Debut for Milliken at IDEA 2022
Specifically for the automotive sector, the company has developed a patent-pending new rigid underbody shield, based on a new construction of polyester nonwovens.
“Underbodies reduce the road noise coming from the tyres as well as optimising the aerodynamics of the region under the car,” explained Milliken’s VP of Nonwovens, Jeff Stafford.
Many of these trim parts, he added, are moulded into three-dimensional shapes to follow the geometry of the body section they cover, and are often made of a core layer of glass fibres bound by a thermoplastic binder.
“Glass fibres essentially provide the required stiffness but exposure to the fibres during the production of the parts and car assembly, can pose a health issue for those handling the material,” Stafford said. “Other underbodies are injection moulded plastic parts but both of these solutions are heavier than the industry wants them to be. Our new underbody is significantly lighter, while retaining the stiffness and other functional properties required for this exterior vehicle component.”
Milliken’s entry into the nonwovens sector began with the opening of a first plant in Simpsonville, South Carolina, in 1989, and it now manufactures its nonwoven portfolio at two plants in the USA and a third in Mexico.
Strong relationships with automotive OEMs already established over Milliken & Company’s long history, and the accumulated know-how of 5,000+ patents worldwide, has seen Milliken’s nonwovens business develop a range of successful automotive trim materials based on proprietary fibre blends and composite layers, with tunable NVH performance and a weight reduction of up to 30% compared to competing products.
For interior surfaces, interfacial chemistries and engineered matrix properties have also delivered a variety of wear-resistant, longer lasting products, while a technology for dramatically reducing moisture absorption by up to six times has resulted in noticeably tougher products.
Seperately, a range of enhanced flame retardant nonwovens forms part of the company’s Innovarest range of materials for the mattress industry, in addition to knits and laminates.
Flame resistance is a core competency of the company. All of its mattress products can be tuned and customized to make 16 CFR 1632 and 16 CFR 1633 compliance simple and straightforward.
“There are a lot of options we can offer the market when it comes to engineered materials for many different applications, and we’re looking forward to fruitful discussions with customers old and new in Miami,” Stafford concluded.