Meet the Team: Hanwha Q CELLS' Tino Wieczorek

Meet the Team Hanwha Q CELLS’ Tino Wieczorek

Tino Wieczorek is a Hanwha Q CELLS veteran. He first joined the company in Germany fresh out of college back in 2005. He played an important role in Hanwha Q CELLS’ early days, helping scale up and automate the company’s production lines. He also contributed to its global expansion, by setting up the company’s Malaysian production plant.

Today, Tino, as a team leader of Maintenance and Equipment Engineering at Hanwha Q CELLS’ primary manufacturing facility in Korea, he looks back fondly of his time with the company and the amazing journey he’s been on.

Q1. Please introduce yourself.

My name is Tino Wieczorek and I’m the team leader for Maintenance and Equipment Engineering at Hanwha Q CELLS. I’ve been working at Q CELLS for almost 15 years. I started my career with Q CELLS in 2005 as an engineer responsible for metrology tools, optics, and electrics.

Q2. How did you first join Hanwha Q CELLS?

To be honest, I wasn’t planning on joining Hanwha Q CELLS. But it was an up-and-coming business, growing really fast, so I decided to apply because it seemed like the best choice. When I graduated from university, Hanwha Q CELLS was looking for new employees who knew how to handle optical, fully-automated measurement systems to reduce the amount of manual labor needed on the production line. This was exactly what I’d studied and why I’d become an engineer, so I signed up.

Q3. Is Korea the first time you’ve worked overseas?

I first became an expatriate in 2002 when I began working in Malaysia – Hanwha Q CELLS Malaysia – and stayed there for five years. Towards the end of that time, I was offered the opportunity to move to Korea. This was a great opportunity because Hanwha had just opened a brand-new factory in Jincheon, Korea and I’d already helped two factories get set up and become successful.

Hanwha Q CELLS headquarter located in the Solar Valley in Thalheim, Germany

Q4. What did you do prior to moving to Korea?

In Germany, our goal was to scale up our manufacturing capacity. So, we had one expansion project after another – lines 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 – in just two years, moving really fast. With each project, we were constantly improving the efficiency of our tools and the efficiency of our products.

The Malaysia plant was spinning up while we were finishing our final expansion project in Germany. Our focus in Malaysia was standardizing the tools. Every tool was only “semi-standardized” until we implemented our fully standardized material tracing system called the Manufacturing Execution System (MES). Since its introduction, the MES has set global standards with its 100% traceability of cells and modules and full automation capability.

Q5. What is this tracing system?

The advanced tracing system allows me, as an engineer and team leader, to monitor the performance of our tools so we can determine the lifespans of our parts, monitor defect rates, failure rates, and schedule maintenance and upgrades. This helps us all become better engineers at Q CELLS. This sets Q CELLS apart from the rest of the market since we’re the only ones who use this sort of tracing technology, giving us a huge advantage.

Tino Wieczorek and his team member working at Jincheon plant

Q6. What are your responsibilities here in Korea?

I’m in charge of Cell MEE (Maintenance and Equipment Engineering), which is maintenance and equipment engineering. We play an important part in making sure Hanwha Q CELLS meets our global production KPIs.

The Cell MEE team is responsible for taking care of the tools used in the factory, improving those tools, and working to make sure we hit our ambitious manufacturing targets. When Hanwha Q CELLS wants to produce new technology, it’s our job to develop the new tools that support the new technology.

Q7. What do you think makes Hanwha Q CELLS a strong player
in the solar industry?

Our strengths are our advanced factory automation, our smart factories, and our R&D facilities in Korea and Germany that continuously develop new technologies.

Smart factories are basically manufacturing facilities that incorporate a lot of information technology. They leverage a large amount of accumulated data to help create new technology to enhance efficiency.

Our assets generate huge amounts of data every day and we use this data to build an efficient automation system. Here in our Korean factory, we used the information we gathered to create efficient factory lines that can match our competitors’ productivity with less manpower.

Factory automation enables us to make our products with high efficiency and enhance our quality control and maintenance. In so doing, we produce high quality photovoltaic modules recognized all over the world.

Q8. What do you remember most about your time at Hanwha Q CELLS?

So, what I remember from my 14 years at Q CELLS, for sure, is my first day at work. In Germany we called it the “Q Day”, and we were introduced to the Q CELLS culture. I became part of one family and it meant I could talk to the CEO the same way I talk to my colleagues. I continue to enjoy working in a very familial culture.

I also remember the ramp-up time at the Malaysia factory. “Ramp-up” refers to the period at the start of operations to when all the problems get fixed on the factory line. The ramp-up period in Malaysia was very short and as a result, it turned Hanwha Q CELLS into the largest photovoltaic manufacturer in the world.

And of course, I remember successfully expanding our first and second factories here in Korea.

picture of Tino Wieczorek
Q9. As a Hanwha Q CELLS veteran, is there anything you’d like to say to
newcomers to the company?

I believe in excellence. Meaning excellence in photovoltaic manufacturing.

Excellence is important, it’s a part of our slogan, but it’s not really a skill, it’s more like a habit.

Remember that it’s not just about you. Everything you do should be the best work possible, done as efficiently as possible. This gives everyone around you the best chance to achieve excellence as well.

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