more support portions 3 1 0 can be configured for limiting a movement of the substrate 10 at least in the second direction 2. Although in FIG. 3 exemplarily two support portions are shown, it is to be understood that the present disclosure is not limited thereto, and that any suitable number of support portions can be provided, for example, based on length of the one or more beams 120 and/or a distance or spacing between the substrates to be simultaneously supported on the one or more beams 120.

[0038] According to some embodiments, the one or more beams 120 can protrude from the at least one second actuator, such as the linear motor 152, in the second direction 2.

As an example, the portions of the one or more beams 120 protruding from the at least one second actuator can be used for picking up substrates from a process station and/or for placing a substrate into a process station.

[ 0039] The sectional view s of F!Gs. 3 and 4 exemplarily show the movable support 220 and two eccentric shafts 142. It is to be understood that the numbers of eccentric shafts is only exemplary. For example, the apparatus 300 can include one, three, four or more eccentric shafts. The number of eccentric shafts can correlate with the length of the at least one second actuator along the second direct ion 2. The numbers of bores 222 and the numbers of pivot bearings arranged in the bores 222 can correspond to the number of eccentric shafts 142.

[0040] The movable support 220 can be provided with a recessed portion or cutout. For example, the recessed portion of the movable support 220 can be arranged between two adjacent eccentric shafts 142. In some implementations, the recessed portion of the movable support 200 can be provided in an area of the fixed support 1 1 0 in which the rotary motor 1 32 and/or the drive shaft 230 are located. The movable support 220 can move freely without interfering e.g. with components of the at least one first actuator. [004 1 ] According to some embodiments, the rotary motor 132 actuates the first pulley 240, which can be rotatable around a rotational axis 360. The first pulley 240 moves the drive belt 260, which transmits the movement to the second pulley(s) 250. The second pulley(s) 250 can be connected to the eccentric shaft(s) 142. The eccentric shaft 142 can rotate around the rotational axis 144 such that the at least one first actuator can prov ide the movement of the movable substrate support 220 in the first direction 1. The arrows in FIGs. 3 and 4 indicating a direction of rotation are given by way of example. The drive shaft 230 and the eccentric shaft(s) 142 can rotate in the opposite direction without affecting the functionality of the present embodiments. [0042] According to some embodiments, the first direction 1 can be the v ertical direction and the second direction 2 can be the horizontal direction. By rotating the eccentric shaft 142 around the rotational axis 142, the movable support 220 can be mov ed in the first direction 1 and in the second direction 2. In particular, the eccentric rotation can cause a v ertical movement, such as an up-down mov ement. The eccentric rotation can further cause a horizontal mov ement, such as a fo rw a rd -b a c k w a rd mov ement.

[ 0043 ] A stroke of the movement of the movable support 220 and/or of the one or more beams 120 in the second direction 2 caused by the eccentric rotation depends on an eccentricity of the eccentric shaft 142. The stroke in the second direction 2, e.g., the horizontal direction, and -or in the first direction 1 , e.g., the vertical direction, caused by the eccentric shaft 142 further depends on a rotation angle of the eccentric shaft 142 with respect to the rotational axis 144. The stroke in the first direction 1 , e.g., the v ertical direction, is prov ided for lifting the substrates. The angle-dependent stroke in the horizontal direction ΔΧ(α) can be calculated from:

[ 0044]

[0045] wherein a is the rotation angle around the rotational axis 144 and wherein a is set to zero (a = 0) when the movable support 220 is in the lowest position. The horizontal stroke is at a maximum when the rotation angle is 90° (a = 90°). For the rotation angle 270°, the horizontal stroke is at a max imum in the opposite direction. The dimensions of the eccentric shaft 142, such as the maximum radius R max and the minimum radius R mm , can be fixed. As an example, the dimensions can be selected based on a target stroke in the first direction 1.

