The Italian company is preparing to become a manufacturer of components with low environmental impact for the nascent electric car industry. It’s doing it with a line of seats made with innovative and "green" materials.
Does the car industry evolve? Sabelt evolves with it: the Turin-based company is preparing for the electric revolution with a series of products designed not only to fit with the specific construction and structural characteristics of battery-powered cars, but also to support the eco-friendly vocation of the mobility of the future by adopting sustainable materials and solutions.
To this end the "Carbogreen" project aims to make Sabelt the market leader in the production of materials to reduce environmental impact applied to automotive components, with specific reference to seats and seating systems.
The evolution towards electric cars requires a re-modulation of all parts to reduce weight, which must compensate for the substantial and necessary part of the batteries. The automotive industry has set itself the goal of reducing the unladen masses of 10-15%, which will be obtained mainly with a growing use of composite materials, which however have a greater production of non-recyclable waste.
It is therefore necessary to combine efficiency and lightness with materials with a reduced environmental impact, not to contradict the ecological value of the electrics and to respect the European legislation on the end of life vehicles (ELV) which requires recyclability for at least 85 % in terms of weight.
Sabelt can boast a specific "know-how” in the research and use of processes and materials with low environmental impact for automotive seats. It and has already started a preliminary investigation and a feasibility study of a "green seat" together with its suppliers of reinforced chemicals and plastics for a complex consisting of a seat structure, seat, backrest and sidebag.
The project, which involves 40 technicians including 5 new figures employed by Sabelt expressly for this research and development activity, has examined a series of interesting raw materials such as natural fibres (potential substitutes for those of carbon and glass), recycled fibres as reinforcing elements and recyclable thermoplastic resins to replace thermosetting resins which cannot be recovered.And again, plastics obtained from productionwaste and bioplastics not obtained from oil, reusable thermoplastic compounds of glass or carbon fibres, and finally ultralight materials for comfort.
These technologies are not, of course, aimed only at the electric cars but they will also be applied to traditional products such as new-generation sports cars that will benefit from the improved technical characteristics and will meet the requirements of high recyclability, a mix that currently is not offered by the market.
The program provides in the short to medium term (between 4 and 10 years) for the creation of a specific product line parallel to those already offered starting with a seat for Premium sports cars in three versions: Comfort, Comfort - Racing (with specific conformation and profiling but 6-way adjustments) and Racing with a fixed monocoque structure. Subsequently, the parameters and the new materials will gradually be transferred to the entire production. The new materials will also be easy to apply in other areas, from civil transport to the aerospace industry, another field in which Sabelt boasts considerable experience and illustrious collaborations.
The Sabelt Carbogreen project is financed within the "IR²" call issued by the Piedmont Region to promote the growth of local activities, innovation and collaboration between research and industry, especially in the field of solutions in harmony with the environmental protection and the intelligent use of resources. An initiative framed in the Regional Operational Program of Piedmont and supported by the European Fund for Regional Development, which in turn is part of the reform programs of the European Cohesion Policy 2014 - 20 and of the Europe 2020 Strategies, also aimed at smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.