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Material innovation: developing Autex Acoustics’ first truly circular acoustic material

Jun 25, 2024

Design, Sustainability

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Autex Acoustics® is dedicated to creating truly circular products—both in alignment with their company mission and in response to the growing market demand for environmentally conscious building materials.


“Circularity means considering the entire lifecycle of a product, not just how it will be used in the first instance,” says Sam Wells, Autex Acoustics’ Product Development Lead, “Our design team are constantly looking for new materials and ways of working. A culture of curiosity is ingrained in who we are and impacts all of the decisions we make. On top of this, we also have a lot of conversations with the market to understand what they need. This information helps to direct our team around the solutions and systems we design. Like every successful product, there needs to be a demand for it otherwise, we can’t truly drive any significant change.”

As part of their material exploration project, the Autex Acoustics team are developing ways that their core material, PET, can be repurposed into acoustic solutions or accessories. Through their work they have gained an insight into the effort required to close the loop on material waste.


“The big focus for us has been on creating something that is truly circular,” Wells explains. “This involves considering the whole life cycle of a product, not just how it will be used in the first instance. As a result, we need to be designing systems that are sustainable and not one-off products. This ensures the materials we create can be repurposed over and over again.” Creating truly circular systems requires more than just a recyclable product.


Developing systems that support circularity is a difficult task, as you need to develop a functioning stream for waste to be collected, a means for that waste to be repurposed, a product to use the waste material, and have the final product meet current building standards and expectations. These intricacies can often be overlooked when you are focusing solely on product.


While there is a demand for truly circular solutions, there is a lack of tangible options within the building and construction space. “Our industry has an issue with waste, and so there is a demand for solutions that find ways to repurpose and recycle the materials we have access to, extending their life and keeping them out of landfills.” Wells goes on to say.

For over 50 years Autex Acoustics have shown their commitment to constantly investigating new materials and how to work with them. Taking the time to learn from experts in a range of fields they have ingrained a fearless sense of exploration into who they are and how they design. This constant forward thinking focus ensures they aren’t settling for a ‘good enough’ mentality, pushing them to the forefront of design.


Even so, the material exploration process does not come without its challenges. To deliver solutions made entirely from reclaimed material, Autex Acoustics’ need to establish a viable manufacturing process, run a functioning takeback program, and ensure the finished product meets current building standards.


“This really comes down to planning and communication. As part of the research and development stage, there is a lot of trial and error. We do a lot of testing of our product’s capabilities and get a lot of feedback from the market. Speaking to those who will be specifying and using our products is crucial. They can give us a perspective and insight that we may not have thought of before.”

While it is important for the Autex Acoustics team to be creating solutions that have sustainability at their core, these solutions still need to be effective and functional. This is something that they are well aware of and understand how crucial this is when developing successful acoustic solutions.


“The focus would be on our team to do rigorous testing. The materials used to make the product must meet our standards of manufacturing to ensure a final product with high performance. With high-quality materials at our disposal, we can tweak the final design of a product by adjusting its gauge and density to reflect how it will be used.” Wells explains.


The future of reclaimed materials is a space that Autex Acoustics are focusing on as they look for ways to close the loop at home and further afield.


To achieve this Wells says, “There will be a push for the development of systems that help close the loop on waste. We need to think about the whole life cycle of a product and design ways for those who use it to effectively and easily return it once it has been used. This isn’t something that can be solved by one business and will require the collective effort of our industry.”

Jun 25, 2024

Design, Sustainability

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