[ 0046] The angle-dependent stroke in the vertical direction ΔΥ(α) can be calculated from : [0047]

[ 0048] In the lowest position, ΔΥ(α) = 0. Further, ΔΥ(α) is at a max imum in the topmost position,

[0049] According to some embodiments, the eccentric rotation provides a slow movement of the one or more beams 120 in the first direction 1 during the picking up of a substrate from the substrate support 1 10 and/or a placing of a substrate onto the substrate support 1 10. A breakage of the substrates, which can be substrates of less than 0.2 mm. can be avoided. A throughput of a system for the manufacture of solar cells and a yield can be increased. Manufacturing costs can be reduced.

[ 0050] According to some embodiments, the at least one second actuator can be configured for at least partially, and particularly essentially entirely, compensating a movement of the one or more beams 1 20 in the second direction 2 caused by the at least one eccentric device, such as the eccentric shaft 142. As an example, the horizontal movement caused by the at least one first actuator can be compensated using the at least one second actuator. 1005 1 ] In some implementations, the apparatus 300 can be configured to determine a difference between a detected position and a reference position of the one or more beams 1 20 and/or the substrate 10. The apparatus 300 can reduce a dilTerence between the detected position and the reference position by operating the at least one second actuator. By operating the least one second actuator, the difference between the detected position and the reference position can be reduced or even eliminated. The horizontal movement caused by the eccentric rotation can be compensated using the least one second actuator, such as the linear motor 1 52. [0052] According to some embodiments, the apparatus 300 can include at least one detector dev ice configured for detecting a position of the substrate 10 with respect to at least one of the first direction 1 and the second direction 2. As an example, the rotary motor can be provided with a detector device such as a rotary encoder for detecting an angular position e.g. of the drive shaft. The at least one second actuator can be provided with a detector device such as an encoder for detecting a position of the one or more beams 120 in the second direction 2, such as the horizontal direction. In some implementations, the apparatus 300 can be configured to detect a vertical and/or a horizontal position of the one or more beams 120 and/or of the substrate 10, e.g., using at least one detector device. The apparatus 300 can compare the detected position(s) to the reference position(s) to perform the competition.

[0053] The compensation of the movement of the one or more beams 120 in the second direction 2 can be provided by a synchronization between the at least one first actuator and the at least one second actuator. As an example, a rotational movement of the at least one first actuator and a linear movement of the at least one second actuator in the second direction 2 can be synchronized for compensation. The horizontal movement caused by the eccentric rotation can be compensated such that essentially only a vertical movement of the one or more beams 120 is provided. The compensation can prevent a relative horizontal movement between the one or more beams 120 and the substrate 10 e.g. during a pick-up action. Damage to the substrate, such as scratches on a substrate surface, can be avoided.

[ 0054] According to some embodiments, the movement in the second direction 2 caused by the eccentric rotation of the at least one eccentric device can be compensated during essentially the entire movement in the first direction 1, such as a movement for picking up the substrate from the substrate support and/or placing down the substrate on the substrate support. In other words, the movement of the one or more beams 120 can be an essentially linear movement in the first direction 1.

[0055] Synchronizing the at least one first actuator and the at least one second actuator can superpose the horizontal movements generated by both actuators to optimize a movement of the one or more beams 120 in the second direction 2. As an example, a horizontal speed of the one or more beams 120 for reaching a pick-up position and/or a drop-down position can be optimized. A cycle time for substrate transportation can be improved.

[0056] FIGs. 5A and B illustrate schematic views of the one or more beams 120 for transporting substrates according to embodiments described herein . The one or more beams 120 are shown having one support portion. It is to be understood that adjacent portions of the one or more beams 120 for holding substrates can be configured in the same way. As an example, two or more essentially identical support portions can be provided on the one or more beams 1 20 e.g. along the second direction 2. [0057] According to some embodiments, which can be combined with other embodiments described herein, the one or more beams 1 20 can have a length and a width. The length can be defined along the second direction 2 and the w idth can be defined along the third direction 3 perpendicular to the second direction 2. In particular, the one or more beams 1 20 can extend along the second direction 2. The length can be in the range between 100 mm and 1000 mm, particularly in the range between 400 mm and 700 mm, particularly in the range between 490 mm and 520 mm, particularly in the range between 650 mm and 690 mm. As an example, the length can be about 500 mm or about 670 mm. The width can be in the range between 1 mm and 10 mm, and particularly in the range between 2 mm and 5 mm. As an example, the width can be about 3 mm. [0058] The one or more beams 1 20 can be two or more beams arranged essentially parallel to each other along the second direction 2. The two or more beams 120 can be arranged essentially equidistant to each other in the third direction 3 perpendicular to the second direction 2. The third direction 3 can be a horizontal direction. A distance between the two or more beams in the third direction 3 can be between 20 mm and 200 mm, particularly between 20 mm and 1 20 mm, and more particularly between 20 mm and 1 20 mm, for example 70 mm or 130 mm.

