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Porsche Presents 3D-printing Technology for Bucket Seats

Porsche Presents 3D-printing Technology for Bucket Seats

Concept study on individual seat fitting inspired by motor sports.

Porsche is revolutionizing sporty seating: the company presents an innovative alternative to conventional bucket seat upholstery with the “3D-printed bodyform full-bucket seat” concept study. Here, the central section of the seat, in other words the seat and backrest cushions, is partly fabricated by a 3D-printer.

3D-printed bodyform full-bucket seat concept study: modular structure with individual layers (full-bucket seat, base substrate, 3D-printed comfort layer, perforated Racetex cover). Image courtesy of Porsche.

Customers will be able to choose between three firmness levels (hard, medium, soft) for the comfort layer in the future. With this new technology, the sports car manufacturer is once again underlining its close ties to motor sports: the 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 bodyform 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 “3D-printed bodyform full-bucket seat” is based on the lightweight full-bucket seat from Porsche and features 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 additive manufacturing. The outer skin of the concept seat is made from Racetex material and features a specific perforation pattern for climate control. Window panels provide a view of exposed coloured components in the 3D-printed lattice structure and give the full-bucket seat an unmistakable design.

The 3D-printed bodyform full-bucket seat will be available from Porsche Tequipment as a driver’s seat for the 911 and 718 ranges from as early as May 2020. The range will initially be limited to 40 seat prototypes for use on racetracks in Europe in combination with a six-point seat belt. Feedback from customers will be incorporated into the development process.

As a subsequent step, street-legal 3D-printed bodyform full-bucket seats in three different firmness levels and colors will be available ex-works from Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur from mid-2021. In the long term, the technology will also enable fully personalized solutions if sufficient customers express an interest in this. 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.

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