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Freudenberg-NOK Touts Frictionless Engine Seals

Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies says its new air-cushioned Levitex engine seal virtually eliminates friction between the crankshaft and crankcase, thus enhancing performance and reducing heat energy losses.
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Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies says its new air-cushioned Levitex engine seal virtually eliminates friction between the crankshaft and crankcase, thus enhancing performance and reducing heat energy losses. The improved efficiency can reduce fuel consumption and corresponding carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 1 g/km, according to the supplier.

Derived from industrial applications, the patent-pending Levitex seal consists of two interacting rings attached to the crankshaft and crankcase. One of the rings has tiny grooves that taper to a closed tip.

When the crankshaft rotates, air is pushed against the sealing dam that encloses the grooves, which generates a stable gas film a few micrometers thick. The film's low-viscosity results in a near frictionless seal and further helps protect oil leakage, according to the company It says the new sealing rings have passed extreme temperature tests, attempted water penetration and other harsh conditions, including exposure to high dust levels.

Freudenberg-NOK will begin supplying Levitex seals to an unnamed carmaker in 2017 for use in a global engine platform. The company initially will produce the new seals in Europe, but it also is considering North American production if demand warrants.

Plymouth, Mich.-based Freudenberg-NOK is the Americas joint venture between Germany's Freudenberg and Co. and Japan's NOK Corp