Innovative CrafTec Processes Developed by Johnson Controls Provide a Cost-effective Way for Adding Value in Vehicle Interiors

Firm exhibits all-new, high-appeal, high-performance interior - with CrafTec process-based products onboard - at NAIAS in Detroit

DETROIT, Jan. 13 - How can automakers enhance the look, feel and performance of vehicle-interior components, while keeping their costs under control? Johnson Controls has an ingenious answer to this question in its CrafTec(TM) processes, which include a lineup of integrated manufacturing processes that yield appealing, high-performance interior surfaces and panels for door trim, instrument panels, floor consoles and more. At the 2008 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, officials from Johnson Controls are displaying a unique vehicle interior outfitted with products made using the CrafTec technology.

This week, the company's CrafTec process interior display is being unveiled at the company's NAIAS product and technology display in room D2-15 at Cobo Center in Detroit.

The interior features a door trim panel, instrument panel and floor console configured in a prototype model that mirrors the cabin of the company's I3 concept interior - a crossover utility vehicle.

"With this display, our automotive customers will be able to see and experience firsthand the outstanding design, styling and craftsmanship that can be achieved with CrafTec processes," said Jeff Williams, group vice president and general manager, North America for the Automotive Experience business of Johnson Controls. "CrafTec processes give automakers new opportunities for differentiating their vehicles and adding consumer value, without driving up complexity or costs."

Featured in the interior are a door panel that reflects the application of two CrafTec processes - PerfectFit and Multi-Color Injection; and the company's Access Floor Console featuring an armrest manufactured using the CrafTec Partial Foam-in-Place process. The driver's seat showcases Johnson Controls' CrafStitch process, uniquely styled stitching that provides a crafted appearance usually seen in custom furniture or apparel. It's a feature that easily can be replicated in other interior surfaces using CrafTec processes. Special LED accent lighting is integrated into the door panel. The floor console, in addition to offering enhanced access, features a unique tambour door with a smooth appearance.

The CrafTec PerfectFit process is the latest extension of the Johnson Controls CrafTec technology portfolio. It allows the flexible introduction of multiple textures and materials into CrafTec PMB (Partial Mold Behind)-based products, delivering outstanding "fit and finish" characteristics. Traditional methods for adding color and texture often cause surface gaps or "ditches." With the PerfectFit process, common injection tools are used to produce multi-grain, multi-color and multi-material parts. Interfaces between various materials are consistent, creating a "perfectly" appealing and highly crafted look and feel. The PerfectFit process enables the looks that automotive designers have always wanted, but previous production methods could not deliver.

The CrafTec Partial Mold-Behind process relies on an advanced injection- molding process that integrates cover materials on a panel. Conventional production methods for panels with multiple materials and surface traits typically require plastic molding and additional assembly steps. The CrafTec process can position a soft area precisely where an occupant will come into contact with it - for example, where a person's hand or elbow may touch a door panel.

With the CrafTec Partial Foam-in-Place process, designers can place soft, plush areas into panel surfaces, creating a more luxurious look and feel for vehicle interiors.

The CrafTec Multi-Color Injection process yields two-color substrates for interior trim panels, in one part, without the need for extra molding, additional coatings or painting.

"Many times, increasing the amount of colors and materials for interior products produces the potential for gaps where parts join together," said Byron Foster, vice president and general manager for the Interiors business of Johnson Controls. "Our PerfectFit process eliminates the gaps and consistently produces a high level of craftsmanship," he said. "As a result, the material, color and/or grain transitions occur exactly as intended by the design team. In addition to best-in-class craftsmanship, designers can use PerfectFit to create brand distinction and design flexibility with one set of tools."

According to Williams, products based on the CrafTec processes offer significant benefits to automakers in many areas, including reduced complexity and part count; superior craftsmanship; consistent fit and finish; improved performance through reduction in buzz, squeak, and rattles; reduced volatile organic compounds (VOCs); and design flexibility.

"The CrafTec portfolio of processes represents an outstanding innovation for the people who build vehicles, and those who buy them," said Williams. "With CrafTec technology, you can add great consumer value, without adding costs."

Johnson Controls (NYSE:JCI) is the global leader that brings ingenuity to the places where people live, work and travel. By integrating technologies, products and services, we create smart environments that redefine the relationships between people and their surroundings. Our team of 140,000 employees creates a more comfortable, safe and sustainable world through our products and services for more than 200 million vehicles, 12 million homes and one million commercial buildings. Our commitment to sustainability drives our environmental stewardship, good corporate citizenship in our workplaces and communities, and the products and services we provide to customers. For additional information, please visit

Source: Johnson Controls

Debra Lacey of Johnson Controls,

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