WINNERS 2015

Project Development Award


Zero Emissions Initiative

Turnkey Project Award

Onyx Solar
BIPV turnkey projects

PV Tool Award


microDICE OTF

PV Process Award

Luvata
Sunwire

PV Balance of System Award

Renusol
RS1 - the ultimate clamp

Integrated O&M / Solar Asset Management Award

Martifer Solar, S.A.

Industry Development Award


PCBTOUCH

Module Manufacturing Innovation Award


Q.PLUS-G4 270-280:

Rural Electrification Award


Rural Electrification - Indonesia

Solar Award for Excellence (Product)


VCM Printing Technology

PV Materials Award

DuPont

DuPont™ Solamet® photovoltaic metallization pastes

Receiving the award: Peter Brenner, Global Business Development Manager

DuPont™ Solamet® PV19A photovoltaic metallization paste, the first product in the PV19x series, is a front side silver paste based on proprietary Tellurium technology and tailored to optimize the efficiency with which solar cells convert sunlight into electricity. It enhances the power output of solar cells by enabling fine line printing down to 30 microns and demonstrating excellent paste transfer for improved line aspect ratios that minimizes the shading effect on the surface of the solar cells, while maintaining superior electrical conductivity.

Solamet® PV19x pastes offer wider processing latitude during manufacturing, which means cost savings result from higher yields, and tighter cell distribution is shifted toward higher efficiency. Improved frit technology enables extreme Lightly Doped Emitters (LDEs) because it improves contact resistance by 10 fold to further boost efficiency on monocrystalline and multicrystalline solar cells.

Click here to download the DuPont Solamet PV19x New Front Side Silver Metallizations PDF.

Project Development Award

Zero Emissions Initiative

Receiving the award: Attilio Palumbo, Executive Vice-President Strategy and Communication

Power Clouds Inc. started a project founding plants driven by sustainable power around the world thanks to the contribution of corporates and public institutions. “Zero Emissions Initiative” is the name of the new challenge thrown by the company together with the “Power Clouds Project” that last year got the Solar Industry Award – in the category Project Development. Zero Emission is a voluntary initiative that invites the biggest responsible for CO2 emissions on the Planet – such as public and private companies- to compensate the impact generated by their products and services by recognizing them as 100 percent replaced by renewables. The company involved buys the certificate to be applied on each product or service. The certification is issued after calculations made by Power Clouds Inc. according to a protocol that meets the highest international standards concerning this field. It will prove that the impact in terms of CO2 has been compensated by a number of plants powered by renewable sources built by Power Clouds. The complete solution is really innovative to finance the promotion of renewables and fight climate changes by directly involving public and private companies.

Zero Emissions Initiative is the alternative to the conventional funding aiming to involve private businesses and public organizations against climate change. That will be possible through a awareness-raising and compensation process in concerning those emissions that are the main causes of Global Warming. The innovation is in funding plants construction indirectly by getting the participants into a network of benefits and best practices easy to spread on a global scale.

The contribution in this fight is given by building renewable energy facilities thanks to the profit of the certifications sale to those companies that compensate this emissions. The plants produce clean energy replacing the one coming from fossil fuels sources and that goes into the national electricity grid. Each participant will know exactly the role he has played in the plant development by being associated the necessary amount of Watts to compensate each product/process/service emission.

Power Clouds thinks that the only way to face climate changes is involving the direct responsible of gas emissions: people corporates public and private organizations. Obviously there already are companies promoting project following the same steps but Power Clouds Inc. is different. Its the company that combines all those steps together in a single project that leads emissions producers to become renewable technology promoters. Also all the participants are going to take part into a network of virtues partnership business opportunities.

Turnkey Project Award

Onyx Solar

BIPV turnkey projects

Receiving the award: Reiner Mack, official distributor for Onyx in Germany

Onyx Solar develop building integrated photovoltaic solutions which are used for the replacement of conventional construction materials from different parts of the building’s exterior such as skylights, façades, windows, curtain walls or roofs.

