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Metrology Meets MES

April 26, 2010

Critical Manufacturing and Op-tection announce a strategic partnership agreement, to bring competitive advantage to Solar Manufacturers, combining PV Metrology with Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES)

Portugal, Germany, 26th April 2010 – Critical Manufacturing, an enterprise which creates leading edge software solutions for the high-tech manufacturing industries of solar, electronics and semiconductors, and Op-tection GmbH, a metrology company with innovative, optical measurement technology and products, announce a strategic partnership agreement, to bring competitive advantage to Solar Manufacturers, combining Solar Metrology with Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), towards a Total Yield Management in photovoltaic production.

“The production technology and volume of photovoltaic components has seen a tremendous development and increase. However, the actual efficiency and quality of the production process has a lot of potential to achieve further cost reduction, longer lifetime and higher efficiency for solar cells and panels. By combining Op-tection’s OSIS inspection tools and results with Critical Manufacturing’s cmNAVIGO 2.0 Manufacturing Execution System, this strategic partnership opens a new dimension for increased PV yield, efficiency and quality”, says Reiner Missale, CEO of Critical Manufacturing.

“Combining the specific and unique inspection results of OSIS with the extensive traceability, analytics and visualization of cmNAVIGO is a quantum leap for monitoring, tracking and improving solar manufacturing productivity and quality”, explains Dr. Wilbert Windeln, Managing Director of Op-tection. “The integration of both systems allows achieving a more detailed analysis of defects, determine failure trends, compare quality across the shop-floor and have only one source of inspection data and production documentation”.

The combined offering provides the following main features:

Metrology Data Collection - Stores all the measurements and overall metrology parameters and data directly from Op-tection equipments. Examples:

  • Wafer defects, thickness and texture reflectivity;
  • Phosphoric acid weight and thickness and refractive index of silicon nitride coating (SiNx);
  • Cell and module electro luminescence defects.

… and processes the parameter and data, through:

  • Flexible samplings and readings;
  • Powerful aggregations and calculations;
  • Online validations, warning and max / min limits.

… enabling full traceability and documentation for all material and process conditions throughout the manufacturing process.

Statistical Process Control (SPC) – Allows combining all the collected metrology data per wafer and as trend, across the entire production floor and inspection tools, through:

  • Online and offline chart display and distributions;
  • Table values, individual readings, comments and exclusions;
  • Charts management, specification and control limits;
  • Auto or manual control limit re-calculation into most common variable and attributes charts, warnings for exceeded limits and process windows for increased product quality;
  • Reaction to limit violations, through the execution of exception protocols (manual or automated).

Failure catalogue – Visualizes the entire collection of defects and allows to deep-zoom the images for further analysis. Examples:

  • Cracks, inclusions, grain density;
  • Shunts, dislocations, dark areas;
  • Dead cell(s), dead strings.

Reports / Graphics / Dashboards - Condenses the inspection parameter, data and images for the entire manufacturing areas into a total visibility of the metrology and production data. Example: as a cockpit for:

  • Visualizing the inspection results by tool, line and the entire factory;
  • Monitoring quality deficiencies, violations and results;
  • Comparing the metrology results of tools and production lines.

Op-tection GmbH and Critical Manufacturing will showcase this combined offering at PHOTON's 6th Photovoltaic Technology Show, to be held at Messe Stuttgart, Germany, from the 27th till 29th of April – in Hall 6, Row B, Booth 40.


Critical Manufacturing is an enterprise founded from the established business of Critical Software and the inspiration and experience of a team of international renowned industry experts, that creates leading edge software solutions for the advanced manufacturing industries of solar, electronics and semiconductors. The company is part of Critical Group, a private group of companies founded in 1998 to provide solutions for mission and business critical information systems. Annual growth has been sustained at 50% per year on average since its foundation, operating a CMMI Level 5 and ISO9001 Quality System. Critical Manufacturing is based on an experienced services team coming from Critical Group, and established a product team of individuals with more than 10 years experience in high-tech manufacturing. The company comprises over 80 people, with its headquarters and main technical centre in Portugal and additional facilities in Germany. For more information, visit or contact us at [email protected].


Op-tection GmbH is a metrology company with a strong background in high-tech industries; such as photovoltaic and flat panel display. From experience, we know that ensuring 20+ years performance for your solar products is not something to be taken lightly. Therefore we assist manufacturers of solar cells and modules to utilize state of the art technology to ensure consistent high product quality and maximum efficiency. We do this by using our knowledge and experience in developing and implementing metrology solutions, that span the entire value chain of silicon based as well as thin film solar cell production. The product family OSIS, or - Op-tection Solar Inspection Systems - is available to inspect every process step, from wafer to ready module. All machines are designed and optimized to measure inline. In addition, efficient and precise stand-alone machines are available as well, for offline testing and R&D work. OSIS products have helped customers to operate more competitively. For more information, visit or contact us at [email protected].

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