April 2011

Seating Options Focus on Seat belts, Convenience and Compartmentalization

by Jennifer Washington, Assistant Editor

American Seating

American Seating
Safety upgrades and technological advancements are central to the next generation of transportation seating. The newest product offerings focus on two-point and three-point seat belt options, electronic amenity conveniences and injury-preventive designs.

American Seating

The newest offerings from Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company American Seating include the Premier, Vision and InSight seats, as well as a Web-based vehicle configurator program to help customers design a custom interior and simplify the decision-making process.

The Premier, a motorcoach product created in partnership with IMMI's Safeguard division, incorporates SmartFrame technology and three-point seat belts to help contain belted and unbelted passengers in frontal collisions. Its incorporated latch system also enables children's car seats or booster seats to be conveniently attached.

"Should there be a frontal crash, the passenger who doesn't have a seat belt would be protected by having the seat in front provide the protection that they would need," says Gary Thompson, marketing manager. "The dual frame allows the back of the seat to stay upright in the event of a crash, so that the passenger would stay in the compartment that they're in."

The company's newest seat for city service bus and rail, the Vision, features an ergonomic slim design, stainless steel construction and increased comfort upgrades, as well as the largest personal sitting space at a width of 18 inches. "It's a modular design, which provides easier maintenance for care, cleaning and part replacement," Thompson says. "Being of a stainless steel construction, it provides superior durability and vandalism resistance."

The InSight seat, one of American Seating's best-selling models, has been continually updated and enhanced with an expanded color palette, additional styling options and an added fabric back-panel that creates an improved overall appearance for the seat, according to Thompson. The InSight seat was also utilized in the Metro Vancouver SkyTrain, which provided transportation for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

In addition, American Seating has also launched a detailed Web-based seat configurator for the InSight. Customizable options include seat modules, back panels, colors and fabrics, says Brian Chan, marketing communications specialist. "You'll be able to see how our seats look inside of a bus before you place an order," he explains. The company plans to launch a similar Web-based seat configurator for the Vision seat by the end of spring.

4ONE LLC

Designed in partnership with Q'Straint, the 4ONE LLC-manufactured Q'POD is a fully integrated wheelchair restraint system created for mass transit vehicles and low floor buses. The Exton, Pa.-based company, a joint-venture of USSC Group Inc. and Freedman Seating Co., introduced the system over a year ago as a securement station for a wide variety of mobility devices and scooters.

"We're still the only company that offers Q'POD," says Ted Dowling, 4One's director of commercial sales and business development. "It's very successful."

The Q'POD features a three-point system to reduce potential tripping accidents, as well as an integrated shoulder belt and a bumper guard to help prevent wheelchair tip-overs. The electrical delay system and simplified design provide for quicker securement times, better positioning and reduced vehicle dwell time. Also, the Q'POD's flip seat is designed to accommodate larger-sized wheelchairs with a variety of seating and fabric customization options.

According to Dowling, 4One LLC also plans to launch a new seat intended for the mass transit market that meets and exceeds OEM requirements for weight reduction at the 2011 APTA Conference in New Orleans. The seat will address the demand for a lighter weight seat but still have the longevity of a seat that is built for the North American market, Dowling says. "When we talk about designing a new seat or taking weight out of a seat, there is a lot more that has to be taken into consideration than just taking steel out here or cutting plastic."


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