Onyx Solar has developed the first Low-e Photovoltaic Glass. It improves the properties of conventional glass.

Alongside the VCS 1200 system, Manz's LAS 2400 laser ablation system provides a simple, precise and high-throughput solution for local contact opening of rear side passivation layers. Being a one-stop process, laser ablation offers the lowest cost of ownership for this step in cell production and offers safe wafer handling with the industry's lowest breakage rates.

This Low-e Photovoltaic Glass improves the thermal and sound insulation of the building and filters the ultraviolet and infrared radiation, avoiding adverse impact on people, furniture and buildings’ interior. At the same time, it allows to control the indoor temperature, achieving big savings on air conditioning systems and avoiding greenhouse effect so common in glass buildings. Onxy Solar is a business committed to the development of intelligent solutions for the sustainable integration of solar energy photovoltaic in buildings.

These solutions contemplate the integration of façades and ventilated roof façade as one of the principle constructive solutions designed with the objective to optimize not only the production of energy but also to make important energy savings for the building. Click here to view the Onyx Solar corporate brochure.

Turnkey Equipment Award

Singulus Stangl Solar GmbH

Equipment for wet chemical processes for wafer fabrication

Today ́s dominating solar cell concept is based on cells made from crystalline silicon. SINGULUS STANGL SOLAR provides complete automated dry-in/dry-out solutions for wet treatment of Si-wafers in standard and high-efficiency cell lines.

Current and future market requirements of machines, processes and materials for solar cell manufacturing sets new standards for cost reduction, productivity, process capability and integrability of wet-chemical production. The ongoing evolution of proven concepts in process management and the integration of innovative approaches are the basis for the development of a new generation of horizontal etching systems.

LINEA II is a horizontally working inline wet process platform for cleaning and etching of crystalline solar wafers. The SINGULUS LINEA II combines an advanced transportation system, sustainable and innovative processing modules with proven and efficient chemical etching and cleaning processes. In addition to proven processes like texture etching, PSG etching or RCA cleaning, the focus is on newer applications with one or two sides processes, such as polish etching, emitter etching and ozone-based or ultrasonic cleaning respectively. The highly integrated design, high throughput, high availability and low breakage rate make LINEA II attractive for solar cell manufacturers worldwide.

PV Tool Award

microDICE OTF

Receiving the award: Thomas Kiessling, Area Sales Manager China

The concept of a half-cell module requires a cell separation process which does not induce any significant electrical losses or a reduction in the mechanical cell strength. 3D-Micromac AG has taken the demonstrated potential into account and further developed its existing production systems for photovoltaics in order to meet cell manufacturers demands. The microDICE OTF system uses Thermal-Laser-Separation for cutting of cells into half cells. The separated cells show a significantly higher mechanical strength better edge quality as well as a lower power reduction compared to laser scribing and cleaving approaches. The highly-productive system microDICE OTF achieves a throughput of more than 7200 wafers per hour (single lane. The optical set-up relies on the industry-proven on-the-fly technology successfully used at 3D-Micromac’s laser structuring tools for processing of PERC cells. It guarantees highest productivity and an outstanding price-performance ratio. The laser processing is realized during the continuous transport of the cells under the laser source whereby the relative motion of the cells is automatically compensated for. Stops for the positioning of the individual cells are completely eliminated. The continual movement of the conveyor belt results in an almost 100-percent capacity utilization of the laser source. The microDICE OTF is a fully automatic 24/7 production solution and can be offered as stand-alone or inline system. As all 3D-Micromac production solutions the microDICE OTF is applied to meet cell manufacturers’ demands for achieving maximum throughput rates and yield while cutting cell manufacturing costs. The system guarantees very high availability through the use of a sophisticated efficient concept and high quality components.

