Auburn Hills, Michigan - Chrysler Group claims it is raising the bar in sustainable manufacturing by replacing foam made using renewable soya polyols with foam made using recycled polyols from waste foam.Such foam will be used in the seats of the 2011 Jeep Gran Cherokee model.
The US car giant's Doug Peterson, a materials engineering expert, says in a video posted on U-Tube that Chrysler is keeping the foam waste out of landfill and "chemically decomposing this foam" -- generated from other commercial sources - "to create new raw materials we can use for foam."
Chrysler's polymer partner Infichem Polymers llc has developed a glycolysis process to chemically decompose the material, said Peterson. The renewed polyols produced are then shipped to seat manufacturer Magna Interior systems.
Seat foam producer Magna then blends the recycled polyol with virgin materials and produces foam with "at least 5 percent recycled content," said Peterson.
The foam is then assembled into seat frames, with seat covers added before shipment for to Chysler's Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit, Michigan.
Closed loop recycling will see foam waste from Magna going back into the system for processing, Chrysler said.
"We estimate right now that we are recovering about 180 000 pounds (80 tonnes) of foam a year that would otherwise be ship to landfill," said Rodney Eaton, who is responsible for interior projects at Chrysler. And the company estimates that those numbers could rise since Chrysler is considering expanding the process for seat foam for other vehicles and different applications.
Currently Chrysler polyurethane foam is used in sills, pillars and other vehicle body parts for control of NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) as well as in headliners and other components, Peterson noted.
Chrysler aims to raise the current 5 percent by weight of recycled polyol to 10 percent by weight in the seat foam and possibly to 20 percent in the head rest, commented Peterson.