SolidWorks customer Montech AG puts another loop in the ‘green’ belt

doesn't look like a “green” company at first glance. Based in Switzerland, the
SolidWorks customer
designs and manufactures conveyor systems for
production facilities a pretty standard product in an industrial economy,
albeit with the many innovations Montech has developed over the years. But a
recent piece of news Montech issued is a window on how the emerging sustainable
economy offers opportunities to established companies that know how to expand
their thinking. 

There’s not a lot of
obvious tie-in between conveyor belts and solar cells until you consider that
to manufacture solar cells on the large scale needed to meet global demand, solar cell companies need large-scale production equipment like
conveyors. Solar photovoltaic cells are delicate, ultra-thin wafers that need
careful handling. Montech has designed a conveyor that eliminates the process
of lifting the solar cell off the conveyor belt, substituting a gentle “hand
off” that eliminates the risk of creating micro cracks in the cells that erode
their performance.

The fact that an
established company like Montech invested in developing a specialized conveyor
for solar cell manufacturing can also be viewed as a bellwether for the
renewable energy economy. One of the main barriers to wide solar photovoltaic
energy adoption is the cost of solar cells. Economy of scale brings down unit
prices. When companies like Montech are designing high-volume production
equipment for solar cells, we can take it as a good sign that the renewable
energy economy is emerging from its long nascent period. Montech will demonstrate its solar cell
at the Photovoltaic Technology Show in Stuttgart, Germany, on April