Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies' (Freudenberg-NOK) Process Seals division has developed a new, cost-effective silicone material for the food and beverage industry that offers superior chemical and temperature resistance in aggressive environments.
Freudenberg-NOK's LZ636 silicone compound can be molded into custom-tailored profiles and blocks microwave radiation leakage in large commercial applications. The material incorporates proprietary fillers in a rubber base and is compliant with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requirements.
"Given the unique nature of the industry, food and beverage applications require highly durable seals that are also safe for human interaction," said Miles Martin, U.S. territory manager, Freudenberg Process Seals. "Our extensive industry and material knowledge allows our company to work with food and beverage customers to develop customized solutions that address their challenges safely and effectively."
LZ636 was developed in response to a customer request. A residential and commercial oven manufacturer asked Freudenberg-NOK to develop a material that would eliminate microwave radiation leakage and resist high temperatures and aggressive chemicals.
"The customer's engineers approached us about developing a robust, reliable sealing solution that would fulfill their challenging set of requirements," said Todd Blair, a product development manager in the company's Tillsonburg, Ontario, Canada facility. "They were enthused about working with us on development of a new product that would meet their needs and improve the safety and seal longevity of their products. It was a very collaborative project."
Blair teamed up with Dr. Paul Hochgesang, research fellow, in Freudenberg-NOK's corporate technology laboratories in Plymouth. Hochgesang developed and tested a variety of different rubber formulas that incorporated special additives and fillers. Samples were molded in Tillsonburg and shipped to the customer for testing in commercial microwave ovens.
Hochgesang eventually developed a winning formula that produces a material capable of blocking stray microwave radiation that can escape through traditional oven door seals. The material is also resistant to high temperatures, grease and chemical cleaners.
Hochgesang also worked with Blair and the Tillsonburg plant to develop a new manufacturing process that enables the facility to produce the material without concerns about cross-contamination.
Freudenberg-NOK's LZ636 silicone material successfully addresses some of the most difficult challenges faced by food and beverage manufacturers and is available for multiple applications.
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.