The standard procedure for cutting of full cells into half cells is a two-step process: laser scribing and subsequent mechanical cleaving. First the laser is scribing a 30-100 µm deep groove on the rear side of a solar cell. In order for the cell to break into two halves an additional mechanical force needs to be applied which adds up to the handling cost of the machine. The disadvantage of separating cells with this method is the resulting chippings and generation of micro cracks at the cutting edge. As a result we see a significant mechanical strength reduction (minus 30-40 percent of the separated half cell in comparison to the full cell. This can have a negative impact on the final module lifetime and efficiency in case initiated cracks caused by the laser scribing and mechanical cleaving process propagate any further on the separated cell.

The TLS process does not require any additional mechanical breaking by external applied forces. It allows the ablation free cleaving to separate solar cells with a high edge quality. The process is based on thermal induced mechanical stress generated by a well-adjusted combination of a laser (heating and cooling (e.g. by sprayed Di-water. The separation by cleaving is a one pass-process. For giving the separation line a well-defined stating point a second laser is used. This laser initiates the cleaving by a small local scribe at the starting edge (only a few micrometer long and deep – not at the whole surface!. The microDICE OTF system is equipped with two industrial fiber lasers for initial scribing and TLS cleaving. Due to the on-the-fly processing laser utilization is nearly 100 percent.

The microDICE OTF system is based on the successful microSTRUCT OTF system which is used for the Laser Contact Opening for PERC solar cells. Our customers can benefit from a proven platform which guarantees highest uptime lowest breakage rates and an unbeatable cost-benefit ratio. The cell cleavage with the TLS process itself does not reduce mechanical strength of solar cells. In contrast the separation with the laser scribing process leads to a significant strength reduction by more than 33 percent. In addition TLS is kerf less – no area is "wasted".

PV Process Award

Luvata

SunWire

Receiving the award: Tero Horttana, Director Global PV Accounts and Product Group Manager - PV

Sunwire is rolled from round wire to high precision, annealed to extra soft, plated all-over in hot-dip-tinning process and precision level-wound on returnable spools. All standard dimensions, plating alloys and spool sizes are available.

The latest annealing and plating technology in Sunwire products is completely chemical-free and compatible with new lead-free soldering alloys and saves energy. It was developed to help our customers to improve their production yield and product performance. Sunwire benefits include:

  • Smaller width
    • to avoid sacrificing cell yield
    • to enable 3-wire solutions for larger cells
  • Softer material
    • to avoid causing stress in the soldering process
    • to enable usage of thinner wafers
    • to reduce electrical resistance
  • Straighter material
    • to get out the full power of the module
    • usable also in large thin-film applications
  • Tin coating on every surface

Applications

Crystalline silicon panels: Ongoing development of both multicrystalline and monocrystalline silicon cells requires continuous improvements in the wire. We are developing new products to meet the most stringent technological and market demands for all these applications.

Thin-film panels: With the growth of thin-film solar panel markets, there are new requirements for both the wire and the connections between the wire and the thin-film module. Whether it is amourphous or ‘micromorph’ (microcrystalline / amourphous) silicon. CdTe or CIGS thin-films, we can provide the right solution for the module manufacturers.

PV Balance of System Award

Renusol

RS1 - the ultimate clamp

Receiving the award: Marko Balen, Head of Product Management and Till Puffert, Sales Director Europe

RS1 from Renusol is the world’s first universal clamp for mounting photovoltaic (PV modules. The unique feature of the RS1 is its dual functionality. This means the RS1 can be applied as mid or end clamp. To switch between the mid and end clamp function the head of the clamp is simply turned by 90 degrees. The clamp is height adjustable and can be used for the most common framed modules in the market (30 - 50 mm module frame height. Installation and positioning in the mounting rail works single-handed. The RS1 can be moved in the rail smoothly and can easily be removed from the rail as well.

There are an incredible number of different PV module mounting clamps on the market. All other producer of mounting systems have 2 or more clamp types in their assortment with a vast number of different article numbers. This is what it makes it difficult for the customer to figure out what is really needed for the single project or what is useful to keep on stock. Risks of false delivered items or alternate modules on site are existent. At the same time a lot of storage space is needed and there are high administrational costs in item management.

