Johnson Controls Combines Aluminum and Steel to Produce Weight-Saving, Multi-Material Seat Structure

By Johnson Controls Automotive Experience, PRNE
Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Composite and Adhesive Bonding Technology Enable Lighter Rear Seat Systems

BURSCHEID, Germany, March 24, 2011 - Johnson Controls, a global leader in automotive seating, interior
components and electronics, has developed a new lightweight rear seat system.
It combines steel and aluminum, creating a modular, multi-material rear seat
structure that uses a new adhesive technology. With this new technology,
engineers were able to reduce the weight of the rear seat structure by 34
percent while maintaining all safety requirements.

"This seat structure is ideal for hybrid and electric vehicles, as there
are technical components that add weight in these types of vehicles," said
Dr. Andreas Eppinger, vice president Technology Management at Johnson
Controls Automotive Experience.

Advanced adhesive bonding technology enables design

To date, rear seat backframes were made of steel because of the stability
the material offers. They also were bonded safely and economically through
traditional welding processes. Although aluminum is lighter in weight and
offers the same stability as steel, it has not been used in rear seat
backframes until now. Previously, steel and aluminum could not be welded
together using conventional processes because of their material properties.
In the development of this new seat frame technology, engineers at Johnson
Controls also created an adhesive bonding technology that serves as an
alternative to welding.

In order to reduce weight of the rear seat backframe, the upper and lower
cross members consist of aluminum. The side members as well as the
reinforcing cross beam of the seat are still made from steel. This enabled a
30 percent weight reduction, which is significant compared to the
conventional steel design. Johnson Controls also reduced the thickness of the
steel back panel from 0.6 to 0.4 millimeters, which resulted in an additional
4 percent weight savings.

"Extensive testing has been conducted and this new rear seat structure is
as safe as traditional seat structures, despite the thinner back panel," said
Dr. Eppinger, reflecting on the development.

Compatible with other bonding technologies and alternative materials

Johnson Controls' new bonding technology is based on an adhesive (or
glue), which is especially advantageous for joining thin and dissimilar
materials and minimizing weight. It is compatible with metals, plastics,
natural fibers and other materials as well as other bonding processes such as
riveting, clinching or welding. Furthermore, it meets all requirements
related to durability, structural strength and stability in the event of a
crash. "We believe that this multi-material design will enable further
innovations in numerous automotive components and systems," said Dr.
Eppinger. "Furthermore, because of its modular design, the new seat structure
can be adapted to meet the demands of various vehicle types. This will allow
us to offer packaging and weight advantages that will help our customers to
design more economical and sustainable vehicles."

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About Johnson Controls

Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader
serving customers in over 150 countries. Our 142,000 employees create quality
products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational
efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced
batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and interior systems for
automobiles. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in
1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Through our
growth strategies and by increasing market share we are committed to
delivering value to shareholders and making our customers successful.

About Johnson Controls Automotive Experience

Johnson Controls Automotive Experience is a global leader in automotive
seating, overhead systems, door and instrument panels, and interior
electronics. We support all major automakers in the differentiation of their
vehicles through our products, technologies and advanced manufacturing
capabilities. With more than 200 plants worldwide, we are where our customers
need us to be. Consumers have enjoyed the comfort and style of our products,
from single components to complete interiors. With our global capability we
supply more than 30 million cars per year.

    Further information is available from:

    Johnson Controls GmbH
    Automotive Experience
    Industriestrasse 20-30
    51399 Burscheid

    Ulrich Andree
    Tel.: +49-2174-65-4343
    Fax: +49-2174-65-3219

Further information is available from: Johnson Controls GmbH, Automotive Experience, Industriestrasse 20-30, 51399 Burscheid, Germany; Ulrich Andree, Tel.: +49-2174-65-4343, Fax: +49-2174-65-3219, E-mail: ulrich.andree at

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