Automotive

Published on November 22nd, 2020 | by Subhash Nair

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Why Ford’s Max Recline Seats Are Good Enough To Sleep On

While most of us have actually never had to sleep in our vehicles, it’s not uncommon for drivers to take a short rest on longer trips. Anyone who has tried this has come to realise that car seats are just not comfortable to lie down on. They are usually sculpted to be supportive when upright, so they don’t make for great beds. And for more than a hundred years, the car industry has just taken this as something that just doesn’t need to be fixed, until now.

Ford’s new F-150 actually addresses this issue, and they say it’s because full-sized truck drivers actually would appreciate having a few minutes of shut-eye between labour intensive tasks or long trips. That’s why they went out of their way to design a ‘Max Recline Seat’ specifically for this large truck.

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After testing out multiple prototypes, they came up with a simple, NON-MOTORISED mechanism that lifts the back half of the seat bottom nearly 9cm. When the seat back is reclined, this creates a flat surface that supports the lower back. What’s more, the upper seat back can also be moved forward for better neck support. And yes, Ford patented the whole thing.

It’s actually quite an ingenious design, as this youtube video demonstrates.

For more on this story, check out the press release below.

PRESS RELEASE

Ford F-Series is the best-selling truck/pickup for 43 years* and for the all-new F-150 has patented an all-new way for hard-working customers to rest away from home with class-exclusive available Max Recline Seats.

“The all-new Max Recline Seats in F-150 were inspired by those adjustable beds you see on TV to help make our customers more comfortable while resting in the cab,” said Ben Kulhawik, seat design and release engineer. “Our F-150 customers are constantly on the road or at a jobsite and being able to nab a few minutes of rest really is a boon to daily productivity.”

As part of developing the all-new F-150, the dedicated Ford comfort team went into the field with customers to see how they use their pickups in normal daily living. The team took hundreds of hours of video and thousands of photos while observing how people use their vehicles and what product “pain points” they either endure or find workarounds to compensate for them.

“We know the folks who work on construction or mining sites use their truck cab for naps during downtime, and we learned everyday owners do, too,” said Jackie DiMarco, Ford truck product line director. “When I would take my daughters to hockey tournaments, between games, one would be sleeping in the back seat while the other would be on the floor of my truck, and it reinforced the idea that, ‘We need to fix this!’ ”

Whether a customer needs a quick nap while parked between jobs, just wants a comfortable, dry place to sleep at a campsite or a place to rest over the course of an all-day sports tournament, Max Recline Seats have them covered.

To make this new seating system come to life, Ford engineers figured out the best and simplest user experience, then created mockups to quickly develop a proof of concept. They used hot glue, foam core and pins to build up components and attach them to a standard seat frame so they could test multiple concepts. After finding the most promising design, they developed a fully functional metal prototype to refine the motion and comfort of the seat; then production parts were created.

The end result: a seat that makes for a comfortable nap. The mechanism lifts the back half of the seat bottom 3.5 inches to make a flat surface to support the lower back. The upper seatback can also be moved forward for neck support. Ford’s all-new seats have been awarded five patents tied to the novel design and assembly process.

“There are no additional motors in these seats – just a simple mechanism that relies on the customer moving the seatback using the power recline function,” said Kulhawik. “It’s simple, it’s effective, and we believe our customers will love how much more productive they can be just by getting a little more rest during downtime.”

The all-new Ford F-150 is proudly built and assembled in America at Dearborn Truck Plant in Dearborn, Michigan, and Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri.

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Written work on dsf.my. @subhashtag on instagram. Autophiles Malaysia on Youtube.



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