Porsche Shows 3D-Printing for Racing Seats

AutoInformed.com on Porsche 3D-Printed Body Form Bucket Seat Concept

The modular structure with individual layers – bucket seat, base substrate, 3D-printed comfort layer, perforated cover. Click to Enlarge.

Porsche is showing  advanced alternative to conventional bucket seat upholstery with a concept dubbed “3D-printed body form full-bucket seat.” The central section of the seat and backrest cushions is partly produced by a 3D-printer.

Customers will be able to choose between three firmness levels (hard, medium, soft) for the comfort layer in the future. With this new technology, personalized sports seat follows the principles of driver-specific seat fitting customary in professional motor sports. 

“The seat is the interface between the human and the vehicle, and is thus important for precise, sporty handling. That’s why personalized seat shells customized for the driver have been standard in race cars for a long time now,” says Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche.

“With the ‘3D-printed body form full-bucket seat’, we’re once again giving series-production customers the opportunity to experience technology carried over from motor sports.” In addition to an ergonomic fit similar to that found in motor sports, this seat also delivers a unique design, lower weight, improved comfort and passive climate control.”

The seat is based on the lightweight full-bucket seat from Porsche and has a sandwich construction: a base support made from expanded polypropylene (EPP) is bonded to a breathable comfort layer consisting of a mixture of polyurethane-based materials made using a 3D-printer. The outer skin of the concept seat is made from “Racetex” and features a specific perforation pattern for climate control. Window panels provide a view of exposed colored components in the 3D-printed lattice structure.

The “3D-printed body form full-bucket seat” will be available from Porsche Tequipment as a driver’s seat for the 911 and 718 ranges starting in May 2020. The range will initially be limited to 40 seat prototypes for use on race tracks in Europe in combination with a six-point seat belt.

Feedback from customers will be incorporated into the development process. As a next step, street-legal “3D-printed body form full-bucket seats” in three different firmness levels and colors will be available from the Porsche Exclusive Manufacture from mid-2021.

In the longer term, the technology will also enable fully personalized solutions if sufficient customers express an interest. In addition to an extended range of colors, seats adapted to the individual customer’s specific body contour will then also be developed and offered.

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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