History

Every day, more than 45,000 people work together to ensure that Freudenberg’s success story remains one of innovation. The idea of excellence and entrepreneurial vision has been part of the Group’s DNA ever since Carl Johann Freudenberg founded the company in 1849.

Freudenberg is successful through change. The company is evolving daily. Founded as a tannery, the Group’s first diversification was driven by the Simmerring. Today, Freudenberg is well established in more than 30 markets and thousands of applications.

International history of Freudenberg

Freudenberg in Brazil

Freudenberg in Brazil Business relations with Brazil date back almost to the beginnings of the Freudenberg Group itself.

1853-54
Business relationship with Ziese & Co. in Rio de Janeiro (purchase of skins and leather sales)

1912
there has been a general agent for Latin and South America (purchasing and sales) including Brazil with P. Oberstgab. Entry into the Brazilian market took take place in 1958.

1958: In Agudos / Brazil an abandoned coffee plantation is acquired and afforested. Following that a wood-working factory (chipboard, veneer) is built in its place. Between 1958 and 1972, agreements with the Orion company in São Paulo, Brazil, for the manufacture of seals.

1971
Klüber Lubrication Indústria e Comércio Ltda. in Barneri, S.P. founded.

1973-1985
Gustav Hoffmann takes a stake in the Brazilian childrens’ shoe factory Calcados Ortopé S.A. in Gramado/Brazil.

1973
Stake in the sealing factory Rubrasil S.A. in São Paulo established in 1958.

1973
Stake Recouro S.A , Rio de Janeiro, (reclaimed leather products). The stake was sold in 1984.

1985
Acquisition of Intece in Jacareí, Brazil from the French company Chargeurs (today Freudenberg Não Tecidos Ltda.).

1985-1987
Reorganisation of corporate legal structure for CAFMA, FIMSA and Intece (Partnerships).

1988
With the involvement of Freudenberg and NOK, Rubrasil was renamed Freudenberg NOK – Componentes Ltda. The Brazilian wood operations were sold.

1998
The Joint Venture Vibracoustic do Brasil Ltda. was founded with Woco do Brasil Ltda.

2013
Freudenberg Filtration Technologies opens a new production facility in Jacarei, Brazil. The Freudenberg Regional Corporate Center South America, headquartered in Alphaville near São Paulo is opened.

Freudenberg in China

Like many things at Freudenberg, the company’s links to Asia have a long tradition. Initially this was due to the special product manufactured in Weinheim: leather. In the 19th century, Carl Freudenberg already had business partners in China (Hong Kong) who marketed the leather which had received awards at a number of World’s Fairs.

1923
Freudenberg products (leather) are represented in China by Melchers.

1977
Freudenberg & Vilene International Ltd. Hong Kong, is established in Hong Kong. The company Freudenberg Trading Hong Kong Ltd. is established for sales.

1980
Klüber Lubrication China Ltd. is established in Hong Kong.

1987
In Taiwan, Freudenberg Lutravil Far East, later known as Far Eastern Spunweb, is established with Japanese and Chinese partners. The company starts production in 1990.

1989
Taiwan Vilene Company (later known as Freudenberg & Vilene Nonwovens (Taiwan) Co. Ltd.) is established with Japan Vilene Company and partners in Taiwan.

1994
In China, the development of Changchun NOK-Freudenberg Oilseal Co., Ltd. in Changchun starts in 1994; Wuxi NOK-Freudenberg Oilseal Co. Ltd. is established in Wuxi. The plant is inaugurated in September 1996.

1995
In Suzhou (People’s Republic of China), Freudenberg and Japan Vilene Company together found Freudenberg & Vilene Nonwovens as a production facility for interlinings. The plant is inaugurated in August 1996.

1996
Foundation of Freudenberg & Vilene International (Shanghai) Trading Co., Ltd. NOK-Freudenberg Hong Kong Ltd. is founded in Kowloon for the sale of sealing products.

1998
Foundation of Freudenberg Household Products (Suzhou) Co., Ltd.

2002
Foundation of Klüber Lubrication (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.

2005
Freudenberg Dichtungs- und Schwingungstechnik KG establishes NOK-Freudenberg Group Sales (China) Co., Ltd and NOK-Freudenberg Group Trading (China) Co., Ltd as sales companies together with NOK. NOK-Freudenberg Co. Ltd is founded for fluid seals.

2008
I
n Qingpu, China (near Shanghai), Klüber Lubrication and ChemTrend construct a new factory for the production of lubricants and release agents. Freudenberg NOK GP acquires Anura Plastics Engineering in Baldwin Park/CA with facilities in the USA und China (Shenzen/Guandong) to expand the medical products sector.

