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Pandemic prompts rethink about requirements for car-interior materials and technologies

Virus- and bacteria-free surfaces are increasingly sought by car users.

The covid-19 pandemic has changed mobility, and the car user’s perception of safety and comfort inside the vehicle. Consequently, car user’s around the world are now increasingly willing to pay for solutions that supress pathogens on interior surfaces and in the in-cabin air. These developments are among the key findings of the second Asahi Kasei Automotive Interior Survey, which the company from Düsseldorf, Germany, conducted in December 2020 in collaboration with the market research specialist and compatriot, Cologne-based Skopos.

The company says that other surveys have found that the use of public transport and ride-sharing services has declined severely, while the popularity of private cars is increasing, because they are perceived as having a low risk of infection risk. The surveys suggest that these perceptions will be long-lasting and will effect ideas for transportation, as well as the materials and technologies used inside the automobile. Where once, automotive interiors needed to be comfortable, attractive, and smooth to the touch, now they are also required to remain clean and sterile.

Asahi Kasei says its survey covered 500 vehicle users in the core markets of Germany, the USA, China and Japan, and s confirmed these previous findings. In Germany, 64% of the car users put a great emphasis on easy-to-maintain clean surfaces and protective air-filter systems, valuing them higher than connectivity, the intuitive operation and the personalisation of the car. Similar results were seen in the other geographical regions.

The findings from Ashai Kasei's latest survey concerning users desires for automotive interiors.

Three-quarters (75%) of the car users in Germany wanted surface and seating materials that are easy to wash; , 69% requested advanced filtration for the external aire entering the vehicle; 66% requested water- and dirt-repellent surfaces. Similar features are coveted by car users in the USA and China. In addition, 87% of the Chinese surveyed saw a benefit in an advanced filtration system for the internal air in the cabin; 83% wanted surfaces that eliminate viruses in frequently touched places.

Crucially, those questioned expressed a willingness to pay for these features.  

Asahi Kasei’s General Manager Heiko Rother says the company’s “Healthy Car” portfolio includes antimicrobial seat fabrics and plastics, as well as ultraviolet (UV) light-emitting diode (LED) solutions for in-car air filtration.

Further information: 

https://automotive.asahi-kasei.eu/interior-story

https://automotive.asahi-kasei.eu/automotive-interior-products

WCTC special edition: Conference on Sustainable Finishing of Textiles

Feedback from our recent World Congress on Textile Coating (WCTC) (February 2021) highlighted the commitment of the industry to reduce its carbon footprint and ensure a sustainable future. It is clear that, as it emerges from the consequences of the covid-19 pandemic, the industry is committed to action and investment in material technology and machinery to abate its detrimental impacts on the environment.

To aid this process International Newsletters Ltd has therefore decided to run a special edition of WCTC to consider all aspects of Sustainable Finishing of Textiles. It will take place live online on 30 Sept- 1st Oct and 7-8 Oct 2021 over 4 afternoons (BST).
 
The aim of the event is to explore the materials, processes and machinery that can help dyers, finishers, coaters and laminators achieve this goal, rapidly, economically and practically. The programme will consist of invited presentations from key companies contributing to this effort, but in order to provide coverage of the broadest range of technologies we are also open to submissions from those able to speak about the latest developments in: 

  • Alternative materials, including fibres, fabrics, substrates, coatings, laminates, chemicals dyes, finishes and auxiliaries made from bio-based or recycled materials; 
  • Growing and processing natural materials in the most sustainable and environmentally responsible ways; 
  • Manufacturing processes and equipment developed to: reduce the consumption of water, energy and raw materials; reduce and/or re-use waste; exploit digital technologies, automation and sensors; 
  • Designs that promote the ability to recycle and/or re-use post-consumer textiles; 
  • Schemes to collect, sort and re-use post-consumer textile products, as well as collecting waste plastic for re-use by manufacturers; to reduce the impact of transportation; programmes to educate consumers in the appropriate disposal of products; 
  • Addressing the particular challenges of denim finishing. 

CALL FOR PAPERS
Interested in presenting? Abstracts submitted for review should be 300-500 words. Selection of the papers to be presented will be based on ideas and concepts that emphasize new and significant findings and developments that will have an impact on the textile finishing industry. 
 
Abstracts must be received before 31 May 2021 - the earlier the better
 
Acceptance of a presentation is subject to payment of the registration fee. Speakers accepted by way of the Call for Papers are eligible for a the Early-bird discount on the registration admission fee (before 31.05.2021).
The abstract must include the name, company or other affiliation, telephone number, email and mailing address of the speaker and the person to whom correspondence about the abstract should be directed.  Only one speaker per presentation will be allowed, though co-authors may be listed. The speaker for the paper should be indicated. Papers should be as generic and non-commercial as practical, with names of companies kept to a minimum.
 
All presentations should be planned to run approximately 20-25 minutes. Please email Abstracts and any enquiries to Dr Nick Butler, Editorial Director, email: [email protected] (tel: +44 (0)330 1335450).

Interested in attending? Please click here to register at the current Early-bird rate (to 31 May 2021)

From the beginnings of the current pandemic in China in late 2019 to the present, our industry has responded swiftly to provide the vital personal protective equipment (PPE) needed by frontline workers and the public. By forming partnerships, increasing production and developing new products, it has contributed significantly to help prevent the uncontrolled spread of the virus responsible. Editor Nick Butler picks the as-yet unfinished story of HeiQ’s commercialisation of a new anti-viral textile treatment as a prime example among many impressive achievements.

As the  covid-19 pandemic began to take its toll in the USA from late February 2020, medical facilities rapidly became overwhelmed with patients, existing stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE) were exhausted and global supply chains broke down. Happily, local textile manufacturers were able to adapt their output to compensate for shortages. John McCurry tells the stories of a few of them.

Concerns about our ability to feed everyone as the world’s population continues to expand are creating opportunities for agrotextiles, according to Sarah Gibbons and Keith Nuthall, but the next generation of such products must be developed to reduce their overall burden on the environment.

Custom machinery builder Cygnet Texkimp has built a global business around fibre. Technical Manager Andy Whitham explains why fibre integrity is the essential design element in every piece of machinery Cygnet Texkimp engineers. He shares the company’s approach to fibre handling, and the technical considerations that ensure the integrity of valuable fibres is protected during processing to deliver materials and end-products of the highest quality. 

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