Last month, automotive technology and engineering company Benteler International announced it would be investing in a new forming line for processing of airbag tubes at its Schloss Neuhaus plant, in Germany.
The company has expanded its value-added depth in airbag and seat belt pretensioner tubes for the international automotive sector.
The forming line is being constructed on a modular basis and will be able to produce a variety of designs flexibly and leanly – including 100% component testing.
“This enables us to meet various customer-specific product safety requirements,” explains Benteler International Schloss Neuhaus and Paderborn Plant Network head Thomas Michels.
He explains that since airbags are among the most important safety components in a vehicle, comprehensive testing prior to assembly is of importance. Airbags are subject to the highest safety requirements.
The safety aspect is already integrated in the new forming line and therefore makes an important contribution to quality assurance, he relays.
"For final testing, in which 100% of parts are tested, a non-destructive testing technology has been specially developed and integrated into the process flow,” says Benteler Steel/Tube engineering safety head Dirk Tegethoff.
According to Tegethoff, the testing is tailored to the specific application and is considerably more accurate than conventional testing methods used in the industry.
This subsequently guarantees consistent reproducibility – “with this reliable test we ensure consistent quality and safety of the tube components”.
The tested and ready-to-use airbag generator sleeves are now delivered directly to the customer's production facility; intermediate steps that other companies had previously taken over are now no longer necessary.
This simplifies the processes for customers and simultaneously reduces the risk of defects in the supply chain reports Benteler International Steel/Tube automotive business area project manager and VP Ingemar Wohlert.
"We closely monitor our customers' needs so that we can generate customer-oriented solutions,” he says.
Further, the company’s aim is to understand precisely the problems and challenges of its customers' production processes so that we can develop appropriate solutions during the manufacturing process.
“The earlier we recognise a problem, the more effectively we can solve it for our customers. We achieve this by collaborating early in the design phase of products,” says Wohlert.
He also has overriding goals in mind, such as reducing carbon emissions, when optimising production processes.
"Our tube solutions made of high-strength materials contribute to lightweight construction. Further, the company produces its steel in its own electric steel plant.
“This results in significantly lower carbon emissions than is the case with steel production in blast furnaces. In addition, we manufacture our airbag tubes from 100% recycled scrap – which is how the circular economy works,” he concludes.