Industry

Automotive

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Insights

How the alternative leather and sustainable high-tech fabric market is set to boom

The alternative leather and sustainable high-tech fabric market is expected to reach over USD 120 billion by 2025.

Sustainability best practices pertaining to vehicle seats

As all industries get to grips with the challenge of sustainability, the automotive industry has challenges of its own to overcome. For interiors and seating, automotive OEMs have started to offer more sustainable, animal-product-free alternatives in their vehicles in response to consumers’ demand for change and increased attention towards climate impact.

As we transition from the paradigm of linear production to the circular economy, final products exiting from production lines should then be increasingly recycled in order to reintroduce environmentally relevant materials into the process again.

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Sustainability: a matter of materials AND processes 

The electric, autonomous car-sharing ecosystem is anticipated to become part of a larger integrated, multimodal ecosystem. There is likely to be an emphasis on highly customized, seamless and on-demand transportation services that will re-shape the demand from automotive customers. New EV and autonomous platforms will offer engineering flexibility for different vehicle body types, wider and interchangeable internal layouts— like in a living room extension—and wider opportunities for material applications and customization. Such convergence will also involve an agile re-alignment of new vehicle features in compliance with sustainability targets, as OEMs will select suppliers based on the contribution they can give to their sustainability roadmap and–like end customers –will have increasing sensitivity to the circular economy, waste reduction, sustainable materials, recycling rates and overall manufacturing efficiency.

Sustainability is not only a question of materials but also of process. For vehicle seating systems and cutting room suppliers, sustainability means a strong focus on material and scrap management: an ongoing effort that enables continuous improvement in key areas, especially more efficient use of labor, optimal material usage and reduced waste.

A sustainability roadmap for vehicle seating system suppliers 

Automotive suppliers are reshaping their value proposition to respond to such challenges, specifically in the cutting room, by positioning themselves as a strategic partner to support achieving and communicating best in-class sustainability targets by:

  • Developing an efficient cutting room process aiming to deliver zero waste and almost zero-buffer cutting
  • Reducing emissions and environmental footprint during operations

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Provided that equipment usage conforms to contractual requirements — including exclusive use of genuine Lectra cutting blades and sharpening bands designed specifically for this functionality — and that the equipment has an uninterrupted connection to Lectra servers. Lectra cannot be held responsible for inadequate or faulty performance due to improper equipment usage.

How Lectra is addressing the sustainability challenge

In order to cope with CASE trends, sustainability challenges, automotive OEMs and end customers’ requests, Lectra has structured its value proposition to maximize benefits from cutting room operations with a focus on achieving zero buffer, with two core solutions:

  • Vector Automotive iP series: the  first fabric solution to achieve zero-buffer cutting(1)
  • Versalis Automotive: the digital cutting solution for optimal leather use and material saving

Lectra can improve environmental sustainability and productivity in the cutting room by leveraging 5 key pillars of operations:

  1. Cut with zero buffer to minimize fabric waste
  2. Reduce errors, scrap rate and rework
  3. Discard fewer consumables and spare parts
  4. Lower your power consumption
  5. Increase labor and productive efficiency by gaining visibility into your processes

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