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Adient unveils lightweight solutions for seat structures

Automotive seating supplier takes a multi-material approach to reduce the weight of seats

DETROIT, Jan. 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The search for new lightweight solutions is one of the most important drivers in the automotive industry. At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), Adient, the world's leading automotive seating supplier, is showcasing technologies that use alternative materials and composites to reduce vehicle weight without compromising passenger comfort or safety.

Adient supplies vehicle seats to every major global automaker. Over the past 10 years, the company has reduced the weight of its vehicle seats by 20 to 30 percent. Adient's goal is to reduce the weight of standard seat structures by 22 pounds by 2020. Adient will achieve this through a multi-material approach, optimizing the use of lightweight materials such as glass or carbon fiber-reinforced plastics, magnesium, high-strength steel or aluminum in the seat.

"Car seats will increasingly become multi-function supports with a wide range of electronic adjustments and technical equipment," said Dr. Detlef Juerss, vice president engineering and CTO at Adient. "Our engineers are working to combine these innovations with weight reduction — and, of course, these seats must meet our highest safety and quality standards."

Magnesium for strong, lightweight seat structures

Adient is showcasing a multi-material lightweight seat structure made from die-cast magnesium.

"Magnesium is the lightest of all structural materials, 75 percent lighter than steel and 33 percent lighter than aluminum," said Juerss. "Because of this, the Adient seat structure has a very good strength-to-weight ratio, flexible construction possibilities and very good dimensional stability."

Front seats with composite elements

Adient is also exhibiting a glass fiber–reinforced plastic front seat backrest concept at NAIAS. In this case, a weight reduction of up to 30 percent can be achieved with the use of a composite structure. With a slim, fully modular design, the backrest is suitable for all seat platforms and at the same time provides more room for passengers and very high passenger protection.

Lightweight rear seats with great user-friendly flexibility

Comfort and lightweight construction are also combined in the flexible seats for the second row displayed by Adient. Thanks to integrated safety belts and rails recessed into the floor, the entire rear seat can move flexibly according to space requirements. The use of aluminum and high tensile steel enables a weight reduction of up to seven kilograms in comparison with other rear seats.

RECARO Automotive Seating: The roots of lightweight construction lie in motorsports

Designing lightweight seats is embedded in the DNA of Adient's premium brand Recaro Automotive Seating, with its strong roots in motorsports.

Two applications of the all-new Recaro Performance Seat Platform (RPSP) emphasize the brand's lightweight approach. The first is a slim, "reduced to the max" version in a lightweight design. The second is a demonstrator with advanced features and design innovations, e.g. a visible, carbon fiber-braided backrest structure, aimed at the top luxury segment.

With its ultra-slim RPSP design, Recaro Automotive Seating is generating more space for vehicle interiors, provided by the body-shaped composite seat structure and thin IntelliTech™ foam. This light, rigid and flexible foam integrates attachments for the complete seat application including spacers, optional ventilation, etc. Thus, it reduces weight up to 40 percent and is 50 percent thinner (8mm) compared to standard polyurethane foam.

The new limited-edition aftermarket shell seat Recaro Pole Position SL (SL for street-legal) is a slim, one-piece shell seat made of glass fiber-reinforced plastic (GRP) that provides perfect lateral and shoulder support at highest comfort levels. The shell weighs approx. 7 kilograms (without side mount and base frame), its carbon derivative is only 4.5 kilograms, which makes it the lightest street legal shell seat globally.

Adient – which became an independent company in 2016 after a successful spinoff from Johnson Controls – is a NAIAS event sponsor and exhibitor. Its exhibit showing these and other personalization solutions will be open to the media and invited guests in Cobo Center's Room 310B Jan. 15-18.

NAIAS, one of the world's premier automotive exhibitions, open to the media and industry officials on Jan. 15. It will open to the public on Jan. 20. For more information, visit www.naias.com.

About Adient:

Adient is a global leader in automotive seating. With 85,000 employees operating 238 manufacturing/assembly plants in 34 countries worldwide, we produce and deliver automotive seating for all vehicle classes and all major OEMs. From complete seating systems to individual components, our expertise spans every step of the automotive seat making process. Our integrated, in-house skills allow us to take our products from research and design all the way to engineering and manufacturing – and into more than 25 million vehicles every year. For more information on Adient, please visit adient.com. 

SOURCE Adient