By Liz White, UT staffDetroit, Illinois-At the January motor show in Detroit, one of the innovations announced by Johnson Controls International was VibraTech Foam, which the automotive supplier describes as highly durable vehicle seating foam that improves occupant comfort and can also save space. And the seat maker also says the foam’s vibration damping can eliminate the need for vehicle suspension dampers. The “materially enhanced” foam’s superior performance characteristics include advanced, vibration-damping, said the seat maker, adding that it offers “major improvements in comfort, durability and craftsmanship.” No details of the foam material were revealed. “When tailored to a vehicle’s ride characteristics, it improves the overall ride comfort for the driver and passengers and enhances their traveling experience,” said Paul Lambert, group vice president and general manager, Seating-North America for Johnson Controls, in the group’s announcement at Detroit. JCI said its research showed that the foam contributes to relaxation, lower fatigue and better support. Alternatively, the foam can be used to make thinner-profile seating offering the same or better comfort compared to current seats-meanwhile freeing space inside the vehicle.Typically, VibraTech foam improves road vibration absorption by 40 percent improvement and long-term durability by 15 percent, JCI claims. JCI adds that the material is best tailored for individual uses by adjusting the foam formulation, allowing it to complement total vehicle ride and suspension performance.Seat made for the new Lexus RX330 sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) are currently using the new foam, and JCI said another automaker will exploit it in a 2007 model-year vehicle. In this latter use application, the foam gave a “marked improvement in the vehicle ride performance while reducing the overall vehicle costs.” As a result, the use of VibraTech Foam was a more cost-effective method to absorb unwanted vibration, compared with the alternative-vehicle suspension dampers, JCI said. “
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