Plastic seatback saves 25% weight

The redesigned part meets safety regulations without having to rely on steel reinforcements

Dow Automotive has developed a blow moulded plastic rear seatback, which promises weight savings of up to 25%.

It also gives greater scope for including additional design features, and meets US and European automotive safety regulations.

The technology was showcased at Antec, the annual technical conference of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) in the US.

Unlike conventional designs, this seatback does not need steel reinforcements to pass safety requirements. Steel is traditionally used for automotive seating applications to meet stiffness and loading requirements – with use of plastics limited due to its comparative lack of stiffness and strength.

The first commercial vehicle to use Dow Automotive’s technology – the Audi TT Coupe, introduced in Europe in 2006 – is already on the road. The plastic rear seatback resulted in mass savings of 1.2kg over a traditional steel reinforced design, according to the company.

Tom Shelley

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