2011
Freudenberg Household Products continues to expand in Asia. The business of Trade & Investment in Asia Limited (TIA) with facilities in China, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan is acquired in 2011.
Merkel NOK Freudenberg inaugurates a new production plant for polyurethane seals in Taicang/China, near Shanghai. Polyurethane seals are used in industrial applications and automotive hydraulic systems.
Freudenberg Filtration Technologies starts to construct a new plant in Chengdu/China (Sichuan Province) together with Japan Vilene Group (JVC). Freudenberg Vilene Filter produces engine air intake and cabin air filters there from August 2012.
Freudenberg Filtration Technologies inaugurates its first laboratory for the development of automobile interior filters in China at its facility in Suzhou.

2012
At the beginning of December, NOK-Freudenberg Group China inaugurates a plant in Wuxi. The plant mainly produces Simmerrings and O-rings as well as bellows and flat seals.

2014
The Qingpu site is expanded with state-of-the-art research and development facilities, a training center and administration building for Freudenberg Chemical Specialities.

Freudenberg in India

1920
Freudenberg starts business relations with India – for raw material purchasing.

1950
Hide imports from India start again.

1954
The first Simrit branch for India opens in Bombay (today known as Mumbai).

1973
Establishment of Burgmann Industries India (today EagleBurgmann).

1989
OKS production site in Mysore opens. Merger with Klüber India takes place later.

1995
NOK and Freudenberg establish NOK-Fredenberg Asia Holding C. Pte. Ltd. in Singapore to administer activities in India and China.

1998
Nonwovens KG establishes a distribution company in India. It’s called Freudenberg Nonwovens India Private Ltd. and is based in Mumbai (Bombay).

1999
Klüber founds Klüber Lubrication India Pvt. Ltd in Mumbai.

2000
Freudenberg Sealing and Vibration Control Technology forms a joint venture with SIGMA and NOK in Mohali / India (Sigma Freudenberg NOK PVT. Ltd.).

2003
The first seal production plant opens in Mohali, India. In the years to come, India becomes one of the key growth markets for Freudenberg.

2006
SurTec Chemicals India is established in Pune.

2008
KE-Burgmann Flexibles India opens a new production site for compensators in Chhahattisgarth/India. Establishment of Freudenberg Filtration Technologies India and opening of the first production site in Pune.

2009
Freudenberg opens a training center in the South India province of Tamil Nadu – until now the largest aid project outside Germany. The training center is officially inaugurated on March 26, 2009. Freudenberg Household Products establishes a joint venture in India with its Indian partner Gala Brush Limited – Freudenberg Gala Household Products Pvt. Limited with headquarters in Mumbai. Freudenberg Filtration Technologies concludes a partnership agreement with its Indian partner Thermax for the manufacture of combined filter and cooling solutions for large gas-driven turbines and compressors. Freudenberg Filtration Technologies now offers a complete package with its project partner Thermax under the brand name Viledon eee.Sy (energy efficiency enhancement system).

2011
Freudenberg Gala Household Products opens a new factory for mechanical cleaning products in Adas/India (Gujarat Province). Vibracoustic starts production of air springs at its site in Mohali / India. Klüber Lubrication starts with the expansion of production at its site in Mysore.

2012
Freudenberg Filtration Technologies India in Pune acquires Pyramid Filters – a special filter manufacturer.

2013
EagleBurgmann India opens a new, fully-automated and computer-managed test plant in Pune. Opening of the Freudenberg Regional Corporate Center India in Bangalore.

Freudenberg in North America

1849
When the new firm of Heintze & Freudenberg is founded, a flourishing trade with the USA starts.

1853
Bronze medal for good leather at the EXHIBITION OF THE INDUSTRY OF ALL NATIONS in New York.

1874-1876
Hermann Ernst Freudenberg, third son and later Managing Director of Carl Freudenberg, spends his apprentice years in Milwaukee, Chicago and Boston.

1903-1904
Walter Freudenberg, second son of the Managing Director Friedrich Carl Freudenberg, rounds off his training as a raw materials purchaser in America.

1914
Hermann Ernst Freudenberg, together with his son Otto, visits the USA in order to acquire new accounts.

1926
Acquisition of the Western Hide & Skin Corporation in Los Angeles as a purchasing company for tannery raw materials. The company was relocated to Panama in 1950, and liquidated in 1972.

1929
First foundation of an American sales company: Carl Freudenberg Inc. Boston. The firm was liquidated in 1935 under the laws of the Third Reich, and its capital transferred to the Reichsbank.

1950-1951
First company founded abroad after the war with an American partner: Pellon Corporation in Lowell, Mass., for producing interlinings. It was the first production site outside of Germany.

1955
Cooperation with Greer Hydraulics for producing polyurethane components. The firm is subsequently transferred to Freudenberg’s sole ownership, and from 1957 onwards produces polyurethane precision moldings and hydraulic components under the name of Disogrin. It is integrated into FNGP in 1989.

