TRELLEBORG, Sweden—With third quarter results expected Oct. 27, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions has had to adapt to chaotic market conditions marked by slumping sales during the first half of 2020.
Most of the market segments for the global supplier of seals and gaskets experienced a strong decline, and Trelleborg has said this was particularly difficult in the aerospace and automotive industries. Geographically, sales declined in most regions, with a more limited sales decline in Asia.
But the rocky economic waters did not stop Trelleborg from tacking toward the necessary: requests from medical customers to mass produce face mask, oxygen concentrator and ventilator components to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
And Trelleborg delivered, with five of its facilities in the sealing solutions division shifting production to meet these needs.
"The importance of keeping operations active to do our part to support customers, particularly those in the medical industry, cannot be understated," a spokeswoman for Trelleborg A. B. said. "Adjustments to production schedules and collaboration with customers have enabled Trelleborg Sealing Solutions to quickly and effectively respond to vital requests during this demanding time."
Trelleborg Sealing Solutions' aerospace facility in Northborough, Mass., was the first to change its routine on a request from Boeing in March 2020, when the aviation and aerospace giant asked Trelleborg to make an elastomer strap for the adjustable headband found on 3D-printed face shields. Within 48 hours, Trelleborg was able to turn around a prototype made from aerospace-grade silicone, and within a week had ramped up production to 5,000 straps per week.
Trelleborg Sealing Solutions sites in Fort Wayne, Ind., Denver and Tijuana, Mexico, collaborated to expedite the production of components used in oxygen concentrators, ultimately delivering the parts more than a month ahead of schedule.
In Europe, the United Kingdom was seeking ventilator components, and Trelleborg responded with a change in routine at its Cadley Hill facility to assist with rubber/fabric diaphragms. Production later scaled up to 1,000 diaphragms per week.
"The market situation will continue to be challenging in this year's perspective," the spokeswoman said. "We do not expect any quick return to a new normal. There is still a lot of uncertainty and, consequently, we simply must adapt to market developments one step at a time."