FORT WAYNE, Ind.—Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, a business unit of Trelleborg A.B., has expanded its product testing laboratory located at the HA Traub Technical Center in Fort Wayne.
The addition spans 1,000 square feet to accommodate the growing requests for product testing and validation for rotary seals, specialty aerospace sealing and environmental testing, the firm said in an Oct. 27 news release.
Trelleborg did not disclose financial details.
The product testing laboratory is part of Trelleborg Sealing Solutions' research and development center for the Americas, which provides materials testing, materials development, product engineering and product development for the company's evolving sealing product line.
“The R&D center in Fort Wayne has expanded a lot in recent years, and we got to the point where the product test lab was bursting at the seams,” said Colin Macqueen, director of technology for Trelleborg Sealing Solutions in the Americas. “Machines were getting very closely packed, so we added this extra work space to accommodate the machines we've added in the last few years and also to give us some expansion for the next couple of years so we can make future investments as well.”
The center spans 17,000 square feet, including the new addition, with 11,000 square feet dedicated to laboratory space. Macqueen said the firm isn't adding any jobs specifically through this investment, but since 2001, the operation has grown from 11 people to about 30.
Trelleborg works with engineered plastics and elastomers, with its main plastic being PTFE. It utilizes a wide range of elastomeric materials, but Macqueen said the main two are FKM and NBR. It also deals with polyurethanes, some silicones, EPDMs and HNBRs.
Macqueen said the expansion affords the firm the opportunity to support continued growth of its sealing business. The center in Fort Wayne has 20 rotary test machines with 14 being added in the last five years. It can put seals in several environmentally challenging environments to test them at high and low temperatures with both customer equipment and its own fixtures.
Trelleborg Sealing Solutions recently built a specialized test rig for flight control actuator seals used in aerospace. Macqueen said the seals need to operate in a very demanding environment because of rapid motion, low temperature and the variety of fluids that flow through the wing. The company is commissioning the rig right now and is set to run its first test in January.
The firm's materials test lab also has added new analytical testing equipment in the last few years.
“Customers see our benefits in two ways,” Macqueen said. “One is we work one-on-one with some customers on joint developments. What we're getting now is tools we didn't have before and also more capacity on some of the tools we already had. The customers will see that directly with joint development programs, but also with those things that we develop proactively, internally within our own organization. Customers will see new products that will be launched out of this in the next year or two.”
Trelleborg Sealing Solutions is a unit of Trelleborg A.B., a worldwide producer of engineered polymers. The group posted annual sales of about $3.29 billion and operates in more than 40 countries in five business areas—Trelleborg Coated Systems, Trelleborg Industrial Solutions, Trelleborg Offshore & Construction, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions and Trelleborg Wheel Systems.
Fort Wayne is the headquarters for Trelleborg Sealing Solutions in the Americas with 400 employees in the general area. It has two other facilities in addition to the technical center—its flagship PTFE plant that employs 300 and a logistics center about 15 minutes away.
The unit operates in 30 locations in the Americas, including seven manufacturing facilities. In addition to the Fort Wayne operation, it operates two in the Boston area and one each in Chicago, Denver, Mexico and Brazil.