Application of automobile textiles: A comprehensive study
TECHNICAL TEXTILES IN
A COMPREHENSIVE STUDY
According to the Textile Institute, ‘Textile materials and products
manufactured primarily for their technical and performance
properties rather than their aesthetic and decorative characteristics.’
are called technical textiles.
Technical textiles that are used in this automotive or transport sector
are called “MOBILTECH”.
Mobiltech today covers not only isolation and safety aspect but also
focuses on comfort and style. The customers look for aesthetically
pleasing interiors, great comfort and fuel economy.
Automobile is the lifeline of present society. Trade, Industry and Commercial
activity extremely dependent on this sector. Therefore, it is no exception that
tremendous growth and development is taking place in this sector. This automotive
sector consumes a lot of textile materials that may be visible or concealed in
automobile. The global consumption of textiles used in automobile industry is
estimated to be over 4.5 lakh tonnes.
Textiles in transport are classified as technical because of the very high
performance specifications and special properties required. e.g. seat coverings are
not easy to remove for cleaning and are fixed in place in many automobiles and
must last the lifetime of the car without ever being washed. In addition, they have to
withstand much higher exposure to day light and damaging ultraviolet radiations
and must have stringent safety requirements such as flame retardancy.
ABOUT AUTOMOBILE TEXTILES
Automobile segment of Technical Textile products includes applications in
automotive and automotive components( Including aircrafts and railways)
The automobile products can be broadly classified into two categories:
1. Visible Components
2. Concealed Components
The visible components include: Seat upholstery, carpets, seat belts, head
The concealed components include: Noise Vibration and Harness (NVH)
components, tyre cords, liners etc.
The growth of automotive textiles is very good in last decades. There are few driving
forces behind the growth of automotive textiles. These forces could be:
Improvement in the standard of living of people resulting in the greater demand for
A car interior has become more and more important as people are spending more time
For better fuel economy, the trend is towards lightweight vehicles replacing metal by
fibre composites in most of the applications.
More safety devices in the vehicles in the form of air bags and seat belts.
Eco logical reforms for recycling of used cars have increased the amount of textiles in
Apart from interiors and safety, textiles have also come up with the solution to
engineering problems such as tyre reinforcement, acoustics protection, gas and air
Nylon tyre cord
Seat belt webbing
Car body covers
Seat covers (fabric/Upholstery)
Automotive interior (Carpets)
Webbing for aircrafts
TT usage in railway
Carpets( with car mats)
Pre-assembled interior components
APPLICATION AREAS & PREREQUISITES OF AUTOMOTIVE TEXTILES
Main performance prerequisites
Abrasion & UV resistance, attractive design
Polyester, wool, nylon,
Tyre cords & fabrics
Tensile strength, adhesion to rubber, fatigue Polyester, Nylon, HT *
rayon, steel & aramid
Stiffness, strength, light weight, energy
absorbing, thermal stability
Glass, carbon, aramid, HT
polyester & polyethylene
(hoses, belts, air springs)
Heat resistance, tensile strength,
dimensional stability, adhesion to rubber,
HT polyester, aramid
Tensile strength, abrasion and UV resistance HT polyester
Ability to withstand high temperature
inflation gases, durability to storage in
compacted state over many years
Nylon - 6,6, nylon - 4,6
Light fastness, mould ability
1. Car body Covers
10.Sun visors/ Sun blinds
2. Seat Cover Fabric
3. Nylon Tyre Cord Fabric
4. Seat belt webbing
5. Air bag
14.Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGV)
6. Interior Carpets
7. Interior design
17.Flexible intermediate Bulk containers
9. Insulation felts
ABOUT CAR BODY COVERS
Car body covers are used to cover the car if no cover space for parking (Parking
Garage) is available
The car body cover is a 100% technical textile product based on the raw material
The car body covers are made of a variety of fabrics including canvas, HDFE, PVC
reinforced cotton material and Nylon.
ABOUT SEAT COVER FABRICS
Woven seat cover is one of the important
contributors of technical textile in an
With gradual improvement in vehicle models
and increased emphasis on luxury and
comfort, the seat cover market has witnessed
uptrend in the market.