[0059] According to some embodiments, which can be combined with other embodiments described herein, the one or more beams 1 20 include one or more seats 520 configured to support the substrate at an edge portion. As an example, the one or more seats 520 can be configured to support a rear side of the substrate 1 0. In particular, rear sides of solar cel ls can have functional layers. The one or more seats 520 can be configured to not contact the functional layers to avoid damage to the functional layers. As an example, the one or more seats 520 can support the substrate 10 at small spots at the edges of the substrate 1 0. The one or more seats 520 can be two or more seats spaced apart from each other in the second direction 2.

[0060] In some implementations, at least one scat of the one or more scats 520 can be movable in the first direction 1 and/or the second direction 2 and/or the third direction 3. As an example, a distance between adjacent scats e.g. on a respective beam can be adjusted by moving the at least one seat in a respective direction. As an example, the one or more beam 120 can be provided with two or more cutouts 5 1 0 configured for detachably accommodating the one or more seats 520. At least some of the two or more cutouts 5 10 can be arranged essentially equidistant to each other in the second direction 2. The distance betw een the seats e.g. in the second direction 2 can be changed by placing the one or more seats 520 in respective cutouts 5 10.

[ 0061 ] According to some embodiments, the one or more beams 1 20 can be provided with at least one fixed seat 522 and at least one adjustable seat 524 as il lustrated in the example of FIG. 5B. For example, the least one adjustable seat 524 can be movable e.g. along the second direction 2 using an adjusting screw 530. The adjusting screw 530 can be configured to move or shift the at least one adjustable seat 524 e.g. along the second direction 2 to variably change the distance betw een adjacent seats, such as the distance between the at least one fixed seat 522 and the at least one adjustable seat 524.

[0062] As il lustrated in FIGs. 5 A and B, a distance between adjacent seats can be variably adjusted such that substrates of different sizes can be transported using the one or more beams 1 20. In particular, a position of the one or more seats on the one or more beams 120 can be adapted to a size of the substrate 1 0 to be transported by the apparatus.

[ 0063] FIG. 6 shows a flowchart of a method 700 for transporting a substrate used in the manufacture of a solar cell according to embodiments described herein. An apparatus for transporting the substrate can be installed in a system for the manufacture of solar cells. The system for the manufacture of solar cells can include one or more process stations for processing of the substrate.

[0064] According to an aspect of the present disclosure, the method 700 includes in block 710 moving one or more beams at least in a first direction by operating at least one first actuator having an eccentric device. The method 700 further includes in block 720 contacting the substrate by the one or more beams to lift the substrate from a substrate support and in block 730 moving the one or more beams at least in a second direction different from the first direction by operating at least one second actuator.

[0065] According to an embodiment, the method 700 further includes detecting a position of the substrate with respect to at least one of the first direction and the second direction, comparing the detected position of the substrate to a reference position, determining a difference between the detected position and the reference position, and reducing the difference by operating the at least one second actuator.

[0066] The present disclosure uses at least one eccentric device for moving one or more beams to gently contact and pick up the substrates for transportation. In particular, the at least one eccentric dev ice can provide a variable speed of the one or more beams in the first direction. The speed can be reduced or at a minimum during the pick-up action from the substrate support. Further, the present disclosure can rapidly transport the substrates to a receiving position in a precisely aligned manner. [0067] While the foregoing is directed to embodiments of the disclosure, other and further embodiments of the disclosure may be dev ised without departing from the basic scope of the disclosure, and the scope of the disclosure is determined by the claims that follow.