The RS1 enables the installer to have the right clamp at hand no matter what happens. If a sudden need arises for more mid or end clamps than originally planned the clamp´s head is simply turned by 90 degrees. In the end the RS1 cuts the number of clamps down to a minimum leaving only minimal room for mistakes. Since only one component is needed instead of two planning ordering materials keeping a stock - in the warehouse or in the car - and mounting are all made noticeably easier for installers – saving time and money.

The standard in the solar market are height adjustable mid and end clamps which are capable of clamping framed modules between 30 and 50 mm frame height. By developing the RS1 we realized the idea of combining both functionalities of standard PV module clamps in one clamp so the RS1 can be used as mid- and end clamp. Furthermore we did apply materials which are not very common in solar mounting but which are well applied in automotive technology and other mature industries. Moving away from aluminium gave us the possibility to think in different ways and different shapes. Without that step towards high tech material the clamp could not be produced. Combining an innovative production process with innovate material and coating enabled us to create a design which was capable to deliver the needed functionality.

Energy Usage Enabling Award

SolarReserve

Solar thermal technology with integrated energy storage

Receiving the award: Marisa Salagre, European Headquarters Office Manager

SolarReserve’s game-changing CSP technology with molten salt energy storage captures and stores the sun’s power to reliably provide electricity whenever it’s needed most. Thousands of tracking mirrors called heliostats reside in a circular mechanical solar collection field where they follow the sun throughout the day and reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a large heat exchanger called a receiver that sits atop a central tower. Within the receiver molten salt flows through the piping that forms the external walls absorbing the heat from the concentrated sunlight. The molten salt is heated from 550⁰F (288⁰C to 1050⁰F (566⁰C. Molten salt is an ideal heat capture medium as it maintains its liquid state even above 1050⁰F allowing the system to operate at low pressure for efficient and safe energy capture and storage. After passing through the receiver the high temperature molten salt flows down the piping inside the tower and into an insulated thermal storage tank where the energy is stored as high-¬temperature molten salt until electricity is needed. In a typical SolarReserve plant the tank holds enough in storage to dispatch ten to fourteen hours of electricity at nameplate capacity.

SolarReserve’s technology leverages liquid molten salt as both the energy collection and the storage mechanism which allows it to separate energy collection from electricity generation. When electricity is required day or night the high-¬temperature molten salt is passed through a steam generation system to produce high-quality superheated steam to drive a standard steam turbine at maximum efficiency generating electricity. The steam generation process is identical to the process used in conventional gas coal or nuclear power plants except that it is 100 percent renewable with zero harmful emissions or waste. Once the hot salt is used to create steam the cooled molten salt is then piped back into the cold salt storage tank where it will then flow back up the receiver to be reheated as the process continues. To deliver reliable and cost-effective 24/7 baseload power SolarReserve is also developing CSP projects that integrate substantial PV into the design. The idea behind this concept is to reduce the overall LCOE by incorporating cheaper PV during the day and maximize CSP’s steam turbines during the night and peak demands. These ‘hybrid’ CSP PV projects can compete with traditional generation while providing emission-free and low water use generation. Balancing CSP with PV ‘inside the fence’ eliminates the intermittency issues associated with PV and combining the two technologies reduces overall delivered power cost. These baseload solar power plants can operate at a high capacity factor and availability to fully utilize transmission infrastructure.

In Chile SolarReserve is developing fully integrated CSP and PV hybrid projects to supply power to the mining sector an industry that requires 24/7 power supply. The Copiapó Solar Energy Project located in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile is a hybrid configuration utilizing SolarReserve’s proprietary CSP tower technology with molten salt thermal energy storage combined with PV. The Copiapó project will deliver over 1700 gigawatt hours annually at a highly competitive and unsubsidized price of power that competes with coal and natural gas plants to provide round the clock supply. The project’s more than 3.6 GW-hours of energy storage is the key to meeting the market demands.

