Automated production, assembly and testing of fuel cell systems

Anovion contributed to a collaboration between two medium-sized companies namely Albert & Hummel, a robotics and automation specialist, and NOFFZ Technologies,  a test automation specialist. The goal of the collaboration was to develop automated assembly and testing solutions for fuel and electrolyzer systems. As a result, a portfolio of automated production islands has been made available to the market. The capabilities of the portfolio enable fully automated and quality assured production of fuel and electrolyzer cell systems – from single cell over component to system level.



  • Automated production and testing islands
  • Design-for-production guidelines
  • Correlations for test system controller

Decarbonizing the world by implementing the energy and mobility transformation requires the development of highly efficient clean-tech solutions. These solutions need to quickly reach market maturity to disruptively challenge existing CO2-emitting technologies. For this, fuel cell and electrolyzer technologies are highly suitable candidates, as these systems have reached a technological maturity state that allows for production at industrial scale. However, product breakthroughs have not yet been achieved due to e.g. (1) high system costs caused by a high degree of manual labour for the production process, and (2) high investment costs for building up respective mass production capabilities. Therefore, the economic competitiveness compared to fossil fuel consuming technologies – for which highly automated production capabilities are established – is hindered. To break this negative cost effect, industrial investment into production facilities with significant levels of automation and availability of respective technology is required.

The challenge of establishing assembly and test solutions for the industrial production of fuel cells and electrolyzers for sustainable energy supply can be broken down into three main factors: (1) The design-for-production of such systems. Recent system designs are often incompatible for automated production at high speed and precision and require respective design modifications. (2) Adaptation of existing high-fidelity assembly and testing technologies to the requirements of fuel cell and electrolyzer systems. (3) Reluctancy of the industry to invest in appropriate manufacturing capacity, as the market for renewable energy systems competes with that for conventional systems and is still difficult to assess.
Albert & Hummel and NOFFZ Technologies united their expertise in automated handling and assembly of difficile parts at high-speed as well as their expertise in functional testing of industrially produced products. Specifically, they developed a complete portfolio of production equipment for the automated assembly and testing of electrolyzer and fuel cell systems as well as components. The solutions (shown below) cover the value chain from processing and assembling bipolar plates, membrane-electrode assemblies and cell stacks to activation and testing of electrolyzer and fuel cell systems. Furthermore, design-for-production guidelines are established that help producers to optimize their system for precise and reproducible industrial production at a high level of automation.
Role of Anovion
The role of Anovion in this project was to provide respective technological expertise regarding fuel cell and electrolyzer cell products. In addition to general engineering know-how, reference products along with benchmark product specifications were provided based on which the production equipment was then developed by Albert&Hummel and NOFFZ. Further, model correlations of fuel cell technologies required to implement control systems particular for testing solutions.
Portfolio Fuel Cell System Production
Unit cell assembly
Stack assembly
Stack compression and fixiation
Activation and end-of-line testing
System integratin and balance-of-plant assembly

Together with Albert & Hummel and NOFFZ Technologies, an innovative portfolio of automation and testing solutions for the industrial volume production of fuel cell systems has been developed. The portfolio consists of modular robot islands and enables the automation of the manufacturing chain of fuel cell systems – from cell components to the final tested system. Through the targeted design of a digital twin of the systems, customer-specific adjustments, e.g. due to product changes, can be easily made and fast availability of the automation technology is made possible.

Feature Achievment

Industrialization 4.0 for Clean-Tech Products

In the cource of the project, Anovion worked to establish features to achieve industry 4.0 compatibility, and in an overall manner, high-performance and scalability of the production solutions. The objectives were fast-paced development and machine building, along with individual adaptability, product flexibility, maximized availability and intelligent quality assurance.


Modularity from the functional description to the hardware allows quick adaptation to customer requirements.


Flexible production of different product types through intelligent positioning, handling and testing technology.


Industrialization requires flexibility and speed. The targeted development of digital twins enables both for your project implementation.


Quality assurance supported by artificial intelligence and data-driven production scheduling, to name two of many intelligent features.

Portfolio Insight

Production, Assembly and Test Solutions of Albert&Hummel and NOFFZ Technologies