Today’s energy storage market represents a fraction of its potential, with greener and more efficient fuel cells pushing the frontiers of power consumption and storage in an ever-growing range of electronic devices. However, research and development (R&D) into novel electrochemical energy storage devices is ongoing, with persistent production challenges slowing the rate of progress. One area of the fuel cell manufacturing workflow that represents a potential stopping block is the production of catalytic layers; critical components for fuel cells as they these layers occupy the sites where the integral electrochemical reaction occurs.
Catalytic layers are generated via the decal process which uses coated fabrics as a conveyor belt. This process is extremely hot and sticky which can lead to rapid deterioration of belt fabrics and semi-permanent processing aids. As the conveyor is the substrate carrying materials through the processing environment, it is vital that belts feature optimal chemical and thermal stability, alongside excellent release properties—otherwise expensive inks could be wasted on defective catalytic layers, leading to unnecessarily high overheads.
A CHEMFAB® client managed to dramatically improve the cost-effectiveness of their CCM decal process as well as their overall productivity by switching from a standard conveyor to one of our proprietary non-stick belts based on industry leading PTFE release solutions. As a carrier substrate, our non-stick belts are extremely smooth and stable, owing to their exceptional tensile strength and their unique release coatings. This ensured consistent production and minimal downtime, as the non-stick belt routinely yielded clean, contaminant-free release of high-quality catalytic layers. The client managed to increase their output of CCM per roll threefold by switching to a CHEMFAB® solution.
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