News Ticker – July 23, 2010

Efficiency breakthrough in thin-film solar cells?
Thin-film solar cellScientists at Johannes Gutenberg University (Mainz, Germany) have reportedly made a major breakthrough in more efficient thin-film (CIGS) solar cells. Researchers, who focused on the indium/gallium puzzle that has baffled scientists for years, have now achieved a maximum efficiency ratio of 70:30 (indium:gallium). To date, it had been possible to achieve an efficiency of only about 20% with CIGS cells.

Thin-film solar cells are gaining an ever-increasing proportion of the solar-cell market. Only a few micrometers thick, they offer savings on material and manufacturing costs. CIGS cells absorb sunlight through a thin layer made of copper, indium, gallium, selenium, and sulphur. With the aid of computer simulations, it was discovered that if these materials are produced at higher temperatures, they are significantly more homogeneous and thus can be much more efficient in converting sunlight into electricity. More info

Printed Specialties installs Bobst diecutter, folder/gluer duo

Printed Specialties EXPERTFOLD console

Printed Specialties operator Todd Wright uses the computer control system to quickly and precisely set up the Bobst EXPERTFOLD 110 A2.

The printer/packaging manufacturer has added a Bobst EXPERTFOLD 110-A2 high-speed folder/gluer to its Carrollton, GA, operation. The installation was in answer to Printed Specialties’ quest to continually improve efficiency. “We had a job that took two folding operations,” says president Greg Smith. “Our customer was concerned about our capacity and turnaround time. The EXPERTFOLD has allowed us to take that job from two operations to a single folding operation and run it faster. As a result, we’ve increased our share of that customer’s business from about 10% to nearly 70%.” In addition, Printed Specialties installed a nearly new Bobst SP 103-ER Autoplaten® diecutter for many of the same reasons as the folder/gluer. “The diecutter gave us additional capacity, but with inline blanking it allowed us to eliminate manual blanking on many jobs providing a quality and efficiency benefit.”

Sonoco reports strong Q2 2010 sales of $1.01 billion
The Hartsville, SC-based consumer and industrial packaging company says its Q2 2010 net sales were $1.01 billion—17% higher than the $864 million in 2009. Overall gross profit margin in Q2 2010 improved to 19.1% percent of sales. Sonoco’s Consumer Packaging segment sales were $392 million for the second quarter—up 4% on the strength of rigid plastic containers and flexible packaging. Tubes and Cores/Paper segment sales were $416 million—up 29% due largely to higher selling prices and improved volumes of global industrial converted products and paperboard. More info

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