JCI taps next-generation interiors

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: January 25, 2013 2:26 pm ET
Updated: January 25, 2013 3:13 pm ET

Image By: Johnson Controls Inc. photo The Bespoke interior showcases JCI's vision for integrating electronics, interiors and seating.

Related to this story

Topics Automotive, Injection Molding, Automotive parts, Automotive/transportation, Compression molds

DETROIT — Johnson Controls Inc. is looking across a variety of plastics production capabilities and new ways to combine them for the next generation of auto interiors.

With its Compression Hybrid Molding process technology — or CHyM, pronounced "chime" — the auto supplier would combine the best of compression molding of natural-filled composites with injection molding. The resulting part could reduce a door panel's weight by 40 percent, the company said in its Jan. 14 debut of the technology and other concepts at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

JCI also is looking at ways to use plastics for structural seat components and seeking to use in-mold film technology to provide a lightweight alternative to interior electronic displays.

"What used to be simple plastic surfaces now can become electronic carrying areas," said Han Hendricks, vice president of advanced product development for JCI's automotive electronics and interiors group.

Hendricks and his team are at the heart of a move within Johnson Controls to push forward new technology and products in its global automotive group. The firm — with automotive headquarters in Plymouth, Mich., and design and development centers in Holland, Mich.; Burscheid, Germany; and Shanghai — sees the group as a way to get new products on the market faster, said William Jackson, corporate vice president and president of the electronics, interiors, operations and innovations unit.

"We have 66 projects going on right now in different levels of maturity," Jackson said. "It takes everything in product development, from creating new technology to what we call commercialization to phase zero, when we start to sell it to the [automaker]."

Many parts of that development phase were on display for JCI in its Bespoke interior concept introduced at the show, held Jan. 14-27.

Electronics are integrated into the instrument panel. Compression molding and injection molding are combined in a center console in a process that also allows the company to place a removable, U-shaped "catch bin" around the console for pens, sunglasses, keys and other small items that might otherwise slip between the seat and console.

The CHyM process and use of a suspended fabric cover allow the door panel to fit flush against the instrument panel when the door is closed, rather than requiring a 6- to 8- millimeter gap between the parts.

"Currently the way we [make natural-fiber door panel substrates] is that we make a fiber mat, then we compression mold it, then trim it and then back-injection mold it," Jackson said. "[With CHyM] technology, we roll form the mat, then heat it up. The injection molding machine does the compression molding for us.

"It's a very cool technology, and furthermore we've eliminated a lot of the trimming, and it reduces a lot of weight. Seven pounds is a lot of weight."

The system takes advantage of the weight savings of natural-fiber composites, but also has the rigidity of injection molding where that is needed.

The panel can also be wrapped in traditional cover skins and undergo the same post-processing techniques as a traditionally produced door, he said.

Natural fiber composites — either thermoplastic or thermoset — could also be used in a plastic seat frame JCI is developing to replace current steel systems. The company has used plastic composites on rear seats, but now is looking at opportunities for front seats, said Jeff Lindberg, senior manager of the global product center-complete seats.


Comments

JCI taps next-generation interiors

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: January 25, 2013 2:26 pm ET
Updated: January 25, 2013 3:13 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

VisiPak adds to customer mix, product offerings with Tulox acquisition

March 5, 2015 2:19 pm ET

VisiPak has acquired Tulox Plastics Corp., a maker of clear plastic packaging.    More

Image

ResTech companies renamed Plastics Molding Manufacturing

March 5, 2015 3:54 pm ET

Plastics Molding Manufacturing Inc. is the new name for the ResTech Plastic Molding LLC family of companies.    More

Image

Plastics News Now: Plastic raises the roof

March 5, 2015 8:44 am ET

Toyota's hydrogen fuel cell vehicle gets an assist from carbon fiber, slate roof shingles get the plastic treatment and West Coast port delays had...    More

Image

Auto supplier Motus adds more production as it buys Leon Interiors

March 5, 2015 10:52 am ET

Motus Integrated Technologies, a Tier 1 automotive interiors supplier, is getting bigger, adding the assets of Tier 2 supplier Leon Interiors Inc.    More

Image

PET makes it possible to have your beer and be sustainable too

March 5, 2015 10:45 am ET

PET could replace stainless steel beer kegs in a material swap product developers say will be more environmentally friendly and cost effective for the...    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

North America represents about 30 percent of the global consumption of flexible packaging. Annual growth in this region is forecast at 4 percent during the next 5 years.

For more insight on growth opportunities, drivers of growth and the outlook for 2015, download this report.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events