Innovative high-speed metal forming machine to form microchannel fuel cells
HARTSVILLE, TN — FluidForming Americas is pleased to announce the development of a custom metal forming machine designed to mass produce microchannel fuel cells. The customized FormBalancer 25 (FB25) is a high-speed metal forming machine developed at the company’s German headquarters. The new machine joined the FormBalancer family in March.
The FB25 is designed to produce microchannel fuel cells at high production volumes. By definition, a microchannel is a channel with a hydraulic diameter below 1mm. Microchannels are used in fluid control and heat transfer and offer inherently low energy consumption heat transfer storage. They are used in a variety of settings including heating and cooling, consumer appliances, Fuel Cells, and the automotive and aerospace industries.
“There’s no other process on the market that can form fuel cells like this. We’re enabling fuel cell technology to become commercialized and more affordable,” said Paul Benny, President and CEO of FluidForming Americas. “The potential for this technology and for the FB25 to change entire industries is profound.”
The new machine is designed to accommodate exacting tolerances and utilizes FluidForming’s groundbreaking hydroforming technology. The FB25 boasts high forming pressures of 2500 bar/36,000 psi — well over industry standards. The machine features automatic roll feed with automatic die trimming and accommodates tight radii requirements of 0.2mm and forming depths of 0.8mm.
Prior to FluidForming, mass production of microchannel fuel cells was extremely challenging. Legacy metal forming methods such as die-stamping or bladder-based hydroforming are costly, unpredictable, prone to warping, and lack the pressures and repeatability of FluidFormed components.
“The machine will simultaneously produce two plates with an operating cycle of 20 seconds, meeting an annual part requirement of more than 1,000,000 components. With unprecedented accuracy, repeatability, speed, and forming capabilities, the FluidForming technology allows for the first-ever mass production of microchannel plates,” said Jurgen Pannock, FluidForming’s Chief Technology Officer. “FluidForming is the only Six Sigma metal forming process available and the implications of FluidForming on the future of the manufacturing industry are astounding. Ideas that were once deemed too costly, or impossible — like mass producing microchannels are a reality with our technology.”
Microchannel production is scheduled to take place in Asia and will supply both Asian and US markets.
About FluidForming Americas
Founded in Germany in 2000 and established in the United States 2014, FluidForming Americas services clients including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Miele, Sub-Zero, and other industry-leading manufacturers. FFA has a well-deserved reputation for innovation and a clear vision for the future. The company’s unique approach to sheet metal forming, tube forming, and rapid prototyping represents the first major advancement in metal forming in 60 years. The FluidForming process and technology have profound implications for manufacturing, manufacturing technologies, product design, and profitability. FluidForming Americas is headquartered 50 miles northeast of Nashville, in Hartsville, Tennessee.