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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Automated High-Volume Manufacturing of Modular Photovoltaic Panel Assemblies for Space Solar Arrays

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Automated High-Volume Manufacturing of Modular Photovoltaic Panel Assemblies for Space Solar Arrays, Phase II

Deployable Space Systems, Inc. (DSS) will focus the proposed SBIR Phase 2 program on the development and demonstration of an automated robotic manufacturing infrastructure designed to mass-produce DSS's Integrated Modular Blanket Assembly (IMBA) common photovoltaic Standard Power Modules (SPM's). The proposed development and demonstration will implement automated manufacturing processes for CIC-ing, glassing, stringing, laydown, and validation testing of interconnected photovoltaic devices onto an ultra-lightweight IMBA/SPM modular flexible blanket assembly through simple and commercially available pick-and-place robotic manufacturing techniques / equipment. Robotically automated manufacturing of IMBA/SPM photovoltaic panel assemblies will provide game-changing affordability / cost-savings when compared to current labor intensive manufacturing processes. Unlike the current industry approach which is only focused on increasing the device area to only minimally reduce panel assembly costs, the proposed automated manufacturing will attack the highest/most labor intensive cost components of manufacturing a panel assembly, namely; CICing, glassing, stringing, panel laydown, and validation testing. DSS's modular IMBA/SPM photovoltaic flexible blanket assembly coupled with automated manufacturing promises to provide ultra-affordable, high-performance, and repeatable high-quality photovoltaic panel assemblies for future NASA Space Science and Exploration missions, and particularly for ultra-high-power SEP missions.

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