Turns out, pretty much any part of a car can get a green makeover. ARC Automotive Inc., for example, has figured out a way to make an airbag inflator that use saltwater brine (and a small pyrotechnic charge) to deploy an airbag instead of the larger charges that other pyrotechnic inflators use. Standard inflators also generate hot gases that add complexity (namely, the need for cooling) to the airbag system.
Dubbed the EcoSafe Inflator, ARC's new system vaporizes the brine to "inflate the airbag with a non-toxic, low temperature, low particulate mixture," according to ARC Automotive president Ali El-Haj. It's also cheaper than standard inflators. El-Haj said that the EcoSafe Inflator "offers greater vehicle occupant safety because during the airbag deployment the technology emits less particulate into the vehicle cabin." Standard side airbag and active knee bolster applications can use the EcoSafe Inflator. It's not the Jiffypop airbag, but it's interesting nonetheless.

[Source: ARC Automotive Inc]




PRESS RELEASE:

ARC AUTOMOTIVE ANNOUNCES NEW INFLATOR FOR PASSIVE SAFETY RESTRAINT SYSTEMS – THE ECOSAFE INFLATOR™

New Airbag Technology Made from H2O Brine
Provides 'Greener,' Low-Cost Alternative

FRANKFURT AUTO SHOW, September 14, 2009 – ARC Automotive Inc., a leading producer of airbag inflator technologies, today announced a new, 'greener' alternative – the EcoSafe Inflator™ – to engage airbag passive safety restraint systems in passenger vehicles.

"ARC Automotive, a pioneer in gas inflators, now introduces a technology that provides a safer, greener alternative to today's pyrotechnic inflators," said Ali El-Haj, President, ARC Automotive Inc. "With this patented technology we introduce a new passenger vehicle inflator that employs a saltwater brine solution mixed with heated gas – a safer alternative at a lower cost."

The EcoSafe Inflator™ uses a saltwater solution and small, encapsulated pyrotechnic charge to deploy the airbag during a traffic collision. Other pyrotechnic inflators use larger charges to generate hot gases, which must be cooled and filtered as it inflates the airbag.

"EcoSafe Inflator™ requires a smaller pyrotechnic charge to vaporize the brine or saltwater solution," El-Haj said. "The mixture of vaporized liquid and combustible gases then inflates the airbag with a non-toxic, low temperature, low particulate mixture."

"By using less propellant the inflator offers greater vehicle occupant safety because during the airbag deployment the technology emits less particulate into the vehicle cabin," he said.

Cost of the EcoSafe Inflator™ is lower compared to today's inflators due to the use of saltwater and less pyrotechnic material, compared to today's pyrotechnic inflators. Savings to the airbag system manufacturer can be significant considering the lower part costs, as well as reduced logistics and handling costs.

"The manufacturers of passive safety restraint systems for vehicles will realize significant cost savings by applying this technology," said El-Haj.

The EcoSafe Inflator™ can be used in standard side airbag or active knee bolster applications. It can be used in existing air bag configurations with no new module development required.
ARC Automotive is a supplier to the world's developers of passive safety restraint systems and also works directly with automotive original equipment manufacturers on safety restraint system design.

ARC Automotive, a legacy company of Atlantic Research Corporation, in the early 1970s pioneered the hybrid inflators used in today's vehicle airbag systems. In 1998 Atlantic Research Corporation evolved into ARC Automotive Inc. following a joint venture buyout from AlliedSignal.

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ARC Automotive Inc., a leader in inflators and propellants for the automotive industry, is a global supplier to the manufacturers of vehicle airbag safety systems. Founded more than 50 years ago as Atlantic Research Corporation, ARC Automotive has evolved over the years to utilize the same proven technologies found in propellant military systems. ARC Automotive has manufacturing operations in the United States, Mexico and China, operating with TS 16949, A2LA-ISO / IEC 1725 and ISO 14001 qualifications. ARC Automotive is a division of Sequa Corporation. More information is at www.arcautomotive.com.

Sequa Corporation is a diversified industrial company with operations in the aerospace, metal coatings and automotive industries. Sequa is a Carlyle Group company. For additional information, visit www.sequa.com
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