Meech Press Release
Meech's Static Control Smooths Silicon Coating for Airbags International
Airbags International is part of Autoliv Inc. a global pioneer and leader in automotive safety, including airbags and seatbelts. At its plant in Congleton, Cheshire, the company manufactures both frontal airbags and inflatable curtains. As the products are vital pieces of safety equipment and responsible for saving the lives of thousands of people every year, quality is paramount.
The airbags are made from nylon 66, a material woven on-site and wound onto large rolls. As part of the manufacturing process, the material goes through a coating line that applies silicon to the material. This smooth coating ensures that, when deployed, the air does leak out through the pores in the material and that the bags will unfold without sticking.
Before going through the coating line, it is essential that the web is free from contamination to guarantee a smooth coating. Engineers at Airbags International called in the expertise of Meech International to look at options for web cleaning and to help reduce static both on the coating line and at the end of the process.
For the web cleaning, the choice was clear. The Meech Series 1000 is a specialist web cleaner designed by Meech, using their expertise and experience in designing static control equipment. Combining static eliminators, brushes and a high power vacuum dust collection system, the Series 1000 System ensures not only that dust contamination is eliminated but also that the risk of further dust attraction is minimised. Meech static eliminator bars break down the electrostatic charge binding the dust particles to the web and the brushes destroy the boundary layer on the moving web allowing efficient removal of contamination. The Series 1000 has been designed with a unique, highly efficient vacuum control plate that gives complete coverage of the material surface. Flexible ducting then carries the contaminants to the collection system, where they are collected in a filter bag.
Installation of the Series 1000 SCT ensures that the material is contaminant-free before starting the coating process. However, the engineers then encountered static problems as the material was travelling underneath the coating blade under high tension, 40 -50N, at speeds of up to 20 metres per minute. The resulting static generated caused the silicon to 'bounce' off the material, resulting in complete and uneven coverage. Installation of Meech 915 ionising static elimination bars allowed the static to be controlled, resulting in increased production, less waste and reduced downtime.
The Model 915 provides powerful and intense ion production and with a rapid decay time, means that it is even more effective at faster web speeds. For enhanced operator safety, the 915 bar incorporates resistively coupled emitter pins that make the whole system shockless. The pins are also manufactured in sharp titanium to reduce contamination and give a longer effective life.
At the end of the coating process after oven curing, a Meech 976 ionising system has been installed to reduce static charge levels and the associated risk operator shocks. The Meech 976 shockless Pulsed DC ionising system provides highly effective long-range ionisation up to distances of 600mm and with a a high level of performance and functionality, secures the workforce a comfortable and static-free environment.
"We have been delighted wit the advice and support we’ve received from Meech." says Mark Hodgson, project engineer at Airbags International. "Along the line we have had to overcome the problems caused by static and Meech has a solution at every stage."
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