Would You Drive a Car Without an Airbag?
A Russia's state-owned car company released a vehicle with no airbags in June. It comes with a surprisingly affordable price tag. But let’s take a moment here. Is it really safe to drive a car that comes without airbags?
Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not important
Hyosung Advanced Materials is the leading and the only global name responsible for the whole value chain of airbags from fabric to cushion manufacturing. Tucked in hidden corners of vehicles, Hyosung’s airbags always stand ready to protect the life of passengers across the world.
However, sometimes one could overlook the importance of something, just because it is not visible to the eye. Various airbags are installed in an automobile which are scientifically designed to protect different parts of our body. Especially, the one positioned in the driver’s seat alongside the seatbelt is to protect the driver. Seat belts prevent your body from collision with the steering wheel but it is not designed to protect your head. That’s where airbags come into play. The one positioned in the steering wheel protect the neck and head, reducing the possibility of cranial nerves and traumatic spinal cord injuries in an accident.
A journey to the global No.1 name
When we think of an airbag, we might imagine an airbag that is fully inflated. Airbags are directly related to our lives so they need to be manufactured with precise laser technology and specifications. When airbags detect an accident, they are inflated within 0.03 – 0.05 seconds. Airbag fabrics are thus required to withstand rapid expansion pressure. As airbags are directly related to safety, they require utmost quality and high standards. They require endurance to high temperatures as the inflation process is triggered by gunpowder explosion. They also need to absorb shocks extremely well. Not only that, they need to sustain various temperatures and humidity as they are tucked away in vehicles.
Hyosung Advanced Materials has developed a fabric material called nylon 66 for the first time in Korea in order to meet such requirements. The company also succeeded in developing polyester fabric for airbags to meet the demand from global customers. Hyosung is the only company in the world that supplies both nylon 66 and polyester fabrics.
Back in 2011, Hyosung acquired the number 1 airbag fabric manufacturer Global Safety Textiles (GST) to become the only company that achieves vertical integration of the whole manufacturing process from fabrics to cushion. GST’s one-piece woven (OPW) airbag has become Hyosung’s main product name.
OPW is a product made with special weaving technology that makes it possible to bypass the sewing process. Unlike conventional airbags that shrink soon after the deployment, OPW can maintain the inflated state longer than sewn airbags. It plays a key role in protecting the passengers especially in the event of a vehicle rollover.
3D technology for airbags
OPW airbags continue to evolve based on Hyosung Advanced Materials’ technology. Previously woven in a two-layered fabric, OPW airbags have been used as side curtain airbags, but now thanks to Hyosung’s proprietary technology of three-layered fabrics different variations can be made.
The three-layered structure can come in various design combinations while also allowing a variety of airbag structures. Moreover, it can occupy a 3D shape that can bend or overarch to offer extra protection to various parts of the passenger’s body. Instead of inflating the whole airbag cushion, bending it to a certain form is more efficient in terms of cost, weight and space.
Hyosung is also working on developing ‘omni SAB (Side Airbag)’ technology built on its three-layered OPW airbags. Side airbags protect the passenger’s upper body by deploying like a curtain to the side of a seat. If the ‘omni SAB’ is successfully developed based on the three-layered OPW technology, the protection coverage would be much wider.
The innovative three-layered OPW technology has been gaining traction in the automobile industry. It made the finalist for the Automotive News PACEpilot Award in 2021, an award given to innovative automotive products every year.
Hope we never need them
Hyosung Advanced Materials hopes we will never have to use airbags. But if we do, Hyosung’s airbags built on top of technology and quality are going to save lives.
As they are critical in the safety of passengers, Hyosung Advanced Materials puts utmost efforts to provide high-quality airbags manufactured with sophisticated technologies and thorough tests.May the road drop you smoothly to your destination. Enjoy your journey while we take care you.