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Oerlikon acquires laser technology enterprise SiLas

Lead in solar technology bolstered

Pfäffikon SZ, April 3, 2007 - Oerlikon Solar has bolstered its know-how base in the swiftly expanding solar market through the acquisition of SiLas, a laser technology development enterprise. The acquired Silas GmbH was a subsidiary of Innolas Holding GmbH, Krailing, a global leader in laser technology. It specializes in the processing of thin-film silicon coating. The hitherto outsourced laser segment will now be integrated into Oerlikon's existing production line together with the 21 employees involved. Oerlikon's position as a leading provider of production systems for thin-film solar modules is thus boosted by this acquisition.

As leading provider of high-performance laser tools, InnoLas has been an important partner for Oerlikon Solar over the past few years. The integration of laser scribing technology in Oerlikon's manufacturing process played a major part in the development and realization of its mass production systems for thin-film solar module production. "The now finalized acquisition of SiLas is a logical outcome of our partnership. It gives us exclusive access to SiLas' know-how," explains Oerlikon CEO Thomas Limberger. This move not only strengthens the company's market position, it also speeds up the production and delivery times for turn-key solar systems.

Laser technology plays a key role in the production of thin-film solar modules and nano-structures. In this process, the individual layers are divided by laser into miniscule segments. The thus produced solar cells are then electrically connected by means of a laser scribing process, which results in fully functioning solar modules. Through the acquisition of SiLas, Oerlikon Solar has gained access to laser technology for all thin-film materials including amorphous silicon (a Si), μ-morphous silicon (μ-si) and cadmium telluride (CdTe).

The combination of SiLas' technological know-how with that of the recently acquired Exitech will give a further boost to Oerlikon's leading technological position in the laser industry. "Laser is fast becoming one of Oerlikon's key technologies," says Limberger. The Oerlikon Optics and Wafer Processing business units also stand to benefit from this latest acquisition through shared research and development.

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