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“Ecological, sustainable and economical non woven acoustic insulating felts for automotive industry

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - GEOPET (“Ecological, sustainable and economical non woven acoustic insulating felts for automotive industry)

Reporting period: 2016-06-01 to 2016-08-31

The principal objective of our Geopet project is the industrial machinery adaptation for the serial production of a range of ecological and sustainable non woven acoustic insulating felts prototypes and its further penetration into the automotive market.

The business oportunity of Geopet is based on the neccesity of more ecological and sustainable acoustic insulating felts for automotive industry with improved properties to enhance comfort and to avoid noises inside the vehicle. Despite the acoustic efficacy achived in current marketed insulating felts in response to NVH (noise, vibration and hazardous) regulations, automotive industry requires further improvements regarding sustainable manufacturing processes following ELVs (end-of-life vehicles) directives, employment of less environmetally impact raw materials different to the contaminant petrochemical derivatives (PP, PET and melamine) and reduction and stabilization of prices in the market.

The solution proposed to embrace this opportunity is Geopet since these products have been developed as more environmentally friendly and sustainable non woven acoustic insulators for automotive industry, since they are made of 80 % recycled natural fibres and are 100% recyclable, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emission as well as complying with European Directives on ELVs. Moreover, the use of more economical raw materials, €0.75/Kg in comparison with €2/Kg of petrochemicals derivatives, reduces product selling price up to 40% vs. acoustically equivalent marketed acoustic insulators. 3 Geopet products Standard, xtr and premium have been developed at ARIFIELTROS and demonstrated efficacy when tested in a petit α-cabin. In order to reach the market readiness the Geopet project will require further technical development to carry out during the Phase 2 of the project consisting in the development of a pilot plant required for the serial production of the 3 Geopet products.
After demonstrating the efficacy of our innovative product when incorporated into a SMART car accomplishing successfully a TRL-6 stage, a feasibility study has been performed to identify technical, commercial and financial requirements of the project to bring it to the commercialization readiness stage. The following studies have been performed and outcomes are indicated.

Definition of 3 prototypes: 3 prototypes with different features and performances have been fully defined to penetrate in different type of vehicles and segments answering TIER-1 market requirements which directly sale to OEMs and end users demands on quality and comfort. To achieve these final features, studies on the content of the recycled fibers in the raw material as well as the influence of key parameters including the diameter of the fibers used, the density of the felt and the fiber orientation of the web on the acoustic performances of final products have been performed. Assays to internally and externally validate and certify the 3 Geopet products have been identified.

Technical Feasibility Study: Outcomes from the technical feasibility study carried out to ensure the industrial production of the 3 Geopet products has led to identification of the following technical issues: Adaptations and improvements in current manufacturing process have been identified such as the adjustment of staple fiber components and the opening speed of the staple fiber bale and particularly improvements in the thermobonding line including the quantity of the resin or the fiber bonding as well as the temperature and time of the roller to optimize the thermal bonding. Thermobonding line adaptations and critical parameters to control (bonding temperature, fiber orientation, timings, etc.) along each of the prototypes processes have been also identified. Potential technical deviations which may arise from any steps of the process have been detected and contingencies to mitigate such inconsistencies have been detailed accordingly for example, a parallel system of fiber fire treatments will avoid deviations of FMVSS302 or similar regulations for all references.

From the Commercial Feasibility Study from the analysis performed we have been able to identify key commercial assets determined to plan the market strategy for a successful commercialization of the 3 Geopet products: 1) Potential target users in Europe, Asia and overseas countries and their growth expectations in terms of annual sales, automotive brands supplying and target geographical areas penetrated and market share in each geographical area. 2) A through automotive market analysis in target geographical areas has been performed in terms of revenues (vehicles sales and production), compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) and market shares in corresponding regions and countries allowing as to identify key automotive markets and presence of target user in this geographical growing markets. Vehicle sold in 2015 was totaled 90.8 million. Sales were leaded by Chine (24.6 million), followed by US (17.5 million), Japan (5.0 million), Germany (3.5 million) and India (3.4 million). 3) Our market strategy has been envisioned considering the automotive market analysis and target users in geographical target areas as well as market shares. In principle, we will consolidate our 3 Geopet product in the European market with key car brands in these regions through our current client Grupo Antolín during the first two years. Afterwards we envision increasing our market with a readily accessible potential client Faurecia and Adler Pelzer in Europe and extending to US and Brazil with IAC Group and Carcoustic and to Asia markets with Takata. 4) A patent search to ensure freedom to operate supporting our initial assumptions of Geopet patentability encourage us to continue with our commercialization projections as no national or international patents which might prevent Arifieltros innovative technology from IPR and commercial exploitation of our non-woven Geopet felt have been found.

Economic Feasibility Study: With the economic feasibility study, we have been able to study the 5-year period of financial projections in terms of profit, cash flow, cash flow and ROI. For the calculations, among 3 different sceneries of our selling projections, optimistic a realistic and pessimistic, we have considered the more realistic one.

Business Plan: A business plan has been designed in terms of organized tasks and financial requirements for Geopet products commercialization with the aim of ensuring the successful commercialization of our innovative non-woven acoustic insulating felts. Investment required to accomplish the 5 work packages required to carry out during Phase 2 of the project prior to commercialization has been calculated in €1.6 million. We hope to receive €1.15 million funding (70% of required investment) from the H2020 program to ensure commercialization of our ecological and sustainable felts.
Geopet felts sales strategy is addressed towards automotive equipment and components manufactures (target users) also named TIER-1 which directly supply to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). They will benefit from Geopet advantages as all share the need for new environmentally friendly non woven acoustic insulator felts to be incorporated into automotive market at lower and more stable selling prices. These companies are the key sellers of vehicle equipment and components. Our Geopet sales strategy will be initially focused in introducing the product to TIER-1 manufacturers concerned about meeting ELV legislation and cost reduction, and in a long term straight to OEMs, once they directly specify what material has been selected as acoustic isolator into their vehicles. A principal network of TIER-1 (direct suppliers to OEMs) clients was analyzed during the Feasibility Study aiming at introducing our Geopet products into equipment and component manufactures TIER-1 suppliers of acoustic insulating felts with high expected market growth rate and presence in target European and global automotive markets. All above clients share the need for new environmentally friendly non woven acoustic insulator felts to be incorporated into automotive market at lower and more stable selling prices.