Polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells are currently a focus area for vehicle fuel cell applications. The critical component of this type of fuel cell is the membrane electrode assembly (MEA), which helps to produce the electrochemical reaction needed to separate electrons. The MEA is layered and contains of a number of different material types through the membrane itself, catalyst layers and gas diffusion layers.
An individual MEA basically looks like a thin foil coated on both sides, inside which the anode and the cathode membranes are pressed together with an internal seal. Depending on the specific use there are different sizes of the foils, some of which can have dimensions of up to 1000 mm in size. These fragile and sensitive films must be verified in a fast, process-oriented measuring procedure
The membrane electrodes are typically coated in various areas, and both sides must been inspected without damaging the foil surface. A multisensor coordinate measuring machine (CMM) with a measurement volume accommodating large 2D parts and dedicated vision measurement software provides the ideal solution. For manufacturers producing MEAs at volume, a CMM like this can be easily integrated into the measurement process, for example using a barcode reader to start the program so the process is simple and safe even for inexperienced workers. Process validation via statistical process control software can also support the efficient production of membrane electrode assemblies for electric vehicle fuel cells.