“Six Sigma application in actual projects”
OTB Solar (now Meyer Burger) delivers production lines for the manufacture of solar cells. These production lines, consisting partly of their own equipment and partly of purchased machines, are installed at the customer’s premises. The processes have to be aligned with each other to achieve the optimal efficiency of the end product, the solar cell. In this case efficiency means that the solar cell converts as much light as possible into electricity.
Successful development and preparation of solar cell production lines
OTB Solar focussed sharply on the sale of production lines integrated with physical processes for its customers. Holland Innovative contributed to the development of these processes and the integration of purchased machines across the whole line. Together with the customer’s application specialists, the processes were further developed and released to the customer on- site (Europa, China, India…) By training the customer’s developers in the methods and statistics of Design for Six Sigma, knowledge of process development will be maintained. Because of the visible results, the management of OTB Solar became fully convinced of the necessity to apply Six Sigma in their company.
Optimization in relation to the ultimate objective
Holland Innovative subsequently carried on in order to show the developers how they could achieve rapid results by making good use of statistics. The OTB process was analysed and all links were optimized by using statistics in relation to the ultimate objective. Various departments at OTB Solar were trained and coached in Six Sigma. The developers attended the Green Belt Six Sigma, and some knowledge carriers then continued to the Black Belt programme. The entire management team attended the One Day Workshop Six Sigma in order to be able to coach and support their team. Owing to this, they were able to go ahead during the difficult period in which Solar’s process optimizations took place and develop significant business opportunities in conversion kits and optimizations.
Strong practical basis
Coaching on the job has been an important success factor in this programme. Holland Innovative’s coaches supported the developers during their work, meaning that Design for Six Sigma is now embodied in a strong practical basis. The developers are now in a position to apply the methods independently. The management of OTB Solar is seeing the results in new processes that are making the solar cells more efficient and therefore easier to sell to the current owners of OTB machines. The development towards integrated equipment and process development using Six Sigma did not go unnoticed by the new owner, Meyer Burger, and the methods are now also being successfully employed in other developments.