Johnson Controls has introduced a very unique looking idea for center armrest/consoles. It increases capacity over conventional floor consoles by 30- to 150-percent and can house such items as navigation, infotainment and security systems. It also includes a rear sliding storage drawer for occupants confined to the back seat, as well as additional storage in the lid.
As interior space requirements continue to increase, ideas like these will become more important to designers seeking to create unique solutions to storage issues. The guys at Johnson Controls are never short on cool ideas, and this one should be ready for integration in car interiors by 2010. The ongoing challenge will be getting the often conservative manufacturers to open their minds to these forward-thinking ideas.
Read the complete press release after the jump.
Johnson Controls Unveils New Floor Console Product at 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit
Innovative console offers unique design and more storage space that's easier to access
DETROIT, MICHIGAN, U.S.A. (January 7, 2007) – The all-new Access Floor Console from Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) is another example of how the company is able to maintain its industry leadership by delivering innovative products and leveraging process technologies that enable differentiation. The product was unveiled today at the 2007 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan, and is on display at the company's product and technology exhibit in room D2-15 of Cobo Center.
Johnson Controls' Access Floor Console offers many benefits for automakers seeking greater value and flexible space usage inside their vehicles. They include a new and differentiated design theme that enables increased storage volume; additional feature content; improved, integrated ergonomic soft surfaces; and unique finish opportunities.
"With the Access Floor Console, we've created a customer-focused innovation that can help distinguish an auto manufacturer's vehicle with great new features and functions," said Byron Foster, who leads Johnson Controls' North American interiors business. "With this unique product, we add value by delivering outstanding craftsmanship, superior process technologies, and seamless integration."
The center console, which is located between the front seats, utilizes Johnson Controls' CrafTec™ PFIP (partial foam in place) process to replace the traditional armrest assembly with an integrated comfort zone for a soft user interface adjacent to the seating areas. The company's family of CrafTec processes create highly crafted interior trim components by combining multiple materials in a single piece. CrafTec PFIP is a process in which plush softness is applied using the main substrate instead of separate, layered pieces.
By functioning independently of the storage function, the integrated armrest on top of the console provides easier access to stored items. The integrated, soft-comfort zone accommodates the 95th percentile male occupant, the 5th percentile female occupant, and all those in between, without the need for multiple, costly moving parts.
The Access Floor Console is as tall as most other front-seat center consoles, but its integrated armrest enables it to utilize the traditional armrest zone for increased storage opportunities. There are console storage spaces accessed from the top as well as the lower rear via a slide-out drawer in the second-row seating area. Its design yields an average storage volume increase of 30 percent over traditional floor consoles, and in some cases the volume increase could be up to 150 percent. The increased storage volume not only accommodates more cargo, but it provides space for added feature content by automakers. The product provides modular storage content, allowing vehicle occupants to configure items in ways that best suits their storage needs.
In addition, the Access Floor Console offers unique finish and design opportunities for auto manufacturers. It comes with tambour doors that cover the primary storage area. They can be treated with a proprietary Johnson Controls process to enable use of multiple patterns and finishes – including wood, metallic or technical – to differentiate various trim levels without the need for additional tooling. The process can enable an instrument panel center stack design theme to be carried on through the floor console zone, providing a continuous and harmonious appearance.
The side profile of the Access Floor Console is larger than that of a traditional console, providing a larger design pallet to showcase parts that usually are hidden between the front seats. Those parts could utilize Johnson Controls finishing processes such as CrafTec™ MCI (multi-color injection) and CrafTec™ PMB (partial mold behind) to provide multiple colors, materials and finishes in the same part.
Johnson Controls is a global leader in automotive experience, building efficiency and power solutions. The company provides innovative automotive interiors that help make driving more comfortable, safe and enjoyable. For buildings, it offers products and services that optimize energy use and improve comfort and security. Johnson Controls also provides batteries for automobiles and hybrid electric vehicles, along with systems engineering and service expertise. Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI) has 136,000 employees in more than 1,000 locations serving customers in 125 countries. Founded in 1885, the company is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. For additional information, please visit www.johnsoncontrols.com.