The two technology companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. They will collaborate on the metallic bipolar plates production for fuel cells in China.
The market for hydrogen and fuel cell applications in China is developing extremely dynamically and offers a high potential. In order to produce metallic bipolar plates - the core of a fuel cell - economically and on an industrial scale - the forming and joining process needs to meet highest requirements in terms of tightness, precision and repeatability. With the "FEINforming" process developed by Feintool, the group intends to take off not only in Europe but also in China. Together with laser specialist SITEC, the first step in the collaboration will be to set up equipment at Feintool's existing production plant in Taicang, near Shanghai. In a "shop-in-shop" concept, SITEC is contributing machines and employees with expertise in joining. In an integrated process of FEINforming and laser welding, high-precision individual plates are joined to form bipolar plates and then tested for leakage.
Thanks to the partnership, Feintool can supply customers with bipolar plates of the highest quality and competitiveness in a high-volume production. Furthermore, the two technology partners will continuously develop the manufacturing processes.
Marcel Pernici, Feintool President of System Parts Asia, sees only advantages in the collaboration: "Two strong partners are joining their expertise and intend to produce metallic bipolar plates in China in high volumes. Each vehicle powered by fuel cells requires up to 400 bipolar plates, or 800 individual plates. The high demand offers great potential, which we want to exploit."
Dr. Jörg Lässig, Managing Director of SITEC Laser Technology (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. adds, "We bring our many years of experience as a global system supplier of high-tech laser processing systems and automation solutions, as well as series manufacturer of precision parts, to the cooperation."
FEINforming: Progress through precision
The Feintool technology is a key to the future viability of fuel cells. The high-precision processing of the thinnest material thicknesses leads to a reduction in weight and volume and thus to a more compact arrangement of the fuel cells in a stack. Higher power density in the cell stack paves the way for powerful and compact vehicle drive systems. Feintool offers a complete, customer-specific solution for the production of optimized bipolar plates from a single source: presses specialized in bipolar plate production, FEM-optimized tool design, comprehensive engineering services, and prototype, preproduction, and high-volume production.
Laser welding: Maximum 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 the laser, including high-tech welding optics and intelligent monitoring systems, into automated production systems for the series production of bipolar plates.