To ensure a safe, comfortable ride, designers of the Suzuki Jimny created head restraints using a soft integral-skin foam.
Linallac Foams S.L., Linares, Spain, makes the flexible polyurethane-foam components from Bayflex K 5102 and Desmodur PA 50 materials.
The raw materials for the restraints come from BaySystems Iberia, a polyurethane systems house of Bayer MaterialScience AG in Germany. The foam offers great design freedom and is easily formed, says Noelia Mansilla, a Bayflex integral-skin-foam expert at Bayer MaterialScience. "When used with a polystyrene insert and metal fasteners, the flexible foam core absorbs impacts caused during bumpy rides."
The elastic polyurethane skin also provides a robust surface that resists abrasions so head restraints will reportedly last longer than those laminated with polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Furthermore, in contrast to textile coverings, the polyurethane skin easily cleans up with standard cleaning products — a major advantage, given the dirt and dust generated when crossing rough terrain. The Bayflex system used for this application comes in black, gray, green, and other colors. As a result, head restraints can be decoratively designed to match the color scheme of a vehicle's interior or bodywork.
Ana Ruiz, head of quality control at Linallac Foams, says the material also helped make the manufacture of head restraints more efficient. The manufacturing process produces a molded part comprising a flexible-foam core and an integral skin in just one step. In addition, the product can be removed from the mold after just 5 min. This satisfies the automotive industry's need for high quality at low costs.