1960
Agreement with the Leather's Best company for selling Freudenberg leather. In 1965, acquisition of a 45 % holding, which in 1981 is sold back to the partner Chilewich.

1961
Acquisition of the tannery Teneria TEMOLA in Cuautla, Mexico. In 1981, the majority was sold to a partner, followed in 1992 by the remaining shares as well.

1967
Foundation of the subsidiary elBe Products for selling nonwovens and synthetics.

1968
First holding purchased in International Packings Corp. in Bristol, NH. Subsequently, Freudenberg acquired all the stock, and incorporated the firm into FNGP in 1989.

1972
Foundation of Pellon Chemotextiles in Cornwall, Canada, with an American partner (sold in 1987.)

1975
Foundation of SIMRIT DE MEXICO with the partner Irurita.

1978
Foundation of the sales company Simrit Corporation in Arlington Heights, which is integrated into FNGP in 1989.

1979
Acquisition of Escan Corp. in Escanaba for producing vibration control components. It is integrated into FNGP in 1989.

1981
Foundation of Lutravil Company for producing spunbonded nonwovens, in Durham NC, with an American partner. From 1986 onwards wholly owned by Freudenberg, today operating as Freudenberg Spunweb Company.

1989
Foundation of FNGP with NOK as partner, grouping together all the seals and vibration control technology firms.

1990
In Port Washington/USA, elefanten GmbH sets up a joint venture with Allen Edmonds for producing children’s footwear.

1991
Acquisition of Woodland Molded Plastics Corp. in Broadview/Ill. In 1994, the firm is incorporated into the new Auttocom L.L.C., Wilmington. Auttocom L.L.C. is merged with FNGP in 1996. The premises are sold.

1996
Klüber Lubrication Munich acquires the lubricant company Sum-mit Industrial Products in Tyler/Texas.

1998
Freudenberg Haushaltsprodukte KG takes over from M.B. Walton in River Grove/Ill. a production operation for floor-cleaning equipment, with a workforce of 120. The new subsidiary is called Freudenberg Household Products LP.
The Freudenberg Nonwovens Group signs a cooperation agreement with the North American company Milliken in Spartanburg covering the NAFTA region, for producing woven and knitted fabrics. Freudenberg NOK GP acquires the O-ring specialist International Seal Corporation with plants in Los Angeles and Henderson/Nevada, and sales companies in Mexico, Australia and Canada.

2003
Freudenberg IT KG founds the US subsidiary Freudenberg IT LP. Besides the facility in Plymouth near Detroit (Michigan), a computer center is also opened in Durham (North Carolina). As it expands on the international stage, the IT service provider does increasing business with globally operating clients.
Freudenberg Haushaltsprodukte KG purchases the American firm O-Cedar Brands, so as to gain further ground in America. It is integrated into Freudenberg Household Products LP in Northlake/Illinois.

2004
Klüber Lubrication purchases from Foseco GmbH the American subsidiary Chem Trend in Howell, Michigan, founded in 1960, which produces parting agents.
In Manchester/New Hampshire, Freudenberg forms a Corporate Center for North America.

2006
FNGP acquires the Imperial Rubber and Urethane Corporation in Nisku/Canada for the production of technical solutions for the oil and gas industry.
Helix Medical LLC in Carpinteria/California, a manufacturer of high-quality and precision molded parts as well as tubes for the medical technology, pharma and biotech markets, was also acquired by FNGP.

2008
FNGP acquires Anura Plastics Engineering in Baldwin Park/CA with sites in the USA and China (Shenzen/Guandong) to strengthen the health care business.
Freudenberg Nonwovens closes nonwoven production in Hopkinsville, Kentucky/USA and transfers it to Durham, North Carolina/USA.
Simrit Division USA acquires the Tetralene company, a developer and producer of customer-specific sealing components for the oil and gas industry.
FNGP closes the Laconia site in New Hampshire, USA.

2011
Foundation of Freudenberg Sealing Technologies (FST). Under the roof of FST the activities of Freudenberg Dichtungs- und Schwingungstechnik Europa and Freudenberg-NOK General Partnership are united. FNGP is renamed as Freudenberg-NOK Sealing Technologies (FNST).
Freudenberg Household Products establishes the joint venture company FHP-Berner with the SP Berner Plastic Group S.L., Valencia/Spain. FHP-Berner opens a production site in Aurora/USA close to Chicago.

2012
Freudenberg IT opens a new data processing center in North Carolina, USA.
Helix Medical acquires the American MedVenture Technology Corporation seated in Jeffersonville, Indiana, USA. The company is a leading developer and producer of medical solutions for minimally invasive surgery.

Interactive history timeline

Our timeline takes you on a journey with Freudenberg, from its early beginnings to its current status as a leading 21st century technology group. Documents, pictures and video from the past depict our story, building a bridge from tradition to modernity.

Click the image to start your journey.