Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies Develops Bio-Renewable Rubber to Reduce Carbon Footprint

With the ever-increasing emissions standards and push for sustainability solutions, Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies has developed an ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber compound from a polymer produced from sugarcane-based feedstock.

The bio-renewable rubber, for which development began in 2012, is made from a polymer that is made via a process that begins with the sugarcane plant. A sugarcane-produced ethanol is converted into ethylene which forms a substantial portion of the base polymer.

"We had been working with polymer suppliers for ways to reduce our carbon footprint but the polymer offerings lacked the specific characteristics we needed for our advanced manufacturing processes," said Joe Walker, global director, Advanced Materials Development. "So we initiated a project to research the area, and we were able to develop a material that can be used in our next generation injection molding process."

Freudenberg-NOK has focused much of their next generation manufacturing technology on a single cavity, net shape injection molding process which has resulted in reduced waste and energy demand and overall improved manufacturing control, yielding improved quality. This new concept is becoming a staple at Freudenberg-NOK. The advent of the new, more eco-friendly EPDM rubber is a natural fit for the machines.

Applications for the rubber include seals for coolants, steam, synthetic hydraulic fluids, brake fluids and aerospace hydraulic fluids (phosphate esters). The newly developed material is capable of withstanding temperatures up to 150 C, and the material has outstanding compressive stress force retention.

In addition to these properties, the sugarcane base allows the material to be 45 percent bio-renewable, which ultimately reduces the manufacturing carbon footprint.

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 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

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