PLYMOUTH, Mich.—When the Association for Rubber Products Manufacturers and Freudenberg-NOK set out to establish a new sealing committee, one of the main goals was to make things easier for sealing manufacturers.
The committee just took a big first step by releasing a harmonized material data sheet designed to save suppliers time and money when implemented into their material testing practices.
Freudenberg-NOK said in a June 9 news release that the sheet provides a standardized protocol that specifies the conditions under which a material has been fabricated and tested in laboratory settings. Suppliers who adopt the ARPM system will be required to provide the same test data on every material they introduce to the market, which Freudenberg-NOK said will help establish a comparative material foundation that does not exist today.
Joseph Walker—global director for advanced materials development at Freudenberg-NOK and chair of the ARPM seals and gaskets committee—said the committee consists of 28 companies, 10 of which are chemical or polymer suppliers. The committee also was created in conjunction with the Automotive Industry Action Group, which meant the sheet was developed with input from the Detroit 3—Ford, General Motors and Fiat-Chrysler.
“We all worked together because we all saw the need to have a standard data sheet,” Walker said. “The other thing this does is makes it very easy to compare A to B. Everybody is using the same set of conditions and the same way of reporting data. It makes it very simple to compare offering A and offering B.”
The data sheet—ARPM document number OS-1-4—can be used globally to track material characteristics. Industry-wide implementation of such standard protocols will help streamline material testing. Walker added, however, that the sheet does not replace an OEM's individual specification demands. But it does help level the playing field and give seal manufacturers a rapid way to evaluate the basic suitability of materials through tests performed under identical laboratory conditions.
“This gives you a way of reporting innovation to the OEMs and get them basically to say if they're interested or not interested before you've invested a number of internal resources qualifying to a specification,” he said. “In some cases, they may elect to use this data sheet as their specification.”