Kleinostheim, 27 January 2023
Infrared Drying System Helps Improve Airbag Manufacture
Infrared heat optimally dries silicone coatings on plastic fabrics, ensuring that an airbag deploys quickly in an emergency. Carbon infrared emitters from Heraeus Noblelight help to significantly reduce the reject rate in the production of airbags.
By using medium wave carbon emitters, the heating of the airbag fabric is solved so efficiently that the system pays for itself after the tenth roll of fabric has been coated.
Heraeus Noblelight is presenting infrared emitters and systems that transfer heat in a particularly energy-efficient manner at the ICE trade fair in Munich.
Fabrics for airbags and other safety materials are often made of nylon. A coating of silicone makes the surface more slippery and means that the material can later unfold in a fraction of a second.
However, nylon is hygroscopic, so it attracts water from the environment and can reach a moisture content of between 3 and 5%. It is essential to reduce this moisture before coating to ensure good adhesion of the silicone and optimum surface quality of the fabric.
The drying and preheating processes required for this are solved with carbon infrared systems from Heraeus Noblelight, which are individually controlled and regulated. Optical pyrometers measure the surface temperature of the fabric and then a controller adjusts the power of the infrared emitters so that the material dries optimally without suffering heat damage.
Infrared modules require little additional space and can therefore be retrofitted very easily in coating plants. Medium-wave infrared radiation heats water faster than the fabric. The fast response time of the carbon emitters ensures that no damage occurs to the coated fabric even in the event of a possible belt stoppage.
Optimally pre-dried fabrics noticeably reduce the reject rate. At a British manufacturer, it has been shown that equipping the airbag fabric with infrared emitters solved the heating problem so efficiently that the installation of an infrared system paid off after the tenth roll of fabric had been coated.
Heraeus Noblelight offers the entire range from UV to infrared for drying or curing processes, carries out tests with the materials and advises on the selection of the optimum emitters for the process in question.