Rhodia, Faurecia to jointly develop structural seat components

Faurecia will manufacture next-generation automotive seat structural components using Rhodia's impact-modified, polyamide-based high-performance engineering plastics.

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Faurecia (Nanterre, France), a supplier of engineering solutions and automotive components, and specialty chemicals manufacturer Rhodia (Paris, France) announced on May 19 that they have teamed up to jointly develop next-generation innovative lightweight automotive seat structural components using polyamide-based high performance engineering plastics.

Faurecia and Rhodia have worked together since November 2009 and ratified their cooperation with the signature of a joint development agreement (JDA) in February 2011. The main aim of this agreement is to develop a range of seat cushion components using Rhodia's Technyl SI, an impact-modified polyamide grade. The resulting plastic seat cushion structural components are projected to be 20 percent lighter than conventional steel parts, without compromising safety.

The seat cushion structural components jointly designed by Faurecia and Rhodia are currently in advanced development, with series production expected in 2014. Beyond this important milestone, both companies will extend their cooperation to further explore new innovative solutions to help meet automotive OEMís needs for lightweight solutions.

"Faurecia is working with game-changing materials — developed by Rhodia — and structural seating concepts to meet the substantial challenges which the automotive industry faces in producing lighter vehicles. Faurecia has developed a clear vision, strategy and roadmap to reduce the weight of automotive seats. This partnership is expected to help car makers comply with ever more stringent emissions regulations worldwide," said Patrick Koller, executive vice-president of Faurecia Automotive Seating.

"This co-innovation project with a worldwide leader in automotive components represents a significant step towards the introduction of advanced polyamide materials as a competitive alternative to steel for automotive on structural applications. This breakthrough has been made possible thanks to complementary expertise provided by both parties and a strong teamwork," added Francois Hincker, president of Rhodia Engineering Plastics.