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Modular carpets key to noise reduction

Freudenberg Real Estate decided to use carpet tiles by US manufacturer Interface for its latest large-scale building project to reduce the burden of noise.

28th July 2017

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Weinheim


Freudenberg Real Estate decided to use carpet tiles by US manufacturer Interface for its latest large-scale building project at the Weinheim industrial park to reduce the burden of noise. A total of 9,000 square metres of carpet tiles were laid in the office and relaxation areas. The office areas were fitted with low-tufted-carpet while the so-called “think tanks” were given a high-pile-version. Both types were specially developed for modern office environments to absorb sound and create a living room feeling.

Modern large-area office spaces experience a constant noise level from phone conversations, the chatter of colleagues and the clatter of keyboards, as our working life is becoming ever more flexible and mobile, as well as interactive and communicative, presenting a challenge for planners and architects.

According to the company, if noise level is not permanently absorbed, it leads to stress among employees. Hörzentrum Oldenburg, website of the Verband Deutscher Betriebs- und Werkärzte e.V. concluded that performance levels start to drop at as little as 35 decibels. By way of comparison, this roughly corresponds to the noise level of rustling leaves. A fully occupied office can generate up to 70 decibels, which is equivalent to a vacuum cleaner or the noise of traffic. The consequences include the release of stress hormones, hypertension and a change in muscle tone.

Interface carpets

“Alongside noise reduction, the flooring needed to be extremely easy to maintain and flexible. At the same time, it had to be durable and sustainably produced to protect our environment,” said Sascha Schäfer, Head of Strategic Portfolio Management, Freudenberg Real Estate, Weinheim, Germany.

The solution to these challenges was found in the products of US manufacturer Interface. The modular carpet tiles of the market leader are individually interchangeable as required and thus a real plus in terms of quality and service life. “Indispensable in achieving these characteristics is the carpet backing – in this case, a spunbonded nonwoven, into which the carpet yarn is subsequently incorporated,” the company explains.

As exclusive supplier and working in close collaboration with Interface, Freudenberg Performance Materials designed a particularly soft backing with a very flexible structure. In the process, PET granulate derived from recycled material is spun into a very homogeneous nonwoven and then thermally bonded. As a result, the backing material provides the carpet loops with a good hold and also allows more complex carpet compositions.

Fully environmentally neutral by 2020

“By 2020, we want to make our entire value chain completely climate- neutral: from raw materials through production, right up to customer use and subsequent recycling. Our suppliers must also achieve a clearly defined requirement profile. Freudenberg Performance Materials is the right partner for us to realize our 100% sustainable concept together,” said Nils Rödenbeck, Vice President and General Manager D/A/CH, Interface Germany, Krefeld.

“We are delighted to be able to work with Interface on this project, which is currently still unique. The challenge for us is now to adapt our entire value chain to meet the needs of the sustainable carpet backing and Interface’s demanding catalogue of requirements,” commented Matthias Göttel, Technical Service Manager Tuft, Freudenberg Performance Materials, Weinheim, Germany.

Modular carpets

Traditionally, carpets have been laid as a single piece and glued to the floor across the entire surface. But extensive gluing does not fit into a sustainable concept. This is why carpet fabrics are today cut into squares ofaround 50x50cm and then fixed in a few spots. This allows them to be exchanged at any time, which is another important step towards environmental friendliness.

“Carpets need to withstand heavy loads. As well people walking on them, they have to deal with items being rolled across them as well as the occasional spillage. In contrast to large-scale rolled carpeting, the modularity of the tiles saves us enormous renovation costs while the attractive appearance is very long lasting,” said Nicole Gahai, Senior Project Manager, Freudenberg Real Estate, Weinheim, Germany.

The flexibility and openness of modern large-area offices offer many advantages for companies and their employees. At the same time, they are a major challenge for architects and designers in terms of noise pollution. That is why carpet floors are an essential design element. However, technical nonwovens can do even more. “The SoundTex acoustic nonwoven produced by Freudenberg Performance Materials ensures effective sound absorption in ceilings and thus an even quieter working environment and an improved sense of wellbeing,” the company concludes.

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