After a successful cooperation start in Asia, both technology companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to intensify cooperation in the production of metallic bipolar plates for fuel cells and electrolyzers in Europe.
The market for fuel cell and electrolyzer applications in Europe is developing very dynamically and offers high potential. In order to produce metallic bipolar plates — the core of a fuel cell — economically and on an industrial scale, the forming and further processes must meet strict requirements in terms of tightness, precision and repeatability. With the FEINforming forming process developed by Feintool and SITEC's efficient laser welding process FLEX Welding, the companies also want to take off in Europe. Together, high-precision individual plates are joined to form bipolar plates on appropriate systems and with the support of
an integrated process consisting of FEINforming, FLEX Welding and FLEX Inspection.
Thanks to the partnership, both companies are able to supply customers with the highest quality and most competitive high-volume bipolar plates. The cooperation ranges from engineering to marketing and sales to procurement, prototyping and quality management. In the course of the cooperation, the two companies will also continuously develop the manufacturing processes and add further complementary processes, such as coating.
Dr. Winfried Blümel, head of Feintool system parts Europe fineblanking and forming, sees important advantages in the cooperation: "Two strong partners are combining their specialist skills and want to produce high volumes of metallic bipolar plates in Europe. Every vehicle powered by fuel cells requires up to 400 bipolar plates, or 800 individual plates. The high demand offers great potential that we want to develop.”
FEINforming: Advantage through precision
Feintool's FEINforming technology is key to the future viability of fuel cells (generation of electrical energy from hydrogen) and electrolyzers (generation of hydrogen from electrical energy). The precise processing of the thinnest material leads to a reduction in weight and volume and thus to a more compact arrangement of fuel cells in the stack. A higher power density in the cell stack clears the way for powerful and compact vehicle drives or hydrogen generation systems. Thanks to its experience in plant construction for highly complex products and the high speed with which they are manufactured, Feintool offers an optimized process for the production of bipolar plates in the form of a customized complete solution from a single source: presses specialized in bipolar plate production, finite element method-optimized tool design, comprehensive engineering services as well as prototype, pre-series and series production.
FLEX Welding: Laser welding of the highest efficiency, process reliability and quality
The efficient operation of the laser in industrial production and the technological development of process-safe solutions are part of SITEC's core competencies. The laser works extremely fast, produces excellent weld seams and virtually distortion-free components. SITEC integrates lasers, welding optics and intelligent monitoring systems into automated production systems. For the production of metallic bipolar plates, the company relies on the specially developed FlexCell production system for needs-optimized production.