Stockholm, Sweden - Leading airbag and automotive safety systems producer Autoliv has launched a new lightweight passenger airbag concept, using a fabric container for the folded airbag, instead of a conventional steel or plastic housing.
As well as reducing weight by up to 30 percent, the patented concept has several other advantages, the group claims. The new module is being used on the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse, Saturn Outlook, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave.
Replacing traditional steel or plastic housings with a flexible, lighter, textile material, gives weight savings which will help car companies meet more stringent requirements for CO2 emissions and CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy), Autoliv said.
The new design makes it simpler to integrate the airbag into the dashboard, since the soft housing can be easily adapted to the available space. Prototype and production tooling needs are reduced with prototype turnaround time cut from months to days, sharply reducing the entire development process, the company claims.
"The new product's inherent flexibility also enables it to be reused across different vehicle designs and more robustly absorb tolerance differences between the upper instrument panel and lower instrument panel," said Pontus Soderstrom, Autoliv's director of Advanced Technologies for GM Global Business Unit, in a 15 Sept company announcement.
Autoliv said the new design is flexible for a variety of vehicle architectures, including options of hard mounting to the back of the instrument panel or hooking to the instrument panel chute walls. While Autoliv said the design can be combined with various inflator and cushion options, it made no mention of whether the air-bag cover design was affected. According to the company, the new approach is being used on "multiple vehicle programmes for various customers, launching over the next few years."