Factory Design & Development - Virtual Design & Optimisation
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Strategic collaboration between MTC and AMRC to design a reconfigurable factory for scalable production of both fuel cells and electrolysers.

The Challenge

The hydrogen economy is experiencing a dynamic transformation, with a swift evolution in manufacturing processes for fuel cells and electrolysers, reflecting the ongoing advancements and innovations in this rapidly expanding industry.

Manufacturers are tasked with producing both fuel cell and electrolyser products to offer end-to-end green hydrogen systems to end-users.

The challenge is to design a factory system that exploits the commonalities between fuel cells and electrolysers and incorporates the required level of reconfigurability to meet varying annual demand for both fuel cells and electrolysers.

A secondary challenge is evaluating how digital manufacturing solutions’ capabilities can support the effectiveness of these reconfigurable factory systems.


  • Assessment of commonality amongst fuel cell and electrolyser assembly technologies to characterise the opportunities for reconfigurable factory systems
  • Design and simulation of automated cell stacking process using robotics solution to incorporate required flexibility
  • Modelling and virtual evaluation of a complete bi-product manufacturing factory system across scale-up scenarios, benchmarked against systems dedicated individually to fuel cells or electrolysers
  • Production system design optimisation to increase annual throughput and overall equipment effectiveness
  • Assessment of potential improvement from adopting an operational digital twin to adapt production plans and maintenance schedules

The Outcome

  • Commonality assessment report, identifying common components, processes, and operations between electrolysers and fuel cells production systems.
  • Three conceptual designs for automated cell stacking robot systems.
  • Visualisation of reconfigurable and dedicated bi-product factory.
  • Production capacity comparison:
    • reconfigurable versus dedicated factory
    • three cell stacking robot systems
  • Optimised production system design.
  • Quantified benefits and impact from operational digital twin for adaptive scheduling and planning.
  • This was completed using the Siemens Tecnomatix Plant Simulation as part of their MTC membership


Benefits to the Client

  • Cost savings through utilising common resources and components for fuel cell and electrolyser production.
  • Robust robot system design for assembly process automation.
  • Risk reduction for implemented reconfigure factory systems for flexible production of both fuel cell and electrolyser products.
  • Future cost avoidance through virtual analyses and design optimisation.
  • Business case justification and quantification for adopting digital manufacturing solutions
This strategic collaboration between MTC and AMRC showcases how the HVMC centres guide UK manufacturing to meet the future demands for a net-zero hydrogen economy.
Cameron Blackwell - MTC's Hydrogen Technical Lead