GROUPE RENAULT CO-DEVELOPS A UNIQUE FABRIC

Added: 18 November 2019

GROUPE RENAULT CO-DEVELOPS A UNIQUE FABRIC MADE FROM 100% RECYCLED MATERIALS FOR NEW RENAULT ZOE

  • A breakthrough industrial application, co-developed by Groupe Renault, Les Filatures du Parc, a French company specialized in carded yarn, and Adient Fabrics, the world's leading supplier of automotive seats, with the support of Ademe and the Occitania region in France
  • A unique, patented textile product made from safety belts, textile scraps and plastic bottle recycling, in the New Renault ZOE 
  • This new, innovative short loop manufacturing process reduces the carbon footprint by 60% compared to the standard process

Deeply committed to a strategy of increasing integration of recycled materials into its vehicles, Groupe Renault has initiated in 2015 a project called “àfiler” (“to thread") alongside Filatures du Parc, a spinning mill in the Tarn region of France, and Adient Fabrics, an automotive seat supplier in Ariège, France, to design a unique textile product made exclusively from recycled materials.

Thanks to the traditional know-how of carded yarn and co-developed innovations, this textile product 
- made from safety belts, textile scrap from the automotive industry and polyester fibers from the recycling of plastic bottles (PET) - now covers the interior of the New Renault ZOE, Iconic finishes. The fabric covering a total area of 8 m² is used for the manufacture of seat covers, dashboard coverings, gear lever brackets and door fittings, and meets the high requirements for comfort, cleaning, UV resistance and durability.

The supply and short loop manufacturing of this recycled carded yarn - without chemical or thermal transformation - reduces associated CO2 emissions by more than 60% compared to the previous ZOE fabric from a standard manufacturing process.

Jean-Philippe Hermine, Director of Environmental Strategy & Planning for Groupe Renault, said: "Faced with the challenge of the energy transition, industries have an essential role to play in changing their production methods and reducing their environmental impact. With the support of our partners Filatures du Parc and Adient Fabrics, we are demonstrating that it is possible to implement circular and competitive development models focused on resources, while acquiring a valuable competitive advantage at a time when the availability and cost of raw materials are becoming a real strategic issue. This approach contributes to the Group's commitment to reduce the environmental impacts of each vehicle throughout its life cycle and to reduce its global carbon footprint by -25% in 2022 compared to 2010”.

Fabrice Lodetti, Manager of Filatures du Parc, added: “For 15 years, our company has been working on the manufacture of recycled yarns from used textile materials for the clothing and furniture sectors in particular. This now represents more than 60% of our activity, our objective being to eventually reach 100% of production. We are convinced of the relevance of this responsible social and economic model, based on the principles of the circular economy, to limit the impact on the environment and preserve natural resources in the years to come. To continue in this direction, we encourage all our partners and work closely with their creative teams to develop eco-designed products”.

Mathias Daynie, Director of the ADIENT Fabrics plant in Laroque d'Olmes, pointed out that: "The development of fabrics made from short-loop recycled products, such as the one designed for New ZOE, is undeniably the future of our business. The prospects are very important both in the automotive industry and in other sectors of activity that will certainly follow this approach from an environmental, ethical and economic point of view. Our Laroque d'Olmes site, both a production plant and an R&D center of excellence, with 60 years of experience since its creation by Michel Thierry in 1955 and 20 years dedicated exclusively to the automotive industry, is particularly invested in high value-added products for the future, in collaboration with its partners. In addition to its traditional or eco-designed fabrics for the automotive industry, the site is studying other innovative textile solutions that could open up new markets to support its customers in their technical and environmental ambitions.”

Developed in the 15th century, the textile, clothing and leather industries are an integral part of the economic heritage of the Occitania region, France, particularly in Tarn and Ariège. In an extremely challenging context, the development of new textile products that are technical, sustainable and competitive is a real growth lever for the region's players and an opportunity to position themselves on new markets, secure jobs and develop new skills.

In this perspective, the "àfiler" project received the support of the Ademe and the Occitania Region, as well as the support of ENSAIT (National High School of textile arts and industries) in Roubaix to consolidate the research and technical validation of this new textile product.

Focus on the industrial process:

  • Collect and supply

Renault Environment, a Groupe Renault subsidiary dedicated to the circular economy and created in 2008, collects materials intended for a second life, such as scraps of safety belts and scrap from the manufacture of virgin fabrics for the automotive sector. 

  • Manufacture of recycled carded yarn

For the manufacture of the yarn, the Group relies on the Filatures du Parc, a company based in Brassac in the Tarn region. Thanks to the financial and technical support on this project, Les Filatures du Parc have been able to develop a new industrial defibering lineadapted to the robustness of safety belts, an essential step in preparing raw materials and optimizing fiber length.

Once cut and shredded, the belt and textile fibers are mixed with polyester fibers from plastic bottles that guarantee the cohesion of the fibers, before undergoing a series of carding operations. Derived from the term "thistle" or spicy spiky plant, the traditional carding technique makes it possible to obtain a new weaving yarn thanks to a system of drums lined with very fine steel tips rotating at high speed. This know-how thus makes it possible, without chemical or thermal transformation, to disentangle and then divide, to stretch, then align parallel and finally to twist the fibers cleared of impurities.

This 100% recycled carded yarn has been patented jointly by Groupe Renault with Filatures du Parc. 

  • Weaving and fabric production before assembly

Adient Fabrics, a weaver and supplier of 1 in 3 automotive seats in the world, receives the reconstituted yarn on reels at its Laroque d'Olmes site (Ariège), located only 120 km from the spinning mills, to weave and produce the automotive fabric, upholstery and interior trim for the vehicles.

Groupe Renault, a pioneer and leader in the circular economy: 
In addition to recycled fiber, Groupe Renault is rolling out many material loops, particularly for copper, plastic, platinoids and ferrous and non-ferrous metals. The New ZOE also incorporates 17.5kg of recycled plastic, some of which is used for the first time in our range in visible parts in the passenger compartment, such as low polypropylene interior cabinetry.

Through Renault Environment and its subsidiary Gaia in particular, Groupe Renault also develops a whole range of activities in the circular economy, such as the treatment of end-of-life vehicles (through its subsidiary Indra in partnership with Suez), the recovery of metals (Bonne Comenor, also a joint venture with Suez), the repair, reconditioning or recycling of electrical batteries, and remanufacturing (renovation of mechanical parts and various used components) in the Choisy-Le-Roi plant.

To find out more about the Groupe Renault’s circular economy policy: click here

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