Johnson Controls manufactures lighter vehicle seats

Glendale-based Johnson Controls Inc. is reducing the use of metals in vehicle seat structures by replacing them with multi-material systems in its CAMISMA (carbon-amide-metal-based interior structure using a multi-material system approach) research project.

These seats are said to be more than 40 percent lighter than conventionally manufactured seat structures and equally as safe.

For this work, the global multi-industrial company received this year’s CLEPA (European Association of Automotive Suppliers) Innovation Award in the “Green” category. According to the jury, the project represents an “outstanding, future-oriented solution for sustainable carbon dioxide reduction.”

“Although carbon-fiber products generally offer outstanding characteristics, such as great strength and design flexibility, they are too expensive for use in the large-scale series production of vehicles,” said Andreas Eppinger, group vice president technology management, Johnson Controls Automotive Experience. “With CAMISMA, our goal was to create cost-efficient, sustainable access to carbon-fiber-based materials systems.”

This was achieved by an innovative industrial manufacturing process for volume production with about 200,000 units per production line, allowing for the first time the highly concentrated, efficient use of carbon fiber, while at the same time meeting all safety requirements.

The results of an initial rear-impact crash test demonstrated that the CAMISMA seat prototype satisfied all of the strength requirements of current seats built with a metal structure in large-scale series production.

In addition to significant weight savings, the manufacturing steps required in assembly are substantially reduced through the number of attachment parts needed, which also saves cost.

These seats will be available in vehicles in 2019.

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