Seat covers are made from cotton, vinyl,
velvet and leather.
The fabric used for the manufacturing of seat
covers is woven on looms.
RAW MATERIALS AND MACHINERY
Seat covers are made from cotton, vinyl, velvet and leather.
The cotton or synthetic yarn is woven on power looms to produce fabric which is
further stentered on stentering machine to smoothen out the fabric (remove
The fabric is further laminated to provide desired protection characteristics.
The fabric is further finished as per the desired specifications of automobile Original
Equipment Manufacturer (OEM)
All passenger cars have company fitted carpets
The carpets are laid in the cabin and parcel shelf at
The carpets are primarily non-woven textile material
The usage of carpets varies based on the interior
designs which vary across car models.
The automotive interior carpets are non-woven technical textiles, made primarily
from polypropylene fibres.
The carpet is laid on the vehicle floor above which rubber mats are placed.
The desired characteristics of automobile interior carpets typically are as given below:
1. High durability
2. High abrasion resistance
3. Tensile strength-Warp around 50 KGF and Weft around 45 KGF
4. Low in-flammability
5. Good compression recovery
The fabric is around 500 GSM with a thickness of about 3mm.
The color, texture and overall appearance of the car
interior, especially the seat, has become extremely
important in attracting a potential buyer’s attention.
There is only one opportunity to make a first impression.
The textile designer must be able to produce innovative
interior appearances which reflect or even set current
fashion trends, social and economic moods and customer
Flat woven fabrics account for about half of car seat fabric
in Europe but only about a quarter in the USA and Japan.
Woven velour’s are the most important type in the USA,
and tricot knit the most important in Japan.
Circular knits are increasing in Europe, and woven velour’s
increasing further in the USA. Worldwide, designs are
becoming more sophisticated with increased use of more
colors and Jacquard-type designs. In Japan printing on to
tricot knit has been attributed to a need for a more
economical alternative to Jacquard equipment, which is in
short supply in Japan.
The nylon tyre cord is prepared from high tenacity
continuous filament yarn by twisting and plying.
There are two main types of nylons used as tyre
cords, they are1. Nylon-6
The characteristics of nylon-6 and nylon-6,6 differ
slightly and are controlled by the manufacturing
process, types of stabilizers and additives used.
Nylon tyre cord fabric provides strength to a tyre.
The tyre industry consumes nearly 98% of the
total nylon tyre consumption.
The nylon tyre cord fabric is 100% technical
Nylon tyre cord fabric gradually replaced the
usage of rayon and polyester cords in the tyre
Nylon 6 grey are dipped tyre cord fabrics having
1. High strength
2. Fatigue resistance
3. Impact resistance
4. High adhesion
The tyre cords are generally available with the fabric characteristics of 930 dtex,
1400 dtex, 1870 dtex, 2100 dtex.
The crirical specifications drive the characteristics such as breaking strength,
elongation, adhesion, ply twists and hot air shrinkage.
Polymerization of caprolactam
to manufacture nylon chips
Extraction and drying of chips
Melt spinning of chips to
manufacture nylon tyre yarn
Preparation of cord from tyre
yarn by twisting and plying
Recycling of nylon-6 waste
Seat belts function as a safety harnesses which
secure the passengers in a vehicle against harmful
movements during collision or similar incidents.
Seat belts minimize injuries during accidents.
Seat belts are woven narrow fabric made from
nylon filament yarns or high tensile polyester
The load specification is an important criterion for
In Bangladesh all 4 wheelers drivers and passengers must
use seat belts.
At nearby, the seat belts, which are used in the cars are
called three point which has single continuous length of
webbing. They are called three point for the reason that
these belts help spread out energy of the moving body in
a accident over the chest, pelvis and shoulder.
Seat belts are classified as:
1. Static Belts
2. ELR (Emergency Locking Retractor) belts.
The seat belts are made from nylon filament yarn or polyester
filament yarn which is woven to produce the webbing pattern.
The linear density of man made yarns must be stuck between 100
dtex and 3000 dtex, preferably 550-1800 dtex.
