BASF and Recaro Team to Produce Sports Seats for New Opel Insignia

The performance front seats of the new Opel Insignia OPC - which obtained the quality seal of the Aktion Gesunder Rücken e.V. (AGR - Healthy Back Campaign) - were developed by Opel and Recaro with BASF's assistance. These seats are made of two special polyamides belonging to the Ultramid family as well as of the specialty foam Neopolen.

The new Opel Insignia OPC comes with a novel performance front seat that not only looks sporty but also has remarkable ergonomic properties. The center parts of the seat are made of two special BASF polyamides: the backrest shell and the crossbar (light blue and dark blue in the CAE-image on the right) are made of Ultramid® B3G10 SI, a material with high surface quality, while the seat pan (orange in the CAE-image) is made of Ultramid B3ZG8. The seat structure was designed on the computer employing BASF’s ULTRASIM™ simulation package. The foam Neopolen® (purple in the CAE-image) is an energy-absorbing material that concurrently serves as carrier for various modules. Photo: BASF - The Chemical Company, 2009

The seat pan, backrest shell and crossbar were designed using BASF's broadly applicable ULTRASIM simulation package. The plastic parts are now replacing the steel frames that used to be employed. The performance seat lends itself for high-volume serial production and will be exhibited together with the Opel Insignia OPC in Hall B4, Stand 4108, near BASF's stand (B4, Stand 4308) at the Fakuma trade fair, from October 13 to October 17 in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Thanks to the ULTRASIM program package, BASF developers were able to design the parts so as to meet the requirements set by Recaro and Opel: low weight, high mechanical strength, outstanding ergonomic properties and a sporty look. Since this simulation tool allowed the seat structure to be predicted on the computer, it was possible to reliably dimension and optimize the plastic parts as to crash requirements. The seat pan makes use of Ultramid B3ZG8, a very tough and yet sufficiently stiff PA6 that ensures high energy consumption values. Ultramid B3G10 SI is employed in the large, free-standing backrest shell as well as in the crossbar. This material, which is likewise optimized in terms of its crash behavior, yields good surfaces in spite of its high glass fiber content, successfully meeting the requirements made of backrests for the interior of vehicles. The very precise characteristic values needed for simulations employing ULTRASIM are available for these two materials. Particularly the aspect of processability, in other words, the flow properties of the material, plays an important role when it comes to manufacturing the high backrest. The insert for the backrest shell is made of Neopolen P 9225 K (EPP), an energy-absorbing foam that also covers edges and serves as a module carrier for motors and seat components such as the spinal column support.

At the time of the K 2007 plastics fair, the then newly founded BASF Competence Team for Seats, along with Recaro and Opel, unveiled a prototype made of various BASF materials. This broad-based competence in material and component development is now being put to direct use in the serial development of the Opel Insignia OPC seat, which also complies with GM's global requirements in terms of crash behavior.

Live at the Fakuma: Opel Insignia OPC at BASF

The new seat will be showcased together with the Opel Insignia OPC at the Fakuma trade fair. More than 20 individual components made with BASF plastics are serially installed in this car model, ranging from the lower bumper stiffener (LBS) and the high-strength engine mounts made of Ultramid, to numerous interior parts made of Terblend N (ABS+PA) and Miramid (PA), all the way to instrument panels made of Elastoflex (PU) and exterior applications such as mirror housings made of Luran S (ASA).


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