Magazine December 2011

All the Latest Information from the Textile World

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Examples of nonwovens in a car

1)Door and side panelling 2)Underbody covers 3)Airbag covers 4)Floor and footwell covers 5)Rear of seat 6)Brake disks 7)Textile wheel-arch liners 8)Exhaust systems 9)Filters 10)Engine insulation 11)Turbocharger 12)Battery 13)Side and rear door panelling 14)Rear parcel shelf 15)Stowage compartment cover 16 A- and C-columns 17)Headliner 18)Sunshade 19)Dashboard 20)Bonnet covers 21)Floor of boot, spare wheel cover

The main reasons why more and more nonwovens are being used in cars are their low weight, their favourable cost-benefit ratio and the almost endless amount of variations, offering numerous technical solutions and design options.

Nonwovens in automobiles fulfil a large number of requirements, and are based on the most diverse production technologies. The following types of nonwoven are principally used in cars:

  • Hydroentangled nonwovens
  • Knit products
  • Multiknit products
  • Meltblown nonwovens
  • Malivlies nonwovens
  • Maliwatt nonwovens
  • Chemically entangled nonwovens
  • Needled nonwovens

Trendsetter: Finer fibres

Generally, automobile nonwovens can be subdivided into three categories according to their application:

  • Nonwovens for sound absorption
  • Nonwovens for the creation of surfaces
  • Nonwovens as intermediate and separating layers

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Colour fastness, dimensional stability, freedom from dust, flame-retardancy and non-fade properties are all important aspects here. However, strength combined with elasticity, washability, dirt repellancy and malleability are also important criteria where automotive nonwovens are concerned.

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The most often used fibre type for needled automotive nonwovens is PES, alongside further types such as PP and PA. As a rule, fibre gauge lies between 1.3 and 300 dtex, whereby finer fibres are increasingly being used. Product weights used in the car amount to between 100 gsm and 1,400 gsm.

In the case of visible nonwoven applications inside cars, specially structured products are often used. To achieve the required surface quality, so-called structuring needles are required. These involve two different needle types: crown needles and fork needles. They serve purely to create the surface according to customer requirements. This is why crown needles have only one barb on every edge accordingly, whereby all barbs are the same distance from the tip. Fork needles, on the other hand, have a fork-shaped opening to form the required loops. Special structuring machines known as brush conveyors are required to create the surface structure after subsequent needling of the surface. These machines have a conveyor equipped with brush segments. The fibres are pulled inside the brushes, held in place there and then transported warp-free. Very high needle densities combined with the brush treatment lead to velour that is free of any patterns or streaks.

Inside a car, the main areas of application of products structured like this range from floor coverings to rear parcel shelves, and from door and boot coverings to headliners.

Alongside conventional barb needles Groz-Beckert also supplies the structuring needles required for this special application. Depending on the product specification, crown needles or fork needles can be used for making high-quality velour products, or even a combination of both needle types. Here, crown needles provide a more even surface structure, while fork needles create grainier surfaces. The combination of both needles results in very dense velour products with constant and even surface quality. Conventional needle gauges for making structured products lie between 36 and 40 gg for crown needles and 38 and 43 gg for fork needles.

Technological specifications

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Example: Headliner

  • Fibre gauge 3.3 - 6.7 dtex
  • Fibre typePP, PES
  • Product weight 300 gsm

  • Pre-needling 15 x 18 x 36 x 3 R333 G 2017 (604051)
  • Penetration depth 10 mm
  • Penetration density 60 E/cm2 (S/cm²)

  • Main needling 15x 18 x 38 x 3 R222 G 3027 (609081)
  • Penetration depth 7 mm
  • Penetration density 150 E/cm2 (S/cm²)

  • Structuring
    • 15x 17 x 32 x 40 x 63,5 DG 9055 (612611)
    • 15x 18 x 38 x 2 3/5 S111 G 2017 (610881)
      • in combination
  • Penetration depth 8 mm
  • Penetration density 650 E/cm2 (S/cm²)

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Production details

High abrasion resistance with a high-quality look

In April 2011 at the "Index" trade fair in Geneva, Switzerland, the latest generation of nonwovens for automotive carpeting was presented. The patented products with the brand names Lutraflor® by Freudenberg from Weinheim, Germany, consist of two layers. One layer is spunbond, and the other a staple fibre fleece needled into the spunbond. Both layers are made of polyester and co-polyester. The fibres consist of recycled polyester and require no chemical binding agents. According to the company, the nonwoven is especially impressive for its high abrasion resistance and high-quality look. This enables these products