Volvo Trucks has made major improvements to the air quality inside the new Volvo FH cab, primarily by using textiles and components that contain and emit fewer chemical substances. The result is that the air inside the truck is considerably cleaner than in the surrounding traffic environment.
“Our holistic approach has focused on minimising emissions from interior materials and on preventing small particles from entering the cab via the climate system. In this way we have managed to significantly reduce odour and the amount of particles and organic substances, such as formaldehyde,” says Lars Mårtensson, Environmental Director at Volvo Trucks.
Fixed emission limits
Cab air quality has been part of Volvo Trucks’ research and development work for many years and has been the subject of increased focus over the past decade. In recent years, this work has been co-ordinated with the development of the new Volvo FH.
“With many drivers spending up to 20 hours a day in the vehicle, our new long-haul truck is perfect for introducing this new holistic solution,” says Hannele Nurmi, Substance Regulation Specialist at Volvo Trucks. “Our meticulous approach has resulted in a fixed emission limit for every organic substance present in all interior materials. We have worked closely with our suppliers to ensure that our demands are met.”
Only Oeko-tex standard 100 textiles
Emissions of organic substances – Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) – from interior textile materials are a common issue in the automotive industry. In most cases, these emissions increase when the cab is very hot or exposed to direct sunlight.
Volvo Trucks has addressed this in a number of ways. All flame retardants in the new FH cab’s textiles have been eliminated. Instead, the textiles have been made thicker and denser to meet the fire regulations. All textiles are certified according to the global Oeko-tex standard 100 – which means that they do not contain any hazardous levels of substances.
Toxic chemicals in plastic and leather materials used in seats, steering-wheels and decor components have been replaced by less harmful substances and the leather has been tanned using a chrome-free process. As a result, not only VOC emissions have been reduced, but also the risk of contact allergies.
To prevent particles from the outside air entering the cab, the incoming air passes through a combination of two active filters that are designed to minimise the number of small particles.
“From our customer surveys we know that some truck drivers are particularly sensitive, resulting in allergic reactions. With the new FH cab we aim to help these drivers reduce this kind of problem,” says Hannele Nurmi.
To verify the results, the complete Volvo FH cab has been subjected to laboratory tests at high temperatures (40° and 65° Celsius).
“The tests show that the amount of organic substances in the cab air has been reduced to a fraction, which means that drivers will have a cleaner and healthier working environment in the new FH. Our next aim is to incorporate this solution in the continuous renewal of our truck range. The goal is to offer the same high air quality in every Volvo truck sold all over the world,” says Lars Mårtensson.