Innovative nonwoven for the automobile industry

Shanghai. October 14, 2011. Freudenberg & Vilene Nonwovens (Suzhou) Co., Ltd., a joint venture of the German Freudenberg Group and Japan Vilene Company, has boosted production of technical nonwovens for automobiles at Suzhou by 25 percent compared to 2010. The joint venture stepped up production in response to strong demand from the automobile industry in China. Nonwovens are used in various interior components of vehicles ranging from headliner, seat coverings to trunkliners and parcel shelves. A new production process now makes it possible to produce even lighter nonwovens with superior visual features.

The newly improved product for headliners looks very similar to the materials used to date, which are based on tricot fabric. However, the innovative production process of the joint venture means that only two layers are now needed instead of the seven formerly used, which results in cost benefits and weight savings of up to half a kilogram per vehicle. The weight reduction also brings benefits to automakers. "This may help automotive manufacturers to improve fuel consumption through weight reduction of every single car or offers the possibility to use alternative drive-trains, for example electric engines, which are heavier and demand for weight saving," explains Lawrence Wu, Managing Director of Freudenberg & Vilene Nonwovens (Suzhou) Co., Ltd.

Freudenberg shoulders its environmental responsibility

With this new product, the joint venture has underlined its commitment to efficient and environmentally compatible solutions and supported the development of electro-mobility. "There is no country where the automobile industry is growing faster than in China, which is why the market is so important for us," says Dr. Henk Randau, CFO of Freudenberg & Vilene Nonwovens (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. "We will continue to forge ahead with global innovations and develop premium solutions to reinforce our position as market leader."

Freudenberg has a wide range of products for the automotive sector and sales to the automobile industry accounted for about 40 percent of total Group sales of 5.4 billion euros in 2010. The Freudenberg portfolio is extremely broad-based, including 300 products such as Simmerrings, encoders, nonwovens for roof liners and carpet backings, cabin air and air intake filters, special lubricants and release agents, as well as vibration control products to reduce noise and vibration in vehicles. On average, about 70 different Freudenberg products are used in a modern vehicle.