Detroit — Johnson Controls Inc. first showed its proprietary Compression Hybrid Molding (CHyM) process for lighter weight auto interior parts using biocomposites in 2013.
In 2017, what had been the auto interiors unit at JCI is now part of Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, and as Yanfeng, the company now has its CHyM — which it pronounces as “chime” — process in production, making door panels on the Cadenza, made in South Korea by Kia Motor Corp. A second production line, with an undisclosed European carmaker, will launch soon.
With the process gaining traction, Yanfeng is further refining the potential for lighter weight interiors, now by marrying the biocomposite with a lighter weight decorative cover made from film, rather than a standard leather or molded skin.
“We're continuing to develop more and more lightweight and cost affordable solutions,” said Craig Theisen, vice president of product management — door panels, during an interview at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Jan. 10.
CHyM uses a natural fiber mat, put into a tool and back injected with polypropylene with a honeycomb structure to provide needed performance. It also is available as a glass fiber mat. On its own, CHyM parts offer up to 40 percent weight savings, depending on the part and the customers' demands.