Nexceris’ LEVER Process Advances Commercialization and Improves Collaboration

Nexceris focuses our materials science expertise on creating innovative products that improve the quality, efficiency, and safety of energy and environmental systems. As we work with our partners, Nexceris utilizes our proven collaboration process – LEVER. The LEVER process utilizes our partners’ technology and Nexceris’ expertise to allow for faster advancement to commercialization. Nexceris has a long history of taking research concepts and translating them to demonstration product concepts on lab-scale equipment before moving to industrial quantities. We never lose sight of your customers’ ultimate goal of achieving productization at volume and keep volume manufacturing in mind to develop scalable processes.

Over Nexceris’ 25 year history, we have developed a large number of relationships and examples of how LEVER has had a positive impact on our partners’ commercialization plans. Over the coming weeks, we will provide multiple case studies where the LEVER process has lead to success. We understand that every company, technology, or request is unique; we use LEVER to move in a quick, efficient manner.

When Nexceris was asked by an SOFC developer to help with scaling up production, we knew our LEVER process was what they needed to succeed. In this case, not only did LEVER aid in scaling production, but it also created a reduction in lead time and cost per part. During this process, we ultimately published a 400-page book to assist with the transfer of information to our partner.

The Situation:

A prominent SOFC developer engaged Nexceris to identify a protective coatings solution for their metallic interconnects. The customer required a cost-effective protective coating to mitigate against oxidation and chromium volatilization from the steel substrate during SOFC operation that could be scaled to mass production volumes.

LEVER Graphic Horizontal

LEVER In Action:

We applied our LEVER process of: Learning, Estimating, Validating, Enhancing, and providing Reporting. This process allowed us to create a technology transfer to production for this prominent SOFC developer. See how we collaborated below:

(L)earn:

The team learned the most important customer requirement – exceptional quality protection of the metallic interconnect used in their solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) stacks. During early prototyping and initial proof-of-concept stage, it was critical that Nexceris understood the specific concerns of our partner. These included identifying a coating solution that could satisfy our partner’s technical requirements, including low area-specific resistance, effective oxidation and chromium volatility resistance, and long-term stability under high-temperature conditions.

(E)stimate:

Nexceris engineers provided high-fidelity estimates of manufacturing costs and the best options for cost reductions. This established a roadmap that enabled process development to be aligned with providing a solution amenable to high-volume production.

(V)alidate:

During the initial proof-of-concept, Nexceris validated the ChromLok™ coating by providing coated samples and interconnects for joint evaluation. Establishment of a fast development cadence was critical for Nexceris to ensure on-time delivery of these evaluation parts to ensure the customer was able to complete all the required validation testing as scheduled.

(E)nhance:

To enhance the value of the work, Nexceris worked closely with our partner to identify opportunities to improve both the performance of the coating and the coating process. Various process and formulations were systematically evaluated, including powder formulation and surface area, suspension formulation and coating parameters.

(R)eport:

To satisfy our partner’s high-volume production demand, a licensed technology transfer was developed to enable the ChromLok™ technology to be transferred to our partner’s production facility. Nexceris worked on-site to ensure the complete transfer of information. Nexceris also published a 400-plus page book to aid our partner before, during, and after technology transfer.

The published book detailed statistical process control charts of key process operations to monitor pilot-scale production were established, and fully defined Process Flow Diagrams (PFDs), Process Control Plans (PCPs), and Process Failure Mode Effects Analysis (PFMEAs) to report all stages of production created. These reports were integrated with detailed work instructions for all process operations, information on production equipment, and raw materials supply chain.

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