Large-Scale COVID-19 Vaccine Production with Purpose
In the race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, collaboration continues to be a determining factor. We've seen the best and brightest scientific minds come together to identify and accelerate production—not just for one vaccine, but for all of the approved formulas.
As an essential manufacturer during the pandemic, many Parker groups and divisions have come together to apply various technologies to combat this virus in innovative ways. From helping to generate clean air for emergency workers in medical tents to contributing to the manufacturing of ventilators and now vaccine development and production, Parker team members have been leading with purpose both on the front lines and behind the scenes.
"We've been working with drug manufacturers since 1988," explains Dean Pighin, engineering manager for Parker's Bioscience and Water Filtration Division "So when those manufacturers shifted focus to developing and then mass-producing coronavirus vaccines, they knew they could count on support from Parker."
Parker already had equipment in place—filtration assemblies, sensing elements and automated systems—and was therefore able to focus on scaling that customer support for vaccine manufacturers with additional systems and an on-site team.
"We've now been through several different phases with several different manufacturers," says Pighin. "When the vaccines were in development, we provided smaller scale systems for testing and trials. Then we needed to scale from batch processing to continuous processing so we built a brand new system designed for high volume manufacturing."
From the innovative new filtration and dispensing systems needed to grow production from 200 liters per day to 2,000 liters per hour to an in-line dilution system used to feed the bio-reactors and provide buffers to wash and purify the drugs at different stages, large-scale vaccine production has been a boon to Parker's drive, determination and ingenuity. It's also more than tripled business in single-use sensors, assemblies and manifolds for drug production, as well as sterilization and filtration products.
Certainly this is a story of rapid expansion, as the team needed to grow infrastructure and lean out processes, add more shifts, invest in new tooling and bring on people in engineering, production and supply chain. But it's also a story about great personal sacrifice in pursuit of the greater good.
"Our team has shown up for us over and over again, given more than we asked and they've done it without thinking twice," adds Pighin. "I'm so proud of every single person who decided that this was the right thing to do for humanity."
Part 1: Sailing into the Future
The world's foremost sailing event predates the British Open Championship, the Kentucky Derby and the modern Olympic Games: It's the America's Cup, named for the schooner America that won the very first race around the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom in 1851.
For nearly 170 years, the highest prize in sailing has attracted the world's top sailors, yacht designers and innovators, capturing the imagination of fans everywhere. The U.S. went on to defend the trophy 24 times from 1870 to 1980 until Australia II became the first successful challenger in 1983. While the storied history of the America's Cup is interesting, what it has come to represent is where our story really begins.
As the Cup has evolved over the span of almost two centuries, the event has continued to push the boundaries of what's possible—not only in terms of the sailors' skill and athleticism but also driving innovation in boat design as well as system and component engineering. Each race represents a technological leap forward, almost as if the finish line itself keeps moving.
In March 2021, the Cup will be challenged once again. The first qualifying matches of the 36th America's Cup, known as AC-36, will begin in December 2020. Parker Hannifin, which supported the 2017 U.S. team and has been supplying components for decades, is the official control systems partner of American Magic, a New York Yacht Club-backed entry representing the United States. But once again, the game has changed, with the AC-36 boats barely recognizable as compared to their AC-35 predecessors.
Parker's Vice President - Chief Technology and Innovation Officer Mark Czaja explains: "In AC-35, they were catamarans that came up out of the water. During the last campaign you always had 3 points in the water that you would balance on. Now, in AC-36, we're using this monohull design where you've only got two points in the water at any given time. The boat is out of the water, essentially flying on hydrofoils and those hydrofoils are controlled by Parker technology."
American Magic isn't the only team sailing into the future on Parker parts. Every team racing in AC-36 has to comply with a one-design configuration that utilizes Parker F-11 hydraulic pumps.
