PLYMOUTH, Mich.—Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies is investing to bring its Levitex line of seals to the automotive industry.
The firm has secured business to provide the seal to a major European-based original equipment automotive manufacturer for use on an engine for a global platform in 2017. To prepare for the increased business, Freudenberg-NOK will add production capacity to various North American sites to manufacture Levitex in the U.S.
The firm would not disclose the OEM, only that it anticipates growth with other major automotive OEMs in the future. Freudenberg-NOK has made a total capital investment of about $10 million in adapting the seal's design for the automotive industry and in the capacity expansion, which is set to come online in 2016 and create jobs.
Freudenberg-NOK still is examining which sites will see increased capacity.
This will be the first application for Levitex as a mass-produced radial crankshaft seal for the automotive market, said Luis Lorenzo, senior vice president for technology and innovation at Freudenberg-NOK. Part of the challenge was simplifying the design to make the seal more cost-effective for automotive OEMs, a process that he said started in 2011.
“We're pretty thrilled by the fact that the technology has been benchmarked and recognized as an enabler for emissions reduction, and we're moving forward to the market,” Lorenzo said.