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Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies revolutionizes automotive engine seals with Levitex

 Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies revolutionizes automotive engine seals
                                 with Levitex

Gas-lubricated mechanical seal for crankshafts functions nearly friction-free

PR Newswire

PLYMOUTH, Mich., Nov. 8, 2013

PLYMOUTH, Mich., Nov. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Reductions in fuel consumption
and emissions are still at the top of the automotive industry's wish list.
Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies is making valuable contributions to those
goals with its Low Emission Sealing Solutions (LESS) initiative, a portfolio
of products designed to help reduce friction.

The company is now single-mindedly pursuing the next generation of sealing
technology with Levitex, the first nearly friction-free crankshaft seal.

Levitex is a "small revolution in engine seals," said Karl Woll, director of
the company's Product Pre-development Global Oil Seals Division.  Due to the
innovative gas flow structure on its contact face, the primary ring in a
Levitex seal interacts with a mating ring to form a cushion of air on which
the primary ring independently floats. Air "lubrication" produces less
friction than any oil. Frictional losses are reduced to a minimum. This
minimal friction results in lower fuel consumption and a long operating life.

Levitex is also extremely resistant to pressure, a quality that is becoming
more important in advanced engines. Prototypes are already being put through
the paces at a leading German automaker and at an independent university –
with gratifying results. Other European manufacturers are showing a keen
interest as well. This comes as no surprise: the EU is requiring that the
emissions of every automaker's vehicle fleet average just 95 grams of CO[2
]per kilometer by 2020. Savings of at least 0.5 grams CO[2] should be
possible with Levitex seals alone. A 1.0 g reduction in CO[2] emissions is
the equivalent of approximately 0.2 mpg savings in gas for a vehicle rated at
a 33 mpg.

"A year ago I would never have believed that we would come this far," admits
Soren Neuberger, Levitex project manager. The basic idea behind Levitex comes
from a Freudenberg corporate partner, Burgmann Automotive, the Bavarian
equipment manufacturerwho produces gas-lubricated mechanical seals for
industrial applications, especially in turbines. The seals had a unique
design: The rotary movement between the outer and inner slide rings produces a
cushion of air, allowing the seal to function practically friction-free.

"But back then, the transfer of the concept to automotive mass production
stayed in the prototype stage for cost reasons," Neuberger said. He took on
the task of simplifying the first, highly complex generation of the seal. This
"downsizing" began with the development of simulation software. The
manufacturing process was analyzed and defined in terms of risk factors and
the first prototypes were produced and tested.

Working with his colleagues, the Mannheim native came up with a new, radically
simplified concept with just four individual parts instead of nine. Levitex
took its first spin on the test stand in 2012, and it functioned as hoped
right from the start. It reached a milestone by the end of last year when the
first automaker customer ordered prototypes for its own trials. The automaker
also validated the test findings. As a result, the customer is showing great
interest in taking Levitex into regular production in 2017.

Making the leap virtually from advanced development to regular production is
evidence of Freudenberg's development expertise, speed and considerable trust
by its customers.

About Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies
Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies is the Americas joint venture between
Freudenberg and Co. in Germany and NOK Corp. in Japan. Freudenberg-NOK is a
leading producer – through its Automotive, Merkel, Process Seals and Simrit
sales channels – of advanced sealing technologies for a variety of markets
including: aerospace; agriculture; appliance; automotive; construction; diesel
engine; energy; food and beverage; heavy industry; and pharmaceutical. Founded
in 1989 under the legal name Freudenberg-NOK General Partnership,
Freudenberg-NOK is headquartered in Plymouth, Mich. and operates more than 20
facilities across the Americas. For additional information, please visit
www.fnst.com.

SOURCE Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies

Website: http://www.fnst.com
Contact: Cheryl Eberwein, Director, Media Relations, Office: +1 734 354 7373,
E-Mail: cheryl.eberwein@fnst.com; Leslie Dagg, Bianchi PR, Office: +1 248 269
1122, E-Mail: ldagg@bianchipr.com