Because reliability and control are paramount, Parker Filtration is involved, supplying components that keep fluids cleaner for a competitive edge. The Control Systems Division uses Parker actuation to add stability and control of the foiling surface as well as steering and positioning on the rudder surface, helping to keep the boat balanced. Also, while much of the power for these boats is generated by the sailor's arms, pressure and flow, Parker electrification is providing a boost to both the battery-powered system and the manual system. Finally, Parker valves on the sail and the boom offer a high level of control as sailors maneuver the boat. The entire project has also benefited from Parker's additive manufacturing processes, rapid-prototyping capabilities and advanced materials expertise.
"While Parker Aerospace is taking the lead on the America's Cup collaboration, this initiative is much bigger than a single division or even a single group," adds Czaja. "It's about the art of the possible—and the power of Parker."
It's also about a story about potential—what can happen when teams and nations work together for a common purpose. Much like sailing fans all over the world, we can't wait to find out.
Parker LORD Finds Purpose in Bringing Clinicians and Families Face-to-Face
There are few places where the nuance of facial expression matters more than it does at the Howard Center. The Vermont-based nonprofit provides mental health and developmental disability services as well as substance abuse & recovery services to people of all ages in the Burlington area. And the social distancing and mask-wearing protocols necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, while critical to protecting the health and safety of clients and staff, presented a significant barrier to communication—particularly in its work with children and teens returning to school.
Nearby in Williston, the Parker LORD MicroStrain team recognized the dilemma and identified an opportunity to come to the aid of its community and help further the good work of the Howard Center at the same time. The team, part of the Noise, Vibration and Harshness Division, began looking into the feasibility of using its 3D printer to make clear face shields that would enable clinicians to communicate more effectively.
Taylor Ducharme, design engineer at Parker LORD, found open-source plans for printing face shield frames, managed production of the 3D components and procured the other required parts. The team then worked with the Howard Center to ensure the PPE met all state requirements by using laser foam cutouts to fill a gap between the visor and the wearer's forehead. After several weeks of printing and assembly, Parker LORD was able to produce 75 lightweight face shields, which were distributed to the clinicians and the supervisory team of Howard Center's School Services Program.
Whether meeting with students, faculty, staff or caregivers, all clinicians must wear masks or face shields. This donation enabled Howard Center to provide each clinician with a protective face shield that meets the PPE requirements of the Agency of Education.
"Going back into the school buildings this year brings such mixed emotions to many of us," said Melissa McConnel, school services senior clinician at Howard Center. "Having these face shields provides us with added protection that is truly needed and appreciated. This allows us to focus on what we all love to do most, which is to support our students and school colleagues!"
For Parker LORD, being able to put manufacturing resources to use in a way that directly benefits families and individuals during these challenging times is its own reward.
"Our team is innovative, active and present throughout our local communities," said Steve Mundell, business unit manager for Parker LORD. "We are proud to be a part of supporting Howard Center as they continue to provide much needed mental health, developmental and substance recovery services to our friends and neighbors during the pandemic."
In what has been an unprecedented and difficult year, this MicroStrain project highlights how even a basic idea can inspire team members, spread compassion and create a positive impact within the local community.
Using Purpose to Unlock Potential with JCB Academy Students
At Parker, the idea of sharing our passion for engineering is nothing new. But how we share that knowledge and contribute to training the next generation of engineering students is looking different all the time. Case in point: The JCB Academy of Staffordshire, UK.
The first university technical college in the UK, The JCB Academy is a specialist school for 14-19 year-old students who are interested in engineering and business. Initially, Parker was planning to donate a hydraulic training rig to support the academy's fluid power curriculum. But, as the work progressed, Parker UK team members and academy leadership soon identified an opportunity to do far more.
Together, the partners sketched out ideas for a whole new kind of learning space, complete with large-scale equipment and interactive elements to explore how hydraulic, electrical and fluid power works. The training area includes a snooker cue with cylinders to show the flexibility of fluid power, a piston push test that illustrates Pascal's Principle using a hydraulic jack, a hydraulic nutcracker that demonstrates how force is applied and more.
Part classroom, part testing grounds, the new space enables students to experience first-hand the practical applications of what they're learning. And it's those practical applications that Parker believes are the key to supporting young students and inspiring them to consider a career in engineering.
