BASF, Toyota and partners win lightweighting award for seat design

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Four companies – BASF, Flex-N-Gate, Toyota and L&L Products – have been awarded the Altair Enlighten Award for achievements in vehicle weight savings for their joint work on a composite seatback design for the 2022 Toyota Tundra.

“Pultrusion composite technology allowed us to design a seat structure that was 20% lighter than the previous model and to meet our cost goals,” said Vik Bhatia, group manager for engineering design chassis at Toyota. “BASF, L&L Products and Flex-N-Gate were great partners that help us reach our targets.”

The seat structure is the first interior application for L&L Products’ Continuous Composite Systems (CCS) technology that uses BASF’s polyurethane pultrusion system Elastocoat 74850. CCS is a fiber-reinforced composite carrier with engineered sealants and adhesives in a two-dimensional profile. In this application it was overmolded with BASF’s impact-modified polyamide 6 Ultramid B3ZG7 CR to create the 3D shape of the 60% seatback.

“With this partnership, we were able to eliminate an all-steel assembly that contained 60 stamped and welded parts and integrate into four composite parts, which reduced assembly and scrap costs associated with the metal seat structure,” said Hank Richardson, product engineering manager at L&L Products. “This also allowed for greater functionality of the seating system.”

“We continue to show how pultrusion can deliver lightweight, cost-effective solutions as well as integrated functionality,” added Kipp Grumm, technology leader for thermoplastic composites, performance materials at BASF. “The unique design of the injection overmolded pultruded beam in the seat structure also passed all relevant crash test requirements and opens the door for more adoption of composites in automotive applications.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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