The filament linear density should be between 5 dtex and 30 dtex,
preferably 8-20 dtex.
A typical seat belt is made of 320 ends of 1100 dtex polyester each.
The majority weft yarns prepared from polyester are 550 dtex.
The critical characteristics of the webbing are:
1. Abrasion resistance
2. Resistance to light and heat
3. Capable of being removed and put back in place easily and
good retraction behavior.
4. The load bearing capacity of seat belts is 1500 KGs.
WHAT IS AIR BAG?
An air is an elastic bag cushion like make up which inflates and deflates quickly in some
stages in certain types of car accidents.
It is a safety device aimed at preventing or minimizing injury to passenger when such an
Air bags have been efficient to put a stop to severe head and chest injured in adults
when auto mobile accident have occurred .
Air bag can located in both the front and rear vehicles.
Front air bags : the air bag component for the driver side is situated in the centre of the
steering wheel, where as the passenger side component (if required ) can be found in
the dash board above the glove box.
Side airbags : there are three different types of side air bag systems currently available :
1. Roof-mounted side air bags designed to protect the head and neck.
2. Door-mounted side airbags designed to protect the chest
3. Seat-mounted airbags designed to protect the chest & head.
1. The air bag are made in following manner
2. The yarn or fabric primarily nylon 66 , lighter denier , lower dpf and silicon
3. Approximately 1.8 square meter of fabric is used per air bag module
4. Nylon 66 is used as a key raw material.
WORKING PROCEDURE OF AIRBAG
Airbags inflate, or deploy, quickly -- faster than the blink
of an eye. Imagine taking one second and splitting it into
one thousand parts. In the first 15 to 20 milliseconds, air
bag sensors detect the crash and then send an electrical
signal to fire the airbags.
Typically a squib, which is a small explosive device, ignites
a propellant, usually sodium azide. The azide burns with
tremendous speed, generating nitrogen, which inflates
the airbags. Within 45 to 55 milliseconds the airbag is
supposed to be fully inflated. Within 75 to 80
milliseconds, the airbag is deflated and the event is over.
WORKING PROCEDURE OF AIRBAG
Airbags may save lives and guard against severe injuries in high speed collisions, if
designed properly. However, the speed with which airbags inflate generates tremendous
forces. Passengers in the way of an improperly designed airbag can be killed or
significantly injured. Unnecessary injuries also occur when airbags inflate in relatively
minor crashes when they're not needed
In the past, the air bags were coated by Neoprene. Generally, coated air bags are
preferred for driver’s seat and uncoated air bags for side seats. Recently, silicon coated
and uncoated air bags have become very popular due to advantages such as extended
service life, adaptation to heavy duty vehicles, reduced module size, cost reduction,
THE COMPONENT OF AIR BAGS
Air bags production involves three different separate assemblies that combine to form
the finished end product, the air bag module.
Air bag module assemblies are:
1. Propellant: It is consist of sodium azide combined jointly by means of an oxidizer, a
stuff that facilities the sodium azide to burn up when ignite.
2. Inflator assembly: The inflator machinery, such as the metal container, the filter
assemblage-stainless steel wire net with ceramic substance in the initiator are receive
from outside dealer and examined. The machinery is after that brings together on an
extremely automated manufacturing line.
3. Air Bag: The woven nylon air bag fabric is purchased from external dealers and
examined for any material flaw. The air bag fabric is afterward die cut to the
appropriate form and sewn, internally and externally, to appropriately join the two
sides. Once the air bag is stitched, it is inflated and checked for any seam defects.
4. Final assembly of air bag module: The air bag
assemblage is then mounted to the tested inflator
assembly. After that, the air bag is fold up and the
breakaway plastic horn and protection cover up is
installed. Lastly, the completed element
assemblage is examined and tasted.
5. Other components: The left over parts of the
air bag system – the collide sensors and diagnostic
monitor unit, the steering wheel linking coil and
the display lamp-are joint with the air bag at some
point in vehicle assembly. All the parts are
joinedand communicate throughout a wiring
Headliners are used in passenger cars and multi/sports utility vehicles as non-woven light
weight roofing material.