In the five years since Parker partnered with JCB Academy to create the hydraulic training area, more than 3,000 students have leveraged the space to learn about various engineering principles and experiment with the equipment. Over time, The JCB Academy has also established relationships with many world-class companies who themselves now employ JCB graduates. Academy alumni are often invited to visit the campus and share stories of their career path and guidance with students.
"For many years, there has been a severe shortage of young engineers in the UK. But things are starting to change, as young people start to see the potential rewards of working in this industry," explains Philip Ingate, training manager, Parker UK and Ireland. "And of course, Parker wants to encourage and support that emerging talent, through partnership and our own company policies."
Indeed, the partnership with JCB Academy aligns with Parker's goal to help improve math and science education, and our focus on using Purpose as a platform for growth, change and positive impact.
In the fight against COVID-19, education has proven to be one of our greatest weapons, even as disseminating information and resources continues to be an ongoing challenge for communities everywhere.
Since the onset of COVID-19, Parker has moved rapidly to protect the health and safety of its team members and communities—and that means placing new emphasis on what happens after people leave the workplace. To that end, Parker Aerospace recently partnered with the Suffolk County Executive's Office in New York State to provide bilingual "safe at home" training to team members in Hauppauge, just 45 miles east of New York City.
The goal of the training was to bring awareness to the importance of actively preventing the spread of coronavirus and deliver in-depth information on staying healthy at work, at home and in the community.
Small groups of socially-distanced team members set up on the lawn outside the facility as the county representative shared health and safety tips and helped to dispel common misconceptions about the virus. In all, more than 100 Parker team members attended the 20-minute sessions, which were presented in both English and Spanish.
"For me, it's excellent because I was able to understand everything I was told pertaining to COVID-19," says Gloria Ferreira, a wire specialist at the Hauppauge plant. "Being that Spanish is my first language, it was much easier for me to understand the information without having to decipher some of the English words I don't quite grasp the meaning of."
Parker's Aerospace Group also launched a COVID-19 informational campaign, awareness kit and a safety pledge aimed at protecting families and promoting safe habits to help prevent the spread of the virus.
For Parker, responding with purpose in times of a pandemic has meant stepping up to support critical industries everywhere. And being there for our customers and communities starts with understanding that health and safety is an important responsibility which all team members share.
Parker Helping to Make Waves in the Marine Market
When you look out over the fjord in Lavik, Norway on a clear day, you can see the future. That is, the clean, sustainable, energy-efficient future of the ferry business that Parker Hannifin is helping to make possible.
Norwegian ferry the MV Ampere is the world's first all-electric car and passenger ferry, powered by two 450 kW electric motors with 10t lithium-ion batteries.
When one of the leading players in electrification needed an energy efficient cooling circuit for the ferry's racks of batteries, they reached out to Parker's High Pressure Connectors Europe (HPCE) Division in Annemasse, France. Their request was for an innovative solution that would be easy to install and test while offering low maintenance, leak-free and energy efficient performance.
"We proposed a solution with couplings that would not allow any fluid to leak out," explains Liana Jaskot, Product Unit Manager for High Pressure Connectors Europe. "We eliminated the tubing and the fittings so it's just couplings, manifold and the connection is done."
Working directly with the partner's engineering experts, the Parker team developed a proprietary ready-to-use solution that reduced the overall number of components by almost 80%, reduced assembly time for the customer by approximately 90% and completely eliminated the risk of mixing connections and the need for testing.
"The development went very quickly because we work closely with the customer almost every day and were able to propose this solution in one week," adds Jaskot.
Parker went from design to manufacture to implementation of the thermal management manifold connector in only six months. During just one year of operation, an electric ferry like the Ampere saves approximately one million liters of diesel fuel, 2,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide and 35 metric tons of nitrogen oxide emissions.
