Southfield, Michigan - Automotive seating supplier Lear's SoyFoam received an Honourable Mention and the Southfield-based group's ProTec PLuS Self-Aligning Active Head Restraint System was selected as a Finalist, in a recent automotive competition.
The 14th annual PACE (Premier Automotive Suppliers' Contribution to Excellence) Award competition, jointly presented by Crain Communication's Automotive News, Microsoft, SAP and Transportation Research Center Inc., gave an Honourable Mention to Lear's SoyFoam, a soybean oil-derived automotive polyurethane developed for seating, head restraints, armrests, console foam padding and other interior components.
This product substitutes petroleum-based polyols with soybean oil-based polyols to produce a more environmentally-friendly foam material, said a Lear statement.
"Lear's SoyFoam technology is the first to be used in automotive production as a result of Ford Motor Company's decision to use it in the seats of the 2008 model year Ford Mustang," said Don Bernhardt, Lear's vice president of Seat Engineering, in Lear's 15 Nov announcement.
Lear's second generation ProTec PLuS Self-Aligning Active Head Restraint System is designed to meet the anti-whiplash requirements of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the European New Car Assessment Programme and the new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS 202a), which goes into effect 1 Sept 2009.
To limit head rotation relative to the torso during a rear-impact collision, the US mandate requires automakers to install in all front-row seats either a solution for the dynamic option, such as ProTec PLuS, or a solution for the static option, such as firmer and larger head restraints that are closer to an occupant's head, which can cause everyday discomfort.
"Lear's ProTec PLuS dynamic system allows for a more comfortable seating system and greater design flexibility than a static solution," said Bernhardt. "Additionally, ProTec PLuS, if activated, resets itself automatically which provides additional protection to the occupant as well as eliminates the need for service as in the case of competing dynamic products."
PIC: Ford's new Mustang will have seats using Lear's SoyFoam material.