July 18, 2014
Custom photochemically-etched anodes and cathodes for fuel cells
and other alternative and renewable power sources are available from Photofabrication Engineering, Inc.
(PEI), of Milford, MA, in a wide variety of metals, including stainless steel, pure titanium, and other exotic metals. With PEI’s extensive experience in photochemical machining, PEI can etch extremely thin single-sided or double-sided fuel cell and battery component parts without incurring the stresses associated with typical machining methods. This results in exceptionally smooth surfaces and channels, even for parts with multiple channel depths, with no burrs or other surface irregularities.
The thinness of these fuel cell and battery components gives fuel cell and battery manufacturers greater flexibility in designing products that are stronger and more durable than those made of non-metallic or heavier materials. With PEI’s extremely light-weight and impact-resistant products, fuel cell and other OEM users of anodes and cathodes can manufacture longer-lived fuel cells or batteries with lower shipping costs.
Likewise, PEI’s photoetched fuel cell and battery component parts meet the most stringent quality
requirements for medical and industrial applications. These products are available in thicknesses from 0.5 mil (0.0127 mm) to 100 mil (2.54 mm), with features as small as 4 mil (0.10 mm) on 0.010 in. (0.254 mm) centers. PEI excels in producing anodes and cathodes in high-density patterns. They can be fabricated in myriad shapes and sizes with round or hexagonal holes, ovals and slots. With its extensive manufacturing capabilities and experience in manufacturing hydrogen fuel cell and battery anodes and cathodes, PEI is at the forefront of fabricating parts and components for renewable and alternative energy products.
A significant advantage of the photochemical etching process
is the ability to reproduce large quantities of parts without tooling “wear,” so the millionth part is exactly the same as the first part. Phototools take much less time to create—and change—and are significantly less expensive than traditional hard tools, making them ideal for manufacturing components from prototypes to production quantities.
As the market for economical fuel cells grows (the growth in fuel cell production in the United States between 2011 and 2012 is estimated at 60% by the U.S. Department of Energy) due to the development of less expensive catalysts, the market for fuel cell, battery and other hydrogen technologies is expected to grow substantially. With PEI’s quick turnaround times, along with the variety of materials for use with different catalyzing agents, we can help manufacturers bring their products to market quickly. The applications for economical fuel cells are extensive, from vehicles (automobiles, buses, fork lifts and trucks) to broad-based power generation, laptops and cell phones, and solar generators.
PEI can also provide manufacturers with a complete turnkey operation, including phototool-making, plating, and forming. Because all processes are performed in-house, we have extremely competitive prices. Our manufacturing process has achieved ISO-9002 and AS9100:Rev.C certification and also complies with MIL-I-45208 standards.