We take a very close interest in the materials we use, with the goal of ultimately creating zero (or even negative) CO2 footprint solutions and finding ways to transform them into intelligent, multi-functional products. Materials innovation is key at Faurecia and offers incredible potential in our automotive industry and beyond, thanks to in-house expertise and our industrial and academic ecosystem.
There is a huge range of materials we can use in our products, but we select them carefully for targeted characteristics or performance. You can choose a material for its intrinsic properties, for example to conduct electricity or heat, for its ability to be shaped and give structural or mechanical strength, for the possibility to blend different primary materials together to create something new.
Faurecia has been a market leader in sustainable interiors since the 1980s thanks to innovation in complex materials and pioneering techniques in injection and compression molding. From this we’ve developed new bio-composite product ranges like NAFILean or NFPP that use natural fibers to make lighter, stronger and ultra-low emission components used for structural parts like instrument panels or door panel carriers. This combines an in-depth understanding of material properties as well as the technology know-how to optimize design to make these parts safe, strong and easy to produce and integrate. One example is our NAFILean Stiff which this year received an award for its sustainable process. NAFILean Stiff, introduces the best weight/rigidity combination in the market as well as reducing by more than 50% CO2 emissions thanks to weight reduction, use of 20% hemp fibers and 100% recyclability.
When we’re eco-designing for a new function or feature, our starting point is today’s reality: material scarcity and the need to preserve the planet. The best use of material is to avoid or limit the required quantities. Techniques such as computational design help define the optimal shape, pattern, structure and amount of material. In manufacturing interior parts, we have developed an advanced micro-cellular foam injection process which reduces the density of materials used, making parts lighter but without compromising strength or performance.
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Our teams have also been successfully innovating in special and smart materials. Special materials have new properties added to their original properties, for example able to become self-healing or self-cleaning to ensure a more hygienic cabin interior for shared mobility. In developing smart materials we integrate additional layers – what we call multi-layer innovation - to provide new functions like HMI/controls or lighting in surfaces or heating through radiant panels in the door or central console.
To truly lower material consumption we also need to move towards a circular economy approach: increasing the lifetime of products, having a refurbish-repair-remanufacture mindset, as well as standardizing materials to make collection and recycling easier and more generalized in our industry.
In the fight against climate change, our collective challenge is transitioning to zero emissions mobility. Every effort we make to lower material use and switch to recycled, renewable and bio-sourced materials contributes to this. With the creation of Faurecia’s new Sustainable Materials Division we’re scaling up our materials innovation and technology transformation. We’re looking forward to the opportunity of better supporting our customers’ sustainability objectives as well as our own 2030 CO2 reduction commitments.
Source: Faurecia SA
Date: Sep 8, 2021
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