Shanghai, September 12, 2016. The global technology group Freudenberg brought a new production line for car headliners into operation at its Suzhou site in eastern China. This enables Freudenberg & Vilene Nonwovens to meet increasing demand for high-quality car roof linings and especially for quality printed products in Asia. The company is currently the only manufacturer in China with its own printing facility. Freudenberg Performance Materials is the specialist nonwovens arm of Freudenberg. In China, it is represented by Freudenberg & Vilene Nonwovens, a joint venture with Japan Vilene Company, Tokyo.
Over the past ten years Freudenberg has invested more than 2.5 billion Yuan (€300 million) in China. "China is for us an important strategic market. We see a lot of growth opportunities in the long term. That is why we continuously develop our operational capabilities, including high-tech infrastructure and local R&D facilities, to ensure our competitive advantage." stressed by Bettina Schoen-Behanzin, Regional Representative Asia for the Freudenberg Group.
Freudenberg & Vilene Company headliners are based on nonwovens and can be finished in various ways to provide additional functionality. Apart from excellent abrasion resistance, outstanding acoustic properties and improved stain resistance, these products contribute to a marked reduction in vehicle weight when combined with other vehicle components. In addition, the company also uses a proportion of recycled products in the manufacture of its products. In this way, Freudenberg helps its customers to reduce their environmental footprint. The new facility will enable the company to increase its production volumes.
"The expansion of our activities in China underlines our expertise in headliners. This move will also further underscore our position as a leading and reliable partner for our customers", commented Bruce Olson, President and CEO of Freudenberg Performance Materials.
"Freudenberg & Vilene Company is currently the only manufacturer in Asia with in-house printing capabilities. This gives us the ability to offer customers innovative, individualized products with the most up-to-date designs while ensuring consistently high quality", explained Dr. Frank Heislitz, Chief Technology Officer of Freudenberg Performance Materials. Freudenberg & Vilene Company first introduced printed headliners to the market in 2010, thus capturing a special customer need.
The automotive market in Asia continues to grow. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM), car sales in China alone grew by more than seven percent in the first half 2016 compared to the same period in the previous year. Demand for high-quality products is increasing and is especially strong for printed headliners. Asian OEMs show a marked preference for printed headliners that meet the high quality of Japanese and Korean design standards.
Freudenberg Performance Materials is an established and reliable partner to the automotive industry worldwide. In Asia and China, Freudenberg & Vilene Company enjoys long-standing relationships with Asian OEMs, where it holds a leading position in the market. A cornerstone of this success has been the ability to create numerous headliner innovations.
Alongside the production of products for car interiors, Freudenberg & Vilene Company's product portfolio includes industrial nonwovens for the apparel industry, industrial ventilation and other technical applications.