It's not hard to imagine the far-reaching implications of numbers like these. And so, this revolutionary vessel not only represents an early success in electrification and a huge opportunity in the fast growing thermal management market. It's a beacon of purpose—and what can happen when Parker partners with customers to apply its core technologies to make a positive impact on the world.
Growing Up Together
What if you could improve your community today—and for generations to come? What if a single act could reduce your carbon footprint and preserve your cultural heritage? What if the key to creating a better tomorrow fit in the palm of your hand?
When it comes to leading with purpose, sometimes big ideas come in small packages. Just ask Cristina Sahagún, environmental, health & safety manager for Parker Filtration Group in Querétaro in North-Central Mexico. When Sahagún learned that two species of trees in her local El Cimatario National Park were endangered and nearing extinction, she knew she had to act.
"People from Querétaro and other parts of Mexico love the park," explains Sahagún. "They go to exercise, they go for a picnic, and they go to see the animals. It's such a great place for families to be together and have a very good, healthy time. My coworkers and I--we don't want to lose these trees."
The resilient mesquite tree and the sweet acacia tree play a vital role in the ecology of the region. The pods and leaves of the mesquite, rich with protein and essential nutrients, provide a vital source of food for wildlife. Mesquite is also considered a nurse plant in the ecosystems where it grows, since many native plants are only able to establish under the microclimate it provides.
In short order, Sahagún secured government support in acquiring saplings that she and her Filtration Group team would nurture and plant. "We have the ambitious idea to plant 10,000 trees in national park of Cimatario," she explains. "After one year of taking care of the saplings at our Parker facilities, once they become little trees, our team members' families will plant these baby trees. Then we must take care of them for a few months until they are really strong within the ground."
The initial planting of 1,000 saplings took place in the summer of 2019, but clearly the team in Querétaro will be enjoying the fruits of their labors for years to come.
"One amazing thing about Parker is empowerment," adds Sahagún. "They give you a chance. If I have a good idea, I can go and materialize it."
Often times, leading with purpose means seeing the forest for the trees. And it means identifying opportunities all around us, big and small, to sow the seeds of change. Watch the video.
Ramping Up Ventilator Enabling Technologies for Pandemic Relief Effort
Precision Fluidics Division is expanding production in response to significantly increased demand for solenoid and proportional valves used in critical ventilation equipment needed to treat patients with COVID-19. With 20+ years of experience serving the medical device industry, the division is well positioned to respond to customer needs with technical expertise and lean operations to ensure product quality and reliability.
Parker's miniature solenoid valves are known for high-speed operation and extremely low leak rates for use in medical devices, while our proportional valve technology meets the most demanding precision flow applications in the industry. Several valves from Precision Fluidics are utilized in ventilator systems including our VSO Max HP, VSO, VSO Low Pro, x-Valve, and S-11 valves.
Existing relationships with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers who serve the global ventilator market have led to a rapid and successful expansion of our operations to meet increasingly demanding production requests.
One leading global OEM in ventilator instruments stated the following: "We're very moved by Parker Hannifin employees' strong support on the prevention of the coronavirus, which is worthy of our admiration and praise. Our company relies on socially responsible suppliers like Parker Hannifin, and we expect your company to continue to support us on production and jointly contribute to the coronavirus prevention."
"We are employing many preventative measures across our operations to address our highest priority, which is the safety of our team members, their families and our community, while addressing the critical demand of our customers," said Craig Stiffler, Precision Fluidics General Manager.
The division's New Hampshire based team members are all stepping up by adopting rotating schedules, moving to alternate shifts, helping to onboard new hires and, in some cases, moving from the office to manufacturing cells to deliver the increased production output.
The agility of the local team is a key factor in their ability to quickly adjust to rising demands in this time of crisis. Beginning in January, the division has increased capacity across nine primary product families, some as much as a 500% increase. Several office team members have worked on the manufacturing floor, in some cases, on top of their normal office duties, to help manufacture critical valves that have the potential to save lives. Current estimates are that this increased demand could continue well into the fall.
