FAURECIA INTERIOR SYSTEMS
Faurecia is turning heads with Performance 2.0, a demonstrator filled with new ideas for design and surfaces and new levels of comfort, connectivity, lightweight structures and natural materials, all planned for the C and D vehicle segments, the markets most favored by mainstream consumers. Several Performance 2.0 features respond to a light touch or only a gesture of the hand to help make driving easier and simpler.
Instrument Panel 2.0
The demonstrator’s instrument panel illustrates how this interior is built for lightness, with an exceptionally slim design and high-tech systems.
One is a retractable head-up display (HUD), placed above the steering wheel, that furnishes a transparent view of information that is critical for the driver’s reference. It replaces conventional clusters of gauges. This small projection module remains flat and hidden away when the car is parked, tilting up once the engine is started.
Another larger retractable screen is an 8-inch interactive touchscreen placed where an infotainment system might otherwise have been situated and is available for navigation as well as other functions. Below this central retractable screen, icons appear for interaction with air blowers and connections to infotainment features, which light up only when needed.
Instrument Panel 2.0 also suggests that the next wave of control technology will be simply a wave. A passenger can open the radial sliding glove box with merely a gesture. A wave of the hand activates the box, which rotates out and opens.
The Performance 2.0 air vents, rather than presenting the standard adjustable fins, are large, open, driver-oriented decorative vents positioned to the left, right and above the steering wheel, along with two defroster vents; a large central diffuse vent called SmartVent 2.0; and DecoVent, a decorative air vent on the passenger side.
The DecoVent displays graphics during the day and is backlighted at night. Functional decoration on the IP is exemplified by a foil-covered top, along with DecoLight to add a lighting pattern at night. When the vehicle is not in use, DecoLight displays a black panel.
Natural fibers are used extensively throughout the instrument panel. An expansive area across the top of the center and passenger side sections of the IP is covered with Ligneos, a real-wood material, with a natural-fiber-based carrier, that Faurecia developed to use over large areas of interior surfaces. Ligneos also forms the lining of the driver-side air vents. This area is bordered by a textile-covered carrier extending to the windshield. Even the inside of the glove box is all-natural; it is covered with cork.
The Faurecia Slim IP can be fabricated using less material than conventional instrument panels require. Its natural-fiber carriers cut the weight of the IP significantly. Wireless connectivity, as described in Center Console 2.0, also reduces wiring and harness requirements substantially, further reducing weight.
Center Console 2.0
Expanding on the Performance 2.0 focus on replacing conventional buttons, dials and levers with easy and intuitive controls, the armrest atop the center console spirals out and opens with just a single touch. Center Console 2.0 then reveals a wireless charging area for smartphones, hidden behind slats covered with Ligneos wood decoration.
This storage area supports near-field communication for one-touch connectivity. It also enhances the capabilities of the user’s smartphone by coupling it with the vehicle’s own antenna to expand connectivity for the phone.
Through MirrorLinkTM technology, content displayed on an iPhone stored in the console can be shown on the center retractable screen for the front-seat passenger and can be streamed to a wirelessly charged 10-inch tablet mounted on the back of the driver’s seat for viewing by rear-seat passengers. Everything available to the smartphone online can be displayed on the back tablet, which uses a gesture-based interface and a totally wireless connection. MirrorLink identifies the phone owner’s playlist and can interact with it on the retractable screen. The driver’s head-up display, meanwhile, shows only the information required to operate the vehicle, consisting of turn signals and electronic readouts traditionally shown on gauges.
Door Panel 2.0
Performance 2.0 offers a driver’s door with a heated armrest, a Faurecia invention that adds comfort for drivers in colder climates. Mercedes-Benz already has incorporated the Faurecia heated armrest into its new S-Class sedan.
Covered with textile, the armrest is backlit to display patterns during the day. The forward part of the armrest is covered with graphics engraved in a remarkable colored, anodized aluminum surface, available in yellow, green, black or gray. This application is the first in which anodized aluminum has been used in this way.
As with all of the Performance 2.0 structures, the door panel carrier employs natural fibers. Near the upper arm, it is covered with carpet, cushioning the driver and extending the surface design of the floor carpet. The pocket of the door panel is constructed of Ligneco, Faurecia’s own visible-natural-fiber material used to expose surfaces that normally would be hidden and covered without adding weight.
The floor is distinctive as well, with its ridges and woven patterns that are molded into the surface in front of the passenger’s seat, with space for floor mats. Function and decorative design come together again in the visual dash insulator.
