The evolution of the use of nonwovens inside automobiles is ramping up. Did you know there are currently approximately 40 applications for nonwovens in automotive interiors? According to EDANA, the international association of the nowoven fabrics industry, nonwovens currently comprise over 20 square meters of interior fabric and that number is expected to rise to over 40 square meters in the future. Automobile manufacturers are regularly teaming up with nonwoven manufacturers to improve the look, feel and functionality of nonwoven fabrics for car interiors.
Some current uses of nonwovens for automotive interiors are:
- Sun visors
- Column padding
- Door trim pads
- Sound proofing
- Cabin air filters
- Speaker covers
- Molded seat covers
- Carpet and carpet reinforcement
- and more!
If you are involved in designing automotive interiors, it's important to consider the many benefits of utilizing nonwovens beyond the scope of their current use. As manufacturing processes improve, nonwoven manufacturers are able to design fabrics with specifications needed to fit an increasing variety of applications.
What is the future of nonwoven interiors in automobiles? There are at least three areas sure to experience major growth in the coming years:
- Acoustics: Noise control, even in lower end vehicles, is becoming more and more of a priority. Nonwoven acoustical products are increasingly beneficial in this application because they not only have the sound-deadening quality automotive engineers are looking for but they also have the added benefits of being extremely lightweight, water-resistant, and cost-effective.
- Headliners: Once again, nonwovens will continue to play a major role in this application because of two things: they are increasingly lightweight and, with continuing advances in the manufacturing process, more aesthetically pleasing than ever before.
- Cabin filters: According to an article written by William Smith in the Journal of Engineered Fibers and Fabrics, cabin filtration has been a growth area in automotives since the mid-1990's. Cabin filters are increasingly important as consumers and manufacturers desire to filter out mold, pollen, mildew and other airborn particles from vehicle interiors.
Nonwoven manufacturers are continually examining and improving their processes to develop more advanced nonwoven fabrics to be utilized in every aspect of automotive interiors. Preparing for the future of automotive interiors is hinged on the imagination, and subsequent innovation, of the automotive engineers with their nonwoven manufacturing partners.