Lear Displays Automotive Industry's First Solid-State Smart Junction Box

DETROIT, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Lear Corporation (NYSE: LEA) today announced an "industry first" with the introduction of its Solid-State Smart Junction Box Technology (S3JB) which provides a dramatic improvement in volume, a significant reduction in weight and lower systems cost as well as improved electrical-system diagnostics and double failure-mode protection.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20061016/DEM002 )

The S3JB, developed in a partnership among Lear, STMicroelectronics (ST) and Smart Automotive System Engineering (SASE), will be demonstrated on a 2006 Ford Escape at the Convergence 2006 Electronics Show at Detroit's Cobo Hall from October 16 - 18 at the STMicroelectronics Booth #1139.

The primary architecture utilizes Lear's capabilities for Smart Junction boxes, connection systems, thermal management, software algorithms and electrical distribution systems and integrates ST's state-of-the-art Advanced Power Management solid-state drivers as the core to create the S3JB. SASE, a specialist in the application of automotive and commercial electronics, served as technology consultant in the development of the S3JB.

Smart Junction Box technology is the main hub in a vehicle's electrical system, controlling and providing power to various electrical features such as power windows, power door locks, lighting (interior and exterior), instrumentation and the audio system. Current Smart Junction Box technology combines fuses, relays, a microcontroller and multiple (circuit board and fret) layers of interconnection into a single integrated assembly.

When Lear's advanced connection systems are combined with ST's solid-state drivers, the smart junction box is reduced from multiple-printed circuit boards to a single small-printed circuit board. The smaller board reduces the number of parts, manufacturing complexity and size of the junction box.

"The S3JB represents a significant improvement over existing Smart Junction technology because it replaces the relatively large fuses and relays with ST's solid-state drivers," said Mohamad Zeidan, Manager of Electrical Distribution Systems Engineering for Lear. "This translates into a 50 - 80% reduction in volume, which allows greater packaging flexibility and optimization of the location because of the smaller size and elimination of the requirement for owner access, as well as a 40 - 70% reduction in weight and a 5 - 20% reduction in systems cost."

"ST's unique solid-state drivers also contain proprietary technology, which results in lower processor computational load as well as more efficient utilization of the electrical distribution system," said Joseph Notaro, Director Market Development - NA Automotive Business Unit for STMicroelectronics. "Using this technology, we can achieve up to a 1 kg saving in the weight of copper in a vehicle."

More importantly, the S3JB technology is an enabler for the integration of additional feature content into the Smart Junction Box. This integration combined with the benefits from the S3JB results in a sizable cost reduction for the electrical system as well as a modest improvement in fuel efficiency.

                              Technical Details:

    Package Space
    *  The S3JB results in a 50% package size reduction
         Easier to package
         More space available for consumer
    *  The S3JB does not require customer access
         More packaging location opportunities
         Optimization of package location for harness interconnection
         Optimization of package location for EDS Efficiency

    Weight Reduction
    *  Reduction of up to 1 kg of copper wire
    *  Reduction in the weight of the JB by up to 0.4 kg

    Reliability / Durability
    *  No mechanical contacts to wear out
    *  Improved Diagnostics
    *  Limp Home capability

    Cost Reduction
    *  Reduction of wiring
    *  Integration of the individual modules into a single integrated
       S3JB results in a cost reduction ranging from 5% for low content
       implementations to 20% or more for higher content solutions.

Lear Corporation is one of the world's largest suppliers of automotive interior systems and components. Lear provides complete automotive seating systems, electronic products and electrical distribution systems as well as interior trim components. With annual net sales of $17.1 billion in 2005, Lear ranks #127 among the Fortune 500. The Company's world-class products are designed, engineered and manufactured by a diverse team of more than 110,000 employees in 34 countries. Lear's headquarters are in Southfield, Michigan, and Lear is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol [LEA]. Further information about Lear is available on the Internet at http://www.lear.com .

STMicroelectronics is a global leader in developing and delivering semiconductor solutions across the spectrum of microelectronics applications. An unrivalled combination of silicon and system expertise, manufacturing strength, Intellectual Property (IP) portfolio and strategic partners positions the Company at the forefront of System-on-Chip (SoC) technology and its products play a key role in enabling today's convergence markets. The Company's shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange, on Euronext Paris and on the Milan Stock Exchange. In 2005, the Company's net revenues were $8.88 billion and net earnings were $266 million. Further information on ST can be found at http://www.st.com .

Web site: http://www.lear.com/


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