Johnson Controls Develops Improved Foam for Vehicle Seats

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Plymouth Township-based Johnson Controls, a manufacturer of automotive seating systems, has developed an improved foam for seat cushions that reduces material impurities and odors.

"Our aim is material substitution with low-emission materials suitable for series production, without altering the unique properties of polyurethane foams such as durability and stiffness," says Ingo Fleischer, group vice president and general manager of product group foam at Johnson Controls Automotive Seating. "Ultimately, innovations like our latest low emission foam lead to cleaner and healthier air in the vehicle interior."

Fleischer says the foam can register up to 90 percent fewer volatile organic compounds (carbon-based chemicals such as acetone and benzene) than the foam it developed 10 years ago.

"Foam plays an incremental part for the seat in terms of comfort and gives the seat's cushion and back its shape," Fleischer says. "Based on an average foam volume … in a car seat, this optimized formulation supports our efforts to contribute to a cleaner and healthier interior environment."

He says the foam was primarily researched at Johnson Controls' technical center in France, with help from the company's R&D centers in Plymouth Township and Shanghai. Production of the foam takes place at the company's facilities in Europe and China. Fleischer says a manufacturing location in the U.S. is planned.

Johnson Controls Automotive Experience, with more than 200 locations across the globe, is in the process of spinning off from Johnson Controls. Following the separation, expected to take effect on Oct. 1, the automotive unit will operate as an independent, publicly traded company under the name Adient. 

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