Fiberforge demonstrated its materials contribution to the Genus Concept Seat at the 2005 North American International Auto Show.
The Genus Concept Seat was designed by Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI) from a design for manufacturability (DFM) standpoint, making sure that the design of the Genus Seat could feasibly be made with the Fiberforge process of continuous fibre reinforced thermoplastic.
Fiberforge added that the seat design “reflects the vision of the future evolution in automotive seating while offering leading-edge features and technologies developed by Fiberforge”.
Fiberforge’s patented composite manufacturing process is said to combine automation, precision, speed, and scrap reduction to convert raw materials into tailored blanks for composite thermoforming applications like those used for the structure of the Genus Seat Concept.
Fiberforge stated that composites were clearly an enabling technology for the Genus Seat, making its structure lighter, thinner, exposed, and cantilevered—all four are features that Automotive OEM seating customers are asking for. Fiberforge produced several prototype parts of tooling supplied by JCI to demonstrate the forming feasibility and weight reduction. These parts were produced in-house in Fiberforge’s 1-m x 1-m pilot cell.
The seat is made from noon-woven, 2-D, tailored-blanks of continuous carbon fibre and nylon resin which were thermoformed/compression moulded to make Genus seat prototype parts. The tailored blank consists of aligned (tailored to the part requirements) fibres with a high fibre fraction. The use of a tailored blank, besides customizing fibre alignment and performance optimization, also reduces scrap over traditional methods.
“We are very excited to be working with JCI on this project because they are one of the largest automotive Tier-One suppliers and a leader in the seating industry.” Said Dr. Jon Fox-Rubin, Fiberforge’s president and CEO. He added, “Automotive seating is the very kind of application where the Fiberforge technology can have an impact. The applications are both structurally demanding and high volume.”
Bill Fluharty, vice president of industrial design and new product strategy for Johnson Controls (JCI) added that the Genus Concept Seat offers significant benefits for both automakers and vehicle-buyers. It features a bold, innovative design; a thin, lightweight structure; a cantilevered base; a sleek appearance; and active comfort features. Its design enhances cabin space and reduces overall system weight. In addition, the prototype features advanced new materials that have comfort and environmental advantages.
From its two locations in Colorado,USA, Fiberforge regards itself to be one of the market leaders in the continuous fibre reinforced thermoplastic composite industry. In the automotive industry, Fiberforge envisions its technology as the key to expanding the production feasibility of composite-intensive bodies-in-black from low-volume exotic performance cars to ubiquitous mainstream vehicles, replacing traditional steel bodies-in-white with lighter, safer, stronger, and more cost-effective composite-intensive bodies.
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