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19th October 2017, Frankfurt

Bringing natural fibres to the surface

Automotive interiors specialist Yanfeng has developed a technology designed to make the natural fibres that are usually hidden within composites behind panelling an attractive choice for surfaces  – much as woven carbon fibre finishes have been successfully showcased to their best advantage in many exclusive vehicles.

The Yanfeng technology is said to offer a great deal of flexibility in the design process, with no limits in series production to the degree of personalisation and differentiation and the automaker free to select the lightweight natural fibre surfaces of its choice.

The Yanfeng technology is said to offer a great deal of flexibility in the design process, with no limits in series production to the degree of personalisation and differentiation and the automaker free to select the lightweight natural fibre surfaces of its choice.

“Natural fibres have been used in the automotive sector since the car was invented,” said Han Hendriks, Yanfeng CTO. “Nowadays, the combination of lightweight construction and reduced complexity, individualisation and shifting values is giving a fresh boost to the use of visible natural fibres. With these innovative surfaces, you also get the visible quality of the fibre finish, the visual impression of the design and a pleasurable feel when you run your hand across them. We are creating the next living space – an all-round feel-good interior.”

The use of renewable and natural raw materials as a sustainable alternative to plastics is fully in step with what the young generation in particular is looking for, the company believes.

Yanfeng is presenting the recyclable, artistically styled, natural fibre centre sections of the door panel in both a natural look and a range of designs.

The use of renewable and natural raw materials as a sustainable alternative to plastics is fully in step with what the young generation in particular is looking for, the company believes.

For those who find unadulterated natural fibre panelling without a skin too progressive a surface, Yanfeng’s CHyM Eco-Lite from is a lightweight wrapping solution. CHyM (compression hybrid moulding) is based on a lightweight support structure which replaces the plastic substrate with a lightweight natural fibre mat, lowering the weight of the support structure alone by 20% compared with conventional parts. The company has recently been exhibiting an instrument panel manufactured entirely using the CHyM process, with around half of the material used consisting of renewable fibres, such as hemp, flax and kenaf.

CHyM technology can reduce the weight in door panels by around 40% and the mass in instrument panels by another 20%. Other panels, such as the side panels of the centre console, could also conceivably be produced as lightweight elements using the CHyM process. At September’s IAA in Frankfurt, the company showcased a scale model of the XiM18 concept car, illustrating the weight savings theoretically achievable in a compact crossover when CHyM is used for all suitable parts. This design approach can reduce the weight in the vehicle interior by over three kilograms.

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