Tara Olivo recently wrote an article in Nonwovens Industry Magazine about how nonwoven fabrics are replacing other materials in automotive applications. Automobiles have been around for a hundred years now; why are nonwovens continuing to gain ground in this market?
EDANA states that there are more than 40 components that use nonwovens currently in automotive applications. We know that nonwovens are lightweight, flexible and durable, but here are a few other reasons why nonwovens continue to gain ground in cars.
1. Using nonwovens is “greener.” According to the EDANA infographic, cars using nonwovens in every possible component have 30% less of an impact on the environment from less CO2 production. Environmental concerns continue to grow from governmental groups and leaders to individuals. Children are being raised to “think green.” It can be extrapolated that future cars will utilize an even greater percentage of nonwovens in components due to environmental concerns and/or restrictions.
2. They look good! When you engineer a fabric from beginning to end for characteristics like softness, strength, and flexibility, you sometimes forget that you can ALSO engineer good looks. Nonwoven manufacturers can add in features like stain resistance and perhaps even a smoother appearance.
3. They keep the peace. Gone are the days where automotive enthusiasts rattle along the road shouting across the seat to their traveling partners. Today’s “car guys” want a quiet ride with road noise decreased. Automotive nonwovens are used in the headliner, the dashboard, the engine and the door panels to increase acoustic insulation and keep things quiet for cabin comfort.
There are many reasons to use nonwovens in automotive applications; that’s why there are 40 components using nonwoven fabrics. As time goes by and technology continues to improve, it stands to reason that even more nonwovens will find their way into engine bays and automotive cabins all over the world.