Freudenberg Automotive Parts and Technologies Support Major Market Trends

January 16, 2015

In an industry that is defined by innovation, Freudenberg companies provide products and technologies that support major market trends. Mostly invisible to car drivers, these products provide a variety of benefits which improve vehicle economy, comfort, and safety, and, in some cases, are essential enablers of new technologies. Consequently, Freudenberg's lubricants, seals, filters and nonwoven materials can be found in a variety of vehicles at this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

"A world-wide trend to develop lighter, smaller, more powerful yet more efficient vehicles has provided Freudenberg companies with an opportunity to contribute a range of innovative product solutions," states Bob Evans, Freudenberg North America president and regional representative. "Many new products are aimed at engine and body weight reduction, but there is no shortage of products that focus on vehicle occupants' comfort, reducing cabin noise and air pollution."

Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies' (Freudenberg-NOK) unique seals and gaskets product portfolio helps customers pursue technologies that enable vehicle downsizing. These technologies reflect the company's development of new processes, new materials and even cross hybridization of one industry solution to another to address tough technology challenges associated with smaller, more efficient cars and trucks.

For example, the company now provides high temperature alloy (HTA) metal materials, originally developed and used by the aerospace industry, for use in its automotive Stamped Gaskets product division. HTA, a family of alloys made from a high nickel content metal, possess extreme temperature and fatigue cracking resistance, which is well suited for the current trend of engine downsizing and forced induction used today to improve the performance of smaller engines.

Additionally, Freudenberg-NOK is pursuing development of components that result in direct weight savings in vehicle engines and powertrains. For example, the patent-pending Curve Gasket supports the trend of new powertrain modules with a focus on lightweight design. The Curve Gasket's greater stability, lower reaction forces and wider compression ranges helps minimize the amount of structural plastic required in engine covers.

To achieve the dimensional stability and lower reaction forces essential for sealing lightweight thermoplastic covers, the Curve Gasket uses a combination of constant and undulated cross-sections that reduce loading. The undulated sections of the gasket use the same design principle as the corrugated waves used to stabilize metal sheeting.

As the automotive industry rapidly converts many heavy steel structural components to more complex parts made from weight-saving, high-ductility aluminum alloys, high-performance die lubricants for the high pressure die cast industry developed by Freudenberg's Chemical Specialties Business Chem-Trend find their application. The company's latest technology helps die casters overcome processing challenges to ensure the highest level of quality, and structural integrity, that is crucial for safety and performance of these new lightweight structural parts that are replacing traditional stamped and welded steel components.

Focus on vehicle efficiency, however, does not take away from continuous efforts to improve driving experience for vehicle owners. Freudenberg products play a role in those efforts.

Kluber Lubrication, also a company of the Freudenberg Chemical Specialties Group, has developed an invisible lubricating oil made from Perfluorinated Polyether to eliminate noise issues in automotive interiors and thus positively impact the comfort and quality perception by the owner.

Very often, interior components such as instrument and door panels, center consoles, cup holders, leather seating surfaces, chrome trim, and trim bezels generate itching and squeaking noises against mating parts when small movements occur. Kluberalfa MR 3 was specifically developed for friction points in motor vehicles where improved sliding and noise damping behavior are required. The oil is also tenacious and has been designed to remain in the lube point for the life of the vehicle, and is chemically inert so plastics, leathers, textiles and elastomers remain unaffected. This all translates into further decreases in the need for costly engineering changes. Nearly all major Automotive OEMs are currently using the Kluberalfa MR 3 series of lubricants to eliminate these difficult noise, vibration and harshness issues.

Freudenberg Performance Materials Business Group produces Evolon®, a highly effective lightweight microfilament nonwoven material that has superior acoustic absorption and is used for vehicle interior noise and vibration control. Evolon can improve the acoustical tuning ranges within the vehicle while reducing the material weight and improving vehicle fuel consumption. So far, eight different engineered Evolon products are supplied to GM, Ford and Honda vehicles and Freudenberg Performance Materials Business Group continues to develop systems for future OEM applications targeting noise and weight reduction. Global acoustic applications of Evolon include headliner, dashboard, carpet backing, doors and the under body heat shield.

Finally, Freudenberg Filtration Technologies (FFT) Business Group provides a variety of cabin air filters that ensure the vehicle cabin air is free of pollutants, irritants, and odors. micronAir® filters trap a broad range of microscopic particles, harmful gases and unpleasant odors to help make the driving experience healthier and more pleasant. These filters also protect the vehicle air-conditioning system, extending its life and reducing the need for service. They also have a significant safety effect - they prevent windshield fogging.

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About the Freudenberg Group: The Freudenberg Group is a family company offering its customers technically challenging product solutions and services. The Group develops and manufactures seals, vibration control components, filters, nonwovens, products for surface treatment, release agents and specialty lubricants, medical and mechatronic products. Especially for mid-size companies Freudenberg develops software solutions and IT services. The end-user can find modern mechanical household cleaning products from Freudenberg in the shops under the brand names of vileda®, O-Cedar®, Wettex®, Gala® and SWASH®. The Freudenberg Group employed about 40,000 people in about 60 countries and generated sales of more than €6.6 billion in 2013 (including pro-rata consolidation of our 50:50 joint ventures). For further information, please go to www.freudenberg.com

About Freudenberg in North America: Freudenberg North America Limited Partnership is the North American holding company for Freudenberg & Co. of Weinheim, Germany that owns a family of companies which operate 15 unique businesses at 86 locations in North America. Together, these companies provide innovative products and solutions to customers in industries ranging from automotive, aerospace, and medical to chemical, oil and gas, and construction. For further information, please visit www.freudenberg.us.

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