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Lightweighting for Automotive Interiors


Discover new places for lighter weight

As emissions standards tighten worldwide, the interior becomes just as much a consideration for hitting lightweighting targets as any other part of the vehicle. In some ways the challenge is even greater. The interior provides opportunities for true differentiation – features like storage compartments, enhanced displays and ergonomic, temperature-adjustable and biometric-sensing seating are quickly becoming standard. Often, the tradeoff is heavier curb weight.


3M can help you compensate. We provide additives in the form of tiny microspheres that make advanced composite materials lighter and stronger. Adhesives – a core technology for decades – are excellent in place of heavier bolts, rivets and screws. Reclosable fasteners are light, durable and versatile for replacing snaps, screws, rivets and nails in multiple areas of the interior. To learn more, browse our solutions below, or download our ebook The promise of lightweighting (PDF, 6.6 KB).

Achieving lighter interiors – part by part, design by design

  •  lightweight automotive center console created with 3M glass bubbles

    Lightweighting begins with a range of durable plastic parts – and 3M begins with these lightweight alternatives to conventional fillers and additives in their production. Glass microspheres are easily incorporated into a wide range of polymers to replace heavy fillers. Tiny and very tough, they withstand high-pressure manufacturing processes like injection molding. The benefits are numerous: reduced part weights, greater dimensional stability with less warpage and shrinkage, and lower cycle times.

  • With the ability to reliably bond to a very broad range of substrates from metals to fabrics, our double-sided tapes are excellent as replacements for heavier, bulkier attachment methods such as rivets, bolts and screws.

  • Use lightweight, reclosable fasteners in service doors, consoles, headliners, wire harnesses, carpets, floor panels, sunroofs…wherever you used to use screws or nails. Fasteners can be mixed and matched for a variety of closure strengths.

  • Achieve lighter weight while saving time, energy and space. Hot melt adhesives liquify to bond to a variety of substrates, including polyethylene, polypropylene and other plastics. Use hot melt adhesives on interior door panels, headliners and more.

  • Replace heavy wire harnesses with acrylic sealing tapes that feature excellent initial adhesion, heat resistance and durability. These tapes bond to rough or highly irregular surfaces, excellent for headliners, sunroof trim rings and more.

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Let's talk about interiors

Step Inside. Our 3M experts are dedicated to collaboration on the best solution for your unique challenges in automotive interiors. Let’s discuss how 3M material science solutions can help you meet your specifications.


Meeting the challenges in automotive interiors

  • Learn more about bonding & joining

    Bonding and Joining >

    Effectively bond challenging or dissimilar materials in more places inside the vehicle. 3M provides single-coated, double-coated, thin bond and wire harness tapes, hot melts, reclosable fasteners and more.

  • Learn more about thermal management

    Thermal Management >

    To enable passenger comfort and utilize power efficiently, thermal management is a key element in interior design. 3M thermal insulation, engineered films and other solutions are up to the challenge.

  • Learn more about NVH

    Noise, Vibration and Harshness >

    3M is solving challenges of managing sound in evolving vehicle platforms – and and expanding our acoustic solutions to meet these new demands. Our Engineered Damping Material (EDM) is just one example.

  • Learn more about design flexibilty

    Design Flexibility >

    Design a premium passenger experience, while keeping cost constraints in mind. Bond without mechanical fasteners. Meet the specific demands of the production line. That’s the freedom to exceed conventional limits in interiors.

  • learn more about light management

    Light Management >

    Our films for effectively controlling light – natural light or light generated from LEDs, LCDs and backlights – make for comfort and a unique experience in the vehicle cabin.

  • Learn more about EMI

    Electromagnetic Interference >

    3M applies decades of electronics experience in the increasingly electronic environment of the vehicle interior. Our shielding, blocking and EMI absorption solutions deliver low and stable contact resistance and maintain consistent performance even in tough environments.