1995-02-01

Case Study: Feasibility of Magnesium for a Light-Weight Automotive Seat Frame Application 950423

The seating system in an automobile is one of the larger contributors to the overall vehicle mass, typically 10% to 15%. Consequently, OEM's and their seat system suppliers are focusing on seating system mass reductions. Johnson Controls, Inc., (JCI) is one such supplier that is committed to developing light-weight seat technology through alternative materials and enhanced designs.
Over the last ten years JCI has developed light-weight seat concepts using carbon fiber, plastics, aluminum and magnesium materials as alternatives to steel. The project under study in this paper considers magnesium as a substitute for steel to achieve a lightweight seat for 1997 model year production.

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine whether defined project objectives can be attained using magnesium as an appropriate material for a 1997, light-weight automotive seat project.

Problem Statement

This research project assesses the feasibility of using magnesium, rather than steel, for a 1997, light-weight automotive seat frame application. The following questions will be addressed:
  1. 1)
    Can a steel seat frame be designed to meet the light weight seat system mass, cost and performance objectives?
  2. 2)
    Can a magnesium seat frame be designed to meet the light weight seat system mass, cost and performance objectives?
  3. 3)
    What are the business risks and benefits in developing magnesium as an alternative light weight seat frame material?
  4. 4)
    Should magnesium be selected as a frame material for the 1997, light weight seat program?

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