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Fuel cell project has raised the bar

During spring, Hjerno has been involved in a very exciting fuel cell project for a large foreign customer.

As previously described
, the project involved the manufacture of a series of tools for the production of steel plates to be used in a particular type of fuel cells.

A very unique and incredibly complex task, which put both the employees at Hjerno as well as cutting tools, milling machines and CAD/CAM systems on overtime – but which we can see now has been solved to both our and our customer’s great satisfaction.

"It has to a great degree raised the bar for our precision work. We have developed some really unique routines, which can be applied to other projects in the future and which leave us well prepared for other tasks of that kind," says managing director Aage Agergaard.

He also welcomes the fact that the project so far has resulted in two additional fuel cell orders.

Incredibly precise milling

The manufacture of the special fuel cell tools has, among other things, involved several months of uninterrupted 0.4 millimetre milling with tolerances as low as 3 microns, which is on the very border of what both machines and measuring equipment can handle.

With the assistance of Makino, our supplier, Hjerno has helped monitoring and maintaining the hybrid scale inside the milling machine that provides constant optimisation of the milling process. Additionally, Hjerno’s technicians have increased their knowledge about combining a wide range of cutting tools with various cutting geometries to be able to live up to the ultra-low tolerances.

"We had the finished tools measured at a Danish measurement institute. And they have been able to demonstrate that the excruciatingly small allowable tolerances are adhered to," states Aage Agergaard.

On the edge of what is possible

In addition to the ongoing fuel cell orders he is pleased that the specialist knowledge, which has been built up over the course of the project, may also easily find its way into Hjerno’s more traditional tool tasks – among other things when it comes to high-precision machining of not just the complete tools, but also the individual tool parts.

"Our main market is still tools for injection moulding of plastic. But we use these unconventional orders to really optimise our precision and our routines," says Aage Agergaard and adds:

"This is typical for us. Once in a while we accept some tasks that are really on the edge of what is possible - merely because our technical fingers are itching to solve them. It does not always make immediate sense on the bottom line but it does so anyway because we always manage to succeed and thereby raise the professional bar. "