Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Johnson Controls introduces innovative production process for lightweight door panels made of natural fibers

Intelligent solutions for interior, seating structure and electronics save weight and increase quality and comfort

Johnson Controls, a global leader in automotive seating, interiors and electronics, is providing a series of innovative door panels, seat structures and instrument clusters for the new BMW 3 Series.

Source: Johnson Controls Automotive Experience

The door panels are made using a combination of natural fibers and plastic that are 20 percent lighter than conventional components. The seat structures for the driver's seat save three to four kilograms depending on the model. The instrument cluster features an Automotive Pixel Link (APIX*) high-speed, point-to-point connection.

"With our innovative products, we are helping BMW make the new 3 Series comfortable and sustainable. We offer high-quality, lighter weight components that reduce fuel consumption," said Beda Bolzenius, president of Johnson Controls Automotive Experience. "We also use renewable and environmentally-sound raw materials in the interior components."

The non-visible door panel elements for the new BMW 3 Series sedan and sports wagon models are largely made of wood fiber. The natural fiber carrier is directly molded with plastic. This innovative production method makes the door panel considerably lighter. A state- of-the-art process known as groove lamination is used to apply the fabric or leather trim on the door panel. This process involves the trim being joined in recesses, eliminating the need for an additional component and further reducing weight.

Four special features characterize the seat structure of the new BMW 3 Series. The use of high-strength steel means it is both stable and lightweight. The low seat back pivot point makes the seat particularly comfortable as it snugly fits the occupant's back. The structure also offers a very finely graduated recliner to ensure the best sitting position. Adjusting motors using four-pole technology, in some cases with rare-earth magnets that have a stronger magnetic field than conventional ferrite magnets, are used in the electrically adjustable seats.

This means they need a smaller installation space and are approximately 200 grams lighter. With up to four motors per seat, this also enables a significant weight reduction. The seat structures are modular in design. They are available with four and eight-way functionality for four and five-door models. There is also a version with an easy-entry function for two-door models.

The basic instrument cluster for the new BMW 3 Series has day and night design and not only offers high-quality analog displays and LED pilot lights but also a 2.7-inch TFT display. The instrument cluster features a bidirectional APIX* high-speed point-to-point connection that facilitates robust image and control data transmission using just one interface. This technology is used in displays and stepper motors on the design circuit board to communicate with the electronics on the PCB (printed circuit board) behind it. Data are transferred at 250 megabits per second, with the APIX technology facilitating up to 3 gigabits per second. Johnson Controls has engineered new solutions with respect to software and electromagnetic compatibility for the use of APIX.

Digital images are available online from

About Johnson Controls

Johnson Controls is a global diversified technology and industrial leader serving customers in more than 150 countries. Our 162,000 employees create quality products, services and solutions to optimize energy and operational efficiencies of buildings; lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles; and interior systems for automobiles. Our commitment to sustainability dates back to our roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Through our growth strategies and by increasing market share we are committed to delivering value to shareholders and making our customers successful.

About Johnson Controls Automotive Experience

Johnson Controls is a global leader in automotive seating, overhead systems, door and instrument panels, and interior electronics. We support all major automakers in the differentiation of their vehicles through our products, technologies and advanced manufacturing capabilities. With 240 locations worldwide, we are where our customers need us to be. Consumers have enjoyed the comfort and style of our products, from single components to complete interiors. With our global capability we supply approximately 50 million cars per year.

*APIX is a registered trademark of Inova Semiconductors

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like more
Johnson Controls GmbH
Automotive Experience
Industriestraße 20-30
51399 Burscheid Germany
Ulrich Andree
Tel.: +49 2174 65-4343
Fax: +49 2174 65-3219

Ulrich Andree | Johnson Controls
Further information:

Further reports about: APIX AUTOmotive Experience Johnson Controls electric vehicle raw material

More articles from Automotive Engineering:

nachricht Direct-drive Linear Switched Reluctance Actuator for Automobile Active Suspension Systems
27.10.2015 | The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

nachricht ACOSAR: standardizing merged numerical simulation and real tests
06.10.2015 | Kompetenzzentrum - Das virtuelle Fahrzeug Forschungsgesellschaft mbH

All articles from Automotive Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

Im Focus: Quantum Simulation: A Better Understanding of Magnetism

Heidelberg physicists use ultracold atoms to imitate the behaviour of electrons in a solid

Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...

Im Focus: Climate Change: Warm water is mixing up life in the Arctic

AWI researchers’ unique 15-year observation series reveals how sensitive marine ecosystems in polar regions are to change

The warming of arctic waters in the wake of climate change is likely to produce radical changes in the marine habitats of the High North. This is indicated by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Fraunhofer’s Urban Futures Conference: 2 days in the city of the future

25.11.2015 | Event News

Gluten oder nicht Gluten? Überempfindlichkeit auf Weizen kann unterschiedliche Ursachen haben

17.11.2015 | Event News

Art Collection Deutsche Börse zeigt Ausstellung „Traces of Disorder“

21.10.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Harnessing a peptide holds promise for increasing crop yields without more fertilizer

25.11.2015 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Earth's magnetic field is not about to flip

25.11.2015 | Earth Sciences

Tracking down the 'missing' carbon from the Martian atmosphere

25.11.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>