"Our entire team has responded with the courage, resilience and determination that we are known for at Parker," continued Stiffler. "I'd like to extend my thanks to each of them for adhering to our enhanced hygiene and disinfection protocols and implementing physical distancing practices to ensure we can continue to supply our critical valves to help treat sick patients. I couldn’t be prouder of the work our team has done to respond to this crisis!"
Purpose in Action on the Front Lines of the COVID-19 Crisis
Leading with Purpose means persevering in the face of hardship and adversity. And Parker team members are doing exactly that as they work to solve the unique challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.
One recent example is the collaboration between Parker's Engine Mobile Aftermarket (EMAM) Division and HVAC Division to provide a new government-approved HVAC filtration solution to up to 8 remote hospital sites in New Jersey—one of several regions in the U.S. where patient intake has greatly outpaced the capacity of local hospitals.
While the two divisions have partnered many times in the past, this project was anything but ordinary. The team needed to develop a filtration solution for an air handling system used to generate clean air for emergency workers in medical tents set up for overflow care. And they needed to act quickly.
"We went from concept to delivery in five days," explains Steve Zimmerman, Division Marketing Manager for the Engine Mobile Aftermarket Division. "A longtime EMAM customer came to us for a solution and both divisions immediately got to work. The entire team understood both the critical importance of the application and the urgency of the situation."
The EMAM and HVAC divisions took special precautions and ramped up production to safely deliver on this order. And the need for these types of solutions continues to increase.
"When there's a direct correlation between the products we make and a global problem that needs solved, our team goes above and beyond to get the job done," says Zimmerman. "We're more than willing to put the greater purpose ahead of our own."
Parker’s Fuel Tank Inerting System Keeps Purpose on the Horizon
Most commercial flight passengers don't think twice about how fuel is managed onboard the plane, the design of the fuel tank, the quantity or properties of that fuel or the point of combustion. They're just happy to make it from point A to point B safely.
Fortunately, there is a whole team of highly skilled Parker Aerospace engineers and technicians for whom aircraft safety is top of mind. For these team members, ensuring a safe flight is more than a passion. It's their purpose. Take the Fluid Systems Division in Irvine, California for example.
Drawing on talent, experience and technology from across Parker's divisions and operating groups, this team developed a Fuel Tank Inerting System that separates and removes oxygen from the fuel tank and replaces it with nitrogen-enriched air. In order for a fire to occur, an ignition source, fuel and oxygen must all be present. While it's not possible to eliminate the fuel or the remote possibility of a spark, inerting the air above the fuel in the tank ensures the aircraft is safe to fly.
To develop Parker's patented air separation technology, the Fluid Systems Division adapted nitrogen solutions that the Filtration Group had introduced in the food preservation industry, and then worked together to develop a fiber filter that would be even more efficient in separating the oxygen from nitrogen content in the air.
The division also collaborated closely with its customers to support the integration of the inerting system into the aircraft design. From designing the system to developing the certification and the flight test model, Parker took end-to-end responsibility for the inerting system. And the Parker Aerospace team wouldn't have it any other way. Today, Parker's inerting system technology is used throughout most Airbus, Boeing, and other aircraft produced globally.
As the first company to put an inerting system on an aircraft more than 50 years ago, Parker is a pioneer in fuel tank fire suppression. But today's inerting system is also a reflection of Parker's culture—the ability to leverage technology and expertise from within, our team members' passion for making the world a safer place and our commitment to keeping purpose on the horizon. Watch the video.
The Sub-Compact Tractor Multi-Coupler: Making Connections with Purpose
At Parker, we love a breakthrough product story. But innovation doesn't always mean reinventing the wheel. Or the multi-coupler.
In the case of Parker's Sub-Compact Tractor Multi-Coupler, the innovation was in taking a proven product for large commercial tractors and adapting it for use in a whole new market segment.
In smaller tractors, connecting and disconnecting multiple hydraulic lines was a pain point. Equipment operators faced increased risk of downtime, safety issues and oil leaks every time they needed to add or remove implements such as rakes, plows or loader buckets.
