Dearborn, Michigan -- Ford Motor Co. and Lear Corp. together won the Environmental category at the recent 2008 Innovation Awards sponsored by the Society of Plastic Engineers (SPE) Automotive Division.
Ford claimed in an 8 Dec announcement that it is leading the industry in use of 'environmentally friendly' foam based on soya polyols in seat backs and cushions.
"This is a fantastic example of a domestic automaker and its supplier looking beyond current sustainability solutions," said Maria Ciliberti, SPE awards programme chair and global automotive director for Ticona Engineering Polymers, a leading global supplier of engineering thermoplastics. "I would like to see Ford and Lear's soy foam innovation implemented across the auto industry."
Ford was the first automaker to demonstrate that soya-based foams could be formulated to pass stringent requirements for automotive applications. In August 2007, it introduced soya foam seats on the 2008 Ford Mustang, and has since used them on the Ford Expedition, F-150, Escape and Focus, as well as Mercury Mariner, Lincoln Navigator and Mazda Tribute. By the end of the 2009 model year, more than one million Ford vehicles will contain soya foam.
"As Ford continues to increase its use of soy-based foam seats across many vehicle platforms, we're reducing our environmental footprint by reducing carbon dioxide emissions, decreasing dependence on oil and moving toward sustainability," said Jerry Brown, Ford seat systems chief engineer.
Ford expects through use of soya polyols to decrease its use of petroleum oil by a million pounds and reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by five million pounds annually. "Use of soya foam in seats also delivers superior product performance, and supports American farmers," the company added.
According to Ash Galbreath, Lear Corp.'s director of advanced material, "This recognition of Lear Corporation's first-to-market SoyFoam technology is confirmation of the environmental product leadership position Lear has worked hard to develop over the past few years. We are proud of the success of our partnership with Ford Motor Co. and continue to improve seating systems' environmental footprint and innovate weight reduction, renewable content, recyclable and other 'green' product solutions."