November '19

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54 THE SHOP NOVEMBER 2019 EDITOR'S NOTE: This ar ticle originally appeared on, the auto upholstery industry's leading news website and online community. O ne of the most heated debates in the auto upholstery industry is whether or not shops should repair seats equipped with side impact airbags (SIAB). I see all kinds of attempts to explain the mysteries of how the seams are sewn, how to replicate them, and whether or not to attempt them at all. As someone who designs OEM seats and has worked for and with Tier 1 suppliers, hopefully I can shed light on the topic. WHAT CONSTITUTES A PROPERLY WORKING AIRBAG? Just because an airbag inflates and blows a seam open doesn't mean it works properly. Sure, it's great the airbag does that, but, as with most things, timing is everything. The most dangerous comments I hear from trimmers who give airbag advice is, "Don't worry, nothing can hold back that explosion" or "I've tested it myself on scrap seats and the seam blows open, no problem." They mislead others into thinking that just because an airbag inflates, it will work as designed. The fact is, airbag charges are designed to coincide with the movement of a human body within a crash condition. The charge is timed so that the airbag is fully inflated at the very instant before a body comes in contact with it. Too early, and the bag vents out, leaving less cushion for an impact; too late, and the body is already in its path and gets slammed with the full force of the explosion. What can cause a bag to inflate at the incorrect time? Just about any item that goes into the construction of the airbag seam, which includes the machines used, thread, material and padding. As trimmers, we often walk a fine line between what is safe and what is not when deciphering new technologies such as side im- pact airbags and learning how to incorporate them into our services. These smart safety systems pose potential dangers if retrimmed incorrectly. By Joseph Pavich, \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Understanding Side Impact Airbags

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