Atlanta--Eliminate the typical fabric-covered foam cushion, yet maximize user comfort. Can it be done when designing an office chair?
Judges at the 1998 Society of Plastics Engineers International Plastics Consumer Products Design Awards thought so. They singled out the Aeron(reg) chair from Herman Miller Inc. (Zeeland, MI) as one of eight top prize winners at this year's awards ceremonies. The design involved insert molding similar materials of dissimilar configurations to achieve "high-quality aesthetics, without additional material finish treatments."
Helping make this possible was the use of Petra(reg) recycled resin from AlliedSignal Plastics (Morristown, NJ) in the seat and back frames. The resin is formulated from glass-reinforced, post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate (PET).
"The contour of chair and design are enhanced by elimination of more typical, bulky foam padding with the fiber suspension system," the judges noted. "The manufacturing process is also streamlined by creative use of plastics."
"The Aeron chair comes with built-in durability, thanks to its rugged components and materials that can deliver long service with little maintenance," adds Scott Weri, design engineer with AlliedSignal Plastics. "Also, the resin is easy to process, with excellent flow characteristics. It holds its shape well during production and can be used in high-speed, long production runs."
Adding to the chair's design flexibility is the use of the recycled, environmentally friendly Petra resin. "We made a chair with no heavy metals in it, either in the resins or the colorings," notes Barry J. Mahal, director, tailored solutions at Herman Miller. "We are committed to preserving the environment. Using Petra 7030 recycled resin supports this effort."
The chair can tilt from upright to almost reclining positions. This makes it particularly adaptable to today's open office environments that allow people to work in small groups or alone. "In these open offices, the adjustable, comfortable Aeron chair can help make people more productive and feel better after a day at work," Mahal says.