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Daimler Truck Aiming for Series Production of Fuel Cells

Auto News - Published on Wed, 01 Jul 2020

Image Source: Daimler Truck Fuel Cell
Daimler Truck AG is consistently driving forward series production of fuel cells with Daimler Truck Fuel Cell GmbH & Co KG. In the past ten years, experts from Daimler have already built up extensive know-how in this field and have developed production methods and processes. In close cooperation with their colleagues in Vancouver in Canada and with the ongoing fuel cell development activities, the Stuttgart-based experts are now transferring that experience to the direct preliminary stage of future series production. Investments are being made in new state-of-the-art facilities covering every single process stage of fuel cell production: from membrane coating and stack manufacturing to the production of fuel cell units.

Conventional industrial production processes cannot be directly transferred to the highly complex and highly sensitive fuel cell stacks. For example, the processing of numerous delicate components takes place in the micrometer range. Even the smallest contamination could impair the functionality of the fuel cells, which is why a clean room with filtered air is being set up for some of the work in the planned pre-series production. Optimizing the ambient air in production is also especially important, since even slight fluctuations in temperature and humidity can lead to significant material changes. This would make further work in subsequent processes considerably more difficult. However, the greatest challenge for the Daimler experts is to achieve short production cycles, which is essential for cost-effective production. For this reason, the experts in the production of fuel cell stacks sometimes rely for example on technologies from the packaging industry, which are generally not used in conventional engine production.

In April this year, Daimler Truck AG concluded a preliminary, non-binding agreement with the Volvo Group to establish a new joint venture for the development and marketing of fuel cell systems to be used in heavy-duty commercial vehicles and other applications. The joint venture will draw upon expertise from both Daimler Truck AG and the Volvo Group. The production of fuel cell systems is also to be included in the joint venture. Daimler Truck AG and the Volvo Group plan to offer heavy-duty fuel cell commercial vehicles for demanding and heavy-duty long-distance haulage from series production in the second half of this decade.

In order to facilitate the joint venture with the Volvo Group, Daimler Truck AG is bringing together all Group-wide fuel cell activities in the recently established subsidiary Daimler Truck Fuel Cell GmbH & Co KG. This also includes the activities of Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell GmbH. Daimler Truck Fuel Cell GmbH & Co KG is to transition into the planned joint venture at a later date. Over the past decades, Daimler has acquired considerable expertise in the field of fuel cells at its site in Nabern, Germany, (currently the headquarters of Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell GmbH) and at other production and development facilities in Germany and Canada.

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Posted By : Yogender Pancholi on Wed, 01 Jul 2020
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