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New Material for Airbag Door

March 4, 1999

1 Min Read
New Material for Airbag Door

Three 1996 Suzuki/Geo vehicles—the Suzuki Sidekick, the Geo Tracker, and the new X-90 mini sport utility vehicle—feature a passenger-side airbag door moulded from a new thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) from D&S Plastics International. The critical properties for the new Dexflex 1001 material were optimized by D&S in cooperation with AlliedSignal Safety Restraint Systems, which engineered the system and supplies it to Suzuki Motor Corp. in Japan and also to Cami Automotive Inc. in Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada.

The Dexflex formulation meets automotive interior gloss requirements, making it suitable for use in a Class A surface. It is UV stabilized and is available in a selected range of earthtones including black, gray, and tan.

The airbag door made of Dexflex is of a symmetrical design capable of being integrated into both left- and right-hand drive instrument panels in vehicles supplied to North America, Europe, and Japan. Izumi Corp. moulds the piece in its facility in Yaphank, New York, USA.

AlliedSignal and D&S had teamed up previously for an airbag door for the Suzuki Swift/Geo Metro sedan. This new Sidekick/Tracker restraint system incorporates a bigger airbag and a higher output inflator than in the Swift/Metro sedan. Deployment of the larger bag pack puts rotational stress on the door much more rapidly. The new material resists fragmentation under the greater loads, separating at the tear seam and preventing failure of the integral hinge.

Hot and cold deployment testing has shown that doors made of the new TPO deploy consistently, even after heat-aging and life cycle weathering that simulates 160,000 to 190,000 km on the road, according to D&S.

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