Automotive headliner created from a plant base

Johnson Controls unveiled an “environmentally friendly” automotive product, Ecobond, a headliner that is in the final stages of development.

The Ecobond headliner is lightweight - comprised of 50 percent biomaterials by mass - that fully meets customer requirements for strength, performance and acoustics.

The production process for the Ecobond headliner relies on soy-based adhesives, a soy-based urethane core foam, and natural fibers, reducing the need for non-renewable resources. The headliner is made via the use of an existing technology that Johnson Controls established for its Polybond™ process. Soy-based polyols are blended with petroleum polyols to create a foam core.

Natural materials, including hemp, flax and knaf, replace the fiberglass that is traditionally used in headliner production. Finally, a soy-based urethane is used to bond materials and create a semi-rigid product. The Ecobond headliner satisfies customers’ design requirements for stiffness, toughness and acoustics. It also is lighter than standard thermoplastic headliners. Using the new Ecobond approach is not expected to add costs to the headliner production process.

Other earth-friendly products from Johnson Controls include EcoCore natural-fiber door panels, as well as soy-based seating pads, which will be featured on numerous 2008 model-year vehicles.