Nowadays when optimizing a car’s performance, there’s more status points to be earned in sustainability than horse power. Keeping a car’s weight down has a huge positive environmental impact as it significantly improves fuel-efficiency.
Inner dashes, carpets, roof pads, … these insulators between a car’s frame and its components are traditionally made of foam or more recently, polymer felts. Some suppliers now heavily invest in R&D to come up with alternatives that not only contribute to road safety but are good for the planet!
Swiss automotive components manufacturer Autoneum for instance introduced Flexi-loft. This patented technology uses recycled cotton and polyester fibers to yield a voluminous yet lightweight textile insulating material with excellent noise-reducing capabilities. In addition, Flexi-loft is highly mouldable, making it the perfect material for complex shapes, and it’s entirely recyclable. The fact that the material helps to keep odor and dust levels inside the vehicle in check is an added bonus. Autoneum takes its environmental responsibility also in terms of manufacturing by recovering and reusing cut-offs that occur during production.
All these features give Flexi-loft a competitive edge over less mouldable thermoplastic felts that – despite their excellent acoustic performance – lack in volume and therefore need to be applied more generously, adding more weight to the car, and over foam materials in terms of durability and ecological relevance.