Johnson Controls breaks new ground in lightweight interior components construction
Every kilogram counts
Burscheid, Germany - 14 September 2009. Comprehensive system capability is the basis for innovative contributions to lightweight vehicle construction by Johnson Controls, one of the world's leading suppliers of automotive interior systems, electronics and batteries. To achieve this, the company uses the full range of possible materials and construction methods to produce cockpit systems and door panels that satisfy consumer requirements for both look and feel, and simultaneously support automakers in reducing vehicle weight.
Vehicle interiors with potential for lightweight construction
In addition to lightweight seats, Johnson Controls also is committed to applying lightweight construction designs to its instrument and door panels. Modifications to surface layout, airbag integration and the component structure itself are the starting point for lightweight instrument panel construction. Depending on how these individual opportunities are combined, instrument panels can be made up to one third lighter than comparable units manufactured by conventional means. EcoSpace, a reduced cross-car beam for vehicle cockpits that may be seen in the current re3 concept car, for example, does more than merely save considerable space on the passenger side of the vehicle.
Thanks to hybrid plastic and steel construction the EcoSpace cockpit structure saves up to 26% of mass compared to conventional cross-beams. As a result, the free space opens up new design perspectives on the passenger side. Alternatively, EcoSpace can also be used to make the instrument panel smaller, thereby saving even more weight.
Visible natural materials for class A surfaces
A concept development involving visible natural fibers in the vehicle interior called "Exposed Natural Material" has a different purpose. In this context, Johnson Controls has succeeded in applying a new surface technology for the first time to structure materials already used in series production that are based on natural fibers so that their surface appeal satisfies the stringent demands in automotive interiors. A weight savings of up to 30% can be achieved by using a substrate element protected with transparent film, with no further surface material lamination. At the same time, this innovative concept also helps achieve authentic and natural aesthetics for the interior. This also appears in the re3 concept car, which contains both door panels and parts of the instrument panel made using this new material. For Han Hendriks, Vice President Global Product Centers Cockpit Systems at Johnson Controls, it would not have been possible to develop the new Exposed Natural Materials without profound production skills using natural fiber matting: "Our many years of experience in the field of natural fibers and our own production line enable us to modify materials and processes for new applications."
A more technically detailed version of the press release and digital photos are available at www.johnsoncontrols.co.uk/press.
Further information is available from:
Johnson Controls GmbH
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Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) 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. Our commitment to sustainability drives our environmental stewardship, good corporate citizenship in our workplaces and communities, and the products and services we provide to customers. For additional information, please visit http://www.johnsoncontrols.com.