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Eissmann patents airbag weakening process

With its patent for a new type of weakening process to be used on surface materials, Eissmann Group Automotive has rendered the airbag “invisible”.

The new Eissmann system complies with the design technology requirements of the automakers and end customers which require, for instance, the front passenger airbag to be configured within the instrument panel so as to be invisible to the occupants.

To guarantee the correct function of an airbag, in the past the intended break point in the airbag flap area had to be positioned behind an optically visible break seam. The new process entails producing an “invisible” weakening point in a leather surface material over the airbag cover which guarantees reliable rupture on activation. Microperforations in the leather enable precisely defined weakening which is invisible from the vehicle interior and so allows absolute design freedom for the first time.

Visible safety components, visible seams and technical design constrictions are now a thing of the past. The “invisible airbag” means that there is no longer any need to position the intended break point parallel to decorative seams. Thanks to the controlled microperforation process, any required geometry can now be implemented with the utmost process reliability – effectively making the airbag “invisible” to the vehicle occupants.

Unlike other methods customary on the market, the internationally series-tested Eissmann weakening process can also be reliably deployed with leather thicknesses exceeding 0.5 mm. The typical Eissmann meander microperforation pattern used is produced in the leather in a specific geometry and with precisely defined perforation spacing to produce an intended break point in the optimum location.

Compared to other methods, this offers the benefit that the split line can be positioned precisely and with outstanding repeat accuracy. In contrast to the cutting in of notches, the puncture openings do not gape open on the flesh side, but instead close again almost completely. As a result, despite being extremely effective, they are not noticeable to the eye. The weakening lines can be freely configured and selected to provide the optimum solution for each individual application, guaranteeing reliable rupture and consequently optimum protection for the vehicle occupants under any conditions.

Ensuring compliance with the stringent functional demands involved, coupled with the need to adhere to an “invisibility” design brief posed a major challenge which may be classed as extremely technically demanding, particularly in view of the difficulties involved in working with leather. Successfully completed deployment tests, sunlight simulations and climate change tests guarantee absolute process reliability in compliance with the requisite automotive standards.

Given the technically unique selling proposition of this development, the Eissmann Group quickly succeeded in closing considerable order numbers for the product with premium end customers.