Freudenberg Gives Airbus A350 XWB a Lift

PLYMOUTH, Mich., June 19, 2013. As the Airbus A350 XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) aircraft completes its flyover at the Paris Air Show this week, the Freudenberg Group is proud to have contributed essential components to the commercial aircraft. Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies, a leading global sealing supplier to the aerospace industry, worked with a key manufacturer of high-lift systems to support the new A350 XWB aircraft.

“We’re proud to have been involved in this project from the initial design through the final development stage, as sealing components are an integral part of the successful function of high-lift systems,” said Vinay Nilkanth, vice president of global sales, aerospace, Freudenberg-NOK. “Seeing the Airbus A350 XWB aircraft achieves its first flight last week and now the flyover at the Paris Air Show is a testament to what Freudenberg-NOK can offer to its customers.”

The A350 XWB aircraft utilizes a mechanical high-lift system to effectively and efficiently assist in take-off and landing. These systems increase the surface area of the wing, allowing the aircraft to take-off and land on shorter runways and at reduced speeds. As a result, airports with smaller runways can still accommodate large commercial aircraft.

In addition to Freudenberg-NOK’s aerospace O-Rings used in various flight control hydraulic systems, plate seals used on the auxiliary power unit and specialty sealing products used on cabin pressure control valves, the company’s radial shaft seals are utilized as grease and oil seals within the A350 XWB horizontal stabilizer, as well as throughout the aircraft’s high-lift system components.

Freudenberg-NOK’s elastomeric and PTFE (polytetraflouroethylene) seal designs offer improved leakage control and longer life by utilizing proprietary elastomer formulations and engineered design geometry to allow for reduced friction, optimized contact pressure, improved wear resistance and long-term sealing force resiliency to meet extended life cycle requirements.

The sealing components were designed to provide long-term performance and reduced friction for the smaller motors that provide power for the various gearbox drive units. Freudenberg-NOK exceeded the sealing challenges by utilizing innovative radial shaft seal designs developed through the extensive use of finite element analysis. This analysis helped refine the seal designs so the final configurations reduced speed-to-market and allowed the Freudenberg-NOK customer to meet the A350 XWB’s schedule requirements.

“The successful first flight marks a significant milestone as the start of the flight test vehicle program,” said Nilkanth. “As Airbus continues forward with A350 XWB flight testing and subsequently entry into service, Freudenberg-NOK will be flying high to help lift this modern-day aircraft into a successful long-haul airplane for our generation and decades to come.”

The A350 XWB is an all-new mid-size long range product line seating between 270 and 350 passengers in typical three-class layouts. The aircraft will bring a step change in efficiency compared with existing aircraft in this size category, using 25 percent less fuel and providing an equivalent reduction in CO2 emissions.