Johnson Controls, Inc./Prince

CorteX®, a unique, formable, energy-absorbing material for use in a car’s overhead zone

CorteX® is a unique, formable, energy-absorbing material for use in a car’s overhead zone

The Prince Division of JCI has actually benefited from impending government regulation.  They recognized early on that a new safety standard would legislate increased energy absorption capabilities by interior trim, beginning with head impact to upper portions of a car’s interior.

A Prince team proactively began developing an innovative solution to this legislation, which turned the problem into a success.  The resulting innovation was CorteX®, an energy absorbing process and material that outperforms existing competitive impact-absorbing materials on relevant benchmarks at competitive costs, and exceeds federally mandated energy absorption standards.  In addition, CorteX® is a composite blend of recycled roll fibers and thermoplastic material (PET), derived from used carpet and pop bottles, and is itself completely recyclable.  Once created, CorteX® is readily formed over epoxy dies into unique, functional shapes, to become dimensionally stable parts.  These can easily be shaped to incorporate wire harnesses, structural clips, lights, or other options, including hidden air passageways.

CorteX® means both a lower-cost material and process that is applicable to other trim and energy absorbing applications, such as door panels.  The thickness of CorteX® required for the energy absorption required is less than that required by conventional competitive materials, providing an interior space and visibility bonus, with no additional mass.

The culture, environment, and product development processes at Prince have made this kind of creativity the norm, in this case resulting in the possibility of a wide variety of high quality, low cost, recyclable energy absorbing products.  In changing the rules of product development and the competition, Prince has once again earned a PACE Award.