Much of the talk around making the automotive industry more sustainable focuses on the manufacture and sale of electric vehicles. Certainly, this is a key part of reducing emissions and making driving less harmful to the environment, but there are other important areas where sustainability can be built into the manufacturing process.

Weight is crucial. Or to be more specific, achieving lighter weights. This largely comes down to the implementation of innovative design and the choice of manufacturing materials. A lighter weight vehicle is substantially more fuel efficient than a heavier vehicle – and the easiest way to achieve this is to reduce the weight of a vehicle’s parts. In fact, industry research has concluded that every 10 kg of weight reduction achieved within a vehicle reduces its carbon emissions by 1g per km.

Looking for weight loss opportunities

While iron and steel parts account for over half a vehicle’s weight, many other materials, such as plastics and alloys, combine to make up the other 40% plus. Materials like polyester are used throughout the vehicle in a range of applications, including trims for bootliners, headliners and door panels, as well as in airbags, carpets and seatbelts.  This means that there is ample opportunity to reduce weight, but of course any materials chosen must also be high performance to ensure safety and comfort.

For example, seat covers need to be attractive as well as being resistant to abrasion and UV rays; carpets need to be made from a material that is easily mouldable, while seatbelts need to be manufactured from materials with tensile strength and ability to withstand temperature inflation. In fact, the use of materials offering high levels of thermal stability as well as acoustic insulation is crucial within the manufacture of most vehicle parts.

That’s why Interflex developed Ocean, a polyester material made from 80%  recycled fibres. Developed as a sustainable NVH solution for a range of applications in the automotive industry. as well as in leisure vehicles, railway carriages, marine vehicles and construction projects, Ocean combines superior insulation properties with great environmental credentials. It offers high abrasion and UV resistance at the same time as ensuring sustainability within the manufacturing process.

A material with a multitude of uses

  • Carpets – whether in a caravan or a car, carpets need to be hardwearing and able to resist abrasion and the introduction of external materials such as soil. They also need to be fade resistant and to help insulate against NVH – all while looking aesthetically pleasing. Using Ocean ticks all these boxes, while reducing weight throughout the vehicle to ensure better fuel economy whether driving a car or towing a caravan.
  • Seats – again, insulation, colour fastness and weight are key factors in seat manufacture within different vehicles. Whether used as a filling, covering fabric or trim, Ocean offers a durable, lightweight solution in trains, cars, campervans or even boats.
  • Ocean is also suitable for use when manufacturing the exterior of a vehicle including around the wheel arch and outer bulkhead.

Tackling NVH sustainably

So, for manufacturers looking to reduce weight in their products at the same time as tackling issues around NVH, Ocean is a cost-effective sustainable solution. If you would like to find out more about how Ocean could help you, please call us on 01494 861 494 or email us at sales@interflex2000.com.