DETROIT - DuPont Automotive has formed a subsidiary to promote the fiber coating of interior auto parts as one way to squelch bothersome squeaks and rattles. DuPont Automotive, based in Troy, Mich., announced the formation of DuPont Fiber Coatings Inc. during the International Body Engineering Conference held Oct. 31-Nov. 2 in Detroit.
Fiber coating technology, referred to as flocking, has been around for a long time and is used for reducing interior noise in change consoles, glove boxes and map pockets. The fiber also is applied to fasteners and clips to prevent rattling.
DuPont, however, is going after more innovative applications for fiber coatings that draw on supplier's offerings in fibers, adhesives and plastics, said Kendy Ball Kutchek, automotive business manager for the subsidiary. Sales to the auto industry could exceed $50 million a year, she said.
A fiber coating can be applied on a variety of surfaces, including plastics, foam, glass, metal or rubber. Typically, an object to be coated is covered with an adhesive and then sprayed with fibers. The fibers can be short, from 0.04-0.12 inches, or as long as 2 inches.
Kutchek said DuPont Fiber Coatings, based in Chadds Ford, Pa., will offer fiber coatings that will be both durable and attractive. One potential application involves the fiber coating of foam used in seating and interior trim, a process that could save the material and labor costs of covering foam with fabric.
The new fiber coatings business also will work closely with DuPont's product planners in the general area of noise, vibration and harshness control.
DuPont Automotive recently developed a composite fiber and elastomer product it calls Wearforce KVT for an application designed to quiet a metal noise problem in a suspension system. The part combined Kevlar aramid for abrasion resistance, Viton fluoroelastomer for temperature resistance, and Teflon polytetrafluoroethylene for lubricity.