MORE OF LESS FROM FAURECIA: LOCALLY PRODUCED SEATS THAT WEIGH LESS AND LEAVE MORE ROOM
At previous auto shows, Faurecia has been acclaimed for its smart, thin seating systems that automatically adjust to provide the most comfortable and safest ride for each occupant. At NAIAS 2015, Faurecia refocuses on new light, roomy, comfortable seats up front. Locally produced lighter frames and mechanisms, with intelligent combinations of conventional and advanced materials, offer new opportunities for automakers. Weight reduction is possible without sacrificing style and Faurecia is helping foster a more environmentally friendly car while contributing to the wellbeing of its occupants.
Lightweight and Roomy Seat
A demonstrator in the Faurecia exhibit displays a thin and comfortable seat for C segment vehicles, mid-market cars favored by a large proportion of consumers in the world. Styling enhances the slimness and the visual comfort of the seat. Besides this pleasant and elegant line, it carries an amazing range of Faurecia innovations.
This seat expands the roominess of the vehicle cabin, offering 1.2 inches of additional space for rear-seat legroom or for reducing the overall vehicle length. Roominess results from fashioning Faurecia’s slimmest-ever backrest and from cover carving technology that reduces the amount of foam required in the headrest. Curved side members with a sculpted light panel provide more knee room for second-row passengers. A lower cross member and recliner and a more forward-positioned rear tube also provide more legroom.
Even more important is its use of the world’s first hybrid generic frame inside.The frame has been designed to be fully compatible with Faurecia’s generic process already in place on a large scale across the globe. The frame maintains all safety and comfort requirements and is compatible with all of Faurecia’s existing seating mechanisms.
Faurecia showcases a complete seat with a weight reduction of 5.06 pounds compared to the reference seat being produced in North America by Faurecia: A six-way manual seat, which is already a best-in-class lightweight seat. Faurecia has worked on all fronts; improvements have been made not only in the cushion and the backrest structures but also in the components.
The following table details the direct weight savings per seat that Faurecia is proposing to the market.
At NAIAS 2015, for the first time, Faurecia will offer the public an X-ray-style look at the inner structure of its lightweight seats. Auto show visitors will be able to use an augmented reality tool to see the “bones” of the lightweight and roominess seat, visualizing the structure inside the seat and all the elements that make it so much lighter. An animated video will show how Faurecia attains these new levels of lightness and spaciousness without compromising comfort.
Faurecia shows how it has built on its extensive experience in working with automakers on the composite backrest and other lightweight components. That proficiency has led Faurecia engineers toward pragmatic, cost-accessible hybridization, cleverly blending traditional steel, advanced high-strength steel and thermoplastics to fashion its latest frames. Designers incorporate the right material in the right locations to ensure that the frames meet safety standards and, at the same time, enhance seating comfort.
THE EOLAB SEAT IN THE “LESS IS MORE” DEMONSTRATOR
In response to the French government’s call for an ultra-high-mileage vehicle, Renault is developing a prototype car that will deliver an astounding 235 mpg. Renault is collaborating with five partners who together have incorporated nearly 100 innovations into the vehicle, called EOLAB. Faurecia is proud to have been chosen by Renault as one of those partners to supply the seat for EOLAB.
In the NAIAS 2015 “Less Is More” demonstrator, the lightweight and roomy seat that Faurecia created for EOLAB is on display. The seat is optimized for weight savings and fashioned around Faurecia magnesium frames. With its optimized design, the EOLAB seat saves a remarkable 24 pounds, compared with seats using conventional materials. More than 60 percent of this weight reduction derives from innovative components, but well over a quarter of the savings result from the extra legroom the thin seats offer, allowing designers to shorten the length of the car body by more than an inch.
Faurecia research and development teams currently are evaluating materials to determine which can best reduce the weight of seats while meeting manufacturing requirements.
THE GLOBAL AND MODULAR FRAME
Automakers realize that they must use standard designs and platforms worldwide if they are to produce vehicles efficiently in a global economy. The fewer frame designs they need to accommodate, the more economically they can assemble seating systems. Faurecia helps them attain this less-is-more global standardization with seat frames built on a global and modular standard platform.
Faurecia frames enable automakers to use the same components across the complete vehicle platform on all the models they build around the world, frequently a dozen or more models for each platform. Faurecia offers the basic, specially designed modular frames anticipating that manufacturers will add high-value and premium components to them, such items as electronic, mechanical and pneumatic systems. Faurecia totally optimizes the frame for safety, weight and standardized components so they are ready to be customized by manufacturers for each platform model.
The latest example of Faurecia’s global and modular frame technology is exhibited at NAIAS 2015 in the CMF1 powered front-seat structure for the Nissan Rogue. This global platform product reduces upfront development costs up to 80 percent, and it is optimized to reduce frame weight by 17 percent, compared with the previous generation of frames. The CMF1 is produced with a generic manufacturing process that Faurecia can employ in its plants across the globe. By producing the global and modular frame regionally around the world, Faurecia helps automakers develop their platforms faster while maintaining high-quality delivery standards.
The frame can be equipped with either manual adjusters or powered mechanisms up to 12-way systems. It integrates the latest generation of mechanisms and includes a seat active height adjustment. It consists of a two-part structure that is laser- or arc-welded, and it incorporates a dual-sided backrest.
