Innovative ComfortThin automotive seats are much thinner without sacrificing comfort
With growing demand for fuel efficiency, vehicles have had to become smaller and lighter. Still, consumers don’t want to sacrifice roominess or comfort. So, manufacturers need new ways to maximize interior space. One potential solution: Thinner seats. But there’s a practical limit on how thin a seat can be and still deliver the comfort consumers want.
Johnson Controls researched alternatives and found one in, of all places, a mattress. Not just any mattress, but the kind produced by British luxury bedding manufacturer Harrison Spinks. They developed an innovative technology whereby scores of small metal springs are individually wrapped in pockets and enclosed in a mat that covers the mattress, delivering superior comfort.
Our engineers demonstrated that this technology could be adapted to automotive seatbacks and produced cost effectively. In fact, seatbacks constructed with this pocketed coil technology are up to 20 percent thinner than conventional polyurethane foam based seatbacks and just as comfortable, for occupants of all sizes.
We call this innovation ComfortThin, and only Johnson Controls has it. Through a joint agreement, Harrison Spinks will supply the pocketed coil spring mats exclusively to Johnson Controls, because ComfortThin seatbacks are dramatically thinner, they may also help reduce the mass of the vehicle, thereby enabling increased fuel efficiency. What’s more, unlike foam, metal springs can be recycled, making ComfortThin seat backs 100 percent recyclable.
Customers are definitely interested. “Vehicle manufacturers want a solution that balances the need for smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles with the demand for comfort,” said Scott Donegan, Business Development Director for Johnson Controls Complete Seats. “We’ve shown them an innovative way to strike that balance.”
ComfortThin seats will be available for the 2015 model year. ComfortThin gives OEM customers a way to differentiate their vehicles with industry leading technology.
For more information please download the news release.
The Comfort Thin Breakthrough
At first glance, Automotive Experience ComfortThin seats seem to defy logic.
First, a ComfortThin seat is significantly thinner than a conventional seat, so it’s only natural to think that a thinner seat couldn’t possibly be as comfortable as a thicker seat. However, a ComfortThin seat is.
Second, consider that ComfortThin seatbacks are made with steel springs rather than foam pads. So, it’s only natural to wonder: How could steel be as comfortable as foam? With ComfortThin, it is.Here’s why. ComfortThin seatbacks utilize the unique “pocketed coil spring” technology developed by UK luxury mattress company Harrison Spinks. Here’s how it works.
Steel wire springs are manufactured to low heights, some as low as 10 mm. Each spring is encased in its own pocket. These pocketed springs are arranged side by side and enclosed in a textile envelope – or mat. In a mattress, the more springs used, and the smaller they are, the greater the comfort. The same is true for an automotive seat.
In a ComfortThin automotive seat, a mat with 100 or more pocketed coiled steel springs is affixed to the seatback and covered by fabric or leather. Each spring responds independently. The seatback surface adjusts in real time as the occupant shifts position in the seat. ComfortThin seatbacks adapt equally well to occupants of all sizes. The result is superior comfort with the exact amount of support whenever and wherever it’s needed – all in a seat that is up to 20 percent thinner than foam padded seats.
This combination of comfort with a space-saving, mass-saving automotive seat design is a Johnson Controls Automotive Experience exclusive.