Fuel Cell Assembly
A lean assembly cell, utilizing a Fanuc articulated robot. The robotic section assembled fuel layers onto a stack, using machine vision for guidance.
The fuel cell is constructed of alternating layers, picked from feeder trays using an articulated 6-axis robot. The gripper relies on air flow to acquire parts from the top of stack, as opposed to pure suction, as the membranes are porous, and two would be acquired, not one.
As the parts are acquired from the feed stacks, they carried to a machine vision station where two slots are located. These slot locations are used to guide the installation onto the main stack. Installation is done on a slight angle to ensure that the membranes remain alinged to one edge.
After assembly, the unit is rotated to the manual section where an operator completes assembly. The operator first places the top piece onto the assembly, before engaging the stack press. The stack press collapses the stack under 5000 pounds of force, where it then locks. The operator then installs four retention straps, and the press is released.
Once the stack is complete, a mass-flow leak test is performed to verify that the stack is functioning properly.