Additional features can be integrated easily into the Faurecia global and modular frame.
LIGHTWEIGHT, LOCALLY PRODUCED MECHANISMS
At NAIAS 2015, a glance at the collections displaying all the types of seating mechanisms created by Faurecia will illustrate many of the reasons that Faurecia leads the world in this arena. These collections summarize an impressively broad portfolio of products and the technological leaps that Faurecia is making with power functionality and lightweight mechanisms.
Faurecia can produce all the displayed products at local sites across the world, which translates to faster, lower-cost delivery and better quality. While others may ship their mechanisms from a few key plants to global automaker sites, Faurecia understands that devices like tracks and recliners are heavy to transport and often do not travel well. With Faurecia’s global operations, automakers can find Faurecia products where they need to find them.
A hallmark of Faurecia seating mechanisms is the lightweight technology they embrace. Less is more in evaluating the weight of metal components in seats. Less weight in seats can mean more mileage, more comfort and lower CO2 emission levels. Faurecia lightweight mechanisms provide a wide range of position options for comfort without sacrificing performance and durability.
Localization of production is an indication of Faurecia’s dedication to innovating as closely and directly as possible with customers in the geographies where they operate.
THE 2015 CHEVY COLORADO COMPLETE SEAT
The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado – named the 2015 Motor Trend Truck of the Year by a unanimous vote – marks General Motors’ return to the midsize truck market. This reinvented pickup is outfitted with a new seat produced at Faurecia facilities in Wentzville, Missouri, and Ramos Arizpe, in Mexico.
The seat’s fabric covers are made in Ramos Arizpe, where a cover-carved insert produces a hexagonal embossed panel on the front of the seatback and the cushion. The Ramos Arizpe production facility supplies these covers to the new Faurecia plant in Wentzville, where they are incorporated into the full seat that is delivered to the neighboring GM plant, where the Colorado is assembled.
The four-way driver and passenger seats are heated and offer powered adjustments. Inside, the seats contain dual-firmness foam for greater comfort on long drives, and they are finished with a high-wear seating trim that is stain-resistant. The Z71 model includes embossed seatbacks and contrast stitching, along with exclusive color and trim details.
A leather-appointed version of Faurecia’s seating for the Colorado is also available.
THE GMC CANYON COMPLETE SEAT
Faurecia also is producing complete seat assemblies at Wentzville for the 2015 GMC Canyon, with covers fabricated in Ramos Arizpe. With its dual-firmness foam, the Canyon seat is designed for long-haul comfort and wear on long drives. The Canyon seats feature a molded cloth insert and premium vinyl racetracks with accent stitching on the seatback, cushion and head restraints, complemented by vinyl bolsters.
Equipped with four-way powered seats, a two-way powered lumbar support, two-way headrest, and driver and passenger heated backs and cushions, the Canyon seats are designed to furnish maximum comfort throughout the journey.
THE MERCEDES M/GL AMG COMPLETE SEAT
In Cottondale, Alabama, Faurecia marries premium materials with craftsmanship to create complete seats for the American-made Mercedes-Benz M-Class and GL-Class AMG vehicles. These seats are fashioned from Nappa leather with double stitching and provide premium-level comfort systems. Their features include a six-way adjustable headrest, heating and cooling, adjustable cushion length and massage functions and a four-way adjustable lumbar support. All-electric movements with memory function help ensure comfortable seat adjustments, and the seat is equipped with a side airbag.
THE NISSAN MURANO
Faurecia assembles high-end seats for the Nissan Murano crossover vehicle. The assembled seats, like that displayed at NAIAS 2015, feature heating and cooling with six- or eight-way power, memory, integrated DVD for second- and third-row passengers, and power fold-up seat backs for the rear row. The Murano seats are available in beige, brown or black leather, as well as beige or black fabric.
Faurecia integrates all these aspects of the seats at its plant in Madison, Mississippi, where it assembles seats for seven different programs, a remarkable variety for a single facility. In fact, Faurecia Madison assembles seats for every vehicle that Nissan manufacturers at its Canton, Mississippi Plant, including the Murano, Xterra, Frontier, Altima, Armada, Titan and the Nissan van/bus.
The Rear Seat with Advanced Kinematics
One of the most intriguing of Faurecia’s latest innovations is a seat that folds flat at the push of a button and then re-opens fully when the button is tapped again. Faurecia is developing this electrically powered E-Folding Seat. NAIAS 2015 visitors have the opportunity to see this system in operation on a demonstrator at the Faurecia exhibit.
Previous self-folding technologies have required occupants to lift the folded seat back into position manually. The E-Folding Seat, however, quickly collapses flat when an occupant pushes the button and unfolds itself and locks into place again with another push of the same button. This powered system is appropriate for second- or third-row seats.
Over the past three years, Faurecia has created seat electronics teams in France, Germany, North America and China. The seat-electronics prowess of these teams has produced a generic folding mechanism that Faurecia is proud to introduce to America at NAIAS 2015.
Light, roomy, modular, locally produced, Faurecia seats are helping automakers and consumers to become more comfortable in an increasingly demanding environment.