"Our sustainability…is mortally dependent on our environment, and our environment is dependent on us." These words are not the mantra of an extreme environmental group—but a company vision articulated by Corporate Director Joe Walker, representing a radical departure in the way that Plymouth, Michigan-based Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies (FNST) is pursuing its industrial business success these days.
Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies is the Americas joint venture partnership between Freudenberg & Co. in Germany and NOK Corp. in Japan. With a clear focus on addressing environmental challenges—including dwindling resources, government regulations, global warming, population increases and clean energy—FNST has implemented a strategic sustainability roadmap that will guide its long-term efforts to reduce energy usage, lower its carbon footprint and produce greener, cleaner products and processes.
Walker, FNST corporate director of Materials Development and Chemical Regulatory Compliance in the Americas, will present this roadmap, and the growing portfolio of green products and processes it is generating, at the LANXESS Mobility Day North America in Charlotte, North Carolina this week. Walker, who oversees FNST's four corporate materials research and development laboratories, will share the stage with Robert Anthony "Bob" Lutz, former vice chairman at General Motors (News - Alert) , to discuss the case for corporate sustainability.
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"As scientists, we must affect positive change in our environment by creating industrial solutions that factor in megatrends, like fewer natural resources, dwindling landfill space and global warming," Walker said. "Our industrial strategy must be innovative enough to successfully solve our customers' issues using new materials, fewer resources, cleaner processes and innovative technologies that improve fuel economy and lower emissions, among other effects."
FNST has long been at the forefront of material research and development efforts to address changes in the polymer and rubber industries – industries heavily dependent on petrochemicals and oil. Today, FNST is aggressively pursuing sustainable products, processes and materials innovations designed to meet customers' current and future product demands.
LANXESS Mobility Day North America is a continuation of the company's successful series of global events on the topic of "Green Mobility". Being staged for the first time in the United States, the one-day conference will feature high profile speakers addressing the topic of "Advanced Technologies for Sustainable Mobility."
Walker will focus his presentation on some of the ways in which FNST applies sustainability throughout its global operations – from research and development efforts to manufacturing production and supply chain relations – among them:
· A successful migration to single cavity molding is producing better product consistency while using less energy in its manufacturing plants;
· Low Emission Sealing Solutions products use less than one-quarter of the energy used by conventional radial shaft seals, thus reducing vehicle emissions and fuel consumption.; and
· FNST's water-based adhesive program and ultraviolet (UV) curable elastomers eliminate the use of hazardous solvents and post-molding heat treatment, while significantly reducing the company's annual carbon footprint.
"Sustainability should not be considered radical environmentalism," Walker concluded. "Our existence relies on our taking care of the environment. In manufacturing, sustainability must be supported by a management philosophy that starts with raw materials, extends through the supply chain and focuses on relevant customer solutions."
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Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli