Foam doesn't weigh much — and that's why automakers may put far more of it in their vehicles in the next few years.
Suppliers of polyurethane and expanded polypropylene foams forecast that up to 25 pounds of the material will be incorporated into vehicle construction in the coming decade as automakers try to reduce vehicle weight.
Woodbridge, a key supplier of automotive foam, believes the growth in the segment will come at the expense of metal and plastics.
R&d labs are exploring new roles for foam, including shock and energy absorption, improved cabin comfort and noise absorption, said Leonard Roelant, Woodbridge's vice president of product management, marketing and strategy.
"We have a portfolio of product solutions called NexTech, which Woodbridge has been developing in response to the rapid transition toward EVs," Roelant told Automotive News. "When you look at EVs, it's about optimized packaging space, maximizing comfort and increasing noise absorption. Packaging space is important because batteries are typically fighting for space in the vehicle, which can impact occupant space."