Techtextil North America

Free membership

Receive our weekly Newsletter
and set tailored daily news alerts.

Smart Textiles

Headliners become workhorses...

Overhead space is continuously being optimised to add new functionality in vehicles.

22nd November 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Germany


Car headliners are becoming increasingly sophisticated carriers of electronic components as well as featuring more sustainable materials.

Nothing less than a 31-inch panoramic display, for example, is incorporated into the headliner of new BMW 7 Series vehicles equipped with the BMW Theatre Screen.

When My Mode Theatre is activated, the screen descends from the headliner, the roller sun blinds are automatically closed and the ambient lighting and seating position are adjusted accordingly, to transform the second row of the vehicle into an exclusive private cinema on wheels.

The developers of BMW Theatre Screen have all just received 2022 BMW Group Supplier Innovation Awards.

Four suppliers collaborated on it – Webasto, of Stockdorf, Germany, supplies the display mechanics, CarUX of Tainan City, Taiwan, developed the fully touch-controlled high-resolution 8K display, and Garmin, headquartered in Olathe, Kansas, designed the control unit. Amazon Fire TV provides access to films, TV, music and an extensive range of additional content from popular apps.

Smart frame

Separately, Grupo Antolin, based in Burgos, Spain – which supplies one out of every four overhead systems worldwide – has recently introduced a simplified upper trim concept with a smart frame.

The frame incorporates capacitive switches enabling the simple and intuitive control of features such as audio, information displays, light, temperature control and retractable sun-visors hidden behind the headliner substrate.

Grupo Antolin’s  simplified upper trim concept and smart frame. © Grupo Antolin

Further components that can be integrated into headliners by Grupo Antolin include safety devices such as overhead airbags, controlled energy absorption zones, speakers, global positioning systems (GPS) and hands-free microphones.

Grupo Antolin headliners have traditionally consisted of either semi-rigid structures based on polyurethane foam, synthetic fibre fabrics and fibreglass reinforcements, or thermoformed composites based on woven, knitted or nonwoven fabrics. Microfibre fabrics provide a premium finish for high-end vehicles and the company has now introduced combinations of natural fibre fabrics with green foams and adhesives.

NOP, for example a natural polyol that is obtained from ricin seeds, is employed in foams that meet the high requirements for elasticity, stiffness, low weight, acoustic absorption and low smell and emissions.

Elsewhere in the car interior, Antolin is also now introducing many new materials in its trim components, including vegetal leather, bamboo fabric and cork.

Latest Reports

Business intelligence for the fibre, textiles and apparel industries: technologies, innovations, markets, investments, trade policy, sourcing, strategy...

Find out more