37-ecat E-Catalog
80-services Services
39-magazine Magazine
36-downloads Downloads
35-contact Contact
20-close First-Hand News?

Obtain news and background information about sealing technology, get in touch with innovative products – subscribe to the free e-mail newsletter.


Welcome to the AI Era

Intelligence is something deeply human. But what about artificial intelligence (AI)? It is a human creation that has the potential to make our daily routine easier, in our personal lives and in every business sector. We examine the many different options that AI offers to us in manufacturing and research.

An essay by Claus Möhlenkamp, Chief Executive Officer, Freudenberg Sealing Technologies:

Everyone is talking about it: Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is certainly not new. But since ChatGPT was launched in late 2022, AI has entered the public consciousness. Today, nearly everyone can use the text-based chatbot and many other AI applications. We may even take them for granted. Experts describe the introduction of ChatGPT as an iPhone moment. It’s an analogy that should highlight AI’s importance for all of us – after all, no one would do without a smartphone today. And its introduction was just 17 years ago. But in an instant, it became an anchor in our daily life. It is so much more than a telephone. It puts the Internet within reach at any moment. It is a camera, a medium for entertainment, an appointment calendar, a navigation device, an alarm clock, a flashlight and a means of payment, to name just a few of its uses. The smartphone’s triumphant advance is an indication of how quickly we are getting used to AI and how unwilling we will be to abandon it. We can already adapt applications such as ChatGPT to our needs and let others participate in it. For example, you can select a comprehensive manual in a foreign language. And then, a short time later, get the answers to specific questions, in your own language. With some exaggeration, you could say: Searching was yesterday. Finding is today. 

More efficient navigation: In 2022, a tanker crossed the Pacific completely autonomously. An AI determined the route and speed. It even handled evasive maneuvers. © iStock/Suriyapong Thongsawang

Companies recognized the advantages of artificial intelligence long before ChatGPT. Consider generative AI. It helps to glean valuable information from large quantities of data, perhaps for a marketing campaign. There also is predictive AI. It is helpful for making forecasts for maintenance purposes, for example. At Freudenberg Sealing Technologies, we are also turning to AI in sub-units of our business. It helps us accelerate processes and monitor them better. One example: AI has helped take automatic visual inspection to a new level. Another system shows the moisture content of material granulate in a silo. We are not only starting to recognize the value of our data – we are actually leveraging it to our advantage. And that means to the advantage of our business partners, too. 

If data is the oil of the 21st century, then artificial intelligence is the drilling rig, refinery and filling station all rolled into one. But only if we toughen up AI. Before artificial intelligence can bring insights to light, it needs a structured database, a clear-cut algorithm with precise instructions, and in-depth training. That is the only way that AI can compile information that we can use. It is up to us to evaluate the insights and figure out the right steps to take. 


With some exaggeration you could say: Searching was yesterday. Finding is today. 

AI helps us bring light to the darkness. But there are shadows wherever there is light. AI is a powerful tool. Still, we shouldn’t trust it blindly. We should continue to use common sense. AI requires a responsible approach. People must always be involved in the decision-making. That is not the least important concern for companies such as Microsoft, IBM, Mercedes, and Bosch as they grapple with the impact of AI and come up with guidelines for its development and use. The European Union is attempting to regulate certain applications - not the technology as such - with new guidelines. I think this is a desirable approach, especially from a sociopolitical standpoint. The World Economic Forum stood up and took notice of AI for good reason early this year. In its risk report, the organization classified the spread of false, AI-generated information as the greatest potential source of a short-term global crisis. I am reminded of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the poem that Johann Wolfgang von Goethe composed in 1797. The apprentice uses one of his teacher’s spells while he is away. But he loses control of what he has unleashed. “The spirits that I summoned,” the distraught apprentice exclaims, “I cannot now rid myself of them.”  

Better handling: AI is improving how prostheses are worn. People using them no longer have to learn how to cope with them. Instead, the prosthesis takes over the learning process. © AdobeStock/VK Studio

It is a region under pressure to respond to different challenges with forward-looking solutions. Climate change will especially have an impact on Southeast Asia. Drought and flooding threaten agriculture, which is essential to feed these densely populated countries. Their proximity to oceans means that typhoons are a constant threat. And nearly all the large metropolises are in river deltas or on coasts. Rising sea levels would be devastating for the region. Southeast Asia also faces the challenge of finding new paths to sustainability – whether they involve energy, food or manufacturing. A number of these countries have already recognized this.

On the other hand, I believe that artificial intelligence has stirred positive spirits as well, and they are prevalent in industry. AI is a tool that can help us be better at what we do. It can help us understand processes and design them more efficiently – from logistics to production all the way to research and development. This allows us to keep improving our products and the quality of our work. It will help us continue to be successful and innovative in our highly industrialized world, despite the shortage of skilled workers. And not least of all, AI helps us work more sustainably by reducing the consumption of energy and resources. That shows that AI is not just a topic of conversation today. It ought to be on the minds of every corporate decision-maker. These developments started long before ChatGPT. Welcome to the AI era.  

This article originally appeared in ESSENTIAL, Freudenberg Sealing Technologies’ corporate magazine that covers trends, industries and new ideas. To read more stories like this, click here.

ESSENTIAL – the Magazine

Don’t Miss a Trend

Smart sealing solutions for nearly every sector, technology trends and exclusive interviews – Find them in our company magazine ESSENTIAL with a print subscription and digitally.

More Stories About Digitalization

Mockup of ESSENTIAL magazine issue May 2024

Our Magazine

Technologies and trends that impact our business.

Order Now!

Login with your access data

* mandatory field

Forgot your password? Click here to reset.


Don’t have an account yet? Register now!

You've logged in successfully.

Register and get access to exclusive content

Your benefits

  • Download exclusive documents such as Solution Sheets
  • Live Webinare/On-Demand Recordings on the beverage and food industry
  • Virtual tours of production facilities
  • Resistance tools for selecting the right material

Security Level

* mandatory field


Do you already have an account? Continue to Login.

Thank you. Your subscription was successful.

We have sent you an e-mail. Please click on the included activation link to complete the registration.

Have you forgotten your password?

Please enter your email address to reset it.

* mandatory field

The form has been successfully sent.

We have sent you an email. Please click on the included link to assign a new password.