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Ford has announced that they are developing a new way to produce better seating upholstery using 3D-knitting. The technology will apparently allow for seamless seat covers and infinite personalization, which means in the future we could potentially customize our own seats.

The 3D knitting also allows the seats to be capable of built-in connectivity like controls for the doors and windows, integrated heating and sensors to monitor the driver’s health, as well as wireless phone charging.

Here's the full release from Ford:
COLOGNE, Germany, Nov. 11, 2019 – Ford Motor Company is introducing cutting-edge technology to produce seamless seat covers with 3D knitting.

Employing production techniques found in the manufacture of running shoes, clothing and furniture, Ford is exploring the opportunity for customers to design their own seat covers, add bespoke touches such as pockets and padding, and use more breathable materials for summer.

The technology also enables the use of textiles with potential for built-in connectivity, able to integrate heating; controls for the doors and windows; wireless smartphone charging; and sensors to monitor the driver’s health.

“We love to personalise our possessions and as part of our Human-Centric Design process we are exploring how to achieve this through seat covers that could also offer intuitive functionality,” said Anais Castinel, interior designer, Ford of Europe. “3D knitting offers intriguing possibilities that push the boundaries of design and make journeys more comfortable and convenient for the driver and passengers.”

As well as offering greater design flexibility, 3D knitting reduces production steps and creates less waste by removing the requirement to cut and sew together various fabrics and pieces. The 3D knitting machines create covers without any stitching and can use different yarns, such as polyester, wool, silk, carbon fibre, and even recycled materials.

Customers could have the option of different covers on the front and rear seats, a set featuring designs for children or rear-seat covers made especially for pets. Further personalisation might include individual colour combinations and graphics, plus seasonal and region-specific designs.

The technology results in higher precision and quality than a traditional cover, enabling 3D knitted covers to be engineered for the best fit to the seat shape and reducing imperfections such as wrinkles.

Any part of the interior made from material has the potential to be 3D-knitted. The dashboard and doors could feature designs that appear different depending on the angle from which they are seen. Logos and graphics might be added to the upholstery using this effect.

Ford is leading the way in developing seat covers for the comfort and convenience of customers. The new Ford Puma features the company’s first ever removable seat covers, with an elegant integrated zipper system. The covers offer a high degree of personalisation, enabling customers to integrate their own images, names or logos. Different fabrics can also be chosen so that customers might for example choose leather or fabric to better suit summer or winter driving or based on personal preferences. Being washable, as well as removable, they also make it easier to clean up after juice spills or pets, helping keep the interior feeling fresh.
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