MANCHESTER, N.H., Dec. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Freudenberg North America innovations span industries and product lines. They may come in a flash of creative genius while watching children play in a sprinkler or from closely studying the needs of customers.
"The companies that make up the Freudenberg North America organization offer a remarkable wealth of technical inspiration to their customers," said Leesa Smith, president, Freudenberg North America Limited Partnership. "Our technical specialists, engineers, scientists and chemists are some of the brightest in the industry. They are completely focused on how to successfully solve their customers' challenges. Just as often, they are looking for ways to improve existing technologies and solutions."
Freudenberg's business units cross multiple industries from automotive and aerospace, to health care, information technology and retail. Four Freudenberg associates share stories of some of their latest solutions.
Dennis A. Lauer, Vice President of Engineering, Kluber Lubrication North America
At Kluber Lubrication North America, Dennis A. Lauer has been helping customers find solutions for their equipment problems for a quarter century. As the vice president of engineering, Lauer works hand-in-hand with customers in industries as varied as food processing to amusement parks to gold mining and everything in between to recommend lubricants to meet their needs.
One of Kluber's clients in Colorado needed a lubricant for its mechanism that holds a person's head stationary during robotic surgery. The clamps weren't locking properly until Lauer recommended a Kluber lubricant. Another client in South America needed a special lubricant to keep its giant drills from vibrating while mining for gold.
"These are very critical applications to these companies and these people," Lauer said. "They can't fail."
It's Lauer's job to analyze customers' applications using engineering calculations and principles, and to select the lubricant that fits those parameters.
"Kluber makes many lubricants. If we don't have it in the U.S., we'll go back to Kluber in Germany and develop a new one," he added.
Lauer has been with Kluber Lubrication NA for nearly 25 years, and during that time has helped hundreds of customers in every industry.
"It's been a very successful career for me and for Kluber Lubrication in North America," he said. "The work is challenging and the customers appreciate our solutions."
Jason Kohn, Director of Advanced Product Engineering, Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies
When Freudenberg employee Jason Kohn saw a metal clip used to fasten solar panels to frames sitting on a desk at a customer's company, wheels began turning. Kohn, director of product pre-development with Freudenberg, thought his team could make this simple but essential part easier to install, more durable and more secure.
Thus began a three-year development project that resulted in Freudenberg's introduction of its new patent pending solar panel retaining clip. The clip, made of engineered plastic, requires no mounting hardware and has two essential parts. Its ergonomic design includes a bolt-free, theft-preventing fastening mechanism. Additionally, the solution offers a fast "two step" assembly, is compatible with industry standards and certifications, and has endless system integration possibilities.
"Most companies develop products as a reaction to current market needs, but Freudenberg-NOK's advanced engineering group systematically assesses the existing market solutions, analyses the overall system function, and merges current and future requirements into a footprint that becomes the basis for innovative product development," said Kohn. "You have to talk and work together to come up with a solution. You have to talk with customers about their products and fully understand what they expect."
"Our philosophy is that no existing product is ever good enough and can always be improved upon. Our employees constantly strive to develop the next big idea, and our innovative, plastic solar panel retaining clip is just one example of the power of Freudenberg-NOK's advanced product engineering process."
John Wagner, Staff Design Engineer, Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies
Other Freudenberg innovators found inspiration closer to home. Freudenberg Staff Design Engineer John Wagner, who holds multiple patents, was motivated to develop new Core Push-In Seal technology in 2010 while pondering the humble thumbtack. The Core Push-In Seal is the primary core seal used in Lancer beverage dispensers.
Wagner's grandchildren provided inspiration for his latest innovation - Tight Package Sensor Seal technology.
"This design provides a reliable seal within a very small space on an engine cover," said Wagner. "I was watching my grandchildren play with an umbrella under a sprinkler on a hot summer day when I began visualizing this technology."
The tight package seal acts like an umbrella in the hole of the valve cover. It allows components to move slightly over extreme temperature ranges while still allowing easy assembly.
"Inspiration comes from things we see, touch, hear and smell every day," he concluded. "I'm working on a design right now that was inspired by features I saw on a water bottle cap."
Steve Rose, Engineering Manager, EagleBurgmann USA
While some innovations are derived from a thumbtack, sprinkler or spark of imagination, others are simply about bringing the innovations to where customers need them most.
Metal bellows are a key component in the refinery industry and have been around since the 1950's. However, EagleBurgmann's highly engineered metal bellows have never been manufactured in the United States. Steve Rose, engineering manager at EagleBurgmann, brought these manufacturing capabilities to the U.S. only four short months after joining the company.
"Refining happens in the Gulf, so it was really a no-brainer that metal bellows should be manufactured nearby," said Rose. "It's also a critical and dangerous application. If a metal bellow is needed, our customers are completely down, with no product and therefore no revenue. By bringing manufacturing facilities to the U.S., we can more quickly get our customers the products they need to get back up and running."
With counterparts in Germany and Japan, Rose pulled from their expertise and technologies to kick start the U.S. operations.
"The supported efforts and trust received from EagleBurgmann's overseas partners was outstanding and helped us to achieve a common goal - delivering customer results in a safe and timely fashion," added Rose.
"The corporate culture of Freudenberg North America embraces constant innovation and continuous improvement," Smith concluded. "We will never run out of innovations or ideas to visualize, develop and offer to our customers. That's what makes the Freudenberg family of companies cutting edge and successful. We're always willing to step outside of the box to meet the diverse and challenging needs of our customers."
About Freudenberg North America Limited Partnership
Freudenberg North America Limited Partnership, the North American holding company for Freudenberg & Co. of Weinheim, Germany, owns a family of companies that operate 15 unique businesses. 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. Freudenberg North America companies develop and manufacture custom-engineered seals, vibration control technology, filters, nonwovens, release agents, lubricants, expansion joints, household products, and IT software and services.
The Freudenberg Group specializes in seals and vibration control technology, nonwovens, filtration, lubricants and release agents and other specialty business areas. The Freudenberg Group generated sales of more than U.S. $7.13 billion and had 34,000 global employees in 2010. For additional information, please visit freudenberg.com
SOURCE Freudenberg North America