Driver’s Seat 2.0
Faurecia Interior Systems and Faurecia Automotive Seating have joined technologies to showcase innovations in the driver’s seat for the Performance 2.0 demonstrator. The seat was fashioned with sport cover-carving techniques, rather than conventional cut-and-sew methods. In this advanced process, foam is applied to the back of a textile and then is pressed into place to create its shape and a seamless surface.
The cushion incorporates a sculpted cover to offer a smooth surface with no creases. It is sewn together with a decorative sewing line called the Flat Seam, a distinctive seam created with a combination of four threads for a nearly infinite mix of colors. The driver’s seat backrest is composed of lightweight plastic developed by Faurecia
The front seat has never been as connected, comfortable, flexible and decorative as it is with Performance 2.0, a lightweight car-full of high-end conveniences for midmarket vehicles.
Faurecia has intensively pursued the development of a bio-based material using natural fibers with a natural matrix that does not rely on oil as an ingredient. This BioAttitude program is targeted to continuously impact vehicle lifecycle assessment, reduction of weight and CO2 emissions, as well as reliance on the oil market. At the LA Auto Show, Faurecia introduces natural fibers integrated with new, bio-based polymers for injection molding of interior structures.
The BioAttitude Wall highlights products and processes that Faurecia has created for using both injection and compression techniques to incorporate natural fibers into interior parts. The wall exhibits door panels built from each of three Faurecia processes using natural materials.
Unlike any other injected material in the market, NAFILean (Natural Fiber for Lean Injected Design) employs natural fibers that both reduce weight and allow for complex shapes and architectures. NAFILean consists of a natural hemp-based fiber with polypropylene for producing injected parts that save 20 to 25 percent in weight compared with standard injection-molding parts. Over the life of a vehicle, components made with NAFILean will lessen their environmental impact by 20 to 25 percent, as well.
Manufacturers can use NAFILean in conventional injection machines, so the transition to NAFILean processes can be quick and cost-effective.
A Faurecia project called BioMat advances the NAFILean process all the way to a mixture of completely natural substances, creating an injection material with 100 percent bio-based fibers and matrix alike. Faurecia is ready to roll out BioMat, an injection product that totally eliminates oil-based ingredients.
In collaboration with Mitsubishi Chemicals and other partners, Faurecia created new processes for extracting substances from natural sources for the matrix of the injection material. Last year, Faurecia and Mitsubishi Chemicals officially joined forces to finalize development of an optimized polybutylene succinate (PBS) for automotive applications. As a result, Faurecia has become the first automotive equipment supplier to mass produce a 100 percent bio-based plastic, with hemp-based fibers and a natural-substance matrix that replaces polypropylene plastic.
Faurecia anticipates BioMat will begin appearing in vehicles on the road as early as 2016.
LignoLite and NFPP
With LignoLite, Faurecia combines wood fibers with oil-based binders to create lightweight rigid parts through compression, rather than injection. LignoLite is composed of 85 percent wood fibers. Faurecia’s Natural Fiber Polypropylene (NFPP) compression technology also enables faster production with its one-step compression and covering process.
Premium Decoration and Surface Wall
The difference between a vehicle interior that is simply notable and one that is extraordinary often is a matter of trim and decoration, using such sleek and warm materials as aluminum and wood. Faurecia offers exceptional capabilities in design, materials, colors and components to create interiors that draw the acclaim of vehicle designers and the attention of consumers.
A key to Faurecia’s capabilities is its “one-tool-x-surfaces” technology that allows for the production of a variety of aluminum and wood finishes using a single tool. That becomes basis for a highly flexible response to individual orders from consumers while maintaining efficient manufacturing processes.
For example, Faurecia produces components for the Audi A6 in an array of finishes for interior decoration elements on the instrument panel, front and rear door panels, and the center console. They are available in two gloss-aluminum finishes as well as a matte brushed-aluminum finish to supplement the standard trim specification in micro-metallic aluminum.
One evolution of interior design supported by Faurecia technologies is the use of generous stretches of trim surfaces in place of traditional decoration elements. For instance, the Mercedes-Benz GLK instrument panel comprises cut-outs for its air vents, steering lock and navigation system so that the SUV’s instrument panel merges smoothly with the remainder of the stylish interior.
Faurecia also has developed materials and processes that allow premium vehicles to more effectively incorporate wood surfaces. Because of its rigidity and the difficulty of working with the material, wood has been a challenging substance to shape to the vehicle designer’s vision.
Faurecia, however, offers Ligneos, a technology that enables the processing of large sheets of wood in three dimensions for lighter weight and more flexibility than ever before. Because Ligneos wood is flexible and adjusts to the shape of components, it is ideal for such larger components as doors, instrument panels and seat backs. Faurecia offers more than 40 different woods in matte, gloss and textured finishes.