The biggest challenge facing him and his team was the method of production. The existing methods applied within the industry – with rings being punched out of a layer of expensive special steel – meant that the overall weight of the waste material produced during fabrication was in excess of that of the actual products. Over a period of three years, ElringKlinger engineers in Dettingen an der Erms therefore developed a completely new process with a reduced volume of waste. Essentially, it comprises just three key steps: a narrow strip of steel is cut to the appropriate length and then formed to create a ring that is welded together at the open end. This ring is then embossed to create the desired profile. Finally, the rings are cured for several hours in a special furnace until they have the required strength. “Not only is this production method more environmentally friendly, it is also much more efficient. It is gratifying to know we have mastered a process that now allows us to produce millions of sealing rings each year,” says Albert Lennerth, who is responsible for production.
Although the manufacturing process is almost fully automated, the offices located directly adjacent to the production line are a hive of activity. After all, customer inquiries need to be processed and projects need to be managed – and sometimes, towards early evening, a member of the production team might come by to ask a question. “We’re a real team that sticks together and finds a solution to even the toughest challenges," says Albert Lennerth and smiles.