CoaCoatema Freedomcoater® Helps Meet Fuel Cell Challenges
to the U.S. Department of Energy cost and durability are
primary roadblocks to hydrogen fuel cell commercialization. The overall end user
cost of fuel cells must be reduced and the durability and reliability must be substantially improved before they can be competitive
with conventional technologies.
The labor, materials and equipment costs for the production of fuel
cell stack elements are major economic factors in the overall cost of fuel cell production.
Consistency and quality control in the loading weight, thickness, shape and positioning of catalyst coatings in CCMs,
as well as coatings for GDLs and GDEs, are important considerations in controlling costs and improving durability.
Coatema Coating Machinery has introduced an improved version of their economical Easycoater® laboratory coater. This new coater can apply precise coatings on individual
sheets of substrate that can help meet the dual challenges of fuel cell cost control and durability improvement.
In the spirit of the Hydrogen Economy initiative and the freedom form petroleum based power systems it represents Coatema,
based near Düsseldorf, Germany, has called their
new lab unit the Freedomcoater®. The new table top coater allows
accurate, even, and repeatable applications of catalyst and other coating solutions onto stack
A wide range of solutions or slurries can be applied
to either a carbon layer or a membrane layer using a knife-over-table, screen coating, or slot-die designed to make simple
and economical the transition from crude handmade samples to precise machine coated elements.
The substrate to be coated is held on a precision heated coating plate or vacuum back, with a gripper or pin system or suspended with a needle frame. With
the substrate secured one of the application systems above spreads the coating solution evenly and accurately over the surface
of the substrate. The weight, thickness and even ness of the coatings are controlled by precision instruments that are usually
only available on much more complex and expensive roll-to-roll systems. The
size, shape and pattern of the coated area can be defined with the design of screen.
Coater parts can be treated to enhance performance and
protect machine components and fuel cell elements from contaminants or corrosive effects.
Movement and speed of the coating head is driven by an infinitely adjustable
servo motor. The coating head can manually or automatically be raised and lowed. Pneumatic controls the optional micro-vacuum back and screen lifting functions.
The Coatema Freedomcoater® is available in coating area sizes ranging from “very small”
up to one square meter. All of the units are capable of producing multiple elements
in a single coating cycle by altering the designing the screen option. Multiple
screen designs can be used to produce a variety of element shapes and size.
Coatema has designed the Freedomcoater® with scalability in mind. When the time comes to step up production the parameters established on this unit can transfer to the larger
commercial production applications.
Freedomcoater® joins the full line of laboratory, pilot plant and full production
coating and laminating systems available from Coatema.