“Our customers need to experience our broad product portfolio”

Interview with Dr. Tilman Krauch about NAIAS 2018

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) closed its doors in Detroit, Michigan on Sunday. For the first time, Freudenberg presented its broad technology spectrum during the media and expert days. Board of Management Member Dr. Tilman Krauch was on site. The Freudenberg Group CTO sums up the event and his visit to the trade fair in the following interview.

Dr. Krauch, what did you learn in Detroit?

Dr. Tilman Krauch: NAIAS showed that the fascination with mobility remains strong. A very active and future-oriented American automotive industry is ready to face the challenge of new technologies.

What does this mean for the Freudenberg Group? 

Krauch: The innovation strength of a company like Freudenberg can make a real contribution to new mobility, while also making existing drivetrains better and more efficient. New mobility is becoming more important to automotive manufacturers and automotive suppliers. Both are adapting their approach to the technological opportunities and new customer demands. Detroit is the center of the US automotive industry and thus the perfect place to present our innovative solutions.

What was the benefit of the Freudenberg event?

Krauch: We had good discussions with customers in a great location across the street from the Cobo Center. Our external and internal guests were impressed by the versatility of our approaches and how our individual solutions overlapped – regardless of whether the solutions came from the sealing, vibration management or auto cabin segments. Focusing all these technologies on new mobility, will tap new potential and generate synergies.

Was it important to be on site?

Krauch: Having our customers experience our broad product portfolio is as important as having them hold our versatile high-technology solutions in their own hands. The show focused on our highlights and Business Group experts provided a good overview.

Was the focus on e-mobility?

Krauch: We are a partner to our customers for all drivetrain types, which include internal combustion engines, hybrids, pure electric motors and fuel cells. We thus want to create solutions that lower CO2 emissions from internal combustion engines, while also presenting battery technology solutions. 

Will Freudenberg maintain its broad product range or focus more on individual areas?

Krauch: Our diversification is our strength. We will continue to offer a broad portfolio, including specialty lubricants, seals, nonwovens for separators, fully new filter developments and nonwoven materials for vehicle cabins. Just look at vehicle acoustics. In the cabin, eliminating engine noise – from the lower range of the sound spectrum – means higher tones can be heard, creating a new source of noise. Vibracoustic is thus working with air springs that can be flexibly adjusted to change the range of sound in a vehicle and alter its aerodynamics. In summary, many – entirely new – opportunities will open for our product portfolio.