Freudenberg earns sustainability award with laser welding process

March 5, 2013

Freudenberg Sealing Technologies' laser welding process, which eliminates up to 73 percent of the engineered waste produced during traditional stamping operations, has won a Manufacturing Leadership 100 Sustainability Award from Frost & Sullivan's Manufacturing Leadership Council.

The company's laser welded narrow band forming technology, also known as SUL (Schmalband-Umform-Laserschweiss), was recognized by the council as technology that is shaping the future of global manufacturing. The process, developed and in use in the company's Weinheim, Germany, plant, offers Freudenberg sustainability advantages such as faster setup, safer operations, and elimination of up to 1,800 tons of scrap steel per machine per year.

The laser welding process is used in the production of steel rings to help improve the rigidity of radial shaft seals. In the process, a narrow band of steel, rather than a sheet, is cut to length by a laser and wrapped into a ring. The laser welds the two ends of steel together, forming a solid bond, and the ring is formed to final shape through rolling and calibration.

According to the company, the technology eliminates up to 1,800 tons of scrap steel per machine per year in the production of radial shaft seals. It also eliminates the use of petroleum-based lubricants, so parts do not require chemical bath treatment after formation.