Lear Announces New Seating System with 25lb Weight Savings; ECO Fabrics from 100% Recycled Plastic Bottles and Polyester Yarn
|The Evolution Seat. Click to enlarge.|
Lear has developed a technologically advanced seating system it calls The Evolution Seat that integrates seven patented technologies that reduce seat weight up to 25 pounds (11.3 kg) compared to conventional seats without sacrificing strength and safety. The Evolution Seat is expected to launch in the Asian market by 2011.
Lear also has developed new automotive fabrics—Lear ECO Fabrics—made from 100% recycled plastic bottles and polyester yarn that reduce landfill waste and conserve energy and natural resources.
The Evolution Seat. Lear is a fully integrated manufacturer of seats, from the metal structure and mechanisms to the foam and seat trim, notes Ryan Burns, vice president of Product Engineering for Lear’s Global Seating Operations. The combination of Lear technologies in the Evolution Seat significantly reduce weight, trim costs and speed time-to-market, he said. The seven first-to-market technologies that comprise the new seat include:
Lear ECO/EVO Structures. Lear ECO/EVO Structures are up to 30% lighter than conventional structures because they integrate lightweight mechanisms and rails, and avoid the use of exotic metals. Lear ECO/EVO Structures are slated to debut in 2010.
Dynamic Environmental Comfort System (DECS). This multi-layer advanced seat comfort system is currently on the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. It provides up to a 50% weight savings and reduces volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by up to 70%.
Lear ECO Padding. This is a traditional polyurethane trim laminate and foam insert replacement using recyclable, renewable resource-derived fast-growth southern-softwood fibers.
ProTec PluS. This active whiplash protection system reduces whiplash injury by 43% and meets all global safety regulations. It is currently on the Cadillac CTS and Honda Accord.
Lear EVO Mini Recliner. The low mass recliners provide high strength-to-weight ratio, saving 35% in weight and 50% in packaging space compared to traditional recliners.
SoyFoam, made from renewable soybean oil, has been on the Ford Mustang seats since 2008.
Recyclable Expanded Polypropylene (EPP). A lightweight replacement for petroleum-based foams that is 100% recyclable and enhances seat comfort and design. EPP was introduced in 2002 on the Audi A2.
ECO Fabrics. Converting the annual production of a mid-size sedan program to 100% Lear ECO fabric could save approximately 10 million plastic bottles a year from entering landfills, according to Mandy Sarotte, Director of Global Trim and Foam Advanced Sales.
Lear is a leader in developing recyclable and renewable products that meet stringent automotive specifications. We use recycled polyester yarn as a replacement for virgin polyester made with crude oil. This saves natural resources and reduces energy used in the multi-step manufacturing process. In addition, Lear uses post-consumer plastics bottles in its yarn, minimizing landfill waste.
Sarotte said Lear can quickly respond to consumer wants because it is the only automotive seat supplier that benchmarks trends and then designs and manufactures every part of a seat.
Sarotte said other seat fabric trends include smart fabrics that contain sensors for heating and cooling, embossed or quilted fabrics that provide a secondary design effect after processing and premium finishes that enhance fabric performance.