Beda Bolzenius, president of Johnson Controls Automotive Seating (left), received the prestigious environmental award for the automotive industry from Professor Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, spokesman for the ÖkoGlobe jury.
Johnson Controls awarded ÖkoGlobe 2012 for ComfortThin seat
Johnson Controls, a global leader in automotive seating and seating components, was awarded the ÖkoGlobe in the category “Resources, Materials and Process Optimization” for its innovative ComfortThin seat at the awards ceremony Oct. 17, 2012, in Cologne, Germany. The jury chose this year’s winners of the international environmental award for the mobility industry from more than 110 applications – a greater number than ever before.
“ComfortThin convinced the jury, since Johnson Controls successfully transferred lightweight and recyclable materials from other industries to an automotive product. Also, this seat creates additional weight saving potential through shorter bodywork, thus reducing fuel consumption,” said Professor Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, automotive expert and spokesperson for the ÖkoGlobe jury.
Performance artist HA Schult initiated the prize in 2007. Besides himself and Dudenhöffer from the University of Duisburg-Essen, the top-class jury is made up of Professor Jürgen Brauckmann, member of the Board of TÜV Rheinland, Engelbert Faßbender, member of the Board of DEVK Versicherungen, energy expert Professor Claudia Kemfert from the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) and Matthias Machnig, minister of economy, labor and technology for the state of Thuringia.
“We are very proud to have won the renowned ÖkoGlobe award for our ComfortThin seat. We are breaking new ground in seat design with this environmentally friendly technology,” said Beda Bolzenius, president of Johnson Controls Automotive Seating. “Sustainable mobility is one of Johnson Controls’ most important strategic priorities. We are continuously working on environmentally friendly innovations.”
As part of a design partnership with British luxury mattress manufacturer Harrison Spinks, Johnson Controls has developed an environmentally friendly automotive seat with a thin profile, which at the same time offers passengers a high level of comfort.
Conventional urethane foam pads are replaced by pocketed coil springs from the bedding industry. This alternative is up to 100 percent recyclable and facilitates a weight reduction of between five and 20 percent.
Thanks to its thin profile, the ComfortThin seat creates space for passengers, particularly in smaller vehicles – in fact, rear-seat passengers can see 35 millimeters (approximately 1.4 inches) of additional leg and knee room.
As an alternative option, a vehicle equipped with ComfortThin seats can be made up to 35 millimeters (approximately 1.4 inches) shorter and leave the interior space unchanged. This means further weight savings of 4.5 kilograms (approximately 10 pounds) in the body of a lower-medium segment vehicle. The comfort remains the same, but the vehicles are lighter and more compact and can be driven by more efficient engines with smaller capacity. In this way, ComfortThin technology helps to lower fuel consumption and sustainably reduce CO2 emissions.
The new technology will be available for 2015 models. Testing of the seat in modified production cars has been positive and has piqued the interest of automakers.