The way car companies manufacture car seats and seat covers is becoming increasingly complex. Gone are the days when automakers hired professional fabricators and upholsterers to design, pattern and sew vehicle seat covers. Today, all a company needs is an engineer and a computer.
Case in point: Vistagy – a leading provider of specialized engineering software that’s determined to revolutionize the auto trim industry with a computer program called Seat Design Environment (SDE).
SDE is a CAD-integrated application with automotive-interior-specific tools for seat design. This software has streamlined the prototyping process, reduced costs and shortened time-to-market demands all while meeting requirements for seat comfort, style and safety.
The program allows engineers to create 3D seat models and generate 2D flat patterns for seat covers without ever having to touch a car seat. The software is so advanced that it automatically adds seam allowances, notches for panel alignment and displays adjoining flat patterns in an exploded view. SDE even digitally simulates how a seat cover will fit to identify potential issues, such as wrinkles, early in the design process, eliminating the need for multiple prototypes.
SDE enables all levels of the manufacturing process – such as trim cover, foam and mechanical – to work in harmony by allowing for special instructions to be created, shared and updated easily. Engineers are able to edit directions for material behaviors, grain directions, sew lines, attachments and retainers (including hog rings, Velcro, listing pockets, plastic extrusions and clips).
The benefits of using SDE software are obvious. It makes the interior design process of car manufacturing less costly and more efficient.
Unfortunately for us, however, it also eliminates the need to hire professional interior fabricators and trimmers. In our place, automakers can hire a single engineer who’s proficient in SDE software to design seats; and a team of low-skilled (and low-paid) machine operators to install the covers.
We warned you in June that Robots Will Replace Auto Trimmers. While that headline was written tongue-in-cheek, it doesn’t appear to be far from the truth.