Q&A with Dominique Taffin

Q&A with Dominique Taffin

With INDEX™17 about to open its doors next week, we asked ‘Big Picture’ speaker Dominique Taffin a few questions, giving a foretaste of his keynote speech at the free Transportation Seminar on Tuesday 4th April.

Q&A with Dominique Taffin: Talking tomorrow’s transport

The keynote speaker will be Dominique Taffin, Senior Manager Industrial Design at Yanfeng Automotive Interiors
 who will address the opportunities likely to arise for nonwovens from the fast-moving field of electrification and autonomous driving. INDEX took the opportunity to speak to Dominique about what attendees can expect.

INDEX: What is the background to the emergence of Yanfeng Automotive Interiors as a major Tier 1 supplier of automotive interior materials and parts to the OEM car manufacturers?

Dominique Taffin: Yanfeng Automotive Interiors (YFAI) is a global leader in automotive interiors. Established in 2015, it is a joint venture between Yanfeng Automotive Trim Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Huayu Automotive Systems (HASCO), the component group of SAIC Motor Corporation Limited (SAIC Motor), and Adient, the global leader in automotive seating.  We design, develop and manufacture interior components for all automakers.

INDEX: What are the key components you supply?

DT: We supply instrument panels and cockpit systems, door panel, floor consoles and overhead consoles, as well as decorative trim and smart surfaces.

INDEX: To meet ongoing legislation, the OEM car manufacturers are constantly seeking to reduce the weight of their vehicles. How is YFAI contributing?

DT: We work constantly on weight reduction scenarios that include new process technologies, optimised design and natural fibres

INDEX: Where are nonwovens to be found in these products?

DT: We use nonwovens materials, for example, our Compression Hybrid Molding (CHyM) Eco-Lite technology. CHyM Eco-Lite process technology for manufacturing door panel carriers integrates the advantages of natural fibre components and thermoplastic injection molding, and combines the benefits of both technologies. Interior components manufactured by this process can achieve a weight reduction of up to 40 per cent compared to conventional plastic substrates. The patented technology helps to build light weight door panel solutions and obtain high accuracy, since details are injection molded directly onto the nonwoven pre-formed mat, in a one stage operation.

INDEX: How have the requirements for automotive interiors changed in the past decade?

DT: Automotive interiors have increasingly come to define wellbeing in the customer experience, as we move from a purely driver-oriented concept to a user mobility one. Interiors are a major contributor to the wellbeing of the user during travel and YFAI defines itself as the provider of better life on board, through the interior experience.


INDEX: How do requirements for your products change when it comes to electric and hybrid vehicles?

DT: Hybrid and electric vehicles convey a completely different user experience. This requires better sound insulation, since the vehicle occupants become more aware of surrounding noise that is usually covered by that from the combustion engine. We also provide weight reduction solutions to help increase the efficiency and performance of alternative propulsion solutions. Among other things, the use of nonwovens can contribute to weight reduction, function integration and sound dampening.

INDEX: Could you say a little about the aims of your recent strategic partnership with Kostal?

DT: Kostal is one of the world’s leading automotive suppliers of mechatronic HMI (human machine-interface) components and we are cooperating in the field of smart interior surfaces, drawing on the market trend towards the integration of HMI operating controls into high-quality surfaces in vehicle interiors.The car interior will undergo an exciting evolution within the next decade and both partners will seek to extend their offer for customers and drive this technological change. We see high potential not only in developing innovative solutions for smart interior surfaces, but also for synergies across the whole value chain.


INDEX: What major changes will be necessary to see the introduction of self-driving/autonomous vehicles to any significant extent?

The major changes will probably have to come from legislation and government bodies in order to create a legal framework, since the main challenge to the implementation of autonomous driving is an understanding of liability. In addition, infrastructural changes will be required, so the transition period could take quite some time.


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