Engineering manager Paul LeMay at the Quick Coupling Division in Minneapolis anticipated the potential for innovation and saw Parker's relationship with a long-time customer as an opportunity to collaborate on a solution.
While the customer visited the plant to look at the high-end multi-couplings Parker had engineered for commercial farming applications, the team quickly recognized that a downsized version would create value for operators of smaller equipment, and the Sub-Compact Tractor Multi-Coupler was born.
"Equipment operators should be able to use these machines without having to invest the time into understanding hydraulic circuits and the intricacies of how it all works," explains LeMay. "A multi-coupling enables the person to simply plug it in, operate a single lever and they're done."
Not only is the multi-coupler more streamlined and efficient, it also offers a clean connection, which means no leaks or spills. This way, Parker is helping operators minimize their environmental footprint by preventing leakage and increasing efficiency.
"When we custom engineer a product for a customer, that product has to work right every time," explains LeMay. "So when we're working with an OEM they trust that Parker can deliver premium quality and we understand the systems and we have the structure in place to do that."
The Twinhammer™ Hose: Hammering Home the Meaning of Purpose
Parker team members around the world innovate to develop custom solutions that lead to a better tomorrow—a smarter, safer and more sustainable tomorrow. And that means working closely with customers across many different industries to help solve their own unique challenges.
Take the construction industry for example. Respirable crystalline silica (RCS) is a hazardous substance found in bricks, clay, concrete, mortar, rock, stone and many other materials common to construction sites. Workers who drill, cut, crush or grind these materials need protection from inhaling superfine RCS dust, typically one hundred times smaller than ordinary sand found on beaches or playgrounds. Once released into the air, these particles can easily be inhaled and embed deep into the lungs and have been associated with chronic disabilities and various forms of lung disease.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates that 2.3 million workers are exposed to RCS risks at work. In 2017, OSHA created a new standard to address the problem of silica dust control associated with pneumatic jackhammer and breaker operation.
For Parker's Hose Products Division in Wickliffe, Ohio, the situation presented a unique engineering challenge: Could Parker design a solution that improves worker health and safety, reduces lost time incidences and health care costs and help its customers—construction contractors and jackhammer operators—adhere to OSHA regulations?
The answer came in the form of Parker's Twinhammer™ Hose and Spray Kit System, the first factory-assembled dual hose system to deliver both air and water in a single unitized configuration for dust suppression in heavy duty air tool applications. Its bonded rubber lines are permanently and continuously joined for easy installation and safe handling. A factory split-back at each end allows for easy attachment to compressors, water supply and jackhammers. Most importantly, the Twinhammer hose makes it simple and efficient for jackhammer users and their employers to meet the requirements of the new regulation.
"Parker dedicated more than a year working to alert and educate our customers, distributors and others in the market to the issue, both before and after the regulations were implemented," explains Ronald Moner, P.E., Engineering Manager at Parker's Hose Products Division. "We are committed to increasing awareness and encouraging a culture of safety, and will continue to educate contractors and government agencies on how RCS risks can be reduced by deploying the appropriate workplace methods recommended by OSHA."
To date, Parker has partnered with OEMs and equipment rental companies to update their tools with wet-method capability built into their designs, and is also working with state agencies to prototype a jackhammer wet method retrofit program.
Both the solution itself and Parker's leading role in proactively addressing the dangers of RCS dust demonstrate the power of Purpose in Action. We will continue to seek out the engineering challenges with broad implications in the real world—and welcome the next opportunity to create a better, safer tomorrow.
SCBA Quick Disconnect Couplings: Purpose as a Breath of Fresh Air
Many Parker team members, driven by Purpose, wish to give back and have a positive impact in the communities they call home. For Jason Manning, Environmental, Health & Safety Manager for the Quick Coupling Division, that impact has been twofold.
"I think my passion for safety really came from when I left active duty and taking care of wounded soldiers," says Manning. "So, really understanding what I can do to keep our team members safe day-to-day so that they go home in the same condition or better than when they came in."
