PLYMOUTH, Mich., Feb. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- When it comes to increasing fuel economy and reducing emissions, even the smallest parts play a significant role. Freudenberg-NOK, a world leading producer of elastomeric seals, has made a major advancement in seal technology with the development of the new Energy Saving Seal (ESS™) designed to utilize less than one-quarter of the energy used by conventional radial shaft seals.
"Although seals are a tiny component in the overall vehicle system, they make a big difference in the environment and reducing our carbon footprint," said Dr. Ted Duclos, vice president, Operations and Technology, Freudenberg-NOK. "If you replaced the engine, transmission, axle and bearing seals on all light vehicles on the road today with ESS technology – it could save more than two billion gallons of gas annually – or the equivalent of five days of gasoline used in the U.S. per year.
"Seals are typically a significant energy loss for any type of machinery. Our engineers have reinvented the radial shaft seal to help our customers meet increasing demands for better fuel economy and emissions. With our innovative ESS product lineup, we've reduced power loss in drive assemblies by drastically reducing friction which has a direct, positive impact on fuel consumption."
* U.S. Patent 7,494,130 issued Feb. 24, 2009. Other applications pending.
Freudenberg-NOK's ESS technology combines a proprietary elastomer with a new optimized lip loading design that in many cases eliminates the need for the spring found in conventional shaft seals. The technology can also be optimized to ensure that even under severe levels of shaft misalignment, the sealing lip remains in contact with the shaft, providing reliable sealing.
"OEM's are looking for global suppliers who develop innovative solutions that meet improved fuel economy and emissions targets. Freudenberg-NOK's ESS product lineup helps our customers meet these challenges and underscores our reputation as global technology specialists," said Brad Norton, president, Automotive Sales, Freudenberg-NOK. "Along with improved efficiency, ESS offers improved durability as well. Our customers want it all and should not have to sacrifice sealing performance in the name of improved fuel economy. By delivering both, we're proud that ESS is a win-win for our customers and the environment."
Freudenberg-NOK's energy saving technology can improve fuel economy for virtually any vehicle on the road today with ESS applications for light vehicles – and with the company's MileMaker® seals for commercial vehicles. MileMaker seals operate with over 50 percent less torque than competitors' seals, which can result in over $1,000 in diesel savings over the life of the seal per commercial truck. Additionally, these seals are designed to address issues facing the heavy duty industry such as higher wheel end temperatures, longer service life and increased durability.
Although initially invented for advanced engine designs and fuel economy requirements in the automotive industry, the company's ESS technology has broader applications across many industries. It can be used on rotating seals for a variety of global markets that Freudenberg-NOK serves including aerospace, agriculture and construction, railway, power generation and renewable energy.
ESS technology has the following advantages:
- Increases engine efficiency, reduces power consumption and can improve fuel economy
- Significantly reduces friction between the seal lip and shaft
- Lowers seal lip temperature
- Virtually eliminates seal failure due to oil breakdown
- Reduces heat aging (hardening) of rubber
- Maintains sealing performance even when large shaft misalignments occur
"Changing conventional seals to ESS products is analogous to changing incandescent light bulbs in your house over to fluorescents – small energy savings that, over the course of a year, add up to significant numbers," said Duclos.
Founded in 1989, Freudenberg-NOK General Partnership based in Plymouth, Michigan, is known as a world-leading manufacturer of precision-manufactured products for a variety of markets, including automotive, aerospace, appliance, diesel engine, agriculture and construction, marine, healthcare and medical, off-highway equipment, oil and gas, recreational vehicles and semiconductor markets.
Today, Freudenberg-NOK is recognized by its global customers as a valued development partner and technology specialist. A leader in innovative business approaches, the company was an early adopter of Six Sigma quality practices. Freudenberg-NOK has earned the reputation as a benchmark in North American lean practices.
Freudenberg-NOK General Partnership is the Americas joint venture between Freudenberg and Company in Germany and NOK Corporation in Japan. Together, Freudenberg and NOK Group Companies make up the world's largest producer of elastomeric seals and custom molded products. Freudenberg-NOK General Partnership has annual revenues approaching $1 billion. www.freudenberg-nok.com.