Yokohama, Japan (ots-PRNewswire) - Lear Corporation (NYSE: LEA) is
the creative force behind thousands of automotive innovations that
have earned the company numerous awards and expanded Lear's backlog
of new business to more than $3 billion. By designing from the inside
out, Lear can ensure that all components -- from overhead storage
systems to self-aligning seat head restraints and sophisticated cabin
communication systems -- work together. The resulting harmonious
design is a hallmark of Lear innovation and technology.
Lear is showcasing some of its latest technology innovations at
the company's exhibit at the 2000 Automotive Engineering Exhibition,
sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan. These
innovations include both products and processes, tapping the creative
talents of Lear's worldwide employees and the tools that help bring
those creations to fruition.
The focus of the Lear exhibit is modularity and the benefits that
modules offer to automakers and consumers. Lear also is unveiling an
impressive range of its new Intertronics(TM) products, Lear's
products and technologies for the global automotive market such as
smart junction boxes, advanced electronic products and mechatronic
switches, as well as remote keyless entry systems and full electronic
and electrical distribution systems.
OASys(TM) Overhead Audio System -- Lear's OASys overhead audio
system is revolutionizing automotive audio. OASys uses a network of
sound zones in place of large, heavy traditional cone and coil
speakers currently positioned in door and instrument panels. This
technology transforms the entire headliner into a speaker with
excellent ambiance and enveloping sound qualities, logically focusing
the sound at occupants' ears rather than their knees. OASys has
multi-channel capability and adaptability, and uses typical audio
signal processing. Ducts for heating, air conditioning and
ventilation also can be incorporated. OASys provides automotive
manufacturers an opportunity to reclaim valuable packaging space in
the door and instrument panels, eliminate the noise paths into the
vehicle interior and achieve total vehicle weight savings. Lear can
deliver OASys fully assembled and pretested, resulting in a reduction
in vehicle complexity as well as warranty issues.
Integrated Seat Adjuster Module (ISAM) -- This mechatronic product
combines the consumer interface control and the multiplexed
electronic control for seat adjustment, power lumbar support, memory
function and heated seat into one package. ISAM combines several
functions into one product to save space and cost, has the design
flexibility to include additional features and styles, and reduces
time and complexity of assembly into the seat.
Two-Tone, Single-Step Injection Molding -- This low-pressure Lear
process innovation has the capability to produce a two-tone door in a
single step. It provides excellent interfacial bonding without the
use of adhesive and can accommodate post-formable flanges and trim
edges. The process has the flexibility to produce a door trim panel
with a single cover, a split cover combining a soft upper cover with
hard lower trim or no covering material at all. Integral molded core
features include cages, locators and retainers.
FabricFoam(TM) Seat Trim -- Lear is continually exploring
materials innovations in seating systems. Seating is the third
largest cost in the production of a vehicle and the largest portion
of the seat cost is the seating materials. Lear's proprietary
FabricFoam seat trim eliminates the need for seat covers, which
reduces materials, labor and lamination cost. The one-step, low-cost
manufacturing process for FabricFoam uses polyurethane foam and
durable polyurethane skin to produce a flexible surface finish with
dynamic colors, texture and gloss that also meets automakers'
materials specifications and comfort requirements. It can be easily
recycled and is both water resistant and washable.
Dual Voltage Smart Power Junction Box -- Lear's Dual Voltage Smart
Junction Box is a multifunctional and centralized unit that combines
the signal and power for the upcoming dual voltage architecture. The
increasing consumer demand for new power functions is driving the
need for efficient, high voltage distribution systems in vehicles.
The dual voltage architecture maintains the current 12-volt power
needed for loads such as the vehicle's incandescent lamps and small
power motors and actuators, while deploying the 42-volt power bus for
the new, high power demanding loads such as electro-magnetic valves
and electrically heated catalytic converters. The introduction of the
two voltage systems increases the efficiency of the whole electronic
and electronic distribution system, and optimizes size, weight and
cost. The Dual Voltage Smart Junction Box also provides new technical
solutions using higher voltages, such as the use of semiconductors
optimized for 42 volts that replace conventional electromechanical
relays and the integration of the DC/DC converted into the Smart
Integrated Airbag Canister -- This Lear innovation integrates the
airbag canister with the instrument panel retainer, providing
improved fit and finish of the canister and airbag to the instrument
panel. The design eliminates the canister end caps, contributing to
the reduction in parts, cost and weight. The integrated canister also
provides enhanced structural support to the instrument panel.
Integrated Head Impact Countermeasures -- Lear's Pro-tec(TM)
Advanced Restraints line of safety products include materials
innovations in head impact countermeasures that provide enhanced
safety to vehicle occupants. Among the materials on display is an
egg-crate-like plastic that provides improved energy absorption.
