Auto supplier Freudenberg-NOK is 18 months into a focused program aimed at increasing its in-house knowledge of plastics.
The Plymouth, Mich.-based company, which began as a rubber specialist, has given itself three years to both develop expertise with its “High Performance Plastics” program, and do it with an eye toward keeping production cost efficient.
HPP is looking at plastics such as polyamide-imides (PAI), polyimides (PI), polyether ether ketones (PEEK) and polyphthalamides (PPA).
Luis Lorenzo, senior vice president for technology and innovation, said the firm does not have core competency with regards to formulation, testing, modeling, testing of products and applications for these materials, and has been developing the necessary expertise in these critical areas.
“What we're doing now is looking at these types of materials and identifying the attributes of the raw materials and how those attributes need to be tailored to meet specific functional requirements,” Lorenzo said. “One of the things that we are invested in is developing formulations that allow us to hit a specific extreme requirement for applications.”
The firm said its HPP project likely will become a benchmark for how the company develops new material competencies in the future.
“We wanted to invest in a project to make significant advances to our internal know-how,” Lorenzo said. “We looked at different areas, not just the plastics that we need to make products, but different areas that we wanted to develop.”
Freudenberg-NOK is a joint venture between Freudenberg and Co. in Germany and NOK Corp. in Japan. The firm produces advanced sealing technologies for a variety of markets such as automotive, aerospace, construction and agriculture, among others.
Freudenberg-NOK's sealing technologies group has selected Matthew Portu as its new president, replacing Theodore Duclos.
Duclos will become a member of Freudenberg Sealing Technologies board of management at the firm's headquarters in Weinheim, Germany, and serve as its chief technology officer effective Jan. 1.
In addition to his duties as president of the Americas joint venture between Freudenberg and NOK, Duclos is the senior vice president, fluid power and Freudenberg Sealing Technologies. He has been with the firm since 1996 as corporate director technology.
Duclos has been senior vice president of the global Fluid Power Division since 2011, and in 2014 was promoted to president of Freudenberg-NOK.
Portu has served as senior vice president, global purchasing, at Freudenberg-NOK since July 2013 and will retain that role as president. Prior to joining the firm, he was the associate director of purchasing at Visteon Corp. from 1999-2005.