Safety won’t sell automobiles

Elkem Silicones celebrates 20 years of outstanding innovations in the automotive sector. Its solutions for airbags coatings are trusted by suppliers and customers for their reliablility and durability.

This statement seems quite eccentric nowadays, but it was common thinking some fifty years ago. In 1966, the New York Times published one of the first articles mentioning the emergence of automotive safety devices at automakers, though there was still a lot of debate internally whether customers would actually want them. Per the article, “one of the most exotic systems under discussion” was the airbag system, still considered “science fiction”…

Fifty years later, the United Nations adopted a new agenda for 2016 and set “Goals for Sustainable Development”, that include road safety objectives worldwide. The #STOPTHECRASH campaign was initiated to bring global actors of the automotive sector together, working towards a reduction of the number of fatalities by half in road traffic accidents, making automobiles, roads and cities safer and more sustainable.

In this continuous fight for reducing traffic related fatalities, our silicones have a role to play as a critical component of airbag cushions. In case of an accident, an airbag must deploy within a few milliseconds and before occupants have even realized that a crash is occurring! A pyrotechnic inflator is often used to inflate the textile cushion, of which the fabric has to withstand high-speed tension and hot gases: silicone coatings are used there to protect the textile cushions by bringing mechanical integrity, tear strength, and obviously high thermal protection.

For us at Elkem Silicones, it all started in 1996 when we were granted our first patent on airbag coating technology, enabling us to supply the industry with a reliable silicone coating that was significantly improving the performance, the packing size and the durability of automotive airbags. The same year, our scientists were working on coatings with better thermal barrier performance and easier processability…

In 2016, we are celebrating 20 years of developments and commitments at the service of automotive safety, helping our customers and the industry to protect human lives on the roads.

During those 20 years, we have participated in making airbags durable and reliable in all conditions, we have brought additional functions and features to airbag cushions, and we have designed original manufacturing processes to produce efficiently and offer the highest quality for the application.

During those 20 years we have offered our customers the very best in both products and services. More than half of our customers have been collaborating with us for over 10 years, and they have entrusted us and our silicone materials to coat growing numbers of frontal airbags, thorax airbags and side curtain airbags. Today, one airbag in four is coated with Elkem Silicones.

And for the next 20 years, we, at Elkem Silicones, will continue to be a partner of choice for the automotive industry, committing to product excellence, quality, and reliability. But for now, let’s make 2016 a celebration year!

Throughout 2016, we will rewind airbag history and look at our achievements and successes, with one question in mind: what other great advances will we bring tomorrow for the safety of our loved ones?

Congratulations Elkem Silicones for 20 years of involvement in road safety!!