Leak detection is a critical part of the air bag quality control process

Leak detection is a critical part of the air bag quality control process

Airbag manufacturers are using sophisticated helium leak detection tests to help ensure product quality.

Airbag leak testing is big business. Today's new cars and light trucks are equipped with up to 12 airbags. Suppliers in the US perform up to 750 million helium-based leak tests annually on up to 300 million airbags.

Airbag production is also expected to increase by eight percent or more in each of the next two years. ARC Automotive, Autoliv, Daicel, Key Safety, Takata, and TRW are among the world's leading airbag suppliers. Each of its plants can be equipped with up to 100 helium leak detection systems.

Helium leak testing is the safest and most effective available, but considerable training and supervision is required to ensure process quality.

Helium is the only leak detection method used in final tests of airbag systems by major suppliers. Leaks can occur around the weld locations on the airbag housing, its cigarette lighter, or the fill port.

Most airbag systems are tested twice, once during assembly and then 12 to 72 hours later to identify potential "slow leaks" that may only become apparent later in the process. Even the smallest leak location could allow water to enter the system and react with solid explosive material.

All airbag inflators, regardless of type, are leak tested with helium leak detection equipment to ensure the inflator performs as expected for the life of the product. The loss of gas stored in the inflator could seriously affect the performance of the airbag during an accident. If a pyrotechnic inflator is leaking, water vapor could also enter the inflator, react with combustible material in the system, and cause the airbag to deploy unexpectedly.

 

Source: Business Wire

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