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Precision Micro manufactures a range of bespoke flow-field plates from 316 stainless steel and titanium as well as nickel and other more exotic materials.

The company produces metallic, bi-polar, fuel-cell plates for PEM, solid oxide, direct methanol and alkaline fuel-cell stacks.

It is now generally accepted that metallic plates offer the most compact, efficient and economical solution for fuel-cell stack production.

The main benefits over traditional graphite plates include: superior volumetric and gravimetric power densities; thinner plates enable more space-efficient stacks; unrivalled ruggedness and durability for long life; design flexibility; excellent inherent corrosion resistance; low cost-per-kW performance; outstanding thermal and electrical conductivity; and lower overall system cost.

Precision Micro’s high-volume, photo-etching production facilities enable production volumes to be manufactured economically and timely.

The quality levels maintained in precision photo etching are invariably higher than those achieved by pressing; the finished plates being burr and stress free.

Because the process requires no hard tooling, prototypes can be produced from designs in hours.

The low initial cost of tooling assists those adopting a lower-risk commercial strategy while plate design changes can be accommodated without incurring prohibitive tool modification costs.

Precision Micro has been involved in the design and production of fuel-cell plates for more than 15 years, pushing the boundaries of photo etching to meet the ever more stringent demands of fuel-cell manufacturers, helping them approach or achieve their goals in terms of size, durability, power density and cost-per-kW.

Conductive fuel-cell plates within a stack act as an anode for one cell while acting as a cathode for an adjacent cell.

The plates incorporate flow channels for fluid feeds and may also feature conduits for thermal management (cooling).

Precision Micro has pioneered the ’corrugated’ fuel-cell plate design where off-set front and back side channels are interlaced, reducing stack height while improving cooling effect.

In these instances, the combined channel depth is greater than the overall material thickness.

The majority of fuel-cell plate designs fall within the thickness range 0.1mm to 2.0mm making them highly suited to the etching process.

The ideal design uses off-set channels with the combined channel depth being equal to or greater than the thickness of the material, allowing through-thickness feature to be produced and the parts to be etched clear of the sheet in a single process.

Although the fuel-cell plate materials are inherently corrosion resistant, this can be further improved by coating without detrimentally affecting the plate’s conductivity characteristics.

Precision Micro has worked closely with a leading chemical company as a result of early collaboration during a DTI project.

The company has a range of coatings, one of which has been developed specifically to address the needs of stack developers seeking the advantages of metallic plates.

These coatings have proved particularly advantageous when used on stainless steel and titanium plates.

Performance highlights have been the ability to reduce the corrosion rate of stainless steel by more than 90 per cent.

Precision Micro is one of the largest specialist components manufacturing operations in Europe, innovating, developing and utilizing a unique combination of manufacturing processes to meet the needs of customers worldwide.

The company has pioneered developments in chemical etching, electroforming and mechanical forming, achieving standards admired by the industry and appreciated by customers in automotive, communications, aerospace, electronics, medical, military and other ‘high-tech’ engineering industries.

More than Europe’s largest independent chemical etching operation, Precision Micro is generally considered to be the technology leader in its industry having developed new innovative process routes (LEEF and LEEP) that have reset benchmarks for precision, accuracy and repeatability.

We specialize in production technologies that provide economic, low risk, fast, flexible solutions for our customers, minimizing their up-front cost exposure through the use of digital tooling while providing the fastest ‘time to market’. Providing prototypes within hours and volume requirements in a timely and economical fashion, using the very same process technologies is what Precision Micro is all about.

Precision Micro… The name for Technology, Expertise, Innovation and Quality in precision components manufacture.

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