Imagine a firefighter emerging from a dangerous, smoky fire scene with an oxygen tank that is critically low on air. With the traditional threaded connection, it used to take one minute or longer to switch out tanks. Parker's quick disconnect coupling uses a patented pressure lock to connect and disconnect in five seconds.
Clearly, it's a technology leap. The value of—and the Purpose behind— the Parker product was evident from the beginning: The couplings are designed to keep our firefighters safe and effective in stressful situations. But making the switch from a threaded fitting to a coupling would be costly as 100% of the market was relying on those threaded connections.
According to Paul LeMay, Engineering Manager for the Quick Coupling Division, Parker launched the quick disconnect couplings for the SCBA with a charter customer who fully understood the "Must Have" nature of the product and it wasn't long until the rest of the market followed suit.
"We had a very tight timeframe to launch the product and so we leveraged all three manufacturing plants to work together to build the assembly cell," explains LeMay. "This is an assembly cell where you have to produce the part perfectly every time. It's an emergency-use product, it's got to be reliable. From an engineering standpoint and a manufacturing standpoint, you take a lot of pride in making sure you're doing it right."
Certainly, pride in one's work, innovative thinking and a shared sense of Purpose are the hallmarks of our most critical engineering breakthroughs and most significant achievements. The quick disconnect couplings won Parker's 2019 Mousetrap Award and are now keeping firefighters safe in over 40% of the US Market.
Parker's Purpose is all about how we impact the world around us. It's about using our expertise to enable engineering breakthroughs. It's about nurturing customer ideas—from complex challenge to real life application. Finally, it's about creating a better, more efficient, more sustainable tomorrow. And the Low Drag D-Ring checks every box.
The project started with a collaboration between two leading U.S. automobile manufacturers. One planned to design a 10-speed transmission for rear-wheel drive vehicles, and the other a 9-speed transmission for front-wheel drive vehicles. With the number of pickup trucks on the road growing each year, both manufacturers were focused on improving fuel efficiency to reduce emissions and comply with government mandates, and both wanted Parker at the table as a sealing expert.
Parker used its materials science and design expertise to enable an engineering breakthrough—a cost effective alternative to traditional sealing in radial seal applications where low friction is critical.
The O-Ring and Engineered Seals Division in Woodbridge, Illinois modified an existing O-Ring design to develop a new Low Drag D-Ring that helps to reduce drag and improve shifting smoothness and fuel efficiency.
Each transmission assembly contains 37 Low Drag D-Rings, accounting for approximately 90% of the seals within it. And tests performed on actual parts show Parker's Low Drag D-Rings offer between 30% and 70% reduction in drag versus commonly used molded seals.
The division collaborated early and often with the transmission designers and engine designers in order to bring this product to market.Today, Low Drag D-Rings are helping to meet stringent government fuel efficiency mandates and improve the driving experience. For Parker, it's about creating significant value for its customers, minimizing environmental impact and working towards a better tomorrow.
Sometimes when we talk about Parker’s Purpose and creating a better tomorrow, we literally mean tomorrow. Many Parker technologies like the Low Drag D-Ring or the Leap Fuel Nozzle offer tangible and immediate benefits to our customers and the public right away. Other times we're looking ahead, searching for ways to positively impact society over years—and sometimes, over generations. This is one of those stories.
When Parker's Cylinder and Accumulator Division Europe decided to host a team of students for Germany’s Girls’ Day 2019, it was part of a long-term strategy. "In Cologne, there are very few women who work in the shop floor area,” explains Moritz Kinkel, a human resources team member for the Cologne plant who helped plan the day. “We know women are underrepresented in this field and want to help narrow the gap."
Girls' Day is the culmination of a nationwide campaign to transform attitudes about "vocational orientation" and open up new opportunities for the next generation. When production supervisor Markus Hamacher's 14-year-old daughter asked him to participate in Girls' Day, he raised the idea with the management team who enthusiastically enrolled, becoming one of more than 10,000 host sites to participate.
