TRW Automotive Holdings Corp has developed a range of driver airbag modules made of regenerative plastic material, which offers a number of environmental benefits. The Company is the first to develop the new, greener module where components, including the airbag cover and retainer plate, are now made from a new, bio-based material.
Manuel Poyant, core engineering manager for driver airbags and steering wheel systems at TRW commented: TRW is using a new bio-based material for its driver airbag modules which offers significant environmental advantages. Firstly, this material reduces the vehicle's interior emissions – the gases that are released at low levels from new materials, particularly at high temperature. Reducing such emissions is now a key focus, with leading vehicle manufacturers specifying emissions limits for target compounds released from trim materials. In addition, a significant proportion of the carbon in the new plastic material comes from regenerative raw materials, which helps to save fossil resources.
The plastics sector has evolved significantly in recent years and with the greater focus from the automotive industry on sustainable products and the environment, greener technologies such as bio-materials are high on vehicle manufacturers' agendas. Our customers are already showing strong interest in this new technology.
TRW envisions that the new range of driver airbag modules will be ready for production by mid 2012 and anticipates that the technology could gradually replace all conventional oil based materials in driver airbags in the coming years.