DESIGN: A design team from BMW in Landshut, working with engineers from JSP and other specialists, has achieved weight savings of 15 per cent and cost savings of 10 per cent in the construction of rear seat-backs for the BMW 5 Series. Manufacturing has just begun in Wackersdorf for delivery to BMW assembly plants in Germany and China.
The design project began in 2005 and series development of the new Sandwich Seatback started in July 2007. The team’s idea was to use an innovative three-part structure to create a lighter seatback, capable of passing statutory impact tests and BMW’s own test schedule: at its centre is a section of energy-absorbing ARPRO®, with an injection-moulded carrier facing the passengers and a layer of carpet facing the luggage compartment. All three components contribute to impact resistance.
The new sandwich seat back design offers great versatility to BMW who have integrated its manufacture into their cockpit production facility.
BMW calculate that the weight saving totals 1.2 kg on an already ‘weight-reduced’ component. Other benefits include a reduced number of components, the elimination of numerous process steps, and improved recyclability.
-Edited by Kelsey Anderson