Despatch Industries Drives Photovoltaic Cost Reductions

Partners with Wright Williams & Kelly, Inc. to Drive Continuous Cost of Ownership Improvements

Minneapolis, Minn., U.S.A. – January 8, 2008 - Despatch Industries, a world-leading provider of innovative solar cell manufacturing equipment, announces a strategic partnership with Wright Williams & Kelly, Inc. (WWK), a cost and productivity management software and consulting services company. Despatch is utilizing WWK’s software system to perform reliability calculations and create cost of ownership models for the CDF Firing Furnace and the DCF Integrated Inline Diffusion System.

“Initial tests show that our in-line diffusion system is significantly more efficient and offers a lower cost of ownership than POCL systems,” says Brian Bunkenburg, Director of Custom Products and New Product Development. “Analysis done with the new software system from WWK will allow us to further quantify the financial benefits of our equipment, demonstrate our equipment’s efficiency and provide a benchmark for continued improvement.”

In solar cell manufacturing, materials and consumables account for the largest costs per cell produced. It is critical for equipment to be reliable and efficient to minimize the amount of materials and consumables wasted in production. Backed by 105 years of experience in heat technology, Despatch has created solar cell manufacturing equipment that features innovations which provide the highest levels of reliability and decrease the cost of ownership to manufacturers. Despatch’s patented drop-down chamber design offers convenient access for routine cleaning and provides superior across-the-belt uniformity. These features increase machine uptime and reduce energy consumption. Overall, Despatch’s equipment requires less power and labor, reduces breakage and minimizes waste.

“Despatch is the most aggressive PV equipment supplier we have worked with in the area of cost of ownership and overall equipment improvement,” states Daren Dance, Vice President of Technology at WWK. “When compared to traditional batch furnace operations, we have seen a significant cost reduction.”

In the photovoltaic market, Despatch has achieved several milestones. The company has shipped over 4GW of production capacity in metallization firing furnaces and these firing furnaces currently hold the number one market share in China. Despatch has also expanded their integrated, in-line diffusion line to include five different models, including pilot scale and R&D models.

Since its inception in 1902, Despatch Industries has worked at the forefront of thermal processing technology. Building on the company’s foundation of expertise in engineering and manufacturing, Despatch has grown to become a global supplier of innovative equipment in some of the world’s most sophisticated industries, including: photovoltaic energy, carbon fiber materials, medical devices and electronic components.

With more than 3,000 users worldwide, Wright Williams & Kelly, Inc. is the largest privately held operational cost management software and consulting company serving technology-dependent and technology-driven organizations. WWK maintains long-term relationships with prominent industry resources including SEMATECH, SELETE, Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), and national labs and universities. Its client base includes nearly all of the top 20 semiconductor manufacturers and equipment and materials suppliers as well as leaders in nanotechnology, micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), thin film record heads, magnetic media, flat panel displays, and photovoltaics (PV).

WWK’s product line includes TWO COOL® for detailed process step level cost of ownership (COO) and overall equipment efficiency (OEE), PRO COOL® for process flow and test cell costing, Factory Commander® for full factory capacity analysis and activity based costing, and Factory Explorer® for cycle time reduction and WIP planning. Additionally, WWK offers a highly flexible product management software package that helps sales forces eliminate errors in product configuration and quotation processes.

Call today for more information from Wright Williams & Kelly, Inc. Providing software solutions for productivity measurement and enhancement since 1991.

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