1849

1849

Heintze & Freudenberg established

On February 9, 1849, the tannery company Heintze & Freudenberg, which has 50 employees in Weinheim, is established by the partners Heinrich Christian Heintze (1800-1862) and Carl Johann Freudenberg (1819-1898).

1850

1850

Patent leather developed

One year after the establishment of the company, Freudenberg develops its first innovation: the company flourishes with the introduction of patent leather production in 1850. In 1855, patent leather already accounts for more than 80% of production.

1874

1874

Carl Freudenberg becomes sole owner of the company

In 1874, the partner Leopold Heintze dies and Carl Johann Freudenberg becomes sole proprietor. The company is renamed Carl Freudenberg and develops into the largest tannery in Germany, and later in Europe.

1887

1887

First business principles

In 1887 Carl Johann Freudenberg introduces the next generation. His sons, Friedrich Carl (1848-1942) and Hermann Ernst Freudenberg (1856-1923) become partners. The company already employs more than 500 employees.

1929

1929

First seals produced

The global economic crisis affects the entire leather industry in Germany to the brink of viability. The sale price for finished calf leather drops dramatically: it is only a fifth of the purchase price for rawhide.

1932

1932

Simmerring® developed

In 1932 a new era at Freudenberg begins with the revolutionary Simmerring: sealing technology. Its name is taken from the Freudenberg developer Walther Simmer. The Simmerring, a radial shaft sealing ring for sealing rotating shafts replaced the felt seals previously used.

1936

1936

Simmerring® with rubber sealing lip developed

Freudenberg replaces leather with rubber as a sealing material. In 1936, a sealing ring made of Perbunan/NBR is developed: it has a high temperature and swelling resistance when exposed to engine lubricating oil.

1957

1957

Entry into vibration control technology

The next diversification step follows in 1957. Freudenberg becomes involved in vibration control technology, which complements its expertise from sealing technology. It produces shock absorbers, vibration absorbers and ultra bushings under the name Metalastik. A partnership with the Italian seal manufacturer Corte & Cosso is formed.

1960

1960

First partnerships in Japan

1960 marks the beginning of two formative partnerships. Freudenberg turns its attention to the Japanese market and finds partners with whom it taps very successful new markets over the coming decades.

1973

1973

Expansion in Brazil

Involvement in the seal factory Rubrasil SA in São Paulo (founded 1958). In 1988, Freudenberg and NOK join to form Freudenberg NOK - Componentes Ltda.

1977

1977

Entry into electronics business

In 1977, to further spread business risks and open up new markets, Freudenberg begins to produce electromechanical components and printed circuit boards.

1989

1989

FNGP established

The American sealing activities by Freudenberg and its Japanese partner NOK are introduced in a joint venture: the Freudenberg-NOK General Partnership (FNGP).

1995

1995

First production on Chinese mainland

Freudenberg opens its first production facilities in China in 1995. Seal factories are established together with its Japanese partner NOK in Changchun and Wuxi. An interlining production company is established in Suzhou with the Japan Vilene Company.

1996

1996

FOKUS

In a large project under the name FOKUS (Freudenberg Organisation für kundenorientierte Unternehmens-Struktur - Freudenberg Customer-Oriented Company Structure Organization) Freudenberg adapts its structures to the wide and international positioning of the company in 1996

1997

1997

First mechatronic sealing components

The Simmerring takes on additional functions. Encoder technology is developed and the seal becomes a product that performs tasks beyond sealing. With integrated sensor technology, the encoder can measure the engine revolutions, making it possible to control ABS braking systems and engine management systems.

1999

1999

Entry into vibration control technology for rail vehicles

Freudenberg Schwab is founded in 1999. This is a joint venture with the Schwab Group involving the production of vibration control components for rail vehicles in Adliswil, Switzerland. This move marks Freudenberg’s entry into vibration control technology for rail vehicles. In 2010, Freudenberg Seals and Vibration Control Technology assumes 100% ownership of the joint venture.

2003

2003

Expansion in India

In 2003, in the Indian city of Mohali, a production facility is constructed for seals produced by the joint venture Sigma Freudenberg NOK PVT. Ltd, founded in 2000 by Freudenberg Seals and Vibration Control Technology, Sigma and NOK. In the coming years, India develops alongside China into one of Freudenberg’s key growth markets.

2004

2004

Burgmann Dichtungswerke acquired

With the 2004 acquisition of Burgmann Dichtungswerke based in Wolfratshausen near Munich, Freudenberg expands its sealing business to become a specialist in mechanical seals.

2009

2009

LESS - Emissions reduction through innovative sealing technology

With the launch of the Low Emission Sealing Solution Program (LESS), Freudenberg offers numerous innovative sealing solutions for the reduction of CO2 emissions in vehicles.

2011

2011

More strategic milestones

The creation of new business groups, e.g. Freudenberg Schwab, on January 1, 2011 is a clear indication of Freudenberg’s plans for strategic growth.

2012

2012

LESS program expanded

The revolutionary new Levitex® crankshaft seal comes very close to the vision of a frictionless seal. The Levitex® crankshaft seal creates an air cushion that seals the engine compartment with virtually no friction.

2014

2014

Restructuring and expansion of the sealing and vibration control technology business

The business groups Freudenberg Schwab Vibration Control (vibration-control technology for rail car) and Dichtomatik (sealing solutions) are integrated into the Freudenberg Sealing Technologies business groups as part of the FOKUS 2.0 project to restructure the sealing and vibration-control technology business within the Freudenberg Group.

From leather to Levitex

An entrepreneurial tradition dating back more than 165 years. The history of the Freudenberg Group.

Three key themes run through the Freudenberg Group’s history from its founding as a small tannery in 1849 down to the present: innovation, internationalism and quality.

At the start, the tannery solely manufactures high quality calf leather, then specializes in innovative patent leather a year after its founding, and later develops chrome tanning, doing business far beyond Germany’s borders very early on.

The company’s diversification begins with the invention of Simmerrings in 1929 and its entry into the sealing business. Freudenberg finds answers to the challenges of each respective era and develops new markets, new industries and new regions through innovation. Beginning in 1960, the international collaboration with the NOK Corporation of Japan is ground-breaking, guiding the sealing business into global channels.

Low Emission Sealing Solutions (LESS) for automotive companies are a current example of how Freudenberg Sealing Technologies develops solutions to meet the requirements of the future. The gas-lubricated crankshaft mechanical face seal Levitex comes quite close to the dream of a friction-free seal and helps to reduce vehicle fuel consumption and emissions.