Automotive seat covers printed by an inkjet process

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  • Inkjet process for seat covers
  • Mass production of each seat as an individual unit
  • Prototype at Interior Motives Design Awards 2014

Johnson Controls is working on a production process to personalize interiors that is entirely new in automotive production: an inkjet process for seat covers. The company has presented a prototype of this seat during the Interior Motives Design Awards 2014.

“This manufacturing process can be likened to a paper printer. Each seat cover version is a single file; and these are printed successively, so that each seat cover can feature a completely individual design,” according to Andreas Maashoff, director industrial design and craftsmanship and consumer and market research at Johnson Controls Automotive Seating.

Johnson Controls is currently working on an innovative inkjet process enabling additional personalization options for seat surfaces in automotive line production (source: Johnson Controls)

Johnson Controls is currently working on an inkjet process enabling additional personalization options for seat surfaces in automotive line production (source: Johnson Controls)

With this processing method, it will be possible to design and mass produce each seat as an individual unit. Inkjet-printed fabrics have been used for posters in fashion and advertising for years. The challenge for their use in automotive production lies in developing inks, a printing process, and packaging for the materials that meets all customer specifications. In addition, colors must not fade after exposure to sunlight and repeated movements entering and exiting the vehicle.

“In our market research, we see that customizing and personalizing the interior design is becoming increasingly important to vehicle buyers. The seat and its design options are ideally suited to catering to these needs.” said Maashoff.

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