Worldwide, nonwovens are used in 90-100% of trunk and cargo space in automobiles. But, while there are over 40 applications in a vehicle for nonwovens, there are still a wide variety of differences across manufacturers and countries over how much of those spaces are comprised of nonwoven fabrics. For example, NAFTA countries use nonwovens in less than 10% of the flooring as primary cabin face material but Japan and Europe use them in between 60-75%.
Additionally, as raw material prices continue to increase and the efforts to develop lighter, more fuel-efficient vehicles, automotive manufacturers will increasingly turn to nonwoven fabrics for solutions. EDANA estimates that the square meters of nonwoven fabrics used in the automotive sector will double between 2015 and 2025.
European auto manufacturers are particularly focused on vehicle weight reduction. According to the Edana newsletter, a Peugeot acoustical component package comprised primarily of nonwoven fabrics has cut the weight of that component by 60%. Door panels and floor carpets in Europe are also decreasing the weights and increasing the sound absorption of European cars.
But why are nonwovens so increasingly popular in automotive manufacturing? Let’s take a look at the characteristics of the nonwovens used in cars:
- Color fastness and non-fade properties
- Dirt repellency
- Flame retardant
- Dimensional stability
All of these characteristics make nonwoven fabrics and automobiles a virtually perfect match. As automakers strive to make affordable vehicles that are family friendly and seemingly indestructible, there will more and more applications for automotive nonwovens inside and outside the cabin.
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