Can You Hear Me Now? Staying Connected on the Road

Using a hands-free cell phone via Bluetooth means parents can keep pace with their family’s busy schedule, and business people can make the most of travel time.

Those conversations wouldn’t be possible without a quiet passenger cabin. American textile industry innovations make automobile passenger cabins quieter, so Americans can safely stay connected on the road.

Spartanburg, South Carolina-based Milliken & Company combines material science with engineering to create nonwoven textile acoustic panels found in vehicle doors, trunks, floors and wheel wells. The panels result in quieter passenger cabins and lighter vehicles.

“People traditionally think of textiles as inexpensive materials that are coverings,” said Milliken Spokeswoman Barbara Haaksma. “We make textiles that play a role in automotive innovation, including improved performance, aesthetics and interior air quality.”

Milliken’s acoustic panels have proven to be 27 percent to 45 percent lighter than previous panels, contributing to improved fuel economy. Additionally, the company engineers panels used in underbody areas to absorb less moisture and dry more quickly, so rain and ice buildup don’t add weight on rainy or snowy days.

“We’re investing in acoustics, including in-house testing capabilities, to push performance further,” said Brandon Roberts, business strategy director with Milliken & Company. “As we make acoustic panels more sound-absorbent, lighter and weather-resistant, automakers have more opportunities to expand their use beyond premium vehicles, and that means improved safety for everyone on the road.”