Johnson Controls Develops Lightweight Automotive Design Concepts with Industry and Research Partners

By Johnson Controls Automotive Experience, PRNE
Sunday, June 5, 2011

BURSCHEID, Germany, June 6, 2011 -

- CAMISMA: Cooperative Project Uses Fiber-reinforced Composite Materials
for Lighter, Fuel-efficient Vehicles

Johnson Controls, a global leader in automotive seating, interiors and
electronics, is developing an innovative lightweight automotive design
concept with industry partners that will reduce vehicle weight and improve
fuel economy. The project, called CAMISMA (Carbon fiber- / Amid- /Metallic
structural interior component using a multi-material approach), is supported
by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The project funds
research that seeks to replace steel and light alloys with fiber-reinforced
composites, including carbon fiber, in automotive designs. Partner
organizations working with Johnson Controls include: Evonik Industries, Jacob
Plastics GmbH, Toho Tenax Europe GmbH and the Technical University Aachen.
The CAMISMA project has an initial timeline of three years.

"As a result of climate change and the declining reservoir of fossil
fuels, a key challenge for the automotive industry is to develop
fuel-efficient and low-emission vehicles," said Dr. Andreas Eppinger, vice
president technology management at Johnson Controls Automotive Experience.
"Vehicle weight is a key factor in determining fuel consumption, so it is
important for projects like CAMISMA to help accomplish this goal."

New materials and design approaches for lighter weight components

The CAMISMA project focuses on using multi-material systems in
lightweight designs. Traditionally, using thinner sheets of steel reduced
component weight. This technology cannot be further developed so the need for
new materials and design becomes more important. The CAMISMA project focuses
on the use of fiber-reinforced composites (FRC), particularly those based on
carbon fiber to replace steel. Recognized for their use in aircraft design,
these materials are beneficial because they are high strength and lighter in

To date, FRCs have been too expensive for use in automobile production
because of increasing raw material prices. It also takes longer to produce
FRC components than it does metal parts. The CAMISMA project seeks to address
these challenges. "We are pursuing ways to make high volume production
economically feasible," said Dr. Matthias Berghahn, head of the development
line energy-efficient customer solutions at the science-to-business center
Eco2 at Evonik Industries, one of Johnson Controls' project partners.

Support from German Federal Ministry of Education and Research

The project is an essential part of the German Federal Ministry of
Education and Research's program "Innovative Materials for Industry and
Society," focusing on the development of new products and processes with a
relevant benefit for the society. The program has a goal of accelerating
technical solutions through partnerships between economic and scientific

Seat structure made from FRC exemplifies comprehensive approach

CAMISMA intends to provide a comprehensive solution for the industry to
use economically priced carbon fiber-reinforced materials. In addition, it
will provide a way for the interfaces between FRC components and metal-based
vehicles. An automotive seat is being developed, manufactured and tested, as
a concept for the approach. The objective is to achieve more than a 40
percent weight reduction compared to conventional metal-based designs.

Johnson Controls recently announced a production-ready version of a rear
seat backframe that incorporates adhesive bonded steel and aluminum

"With this design we reduced the weight by more than 30 percent compared
to conventional steel designs," added Eppinger. "We will continue to develop
additional alternative, even lighter weight materials, with our partners in
the CAMISMA project."

Digital images are available online at

    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


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