The partial mold-behind (PMB) process uses a single-step injection-molding process that integrates cover materials.

Engineers at Johnson Controls Inc., Milwaukee (www.johnsoncontrols.com), say they can devise luxurious automotive interiors that don't break the bank. The secret: CrafTec partial mold-behind (PMB) and partial foam-in-place (PFIP) systems that reduce multiple fabricating and assembly steps to a single operation.

PMB uses an advanced injection-molding process that integrates cover materials with the panels themselves. This is an improvement over traditional methods where plain plastic panels are molded and fabrics assembled separately. The PMB process puts softness where people will feel it -- for example, where a person's hand and elbow touch the door panel.

Developers say PFIP produces a plush softness similar to the feel of high-end luxury vehicles. The cover skin joins to the main substrate, eliminating using a separate one while cutting costs and weight. Several automakers will feature CrafTec PMB door panels in their 2005 model year vehicles.