Industry News

Sonderhoff Initiates Silicone-based, Gasket Material Production in US

Published on 2011-10-24. Author : SpecialChem

Since 2003, the Sonderhoff Group's US facility, located in Elgin, Illinois has been successful in the US market, with steady growth. In order to make its product line even more diverse, Sonderhoff USA Corp. initiated the production of silicone-based, gasket material at the beginning of the 4th quarter of 2011.

With an increase in demand for silicone-based gaskets, particularly from the US auto industry, Sonderhoff's management decided to add silicone manufacturing to its established US production of polyurethanes for foam in place gasket and potting systems. This year at the beginning of the 4th quarter the new silicone-based gasket material production line has started this operation.

Automakers and suppliers with plants in the US, such as the VW plant in Chattanooga TN, are steady customers of Sonderhoff USA. Since its founding in 2003, Sonderhoff USA has provided manufacturers and suppliers in the automotive and electronics industries with solutions from its extensive line of PUR foam gasket and potting systems for sealing vehicle door modules, headlights, brake lights, filters, barrel lids, distributor housings and switch boards.

From its inception, Sonderhoff USA Corp. was planned to be a production facility. This is a major requirement as the efficient source for Sonderhoff key accounts, globally positioned, with manufacturing operations, also in the US. For instance, this avoids lengthy shipping or exchange rate issues. At the same time, the company has built new relationships with American companies, achieving a broad customer base and an independent pricing and delivery policy.

Rising demand of silicone-based gasket solutions in the US

Holger Huelsken, CEO of Sonderhoff USA Corp., explained why he predicts good order volumes for silicone-based gasket solutions from existing and new customers in the US. "Silicone-based sealing liquids are very resistant to high temperatures and stand up well to chemicals. These qualities, together with good compatibility with oils and lubricants, make silicone gaskets highly suitable for use in engine compartments."

Demand for silicone-based gasket systems are also increasing from the electronics and lighting industry, since high temperature resistance is very important in gasket and potting applications. Sonderhoff USA hopes for swift growth, particularly in the IT and electronics industries, and expects to realize positive developments in these fields. "Despite strong competition from Asia, the US is still the leader in IT and electronics products. Assuming we continue cultivating a good business environment, we expect to see sales potential of silicone gasketing applications grow for these industries in the US. For the coming years, we foresee increasing capacity utilization," explained Holger Huelsken.

New markets firmly in view

Sonderhoff USA's sales goal is to deepen its existing customer relationships in the US, and to broaden its presence in the US, as well as in Canada and Mexico to promote sustainable growth. With its ongoing positive sales development, Sonderhoff USA has demonstrated how a newly established company can build up a market position in a relatively short time. In fact, in 2005, the German-American Chamber of Commerce recognized the company for its exemplary management leadership and successful market achievements, by receiving the Merlin Award. Sonderhoff USA portfolio rounded off by 2K silicone sealings - new potential for growth.

With the beginning of silicone production at the Elgin facility, Sonderhoff USA has taken a giant step closer to its strategic goal of supplying their customers with gasketing materials from its own production, including the most important products of the Sonderhoff Group. The business advantages are obvious - eliminate import duties or additional shipping costs, and shipping/lead times for customers can be greatly reduced. With a broader product portfolio that now covers the entire spectrum of liquid gaskets on the basis of polyurethane, silicone and PVC, Sonderhoff USA can meet customer needs faster and with more precision and also offer order-specific, just-in-time production. This is frequently one of the key requirements for doing business, particularly in the US-based automotive industry.

With contract manufacturing the extended workbench for customers

Sonderhoff USA also offers American customers contract manufacturing services for foam gasketing, gluing and potting. The company's range of services for gasket applications for OEM components and systems extend from prototypes to pilot; small runs; and up to full-scale series production. Customers can benefit because they can remove the entire process of dispensing gaskets from their production chain, as well as avoid the investment costs that they would otherwise incur in order to integrate this application process into their existing manufacturing systems.

System supplier Sonderhoff USA with comprehensive services

"Americans are open to new technologies, including ones that require explanation, as long as they function and are easy to use," explained Holger Huelsken. Accordingly, Sonderhoff USA's technical sales, application engineers and machine service, as well as customer training, play a decisive role in the successful marketing and widespread introduction of silicone gaskets on the American market. This intensive care gives customers confidence in the reliability of automated gasketing applications, and helps them build up their knowledge of how this technology works. In addition, the fact that Sonderhoff USA is a "complete" system supplier is a great advantage for end-users. It means that Sonderhoff is not just a specialist of FIPFG / FIP (Formed-in-place Foam Gasketing / Formed-in-place) technology applied onto or in components, but also offers the mixing and metering technology. The mixing and dosing systems of Sonderhoff Engineering GmbH (Hoerbranz / Austria) and their automation solutions are individually designed for customer-specific manufacturing operations and gasket materials.

With the comprehensive technical service offerings of Sonderhoff USA Corp., CEO Holger Huelsken is convinced that a growing number of American customers will find silicone foam gasketing and silicone-based potting products a viable alternative to existing sealing materials and processes in the US. They are frequently used as problem-solvers for special applications involving high temperatures in the electronics, lighting, and automotive industries. With additional orders for contract foaming and potting of silicone as well as for polyurethane gaskets, this will also have a positive influence on Sonderhoff USA's contract manufacturin

About Sonderhoff

Sonderhoff is the supplier for polymer sealing materials, engineering and services. The company develops and produces chemical gasketing, potting, and gluing systems based on PVC, silicone or polyurethane and we market them worldwide. Sonderhoff can fall back on the experience of more than one-thousand formulations.

Source: Sonderhoff

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