September 23 2010
Changing landscape for nonwovens in vehicles
Electric and hybrid vehicles will bring significant new challenges and opportunities for suppliers of textiles and nonwovens, attendees at the 49th Dornbirn Congress heard.
Reinhard Bäckmann of IUB consultancy, based in Wörth, Germany, said that at present an average 28kg of textiles went into the average car, of which around 50% was nonwovens.
“Nonwovens have benefited significantly through their substitution for other materials, and from employment in new safety, comfort and structural technologies,” he said. “Developments of new vehicle concepts in the coming years, however, will dramatically change the landscape.”
Electric vehicles, he pointed out, have no exhaust system, no fuel distribution, no oil lines and oil pan, fewer transmissions and smaller components.
“This means that nonwovens for sound absorption, seals, air filters and other parts will disappear,” said Mr Bäckmann. “But at the same time, there will be new opportunities for their use in battery separators, as reinforcement textiles and as sensor carriers. The ecological pressure for innovation is not a threat, but a real chance for nonwoven fabrics and innovative manufacturers.”
The 49th Dornbirn Congress, held from 15-17 September in Dornbirn, Austria, attracted some 650 attendees.