Integrated O&M / Solar Asset Management Award

Martifer Solar, S.A.

Receiving the award: José María Guinea, O&M Director and José Carlos Amador, Director of Marketing & Communication

Martifer Solar is a fully-integrated player in the global photovoltaic market focused on Asset Funding & Placement, Development, EPC, O&M Service and Trading. Supported by a proven track record and true worldwide presence, the company provides 360º turnkey solutions adapted to each customer’s individual needs.

Martifer Solar has built a global reputation by deploying outstanding price-performance ratio solar plants that exceed customer expectations, transforming solar energy into green assets by maximizing value and mitigating risks.

Our recognized capabilities across the entire value chain enable us to manage all phases of the solar development cycle, from market and site identification to the grid connection and subsequent plant operation. Martifer Solar is a Portuguese-based company with presence in more than 20 countries over 4 continents and has implemented around 670 MW of solar energy all over the world.

Industry Development Award

PCBTOUCH

Receiving the award: Ernst Gockel, Head of Account Management

The innovative PCBTOUCH system is a contacting jig consisting of an upper frame and a bottom plate. The upper frame is composed of a wire grid while the bottom plate is slightly convex topped with a printed circuit board (PCB. The top wires are either used to contact the upper fingers of busbarless cells or simply to hold the cell in place and guarantee good contact of the backside for back-contacting cells such as MWT or IBC designs. The flexibility of the PCBTOUCH solution allows the easy creation of a design that matches any cell backside layout.

The patent pending PCBTOUCH contacting system is a unique solution that addresses the market’s need to contact back-contacting cells or any complex backside printing layout such as bifacial busbarless cells for IV/EL performance measurements.

The PCBTOUCH uses a printed circuit board to back-contact solar cells in laboratory and industrial environments It can contact different cell technologies and layouts such MWT IBC and busbarless cells. Once the cell has been placed in the right position on the PCB it is pushed onto the upper wire grid which ensures good contact of the backside’s pads fingers or busbars and also holds the cell in place during the measurement process. This makes the use of a vacuum system no more necessary.

Existing solutions for back contacting cells are all based on vacuum systems that are costly and only compatible with one specific cell layout. Even slight changes to the cell design require the purchase of additional units. Meyer Burger’s PCBTOUCH solution allows total compatibility with different designs and technologies simply by replacing the PCB. While the current existing solutions for contacting bifacial busbarless cells show limitations for some front and back finger configurations the PCBTOUCH is compatible with any parallel perpendicular 45° and interrupted configurations. Cell thickness is decreasing and the risk of damaging the cell with the contact pins is increasing accordingly. Meyer Burger’s PCBTOUCH solution uniformly distributes the pressure on the cell and enables contacting of much thinner cells.

Module Manufacturing Innovation Award

Q.PLUS-G4 270-280:

Receiving the award: Jörg Müller, R&D

The high-performance module Q.PLUS-G4 is designed for all applications thanks to its innovative cell technology Q.ANTUM. The world-record cell design was developed to achieve the best performance under real conditions – even with low radiation intensity and on clear, hot summer days.

Q.ANTUM technology supercharges ordinary crystalline solar cells and modules. Unlike expensive high-end solar modules, Q.ANTUM does not involve a complex new cell design. No special system components are required. Q.ANTUM delivers exceptional performance under real-world conditions. No PV system sees direct sunlight every minute of every day. So we designed Q.ANTUM to generate more power when the sun is rising, setting, or even behind clouds. But you’ll also see higher yields in the middle of hot and sunny summers — and during clear fall and winter days, when the sun is not as high in the sky. Because we decided to focus on all of the key determinants of performance, not just the ones that make our datasheets look good. We enhanced low-light performance, but also the output of our modules across a range of temperatures — all to bring you higher profits.

