Dude, where’s my car?

In the comedy film ‘Dude, Where’s My Car?’ Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott, better known as Stifler in ‘American Pie’, search for their car. Should there ever be a sequel, the two would be well advised to begin their search at Techtextil.

 “Yarns from Schoeller are not only to be found in BMW and Mercedes-Benz cars, but also in buses and trains, as well as in Lufthansa and Emirates jets”, says Markus Rothmund, Automobile Yarns Product Manager of Switzerland’s Schoeller yarn manufacturing company. To understand why there is a bright yellow sports car on the company’s exhibition stand, you need to look at the production chain backwards: yellow car, with textile parts, such as seats that, before being made, i.e., split into the finished components, are made from yarns. That’s the way it’s made, the modern car.

“From my point of view, textiles are just as much part of a car as any other material”, says internationally renowned Swiss car designer and visionary Frank M. Rinderknecht, the spiritual father of the ‘Σtos, a yellow concept autonomous car, and the ‘Oasis’ electric vehicle. According to textile trade associations, there are more than 40 fibre-based applications with a total surface area of 35 square metres in a modern car. Hence, it is hardly surprising that over 670 Techtextil exhibitors are showing products for use in the automobile and aerospace industries. They take advantage of the fair specifically to present new automotive products.

New fibre-based products for cars
One of them is the East German company of C. H. Müller, which makes laminated and coated composites of synthetic leather, textiles, leather and natural-fibre materials for system suppliers such as Yanfeng (formerly Johnson Controls), Grupo Antolin and Faurecia. At the fair, the company is showing ‘Velamina’, a new trim material made of polyester microfibres, for car interiors. “We want to combine the high-grade look and feel of modern micro-fibre surfaces with ecologically-friendly polyester”, says Philipp Porst, Deputy Managing Director of C. H. Müller. Porst is sure that, “The search for weight reduction, greater comfort and sustainability will act as a driving force for the use of textile-based materials in cars.”

Based in Southwest Germany, Rökona, a textile supplier specialising in knitted fabrics, dyeing and finishing on a large scale for automotive suppliers, is also represented in Frankfurt and showing a new shade solution for panorama roofs. “With this new product, we can achieve a high degree of shade without a great increase in roof thickness”, says Rökona CEO Arved Westerkamp. Thus, the cassette, into which the panorama roof rolls when open, should be significantly smaller in the future.

That’s my car: clearly visible are textile parts, such as seats and safety belts, as well as – front right with grille look – components made of carbon fibre, which make the car lighter

Car jigsaw puzzle: time and again, trade visitors to Techtextil come across finished car components

Ronny Eckert

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