What are the benefits of common specifications?
A single universal specification allows foams from various sources to be compared easily/rapidly for compliance. It also allows foam manufacturers to 'tune' their production lines to meet one set of functional properties rather than a plethora of potentially conflicting specification requirements.
Was there unanimity in the selection of the properties selected for inclusion in the Molded Polyurethane Foam Industry Panel specification?
Yes, all members polled the experts in their respective organizations and the properties appearing in the specification were unanimously selected by all of the companies represented on the Panel
What are the most important properties to measure for foam performance?
The foam properties included in the Molded Polyurethane Foam Industry Panel specification have been carefully selected and thoroughly checked to prove their worth (repeatability/reproducibility).They are considered to be the most important properties to measure the actual functionality of a foam product. Other properties have been omitted since they do not predict how a foam will perform in it's intended application.
How have the functional foam properties been checked?
All of the Molded Polyurethane Foam Industry Panel specification properties have been subjected to Inter Laboratory Studies (ILS), also known as Round Robin testing between a number of ISO 17025 accredited labs. The data from these labs. has been processed using the methodology in an ASTM International standard (E691) to ensure that the data is repeatable and reproducible.
FCA has adopted the Industry Panel specification and GM and Ford have included many of the recommendations in their seat foam specifications. What about the rest of the Automotive OEM's?
We are hoping the content of this site, communication, and sharing of seat / foam functionality data will in time convince all OEM’s to recognize the benefit of a common specification and acceptance of the Molded Polyurethane Foam Industry Panel specification will eventually become universal.
Should material tests for automotive seat cushioning vary based on the type of material utilized, if the application is the same?
It is the Industry Panel’s opinion that seat cushioning material, regardless of type, should meet the same requirements, since the end function and performance requirements of the material are the same. All cushioning materials must allow seating to perform well during the vehicle lifetime, including flammability requirements.
Are there other cushioning materials, besides polyurethane foam, used in automotive seating?
A good question! Very little non-foam cushioning materials are used worldwide. Alternative cushioning materials, like latex foam or coconut fiber pads, usually have carry-over or obsolete property requirements based on material characteristics, not product function. These materials typically have a negative economic or performance impact on the finished seat.
Why must foam be tested using standard Temperature and Relative Humidity (RH) conditions?
Foam properties are altered by changes in environmental test conditions. For instance, an increase in % RH decreases foam hardness. Thus foams are conditioned and tested in a controlled laboratory usually at 23 + 2C and 50 + 5% RH. Therefore properties can be compared from lab-to-lab.
What is the difference between ILD and IFD?
These terms express the relative hardness of foams. The obsolete term ILD meaning Indentation Load Deflection is a misnomer inherited from the latex rubber foam industry. The correct term is IFD where F = Force since hardness is determined by applying a force to a piece of foam at a specified deflection ,e.g. 25/40/50/65%.
Does foam change over time?
The long term performance of flexible polyurethane foam has been proven via accelerated laboratory testing and long term actual use observations. The properties of a quality flexible polyurethane cushioning foam remain essentially unchanged during the lifetime of a vehicle.
Does the Constant Force Pounding test truly predict the long term performance of flexible cushioning?
A pounding or a dynamic fatigue test performed under standard test methodology and test conditions will indicate the relative performance of a foam material over a long period of use. The major benefit of an accelerated durability test is to ensure that performance of a specified foam performs well in its targeted seating application.
What is the difference between TDI and MDI foam?
These acronyms stand for Toluene Diisocyanate (TDI) and Methylene Diphenyl Diisocyanate (MDI). They are different types of isocyanates made via differing chemical starters and production techniques. Both have isocyanate reactive sites that will react with the polyol and other ingredients to produce polyurethane products, e.g. foams, elastomers. Either can be used to produce quality automotive seat cushions.
What is the definition of renewable [Bio- / Soy-] foam?
Renewable Polyurethane foam usually implies that it contains a portion of ingredients made from non-petroleum resources such as vegetable oils.
Is molded polyurethane foam recyclable?
Yes! Foam is reusable/recyclable either physically, such as the ground up foam used in carpet underlayment. (e.g. rebonded product) or broken down chemically using chemolysis. This process is called glycolysis. The glycolysate product can be used to make new products.
Do foam hardness and density have a direct relationship?
They are linked together, but foam hardness and density can be independently varied. For instance high density foam may be made luxuriously soft whereas a low density foam can be made stiff and hard or vice-versa. Many intermediate hardness and density combinations are possible. This allows a foam manufacturer to target durability and comfort parameters within a vehicle to address performance expectations based on seating position and occupant usage level.
Where do I get OEM and Industry engineering specifications?
The most recent releases of seating foam specification for Chrysler, Ford and General Motors products can be purchased on line from independent document services. (See our Links section for sources). Most of the other OEMs have to be contacted directly or via a Tier 1 supplier to source their specifications.