INDIANAPOLIS—Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies GmbH & Co. will join the Association for Rubber Products Manufacturers effective Jan. 1, 2015 and will collaborate with the ARPM to form a technical standards committee for the seals and gaskets industry.
Freudenberg brings the ARPM's membership count to more than 60 members, including about 15 new members in 2014, according to Executive Director Troy Nix.
“Attracting companies like Freudenberg says a lot about what we could end up doing in our future and how big of an impact this could have on the industry as a whole,” Nix said. “We're pumped up. This is great.”
Joe Walker, global director, advanced materials development for Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies, will lead the new committee with its leadership structure to be established once the membership seats are filled.
“We can maximize our efficiencies and reduce our costs by having one set of protocols and having an industry guideline of acceptability that would be established for things such as exhaust gas circulation and crank case ventilation testing,” Walker said. “Those sorts of things that seal manufacturers today struggle with. Not from the standpoint of complexity, but from the standpoint of redundancy in testing.”
Walker said he envisions that the committee will partner with other like-minded organizations—such as Verband der Automobilindustrie, which is the German Association of the Automotive Industry, and the Automotive Industry Action Group.
VDA already is trying to tackle a major issue of growing importance in North America: a standardized test for blow-by.
Blow-by occurs primarily in turbo-charged engines, which is a result of the turbo-charged recirculate going back into the engine, resulting in a buildup of pressures in the cylinder. The resulting gust of charge causes the fuel to push past the seal and mix with the oil.
Walker said blow-by has not been a priority in North America, but as turbo-charger engines have made their way into the market, the issue has become more prevalent. Blow-by requires a different construction of the gaskets from the polymer architecture on out to maintain the same warranty standard and functionality.
Freudenberg already has been working on a test for blow-by for a number of years from the other side of the equation in Europe, Walker said.
“We can learn from ourselves on what works and what hasn't worked,” he said. “We have members in Germany that are part of this VDA team that are working on these problems. It puts us in a position, for this company personally, to capitalize on some of this.”