Sono-tec(TM) AT Dash Insulator and Floor Underpad -- Sono-tec AT
Dash Insulator and Floor Underpad is part of Lear's Sono-tec Acoustic
Absorbers, Lear's line of acoustic products. This very lightweight,
multi-layer dash insulator and floor underpad was developed and
optimized through Lear's proprietary acoustic modeling capabilities.
It provides optimum sound abatement performance by using both
absorptive and barrier technology. In addition to being manufactured
from recyclable materials, it offers a weight savings of up to 60
percent compared to traditional designs.
Integrated Door Controls -- This family of mechatronic products
consolidates the controls for window lift, door lock, power mirror,
heated seat and electronic control modules into a single, integrated
package that operates either direct or via multiplexing to interface
with vehicle systems outside the doors. Lear's integrated door
controls lower system cost by reducing wires and assembly of
different controls and the modular design allows adaptability to
vehicle requirements with minimal changes.
Pro-tec(TM) Self-Aligning Head Restraint System -- Lear's
exclusive Pro-tec Self-Aligning Head Restraint System (SAHR)
significantly reduces the occupant's risk of neck injury during a
low-speed rear impact. SAHR is part of Pro-tec Occupant Protection
Systems, Lear's line of innovated safety products. It uses a
balancing system that allows the acceleration and velocity between
the head and the upper torso to be as low as possible. During the
early stage of the rear impact, the force of the impact presses the
occupant against the seat back, then the head restraint moves up and
forward to support the head and minimize the potential for whiplash.
SAHR reduces the risk of injury by 80 percent compared to standard
Custom Key Fobs -- This new generation of remote keyless entry key
fob designs uses decorative molding technology to offer a wide
variety of options in fob design patterns or colors including
textures, logos, text, and translucent and glow-in-the-dark colors.
The custom key fobs provide unique styling without changing mold or
injection material, offer the proven styling success found in cell
phones and pagers to key fobs, and use technology that is adaptable
to existing molds with only minimal change.
Electrically Integrated Door Trim System -- This Lear innovation
integrates the wire harness and electrical components, such as door
switches, into the door trim panel, as well as mounting the sound
system speaker on the panel. By incorporating all these items into
the door trim panel and then installing the electrically integrated
door trim system on the vehicle door along with other components
reduces complexity at the vehicle assembly plant and provides
improved ergonomics during assembly.
People-Vehicle-Interface(TM) Methodology (PVI Method(TM)) --
Lear's exclusive People-Vehicle-Interface Methodology -- or PVI
Method for short -- is the innovation development discipline Lear
employs to turn a market opportunity into stylish and functional
products that consumers want and need in their vehicles.
Lear's six pillars of PVI begin with Consumer Research to define
consumer preferences based on extensive testing, focus group studies
and physical measurements. The second pillar, Industrial Design,
interprets consumer data to conceptualize and create unique solutions
to meet the demands of tomorrow's automotive interior components and
systems. That is followed by Engineering, where Lear engineers
develop new products that meet the needs of both Lear's customers
(automakers) and consumers, focusing on safety, modularity, low mass,
comfort and convenience.
The fourth pillar is Technical Analysis in which specialists
provide analytical and developmental expertise to assess the
performance, longevity and function of each component or system.
The PVI Method's final two pillars are Manufacturing Process
Development and Validation. The former focuses on the evolving
manufacturing processes to produce superior components as well as to
bring products to market faster. Increased recyclability, while
reducing cycle time and costs, also is important. Validation is
conducted at Lear's recently expanded, state-of-the-art testing
facility that is part of the Lear Corporation World Headquarters and
Technology Center in Southfield, Michigan (USA). There, products are
tested and certified to meet the government specifications and the
individualized needs and requirements of Lear's customers.
A Proud History In The Asian Automotive Industry
Lear Corporation began operations in 1917 as American Metal
Products producing metal seat frames, and today is a global leader in
providing automotive systems to major automotive manufacturers in
Japan, Asia Pacific and around the world.
Lear's heritage includes a long history serving Asia's automakers
and providing superior products to meet the needs of the Asian
market. Lear is the global leader in automotive seat systems, as well
as one of the world's top three suppliers of headliners, electronics,
door panels, and flooring and acoustic systems.
In the past five years, Lear's business outside of Europe and
North America has grown dramatically. For 1994, Lear reported sales
of $196.3 million in rest-of-world (ROW) markets. Lear's 1999 ROW
sales were $811.4 million -- a compounded growth rate of 42.6
Lear conducts business with most major Asia Pacific automotive
manufacturers including Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Toyota in North
America and Europe; Isuzu, Mazda, Subaru and Suzuki in North America;
Chang'an Automotive, Daewoo, GM-Holden, Honda, Hyundai, Isuzu,
Mahindra & Mahindra, Mitsubishi, and Mazda in other markets. Lear
also has business with PSA, Ford and General Motors through their
joint ventures in the Asia Pacific region.
