ERL, Ergonomic Research Laboratory

April 20, 2024
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Seat Patches

The automotive seat challenges engineering design to produce a seat that every driver, regardless of size or personal preferences, sits in to operate the vehicle.   To meet this challenge, the industry developed a seat design optimization process that involves various drivers operating a vehicle "mule" through multiple physical seat design iterations.   Theoretically, this process should solve the optimization problem with great success.   As all of us know, seldom has this optimization process worked to perfection.

ERL, LLC on the other hand, has developed a computer-based optimization process that develops the seat through the use of seat patches (patent pending).   These patches are located on the undeflected seating surface (i.e., STO) and are defined by the location of specific anatomical landmarks representing loads on the seat, versus contact with the seat.   By making the landmarks the same on each human body model, the patches are constructed by the area defined by these comparable landmarks to represent how the population of occupants load and contact the seat.

Nine patches on each seat define the seat shape from the nose of the cushion to the top of the seatback, including the head restraint.   These patches define the shape and size of the seat surface that meets manufacturability requirements at the supplier and meat-to-metal requirements for the occupant.   As a result, the seat patches become an integral part of the process that the stylist depends upon to construct a STO that meets market approval, and that the supplier depends upon to develop a seat with appropriate stiffness that dampens vibration and provides a comfortable deflection suitable for all drivers and passengers.

Protected by US Patent No. 6840125, 7047831, 7347114 and German Patent No. 1019693

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