WINTERTHUR - Automotive components supplier Autoneum has developed a new felt-based, noise reducing technology, which uses a unique blend of recycled cotton and functional fibres.
The acoustic performance of components for vehicle interiors, such as inner dashes or carpets, depends on the noise-reducing quality as well as the geometrical adaptability and fill power of their material.
Autoneum's Flexi-Loft is a new felt-based technology consisting of a blend of recycled cotton and functional fibres to reduce product weight while also allowing for the accurate adaptation to even complex shapes. The material is therefore said to provide a versatile and more sustainable alternative to foam.
In order to achieve high acoustic performance at minimum weight and maximum sustainability, Autoneum says it is continuously advancing its textile product portfolio. When it comes to components for the vehicle interior, for example, standard thermoplastic felts excel through their acoustic absorption, robustness and environmental friendliness. However, since felt-based materials are generally less voluminous and moldable as foam components, they require more weight to thoroughly fill the areas of varying thickness between the surface of the component and the vehicle’s body-in-white.
In contrast, Autoneum’s Flexi-Loft technology is described as significantly lighter, more flexible and more adaptable than standard felts. In addition, the fibre-based material is versatile and, says the company, outperforms current foam products in terms of sustainability.
"With a blend of recycled cotton and polyester fibres, Flexi-Loft substantially reduces component weight while improving geometrical adaptability and acoustic performance, especially in areas of low thickness," Autoneum says. "Thanks to the specific properties of the fibers, Flexi-Loft enables a precise adaptation to a wide variety of vehicle bodies, thereby improving the noise-insulating qualities of the respective product. Even at low weight, Flexi-Loft covers a wide range of material thicknesses, thus proving to be an ideal decoupling material for interior components with complex shapes such as inner dashes and automotive carpets."
As a lightweight, flexible and sustainable alternative to both standard felts and foam, Flexi-Loft also offers versatility, particularly in combination with existing Autoneum technologies such as Hybrid-Acoustics and Prime-Light. Moreover, the material helps to reduce odour and dust inside the vehicle.
As it consists of at least 50% recycled cotton fibers, cut-offs generated during the manufacturing process are reclaimed, processed and then reused in the production of new felt blanks. The material is also fully recyclable.
Autoneum is already using Flexi-Loft worldwide as an insulator for various carpets, inner dashes and other acoustic components based on its Prime-Light technology. The application of the material as an effective decoupler in inner dashes made of Hybrid-Acoustics will be launched on the European market in 2023.