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Manz Automation AG arranges cooperation with Basler AG

Basler AG

Exclusive cooperation to integrate Basler electroluminescence measurement in cell testers for crystalline silicon solar cells - Functionality of Manz Automation's fully automated cell tester increased to include Basler technology

Reutlingen, August 8, 2008 - Manz Automation AG, which, together with its subsidiaries, is one of the leading global technology providers in terms of market shares for systems and components for automation, quality assurance and laser process technology for the photovoltaic sector and for automation and wet chemicals for the LCD industry, has agreed a cooperation with Basler AG.

Basler specializes in optical quality assurance and has developed an electroluminescence measuring process which will be exclusively integrated into Manz Automation's cell testers - the final process in fully automated production lines for crystalline silicon solar cells. Basler has been able to optimize this process so that it can be used for the inline production of crystalline silicon solar cells. This method applies an electrical current to the solar cell. As a result of the thereby generated current, the solar cell emits a weak luminescence. This 'light' can be recorded and evaluated by using ultra-sensitive optical measuring systems. Thus, defects in the solar cells, such as microscopic cracks or circuits missing contacts can be detected for the first time by a cell tester.

The close-knit cooperation in integrating Basler's inspection technology means that Manz has succeeded in generating a throughput of more than 2,400 solar cells per hour for the cell tester, despite the highly detailed measurements. This technology, which is being used in production equipment for the photovoltaic sector for the first time, can significantly reduce the breakage rate for module production. Volker Biemann, Basler AG's product manager for solar inspection solutions: 'Integrating this solution allows microscopic cracks in solar cells to be reliably detected, thus reducing breakage rates. Experiments to date have shown that in addition to the microscopic cracks, which are relevant for breakages, other defects can also by easily recognized with the help of the images.'

Dieter Manz, Manz Automation's CEO, is very pleased about the future cooperation: 'Increasing the performance of our backend lines means we are taking another step towards grid parity. This will help us to enable our customers to cut costs and to boost the efficiency of solar modules.' In addition, the CEO also underscored the project's significance: 'This cooperation is another building block to set standards as well in future with our equipment, allowing us to offer the world's leading high-tech machines in the photovoltaic sector. The Manz cell tester is now not only the fastest machine on the market, but also the machine with the most comprehensive testing technology.'

Company profile: Manz Automation AG

Reutlingen-based Manz Automation AG (ISIN: DE000A0JQ5U3), together with its subsidiaries, is one of the leading global technology providers in terms of market shares for systems and components for automation, quality assurance and laser process technology for the photovoltaic industry and for automation and wet chemicals for the LCD industry. The Manz Group's core competences are in robotics, image processing, laser technology, wet chemicals as well as control and drive technology. The Manz Group's key strategic divisions are photovoltaic (systems.solar), LCD (systems.lcd) and components and OEM systems (systems.aico) for automation in various industrial sectors and the life science industry. The Manz Group has sales and/or service branches in Germany, Taiwan, the USA, China, South Korea, Spain, Hungary and Slovakia, as well as a service alliance in India. In addition, the Manz Group has its own production facilities in Germany, Slovakia, Hungary, Taiwan and China. The Manz Group recorded revenues in fiscal year 2007 totaling around EUR 71.2 million with an EBIT margin of 14.1%. More than 57% of revenues were generated abroad, in particular in Asia. In the first quarter of fiscal year 2008, the Manz Group recorded revenues of EUR 38.6 million with an EBIT margin of 14.5%.

Company profile: Basler AG

Ahrensburg-based Basler AG was formed by Norbert Basler in 1988, and recorded revenues of EUR 51.5 million in 2007. In addition to its headquarters in Ahrensburg near Hamburg, the company also maintains six further facilities in the USA, China, Taiwan, Singapore, Korea and Japan. Basler records more than 80% of its revenues abroad.

The company has more than 300 employees worldwide in two divisions: Basler Components develops and sells standard components, which can mostly be used independently of specific applications in many industrial sectors. The core product in Basler's range is digital cameras, used in industrial processes and video surveillance. Its core markets include machine vision, intelligent traffic surveillance, medical technology and video surveillance. The second division, Basler Solutions, develops, produces and sells solutions for automated quality assurance for a wide range of industrial applications.

The high-performance image processing solutions with their perfectly tuned components are backed by 20 years of expertise and experience in image processing, electronics and optics. This allows Basler to offer solutions that are tailored specifically to customers' needs, can be integrated seamlessly in production and automation processes, and which thus help customers to compete successfully in a highly competitive environment. The solutions' flexibility is reflected in the wide range of markets in which Basler operates. Its image processing solutions are used, inter alia, by manufacturers for optical storage devices, flatscreens and solar cells as well as in the gasket industry, the production of foodstuffs and in medicine.

Investor relations contact

Manz Automation AG Birte-Christina Benecke Tel.: +49 (0)7121 - 9000-21 Fax: +49 (0)7121 - 9000-99 

cometis AG Ulrich Wiehle Tel.: +49 (0)611 - 205855-11 Fax: +49 (0)611 - 205855-66 

Basler AG Solutions Katrin Haase Tel.: +49 (0)4102 - 463-128 Fax: +49 (0)4102 - 463-46128

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