The cars were earlier fitted with knitted/woven fabric with hard cardboard type of backing.
The trend has changed and increasingly non-woven headliners are being used in vehicles.
A headliner is a compound stuff that is ingredient of a face fabric with non-woven or foam
back up that is stick on to the in the interior roof of automobiles.
The majority headliners made of a tricot knit fabric that is knapped to offer a flexible feel
and uniform look.
The cloth is held fast with melted polyurethane foam.
The fabric-foam structure is adhered to the inside fiberglass covering of the automobile.
Headliners non-woven cloths has GSM varies from 185 – 220 GSM.
The desired characteristics of headliners are good sound damping properties and good
The manufacturing process and material used varies across manufacturer and as per OEM
RAW MATERIALS AND MACHINERY
Usually the headliners are non-woven
technical textiles prepared by polyester
polyurethane core sprayed among two
Needle loom is the main machinery for
manufacturing headliners non-wovens.
ABOUT INSULATION FELTS
Insulation felts often known as NVH products (Noise,
vibration and harshness parts) are used as for
acoustic and thermal insulation in the automobiles.
These are bonnet liners, outer dash, wheelhouse
and outer floor under the shield. These parts are not
only provides noise protection inside the car but also
reduction in the noise emission outside.
Uses of NVH parts in automobiles started after
introduction of EURO norms in the sector.
The NVH products or insulation felts 100% polyester non
woven technical textile products.
These products are classified based on the
manufacturing process needle punched, phenolic resin
bonded and thermoplastic.
The felts are generally soft and used with or without
The thermal insulation products provides dissipation of
heats at high temperature areas in the engine and under
The NVH products combine noise and heat protection
function into the integrated comfort system.
RAW MATERIALS AND MACHINERIES
The manufacturing process for NVH products is based on the raw
The two broad manufacturing processes are
1.For Non Polyurethane based (Non – PU) and
2. Polyurethane based NVH products.
The machinery used for manufacturing NVH components detail
are as given below:
1.Opening and Blending machine-(Key supplier-Reisky and
2.Needle Loom –(Key supplier- Dilo (Germany))
3.Foaming and Moulding machine
4. Lamination machine
5. Resin felt manufacturing machine
6. Thermo-bond interlining manufacturing machne.
ABOUT SUN VISORS/ SUN BLINDS
The sun visors are located in the interiors of a four wheeler just above the windshield.
The sun visors are used to block the light from the sun from entering through the
The blinds can also be turned to the front side window to reduce lateral sun exposure.
There are two sun visors in a car,
1. One for driver and
2. The other for co- passenger
However, the high end car models have up to four sun visors.
Sun visor needs to effectively reduce the sun obstruction to the driver and passenger.
Nowadays, a small mirror is also fitted on one of the two sun visors(on one side)
The blinds are primarily made of three parts
1. The synthetic backbone made of polypropylene or kenaf fibres,
2. Scrim – coarse woven reinforcement fabric and
3. Upholstery – typically artificial leather
The fibres of polypropylene, kenaf and polyethylene tetra fluoride or blend of these used
for formation of the core.
The core is further reinforced with scrim and then the unit is upholstered to for the sun
Helmets are used as protective headgear for two
The usual motorcycle helmet has an internal layer
of polystyrene or polypropylene foam and an
external layer made of plastic, glass, and other
man made fibres.
The principal function of a helmet is to absorb the
shock of a crash and thus put a stop to major
injury to the brain, rather than preventing head
and face crack.
The external casing put off pointed substance
from piercing the head and also saves from
harming the inner liner upon contact with the
The two types of helmets available are:
1. Full face helmet
2. Open face helmet
The critical characteristics of the helmets are – protection of head, clear vision through
the visor, quick release chin strap and appropriate ventilation(in case of full face
The outer shell is made from Acrylotrille-Butadiene-Styrene(ABS) or polypropylene or
glass fibre plastic which is hard in nature.
The inner side of the shell is expected to provide cushion to the rider and is made from
regulated density concussion padding.
