Mayor: Dana offers familiar touchpoint at tech fairWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | email@example.com
HANNOVER, GERMANY — Seeing the familiar Dana logo at one of the largest industrial trade fairs in the world was exciting and comforting, like coming into contact with a little piece of home, said Toledo Mayor Mike Bell.
“It’s almost like me coming here and seeing a University of Toledo Rocket sitting at a booth, seeing Dana,” Bell said. “It’s something I relate to. It makes you feel like there’s some family here. Dana is like our family, so I’m excited. It’s great they are here representing us.”
Maumee-based Dana Holding Corporation announced April 8, during the first day of the Hannover Fair, a large industrial trade show in Germany, that it has launched the serial production of metallic bipolar plates, what the company describes as a critical component for enhancing the performance of fuel-cell powered engines.
“We believe we are the first company in the world that’s launched serial production of these metal bipolar plates,” said Brian Cheadle, director of global business development for advanced technologies. “We do have competitors who are working still on development, but we think we’re in the lead.”
Between scheduled business meetings April 11, Bell and a group from Toledo stopped by Dana’s stand to hear more about the new technology and the emerging market of fuel cells.
“Anything that Dana’s doing, anything that has an origin point of Toledo, Ohio, is extra good, not only for Toledo, but for the state of Ohio, the United States and obviously the world because we’re sitting here in Hannover, Germany, talking about it,” Bell said.
Cheadle said Bell’s visit was appreciated.
“It’s excellent. Dana being a Toledo-based company, for the mayor to come and visit us to see what we’re doing in action, I think that’s great,” Cheadle said. “It’s great for him to come and give us that visibility and try and understand what we’re doing. We hope as we succeed, it benefits Toledo.”
Metal bipolar plates are a key component of a fuel cell engine, serving as a battery range extender that doubles or triples the range of the vehicle, Cheadle said.
“The importance of the metal bipolar plate is it achieves very high power density,” Cheadle said. “It lets the car manufacturers extract a lot of power for propelling the fuel in a compact space. That’s always critical in a car.”
Most leading car companies have announced plans to release a fuel cell-powered vehicle by at least 2017, Cheadle said.
Since there are hundreds of such plates in each fuel cell engine, Dana anticipates producing millions of the plates per year once the cars start to hit the market.
The plates also have applications in other technologies, including cell phone towers, and are made of thin stainless steel foils precision-stamped to a certain shape, Cheadle said.
“We’ve applied new technology in laser welding to join them together,” Cheadle said. “We have developed special sealing technology and special conductive coating technology so we can deliver a fully finished part to our customers instead of having them go to other people for secondary steps.”
“They have no emissions and they are extremely reliable and run a longer times than a battery can, which is the alternative,” Cheadle added.
The plates are currently being produced on a limited basis in Neu-Ulm, Germany, with plans to eventually produce them at the company’s three other fuel cell initiative technical centers, located in Paris, Tenn., Oakville, Ontario and Yamato-shi, Japan.
The reaction to the announcement at the fair has been positive, with many companies requesting more information about the plates, Cheadle said.
“It’s so exciting. You can feel the pulse of the world from the booth. It’s amazing here,” Cheadle said. “There’s people from all over. You’ll have some Russians come and in the next minute, some people from China, then some people from Japan, then the U.S. It’s just amazing.”‘
Deputy Mayor of External Affairs and Economic Development Paul Syring, City Finance Director Patrick McLean, Regional Growth Partnership Vice President International Development D. Paul Zito and Public Information Officer Jen Sorgenfrei were also part of the group visiting Germany from Toledo.
For more information, visit dana.com.