Freudenberg responds to spike in demand for FFKM products
10 Nov 2023
'Companies in aerospace, fluid handling, agriculture, construction industries found existing supplies unavailable...'
Plymouth, Michigan – Freudenberg Sealing Technologies (FST) has reported a 100%-plus increase in sales of its Simriz perfluoroelastomer (FFKM) compounds in North America during the past 24 months.
In response, FST has brought on a second shift to help it fill growing Simriz orders and is to start up a new FFKM production cell in its Santa Ana O-ring facility in the US, in January 2024.
The spike in demand is “in large measure” linked to the performance capabilities of the materials and “near-immediate availability at a time when other supplies* of FFKM have been unavailable.”
Major companies in the aerospace, fluid handling, agriculture, and construction industries “now rely on Simriz compounds to fulfil their customers’ FFKM component requirements,” FST added 7 Nov.
FFKM seals and gaskets are essential for many manufacturing processes where extreme temperatures, pressures and chemicals are used.
FST produces 11 different Simriz grades, including 498, which features a patented cross-link structure that offers sealing protection at up to 325°C and against aggressive chemicals and superheated water and steam.
Sales of Simriz 498 have “began to quickly escalate near the end of 2022, when manufacturers in many industries found they could no longer source FFKM from their regular suppliers,” noted FST.
In addition, it said, supply-chain disruptions, the lingering impact of the Covid pandemic, made sourcing FFKM ingredients difficult.
According to the FST, it could take up to nine months for some companies to source the material from existing suppliers – delays that would severely compromise production schedules.
However, FST said that, due to its integrated supply-chain and existing material validation data, it was able to offer Simriz FFKM’s in as little as two days.
“When other FFKM materials were not available, we very quickly stepped up and supplied our complete portfolio of Simriz compounds to meet customers’ needs,” said Jeff Kruwell, sales director fluid technologies at FST.
*US supplier 3M last year announced plans to phase-out production of all per- and polyfluorinated chemicals (PFAS), including fluoroelastomers manufactured by its Dyneon subsidiary (related ERJ report).