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At Freudenberg, No Idea Goes Unexplored

MANCHESTER, N.H., Dec. 5, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With the first projects in the campaign "Your Idea – Our Star" successfully entering the start-up stage, focus is turning back to Freudenberg's global workforce for new ideas. Counting on the proven creativity of its employees, the Company is looking for fresh ideas which can be turned into new business. The campaign also welcomes ideas from customers, business partners and outside experts.

"Your Idea – Our Star" campaign is led by Freudenberg New Technologies (FNT) Business Group. Leesa Smith, President and Regional Representative for North America, proudly points out: "Since 2007, when FNT was established, it has served as a greenhouse for growth of new business ideas. The Star Campaign is a push to further populate our greenhouse through capturing the innovative potential of our diverse workforce. We want to motivate our employees even more to contribute their skills, knowledge and experience, and to apply their entrepreneurial spirit."

In the five years since its inception, "Your Idea – Our Star" campaign has generated progressively larger numbers of new business ideas per year. Each submitted business idea goes through a multi-level evaluation process. Promising business ideas on the verge of or outside of the focus of Freudenberg's business group activities are identified and implemented using a new business development process at Freudenberg New Technologies. Clearing each of the gates in the new business development process carries a monetary bonus for the Freudenberg idea generator. In addition, the idea generator has the opportunity to be actively engaged in its implementation, and for many employees, that is the most significant advantage of this program. Dr. Matthias Messer from the New Business Development at Freudenberg New Technologies, says: "It is simple. If the timing is right for a business idea that sounds promising and a good fit to our corporate strategy, we will act on it. If an idea does not meet current market interests, we will retain it in the NBD idea pool until the time 'is ripe' for this technology, service or product." On the other hand, those ideas that clearly relate to one of sixteen Freudenberg business groups are further developed in the scope of that group's R&D process.

"What makes this campaign unique is the ease of submitting ideas," adds Messer. "All one has to do is communicate an idea to a local program 'scout' or us in any format – through conversation, on a piece of paper, or with a full business plan. Idea is what counts. We are there to help develop it further."

One of the business ideas that has reached the start-up stage is scaffolene, a medical biodegradable nonwoven obtained via an innovative spinning technology. "It all started with an idea of making nonwoven material out of gelatin, just like the famous gummy bears, so that it can be absorbed by the human body," says Messer.

Promoting the campaign to Freudenberg global workforce is vitally important for the success of the program. That is why the FNT team is currently focusing on international promotion of the program, starting with visits and presentations at Freudenberg's U.S. locations. "In some cases, I already receive the first suggestions right after our presentation and discussions. That is a fitting proof of innovative and entrepreneurial potential of our employees in North America," says Messer.

About Freudenberg in North America: Freudenberg North America Limited Partnership is the North American holding company for Freudenberg & Co. of Weinheim, Germany, which owns a family of companies which operate 15 unique businesses at 58 locations in North America. Together, these companies provide innovative products and solutions to customers in industries ranging from automotive, aerospace, and medical to chemical, oil and gas, and construction.

About the Freudenberg Group: The Freudenberg Group is a family company offering its customers technically challenging product solutions and services. The Group is first and foremost a supplier specializing in seals and vibration control technology, nonwovens, filtration, lubricants, and release agents as well as mechatronic products. The end-user can find modern Freudenberg household products in the shops under the brand names of vileda®, O-Cedar® and Wettex®. For mid-size companies, in particular, Freudenberg develops software solutions and IT services. In 2011, the Freudenberg Group employed more than 37,000 people in 58 countries and generated sales of over 7.8 billion USD.

For further information, please visit www.freudenberg.us.

The Freudenberg Group logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=16106

CONTACT: Press contact: Indira Sadikovic Corporate Communications Manager Freudenberg North America Tel. (734) 354-5505 Email: indira.sadikovic@fnacc.com

Source:Freudenberg North America Limited Partnership