The acoustic performance of components for the vehicle interior such as inner dashes or carpets depends on the noise-reducing quality, as well as the geometrical adaptability and fill power, of their material. With its new Flexi-Loft material, specialist Autoneum says it is offering a felt-based technology that, thanks to a blend of recycled cotton and functional fibers, reduces product weight and allows for accurate adaptation to complex shapes. The textile material therefore provides a versatile and more sustainable alternative to foam.
When it comes to components for the vehicle interior, 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 says its Flexi-Loft technology is significantly lighter, more flexible and more adaptable than standard felts. In addition, the fiber-based material is versatile and outperforms current foam products in terms of sustainability.
Thanks to its blend of recycled cotton and polyester fibers, Flexi-Loft is said to substantially reduce component weight while improving geometrical adaptability and acoustic performance, especially in areas of low thickness. 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, making it an ideal decoupling material for interior components with complex shapes such as inner dashes and automotive carpets.
The lightweight, fiber-based material is also characterized by an excellent environmental performance throughout the entire product lifecycle while offering the same benefits as less sustainable foam alternatives. Flexi-Loft consists of at least 50% recycled cotton fibers, and cut-offs generated during the manufacturing process are reclaimed, processed and then reused in the production of new felt blanks. Furthermore, the material is 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 will be launched on the European market in 2023.