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DuPont Performance Elastomers to Introduce Kalrez® Parts to The Photovoltaic (PV) Market to Help Increase Production Uptime and Improve Output

WILMINGTON, Del, September 17, 2008 - DuPont Performance Elastomers (DPE) will introduce Kalrez® perfluoroelastomer parts specifically designed for the photovoltaic market at Semicon Europa in Stuttgart, Germany, on Oct. 7-9 in Hall 1, Booth 735 and the Solar Power Conference in San Diego, Calif., on Oct. 13-16 at Booth 1600. For both wafer-based and thin film PV processes, Kalrez® parts demonstrate broad chemical compatibility and excellent thermal stability. Kalrez® parts are used to help improve sealing reliability in critical PV wafer processing equipment that uses plasma, high heat and aggressive chemicals.

In both wafer-based and thin film PV processes, Kalrez® parts demonstrate broad chemical compatibility and excellent thermal stability.

As PV manufacturers use more aggressive and efficient chemicals and higher temperatures to increase uptime and improve output, more strain is placed on the manufacturing process. Unplanned maintenance due to incompatible sealing materials can interfere with production schedules, causing downtime. Kalrez® perfluoroelastomer parts have been field proven in highly aggressive sealing environments, like semiconductor wafer processing, for more than 30 years. Kalrez® seals resist over 1800 chemicals including reactive gases and plasmas, alkalis, acids and solvents. Even in contact with these corrosive chemicals, Kalrez® seals retain their elastomer properties to temperatures as high as 325°C. These products produce dramatic results in less downtime due to less preventative maintenance (PM), and they increase productivity and reduce the cost of ownership in the production environment.

Four product groups of Kalrez® seals are being introduced for PV manufacturing processes and also for poly-silicon feedstock production and abatement systems:

  • Kalrez® PV8030: for surface texturing, polysilicate removal and “wet” scrubber/abatement applications.
  • Kalrez® PV8050: for edge isolation, ARC coating, CIS/CIGS and cadmium telluride cell layer and TCO deposition processes. Kalrez® PV8070: for doping, metallization, and CIS/CIGS cell layer deposition processes.
  • Kalrez® 9100: for amorphous/microcrystalline silicon cell layer deposition processes.

For static and dynamic PV sealing applications, Kalrez® parts offer performance that surpasses typical industry maintenance standards for greater equipment uptime. A combination of properties effectively extends seal life, produces higher quality devices and greater yields. Kalrez® parts have:

  • xcellent thermal stability with maximum continuous service temperature up to 325°C,
  • Very low outgassing properties,
  • And low particle generation.

“The Kalrez® product line has already achieved global acceptance for high-performance sealing applications in numerous high tech industries, including pharmaceutical, oil and gas recovery, aerospace and chemical processing applications,” said Rudy van Engen, DPE global business manager. “We have recently sampled the new products to select PV customers and the initial results have been outstanding. We expect that the PV market will experience similar reduced maintenance costs and greater equipment uptime as our more established markets have seen.”

The entire line of Kalrez® seals for the PV market became available for sampling in late August. DuPont Performance Elastomers also has integrated manufacturing back to the polymer, enhancing quality control and product development. Kalrez® parts are manufactured in ISO 9000 registered facilities and are available in a wide variety of finished products from conventional seal shapes and bonded door seals to custom geometrics. Kalrez® perfluorelastomer parts are specially cleaned and double packaged in Class 100 workstations to significantly reduce the potential for contamination. Each item is individually packaged in a bar-coded bag for full traceability. These products are available in the form of O-rings, sheets, and custom parts.