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Our proprietary high-velocity forming and manufacturing technology is ideally suited for shaping thin metal with high precision. Since pattern design and quality is directly related to a bipolar plate’s energy efficiency, this type of forming technology pushes the boundaries for what’s currently possible in terms of hydrogen fuel stack efficiency.

By working with higher precision in thinner materials, fuel cell stacks can typically increase both their power out and their footprint. With 500-800 bipolar plates per stack, this is a very important consideration. Since tooling costs are lower for high-velocity forming, compared to conventional methods, we are able to produce large volumes at very competitive prices.

HOW IT WORKS
This technology, often referred to as adiabatic softening, is a phenomenon in metal that’s been known since World War II. Scientists discovered that they were able to pierce thick armor and create uncharacteristically clean holes if they used projectiles with very high kinetic energy.

Our process works by using two specially designed tooling stamps that come together at a very high, but extremely controlled, velocity. Within a thousand of a second, the metal between the tools becomes intensely hot, up towards 800 ˚C. This naturally softens the metal and it can then easily be shaped by the patterns engraved in the stamps.

High-velocity forming allows solid metal to be shaped faster and with superior quality and product performance compared to that of conventional methods. The process is conducted cold, meaning that the metallic material is cold before and after it has been processed. Energy consumption is lower compared to a conventional process since less force is needed to process the product.

High-velocity forming press

Our forming press is designed with a hydraulic piston that can be dramatically accelerated to high-velocity in a very short distance – about the same magnitude of the launch of a missile. This occurs in less than a thousandth of a second and causes the material to soften.

The press operates with a high level of repeatability and precision without any changes in impact energy or process dynamics. The greater the impact energy, the higher the temperature. The forming process shapes the steel material in a fraction of a second, and there is no time for heat to dissipate in the tool stamps.

The machine’s size and type of tool housing are configurable depending on the application.

Key benefits

Our high-velocity technology is ideally suited for the high-volume production of advanced bipolar flow plates for hydrogen fuel cell stacks.

MANUFACTURING

  • Comparatively faster cycle times and lower manufacturing cost at higher volumes
  • A lubricant-free process which means a cleaner work environment
  • A metal forming method which requires less force and less energy
  • Almost no spring back

PRODUCT

  • Increased malleability enables more advanced and exact patterns
  • Ability to work with thinner steel

COST EFFICIENCY

  • Comparatively less capital expenditure
  • Improved formability that can be used to manufacture more advanced patterns, or to reduce material costs
  • A comparatively simple manufacturing method
  • Shorter cycle times and greater manufacturing output