Rural Electrification Award

Rural Electrification - Indonesia

Receiving the award: Aleix Massana, Global Transactional Operational Marketing Manager

The goal was product application and how Schneider Indonesia can support government policies to provide electricity to people in remote areas and islands where it is not easy to have access to fuel to fuel or electricity. With a combination of our products i.e Solar Charge Controller (XWMPPT60-150 Inverter Charger (XW6048 Combox for Monitoring and data Logger we offered a complete system to meet the needs of the customer for capacities of 15 to 75 kW.

Solar Home Systems (SHS did not meet customer needs. Instead installing Central Systems were more reliable easy to maintain and have a longer life time. Our competitors also have Central Systems but with bigger capacity for one unit such as 15 kW and 20 kW and other products have higher battery systems such as 220 VDC up to 348 VDC.

What is the advantage of our solution? We offer a modular system meaning our products are flexible depending on the size required. For example: 15 kW (3 x XW6048 for 20 kW and 25 kW (4 x XW6048 and for 30 kW (6 x XW6048. With a modular system it is easier to replace parts products are more reliable and the unit can be operated with smaller capacity with- out experiencing a black out on the whole system. The lower battery system (48 VDC also offer more safety for the operator especially for people with less knowledge in electricity. By offering the Combox for Monitoring the government can monitor the systems remotely. They can also integrate all systems in one monitoring solution. The features of the XW6048 inverter for Grid Interactivity has benefits for the future when connecting to the grid becomes available. Another benefit to the customer is Schneider Electrics presence in Indonesia with numerous branch offices and distributors making it easy for customers to communicate any problem and get after sales service.

Solar Award for Excellence (Product)

VCM Printing Technology

Receiving the award: Darren Brown, Alternative Energy Business Manager

The dual print process for solar cell metallization is widely recognized for its ability to reduce silver paste consumption reduce shadowing losses produce exceptionally thin line widths and improve solar cell efficiency rates. With this technique busbars are printed first with a precision screen and after drying a second print with a stencil produces the fine line collector fingers. ASM AE has achieved 40 µm line widths with this technique. While the benefits of dual print have been well-publicized there are some challenges with this process – particularly as they relate to throughput yield and wafer to wafer consistency. Specifically because of the topography generated by the busbar print stencil to wafer gasketing for the secondary collector array print is challenging – particularly around the busbar feature. Conventionally the only way to work around this is to reduce the print speed so that the squeegee can accommodate for the variations in height. This unfortunately results in throughput reduction and may also contribute to print inconsistencies from wafer to wafer.

To address these issues with dual print and to improve repeatability and reliability of single print processes as well ASM Alternative Energy (ASM AE has developed VCM (Voice Coil Motor Printing Technology. VCM Printing Technology is a self-adjusting material deposition innovation that has very low friction levels and is incredibly responsive. Through a unique and proprietary design VCM Printing Technology allows the squeegee head print force to compensate for variations in substrate topography - -all in real time. This development has far-reaching benefits in terms of print quality throughput rates process control screen life and wafer to wafer repeatability. VCM Printing Technology is currently available on ASM AE’s Eclipse metallization platform and will be incorporated into future platform developments.

ASM AE's VCM Printing Technology allows for high throughput single and dual print solar cell metallization processes. Previously dual print UPH rates were limited by the inability of the stencil to fully gasket to the wafer. This condition necessitated the reduction in print speeds to accommodate for the variations in substrate topography. With VCM Printing Technology print speeds can remain relatively high and constant as the system automatically adjusts for substrate height variances in real time. This incredibly precise control increases throughput for dual print processes improves wafer to wafer print consistency increases printed line aspect ratios reduces shadowing losses and raises cell efficiency by as much as 0.1 percent for both single and dual print metallization processes.

Traditionally the squeegee systems used on print platforms for solar cell metallization function based on pre-set print speeds and pressures. Because the pressure is generally set at a constant rate the only way to accommodate for height variations is to slow down the print speed to ensure good material transfer efficiency. VCM Printing Technology incorporates a novel self-regulating mechanism that enables the print head to automatically adjust for height variations as it traverses over the stencil during the print process. The new ASM AE innovation allows for a constant rate of speed to be maintained while delivering exceptionally high yields among other benefits.

