Impact Coatings, an innovative Swedish supplier of world-leading technology for PVD coatings of automotive components, has introduced the next-generation INLINECOATER™FC: a coating system for volume manufacturing of metal bipolar plates for hydrogen fuel cells. One new INLINECOATER™FC system can produce more than 1 million plates annually, an increase of 2-5x compared with earlier systems, making it the clear choice for industrial scale fuel cell manufacturing.
Fuel cell manufacturers have historically used graphite plates, but increasing needs for scalable, high-volume and low-cost production of lightweight automotive fuel cells are shifting demand toward stainless steel bipolar plates (BPP). To increase fuel cell efficiency and lifespan, Impact Coatings’ proprietary equipment, processes and materials protect metal plates with an electrically conductive and corrosion-resistant coating.
Impact Coatings’ next-generation INLINECOATER™FC system makes it possible to produce stainless steel bipolar plates for PEM fuel cells – the type preferred for most vehicle applications – cost-effectively and in high volumes. INLINECOATER™FC enables high throughput while tightly controlling the quality of each plate produced. Improvements built into the next-generation offering include faster vacuum chamber evacuation; faster chamber rotation; faster nano-material coating; and new, more cost-effective source material (targets).
With a significantly reduced coating cycle time of 36 seconds per BPP pair, corresponding to 200 coated plates per hour, the system can easily integrate with high-speed automated production lines. Simple integration with industrial robotic systems for plate handling can further improve cycle time and machine utilization.
The next-generation system is optimized when using Ceramic MAXPHASE™, a proprietary material Impact Coatings has developed specifically for metal bipolar plates. Ceramic MAXPHASE™ in many aspects outperforms gold – currently the only viable coating alternative for long-life fuel cell stacks – and is free of noble metals while performing at a fraction of the cost of gold. Ceramic MAXPHASE™ is in production and under evaluation by leading car OEM’s and producers of metal plates and fuel cell stacks in Europe, Asia and North America.
“We are proud to offer automotive customers worldwide a unique, full production solution for bipolar plate coating that meets rigorous performance and aggressive cost requirements”, said Dr. Henrik Ljungcrantz, founder and CEO of Impact Coatings. “The next-generation INLINECOATER FC system combined with Ceramic MAXPHASE marks an important step forward in making hydrogen fuel cell vehicles price-competitive with those powered by fossil fuels”.
To learn how Impact Coatings can help your business achieve industrial scale production of high-performance, long-life metal bipolar plates for fuel cells, please visit us during April 23-27, 2018 at Hannover Messe, Hall 27, Booth C52.