The team orchestrated a full workday for the girls, starting with a 7:30 a.m. orientation meeting to learn more about Parker before they geared up in personal protective equipment and worked one-on-one with mentors on the production floor across each step of the production process. They were able to take home the cylinder they made as a souvenir and a reminder of the opportunities that await in manufacturing.
"The girls presented what they learned at Parker in their own schools so hopefully the word is spreading to their classmates and their families," adds Kinkel. "We received very good feedback and I think many of the team members from the shop floor went home feeling very proud that day!"
And that is how we put Purpose into action. We seek out short and long-term opportunities to help break down barriers and to be there for our communities. And we strive to make the manufacturing industry and the world around us better—one generation, one girl at a time.
For many of us at Parker, leading with purpose means identifying opportunities for making life better in the communities where we live and work. It acknowledges our strengths and aligns with our values, which also makes our work deeply personal, as a group of Parker China team members have experienced firsthand.
Poverty continues to be an ongoing struggle in many parts of rural China. So when a massive earthquake destroyed a primary school in the remote mountain village of Tianshui, Gansu in 2008, families in the neighboring communities had little hope of recovery.
The China Youth Development Foundation quickly formed a plan to rebuild damaged schools in the area and put out a call for help. The answer came from more than 2,000 kilometers and a day’s journey away. Working together, Parker China in Shanghai and The China Youth Development Foundation established The Parker Hannifin Hope School in 2009.
"We believe that education is the root of eliminating poverty in China," explains Joan Cai, Admin Officer for Parker China. "So when we learned of the opportunity to help rebuild this vital resource, we felt it was our responsibility to help."
Located in Tianshui, Gansu along the Qingshui River in Western China, The Hope School provides kindergarten and primary education to students from neighboring villages. In the decade since Parker China began partnering with the Hope School, more than a dozen graduates have enrolled at high-performing universities across the country, including Hunan University and Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications.
And the partnership remains vibrant. Each year, team members from Parker China undertake the long journey to the Hope School to deliver gifts, build relationships and to help address the needs of the surrounding community. Other team members routinely donate gift packages to the school and one even went as far as helping a Hope School Teacher put his daughter through University.
"Everywhere you turn, there are stories like these, "adds Cai. "Our Parker team members find meaning and fulfillment in helping rural children learn, grow and thrive." Indeed, The Parker Hannifin Hope School is a shining example of what can happen when Hope meets Purpose.
A key part of Purpose is recognizing that Parker people and technologies have a vital role to play in making the world a better place. We call it Leading with Purpose and it's one of the core ideas at the foundation of Parker's partnership with Water Mission.
Water Mission is a non-profit organization that responds to the urgent need for safe drinking water around the world in developing countries and areas impacted by natural disasters. Since 2001, the organization has used innovative technology and engineering expertise to provide access to safe water for more than four million people in 55 countries. And yet, Water Mission did not have a system for treating saltwater. In 2014, Parker and Water Mission forged a strategic partnership, in which Parker provided the organization its highest-capacity Water Purification System that could fit in a standard 20' container.
The Parker Sea Water Desalination Unit uses reverse osmosis (RO) as its method of seawater desalination. Capable of treating up to 30,000 gallons per day, the container-based system is ready to deploy wherever temporary or emergency potable water is required.
Parker water purification systems were deployed in the US following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Water Mission deployed its Parker RO Unit in Columbia, South Carolina in 2015 in the aftermath of Hurricane Joaquin.
And then, on September 1st, 2019 Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas as a record-breaking category 5 storm and battered the islands of Grand Bahamas and Abaco for two days before moving North. It delivered sustained 85mph winds that razed buildings and knocked out the electric infrastructure around Marsh Harbour, Abaco's largest city.
According to Red Cross, about 45% of the homes on Grand Bahama and Abaco were severely damaged or destroyed while devastating floods compromised the water supply, leaving more than 60,000 people without clean drinking water. Water Mission was there on the ground quickly with its Parker Reverse Osmosis Unit and disaster response teams to meet the needs of residents affected.