ASM AE's VCM Printing Technology is the first and only self-adjusting print head for solar cell metallization. Print speeds can remain high and constant as the VCM Printing Technology automatically accommodates for variations in substrate height in real time. This novel development has numerous benefits for solar cell manufacturers and for the advancement of single and dual print processes. Among the advantages of VCM Printing Technology are: excellent wafer to wafer repeatability (lower standard deviation on fired front side line height and width increased printed line aspect ratios cell efficiency improvements by as much as 0.1 percent reduced print head maintenance requirements ease-of-use through automatic/software-controlled operations (as opposed to manual settings better process control and extended screen life.

Solar Award for Excellence (Innovation)

Trina Solar limited

Virtual Factory tour - PV Digital Transformation

Receiving the award: Dr. Pierre Verlinden Head of R&D

Trina Solar had a challenge. How to communicate the size and quality standards of Trina`s CH production facilities and show that production is of a high quality. Customer visits in China are costly, time intense and of high administrative burden and Trina cannot pay the visit for customers under the current anti-dumping regulation in Europe; thus customers interested in the factory or customers with doubts would have to be told to pay the trip themselves. Large project customers demand usually a factory visit to assure themselves of standards and automated production methods (note: audit results do not suffice, as customers want peace of mind).

The Answer? The Virtual Factory Tour

Due to budget cuts, the marketing team in Europe was forced to find a booth solution to the described problem but also a feature to be displayed at the year`s biggest exhibition.

Brainstorming, the idea was born to create digital assets, mobile friendly and scalable to the entire organization to display marketing ROI, allow for a target group specific approach through sales in a personalized way and to excite customer with technology about technology.

Together with Re`flekt, the idea was born to create a staged mobile concept, from an high level immersive factory overview, to augmented reality product presentation on a system level down to a digitally blended pure product presentation. In other words, we have focused to bring an otherwise dull product and invisible product process to life.

  • Planning for the virtual factory tour encompassed the following key criteria:
  • The tour must feel real and immersive;
  • Sounds and impressions have to be transported in a realistic way;
  • The tour must be fully mobile to be integrated into the very personalized, relationship driven and f2f selling process;
  • The tour must be long enough to view all areas but short enough to not feel overwhelming;
  • Viewers must not be lost in the tour, thus a scripted tour vs. a self-guided tour was needed;
  • The viewer must get access to the entire factory to allow more selling points for sales when presenting to customers;

Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus, was chosen as a headset to allow for further synergies. Since all sales managers use Samsung mobiles, we can fully scale the tour overnight by only installing the tour app on each phone and sending the $200 headset to sales managers. With that, we have achieved all planned objectives:

  • A highlight at our exhibition - the first 3d virtual reality 3d sound factory tour of our industry
  • A budget sensitive approach by leveraging over 40 percent of exhibition budget to technology of sustainable use
  • Creating a globally scalable solution
  • Be first mover with technology and thus imply to customers our innovation potential
  • Elevate the EU marketing organization as a think tank in the organization by leading the digital transformation in the organization from brochure driven sales to immersive and digitally enabled sales tools

The results speak for themselves: Booth visit increase-the busiest booth at the exhibition according to the expo organizer. At times, lines in front of booth to experience the tour. Customer satisfaction spiked in our expo concept measure by over 20 percent over last year Internally, praise and recognition from the CEO, CFO and almost all executive level managers, which in a Chinese rooted organization means a lot and enables Europe to further lead innovation within the organization Sales managers are now getting equipped with the headsets, many factory tours have been conducted with clients post the beta launch, making the tour now an integral and inevitable part of every f2f customer visit.

Key Dates

Nominations open 1st March 2016
Nominations close 6th May 2016
Voting opens 19th May 2016
Voting closes 14th June 2016
Winners informed 15th June 2016
Awards ceremony 22nd June 2016