Automotive Maker Increases Order from Three to Nine Test Platforms for Fuel Cell Plates
In September this year Morphic Impact’s test center in Tokyo announced that it had received an order for three test and verification platforms from one of the world’s five largest automotive manufacturers. This order has now been increased to comprise nine test platforms. The purpose of the test platforms is to optimize the effect of a flow plate formed using Morphic’s patented production technology. The platforms will be used to test and optimize nine types of flow plates, which, if the tests are successful, will be used in the fuel cell systems of different end products.
Morphic’s patented forming technology enables more efficient forming of metals than with conventional production methods and can, fully implemented, increase the efficiency of the fuel cell without increasing its external measurements.
In February 2008 Morphic Impact opened a technology center in Shin-Yokohama outside Tokyo in Japan. At the same time the company announced that one of the world’s five largest car makers had booked the facility to produce test series of fuel plates for cars. The partnership follows a structured plan comprising a number of different stages in the form of test and verification platforms. The first two platforms, produced in the spring, have now successfully passed the critical quality tests specified in the project plan.
“We are conducting nine parallel development projects aimed at delivering nine test platforms, i.e. nine special cells for testing and evaluation of flow plates in a laboratory environment. In these test platforms nine of Morphic Impact’s flow plates will be tested, evaluated and modified to optimize the performance of each type of flow cell. Then, if these optimization projects are successful, the intention is that the nine flow cell types will be used in the fuel cell systems in different end products,” Martin Valfridsson, Morphic Impact’s Managing Director, explains.
The platforms will be manufactured and delivered in fall and will then be evaluated by the customer in the first quarter of 2009.
Morphic’s Technology for High-impact Forming
Morphic’s patented high-impact forming technology offers significant benefits in terms of forming characteristics, since the processing of metallic materials uses only a fraction of the energy required in milling and other conventional processing methods. The machinery is compact and weighs considerably less than conventional pressing machines, removing the need for reinforcements to the floor of the production site. The use of advanced technology to achieve a high forming energy in the form of kinetic energy means that little energy is required in the forming process, thus ensuring resource-efficient production. This creates economic benefits for the customer and is good for the environment. The flow plates are currently produced at two company owned production plants in Karlskoga, Sweden. As part of its strategy, Morphic also intends to build production facilities close to its customers once the customer base has reached a critical mass. Establishing a new facility takes 6–8 months and costs SEK 15–20m.
The Market for Fuel Cell Components
Morphic’s activities in the segment comprise production of flow plates (also known as “bipolar plates”), the key component of a fuel cell.
A fuel cell system can consist of hundreds of plates, whose task is to conduct the injected fuel in an efficient manner. Morphic’s market in the area of fuel cells consists partly of businesses operating in the automotive, standby power and consumer electronics industries and partly of dedicated fuel cell manufacturers. In the automotive industry, for example, the world’s first series-produced fuel cell-powered car has now been rolled out from an established vehicle manufacturer’s specialized production plant. The manufacturer has stated that it intends to build about ten units of the car in 2008, which will be leased to customers in Japan and the United States. Next year production will be increased to a few hundred cars. Another established vehicle manufacturer has announced that its fuel cell cars will be launched directly to the consumer market in 2010–2012. The rollout is proceeding entirely in line with the company’s expectations for growth rates in the segment. In the area of consumer electronics a global Asian company has announced plans to offer fuel cell-powered mp3 players in 2008. The key advantage of fuel cells in consumer electronics area is the significantly longer run time.
For more information, please contact:
Johannes Falk, Executive Vice President, Investor Relations
Phone: +46 (0)70-676 73 93