Ian Thompson, Director of Innovation, Maserati, talks about his participation at the event.

Ian, you will be presenting on two sessions at the Lightweight Interiors Summit in Munich next January – one is on Seating Materials & Supply Chains and another one on NVH: Design & Material Selection. Can you please explain the rationale behind focusing on these two particular areas?

There are two rationales behind focusing on the two subjects: In regards the seat topic i is relating to looking at how we approach a problem using all the resources at hand and not just the typical approach of trying to design or engineer a solution by ourselves. The approach we took was to include all players into the equation to solve a problem together using the expertise from each player in the system. The second one is to address a system that has remained basically unchanged in many years, basically a mixed fiber base with heavy layer top solution to address an NVH issue. This technology in its right is effective in addressing the solution using the principles of sound transmission and avoidance, however it’s many years moved on now, so surely it’s time to readdress the solutions out there.

What do you see as the major role of interiors within the overall automotive lightweighting?

The Interior segment of a vehicle is a major contributor to vehicle weight and the ever increasing demands of additional content, quieter cabins, improved ambience and quality have led to big increases in vehicle interior components. This is why we need to focus on new solutions that can reduce weight, or combine functions to reduce weight via multiple functionality.

What materials & applications across the automotive interiors hold the most potential with respect to the weight reduction opportunities?

There are many and to focus on one or a few would be fundamentally flawed. There are some large contributors, for example as mentioned the vehicle carpet and NVH solutions, also another item of old technology is seat foams. The increasing requirements of safety are driving more safety systems into the vehicle so solutions to reduce weight in these critical systems is also a key factor.

What do you see as the major obstacle the industry is facing when it comes to the weight reduction across the interiors? What could help to move the industry forward?

For interiors, as for all the vehicle faces a major obstacle in global legislation and the fact that each market drives its own legislation. This drives multiple solutions in many cases for each market for example knee bolsters in the US market as a simple easy example.  A global agreement on legislation would be a huge benefit for the Automotive market, getting all the trade legislation drivers together to set global standards. However this I believe is a long way off, if even ever possible.

What are your expectations from your participation in the Lightweight Vehicle Interiors Summit next January?

I look forward to meeting many suppliers and fellow OEM colleagues to be able to hold positive discussions on future solutions. I am keen to learn the perspectives of other OEMs and suppliers on the technologies they are following and what may be coming in the future.

This story is reprinted from material from the Automotive Lightweight Interiors Congress with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.