Lear has a growing presence in the Japanese market. The company
has facilities with engineering and design capability in Japan --
located in Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagoya. Lear currently ships
electronics and switches to the domestic Japanese market from its
operations in North America and the Philippines.
Lear also has a significant presence in the Asia Pacific region.
The company's Asia Pacific Operations, headquartered in Singapore,
has facilities in Australia, China, India, Philippines and Thailand.
Since 1990, Lear has been producing high quality leather seat trim
covers in Thailand for its seating operations in Europe and North
America. In 1995, Lear opened facilities in Australia and India to
provide just-in-time seating to General Motors. In 1998, the company
won a contract to design, engineer and manufacture a total interior
for Mahindra and Mahindra in India. Lear also opened facilities to
provide just-in-time seating to Mahindra on its current vehicle
In May 1999, Lear advanced its global business with the
acquisition of United Technologies Automotive (UTA). Of special
significance was the addition of world-class electronic and
electrical distribution systems capabilities. The acquisition also
expanded Lear's worldwide presence into the Philippines, adding
engineering and manufacturing in Cebu. The engineering center
supports electronics and interior products. The manufacturing
facilities produce wire harnesses for the domestic, North American
and Japanese markets.
In addition to its wholly owned operations, the growth of Lear's
Asian automotive business has been enhanced by a number of important
In 1987, Lear and NHK Spring Company Ltd. of Yokohama, Japan
formed General Seating, a joint venture company that capitalized on
NHK's manufacturing system and Lear's technology for seat systems and
other interior components. General Seating has just-in-time seating
plants in Frankfort, Indiana (USA) and in Woodstock, Ontario
(Canada). Its customers during the past 12 years included CAMI
Automotive (a General Motors-Suzuki joint venture), Honda and SIA (a
Subaru-Isuzu joint venture).
Another joint venture with NHK, General Seating (Thailand) Co.
Ltd., was established in late 1996. This venture provides
just-in-time seating to Ford/Mazda and other automotive
Lear and NHK recently established a research and development
operation based in Dearborn, Michigan (USA), along with Lear's
Transnational Division, which oversees Lear's interest in General
Seating. Its close proximity to the Lear Corporation World
Headquarters and Technology Center complex provides access to Lear's
total systems capabilities including state-of-the-industry design and
In 1996, Lear made its first expansion into the rapidly emerging
Chinese market, forming a joint venture with Jiangling Motors Co.,
Ltd. of Nanchang, China. The new company, Lear-Jiangling Interior
Systems Co., Ltd., initially supplied seats and interior trim for
Isuzu trucks and Ford Transit vans produced at the Jiangling Motors
In 1998, Lear increased its presence in China announcing joint
ventures with Chang'an Automobile to provide full interior components
for Chang'an Automotive in Chongqing; Shanghai Car Carpet to produce
automotive carpets for Shanghai General Motors in Shanghai; and
Shanghai Vehicle Awning to produce interior trim components for
Shanghai General Motors.
Also through the UTA acquisition, Lear assumed an ownership
interest in a joint venture with DCAC in Wuhan, China. The joint
venture produces wire harnesses for PSA and next year will begin to
export wire harnesses to Citroen in France.
In 1998, Lear announced a joint venture with Hanil to produce full
interior systems for Hyundai's manufacturing plant in India.
Lear also assumed UTA's majority interest in a joint venture with
Furakawa of Tokyo, Japan, now doing business as Lear-Furakawa. The
joint venture is based in El Paso, Texas (USA) and produces wire
harnesses for Honda, Isuzu, Mazda and Subaru for the North American
When Lear acquired Masland Industries in 1996, it also assumed
Masland's ownership interest in AMTEX, which has operations in
Lebanon, Ohio (USA) and Manteca, California (USA). This joint
venture, formed by Masland and Hayashi Telempu of Nagoya, Japan in
1983, produces flooring and acoustic systems and other interior
products for Isuzu, Mazda, Mitsubishi, NUMMI (a GM-Toyota venture),
Subaru and Toyota for the North American automotive market.
Lear Corporation, a Fortune 150 company headquartered in
Southfield, Michigan (USA), is one of the world's largest automotive
suppliers, with 1999 sales of $12.4 billion. The company's
world-class products are designed, engineered and manufactured by
more than 120,000 employees in over 300 facilities located in 33
countries. Information about Lear and its products is available on
the Internet at http://www.lear.com
ots Original Text Service: Lear Corporation
Director -- Technology Communications of Lear Corporation
Company News On-Call:
fax, (USA) 800-758-5804, ext. 518304
Web site: http://www.lear.com
Original-Content von: Lear Corporation, übermittelt durch news aktuell