Lear Corporation

The Customer

A leading supplier of automotive seating and electrical distribution systems, supplying every major car maker in the world, and Lear content can be found on more than 300 vehicle nameplates worldwide.

The Challenge

The customer instructed us to design, build and install two Force Application Machines (FAM) for calibrating their new seats for the Jaguar XE.

Force Application Machine

Force Application Machine

A FAM performs an end-of-line calibration test on the safety relevant occupant classification system components of a car passenger seat by moving the adjustable elements of the seat and by applying a predetermined load pressure via a Seat Butt- Form and therefore ultimately, a FAM assures the quality of each car seat.

The legal requirements of Occupancy Classification Systems and the complexity of modern seat design which work with airbag systems reducing the potential for injury by deploying a different charge depending whether the occupant is a child or an adult, means that seat manufacturers have to carry out individual seat calibrations and require full traceability of each seat.

We had to design and build an on-line machine, which could be integrated into the Lear assembly track, be compliant with Delphi’s Occupant Classification Systems and meet the North American Seat Specifications.

The Solution

Working closely with Lear we were able to design a FAM that connected to Lear’ production line and which tested a pair of left and right seats simultaneously. Once the seats are introduced into the FAM via a conveyor, their presence is detected and the FAM operator is instructed to connect the test harnesses to the seat connectors.

The FAM then prompts the operator to initiate the calibration test cycle and commences a laser measurement check of the seat position for correctness before the test commences.

The test cycle deploys a Seat-Butt-Form under load onto the seat to pre-determined calibrated forces which ensures that the seat can detect whether an adult or child has sat in the seat or whether an object / parcel has been placed onto the seat.

The test cycle also tests that the seat is working correctly in detecting the presence of a seat belt system. This information is sent to the car’s restraints ECU to sound an alarm if the occupant hasn’t buckled their seatbelt and to know if an airbag is required to be deployed and at what charge in the event of a collision.

The total calibration cycle takes less than four minutes and the final part of the test cycle sets the seat position drive controls for forward, up and down travel where on completion, the seat is presented back to the factory conveyor in a pre-programmed correct seat position for fitting into the vehicle on the final assembly line.

Sorion’ Sextans test software manages the test process and the results of each test cycle are communicated back to the Sorion Orion database, which via a web browser, allows for bespoke quality assurance and performance reports to be produced.

For traceability purposes, the Orion database is connected with the LEAR production software and is able to transmit all seat build information along with the test results of each component element of the seat.

Delivery and installation of the two FAMs into the LEAR production facility involved utilising a specialist transport and lifting company and working with several other contractors and departments within LEAR.

Advanced and careful planning ensured the installation ran seamlessly and was competed in under a week and a total 20 weeks to complete from initial discussions to final installation.

Sorion’s Force Application Machines at the LEAR production facility

Sorion’s Force Application Machines at the LEAR production facility

You can download a PDF version of this case study here.