Johnson Controls Delivers Unique, Global Solutions in Sustainable Seating as Reflected at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit

Innovative use of region-specific renewable resources drives sustainable solutions for vehicle seat systems

DETROIT, Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ — Johnson Controls can help automakers worldwide respond to growing consumer demand for vehicles that are more "environmentally friendly," and this capability is reflected in the company’s sustainable seating solutions. These seating innovations include seat foam pads made from natural, locally abundant, renewable resources, as well as the Synergy Seat, a lightweight seat solution with which engineers at Johnson Controls have set a new industry standard for mass reduction.


"Throughout its 124-year history, Johnson Controls has been a ‘green’ company, and in recent years, we have developed numerous ‘eco-friendly’ materials, product solutions and technologies," said Byron Foster, group vice president, Global Product Centers for the Automotive Experience business of Johnson Controls. "Our expertise and global presence enable us to be proactive in developing advanced, earth-friendly solutions, such as using region- specific, natural-oil polyols for making seating foam that meets our customers’ performance goals."

Johnson Controls is showcasing its sustainable seating solutions at the company’s 2009 North American International Auto Show exhibit in Detroit. They’re among the products, technologies and concepts featured in the company’s exhibit in room D2-15 of Detroit’s Cobo Center.

Engineers at Johnson Controls have succeeded in replacing a portion of the petroleum-based polyurethane used in conventional foam padding for automotive seats with natural-oil polyols (NOPs). These NOPs include renewable resources, such as castor, canola, palm and soy oils. As a result of this innovation, customers are offered a global, sustainable solution in vehicle seat foam.

With its global presence, Johnson Controls can match local, sustainable solutions to resource availability, taking advantage of the abundance of various natural resources in specific world regions. For example, soy is abundant in North America, where Johnson Controls manufactures soy oil-based foam seats for approximately 11 different vehicle platforms. In Malaysia, where palm oil is abundant, the company will begin producing seat-foam products using palm oil this year.

"As the market leader in automotive seating, we are dedicated to using renewable resources to create more environmentally friendly materials," said Foster. "Our engineers integrate our advanced materials into seating products that deliver the ultimate in seating sustainability to our customers."

According to Foster, engineers at Johnson Controls have set an industry milestone for mass reduction with the Synergy Seat ranging from 20 to 27 percent vs. current seating systems.

This innovation is a production-ready seat system for both standard and hybrid vehicles. It is nearly 100 percent recyclable, requires less foam than conventional seats, and offers a high level of occupant comfort. The Synergy Seat leverages the next-generation, lightweight MS seat structure from Johnson Controls. An all-steel version of this structure is 32 percent lighter than conventional systems, while the aluminum-steel version — targeting hybrid vehicles — is up to 40 percent lighter. The seat’s comfort shell, side shields and back panels are made of recyclable polypropylene. The seat is covered with an earth-friendly material made of a new generation of technically advanced, polyurethane-based products. This material is easy-to- clean, 68 percent lighter than leather, and is manufactured using an environmentally sound production process.

Johnson Controls is the global leader that brings ingenuity to the places where people live, work and travel. By integrating technologies, products and services, we create smart environments that redefine the relationships between people and their surroundings. Our team of 140,000 employees creates a more comfortable, safe and sustainable world through our products and services for more than 200 million vehicles, 12 million homes and one million commercial buildings. For additional information, please visit

Editor’s Note: High-resolution photos of products and concepts being displayed by Johnson Controls at the NAIAS event can be downloaded from the company’s press room at:

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SOURCE: Johnson Controls

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