SWITZERLAND’S AUTONEUM LAUNCHES FLEXI-LOFT FIBRE-BASED TECHNOLOGY

Autoneum has launched Flexi-Loft, a new felt-based technology with a unique blend of recycled cotton and functional fibres. It reduces product weight and allows for an accurate adaptation for complex shapes. It is a versatile and more sustainable alternative to foam. Autoneum is a manufacturer of vehicle acoustic and thermal insulation for automobiles.

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 Flexi-Loft, Autoneum offers a new felt-based technology that thanks to a unique blend of recycled cotton and functional fibres reduces product weight and allows for accurate adaptation even to complex shapes, the company said in a media statement.

In order to achieve high acoustic performance at minimum weight and maximum sustainability, Autoneum 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 mouldable 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 significantly lighter, more flexible and more adaptable than standard felts. In addition, the fibre-based material is versatile and clearly outperforms current foam products in terms of sustainability.

Thanks to its innovative 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. Thanks to the specific properties of the fibres, 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 distinguishes itself by its versatile application 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, according to Autoneum.

Overall, Flexi-Loft offers a unique combination of design freedom and increased sustainability. The lightweight, fibre-based material is characterized by an excellent environmental performance throughout the entire product life cycle while offering the same benefits as less sustainable foam alternatives. Flexi-Loft consists of at least 50 per cent recycled cotton fibres, 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.

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