To continue our discussion from our last blog where we discussed laser cutting and the role it plays in auto production, this week we examine the role precision laser cutting plays in our automotive safety.
While we can look at a car and see the obvious metal and steel structures that help us to get from A to B, there are additional steel and metal components that are cleverly woven into the design of a vehicle, keeping us safe while remaining invisible.
Steel is present in your seat belt, allowing for the high tensile strength that keeps you strapped in despite the force of an automobile crash.
Would you be surprised to learn that precision cut metal tubing is a critical component in airbag technology? Let’s take a look at some airbag facts:
- Airbags were first patented in the 1950s
- Airbags have saved over 30,000 lives since we began counting in 1998
- It is estimated that using a seat belt and having an airbag in your car reduces the risk of death by over 60%
What role does metal cutting play in the role of airbags?
Small metal tubing plays a critical role in how airbags detect a crash through sensors. The crash sensors are perhaps the most important part of the process of airbag deployment. The crash sensors need to work in a highly sophisticated way, only deploying in a crash and not at any other time (which could be highly dangerous!).
One common type of crash sensor is the electromechanical design: the gas dampened ball and tube design. The sensor is a small ball held magnetically in place on the end of a metal tube. With the ball on one end of the tube, the other end has a switch. The magnet is a particular strength that has been calculated to keep the ball in place during the force of many car movements. However, if a jolt with particular force (or higher) occurs, the ball is dislodged from the magnet and rolls into the tube. Within a millisecond, this closes the circuit and deploys the airbag.