The earliest developed Apollo spacesuits contained an inner layer of nylon fabric with
network of thin walled plastic tubing, which circulated cooling water around the
astronaut to prevent over headings.
This inner layer is comfort layer of lightweight nylon with fabric ventilation ducts, than
a three layer, system formed the pressure garment.
Net followed five layers of aluminized Mylar for heat protection mixed with four
spacing layers of Dacron. These were covered with a non - flammable and abrasion protective layer of Teflon - coated beta cloth.
The outer layer was Teflon communication cloth. The backpack unit contained a life
support system providing oxygen, waters and radio communications.
Data wear incorporates sensors at each of the body joints plotting the position
on a graph, which is calculated on a computer. The sensors are made from
Data wear clothes consists a bunch of magnetic position sensors, the TCAS
system measures the angle of each of the joints to determine absolute position
of each of the limbs. It has been designed for comfort and ease.
The sensors can be places to specification for individual applications.
The Data-wear body unit consists of jacket, trousers and gloves that are
circuited or wired electronically for interaction with computer.
The application of Data-wear is to track position of limbs in computer data,
medical imaging, measurement, ergonomics, biomechanics, robotics and
The whole body can be monitored by Data-wear, which has a particular
relevance in fields of sports injuries and biomechanics.
More use of textiles is now being made in HGV interiors, which are becoming more
comfortable with livelier coloring, rounder shapes and surfaces.
Composite materials are being used to replace bulky space dividers and doors to create
more cab storage space.
Seating fabric requirements are similar to automobiles except heavier fabrics about 430
GSM using yarn up to 3000 dtex are sometimes used and performance requirements of
the flame retardant test are generally higher.
Heavy Goods Vehicles are a major user of
tarpaulins, which are made of PVC plastically,
coated nylon and polyester, usually plain woven
from high tenacity yarns.
Tarpaulins must have resistance to cold cracking,
reduced flammability, coating adhesion, water
proofness and high tear and tensile strengths.
These must be dimensionally stable over a wide
range of temperatures and relative humilities
and be resistant to common chemicals, oils and
Tarpaulins are secured with high tenacity
polyester narrow fabrics which must also be
tested carefully for strength and UV resistance
A European community directive requires
Heavy Goods Vehicles to be fitted with
guards to reduce road spray.
Suitable products have been produced from
polyester monofilament yarn knitted in a
spacer fabric construction about 12mm thick.
Textile guards are substantially lighter than
ones produced in plastic and about six guards
are required for the average Heavy Goods
Flexible Intermediate Bulk Containers are used for
transporting materials such as powders.
These are woven with polypropylene tape yarns with a
specially formulated coating.
Because of the danger of static explosions when being
filled or emptied, they need to be carefully earthed with
metal wire in the fabric.
It has been possible to replace the wire with ‘Negastat’,
Dupont’s antistatic yarn that functions without the need
The application of automotive textiles are increasing day be day.
For light weight body, interior design and different functional purpose textiles
are extensively used.
To save the automobiles form rough weather and to protect the passengers
from any accidents technical textiles are widely used.
Apart from these, different functional parts are made from textiles to
enhance the functionality of the automobiles.
In rail, waterway vessels, aircrafts the technical textiles are used.
Ropes, sails, seating etc. are some example of textiles used for waterway
Different parts of surfing boards, aircrafts etc. are made with textiles
composites to reduce the weight.
Textile materials are used in automobiles for interior trim and for ensuring comfort (e.g.
seat covers, carpets, roof liners, and door liners) as well as for reinforcement (e.g. tyre)
and filters. Textiles also offer weight reduction which in turn results in fuel economy.
The technical textile market is respective to innovative new products. There is opportunity
and need for functional, cost-effective materials. However, the market is fragmented and
complex. Development and lead times are often long and expensive. The market is quite
small but exhibits moderately strong growth and produces are generally of high unit
values. Due to increasing health and safety issues at work, this may be an increasingly
Good products are needed and they must work well. It is a market that offers opportunity,
but also one that demands that much development and testing be done prior to adopting
new products. There may be long lead times much resistance to things new products to
market. The truth is we cannot afford not to have the ideas and products.