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TRW Purchases Helium Gas Air Bag Inflator Technology With Tailorable Deployment Capability

DETROIT, Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- TRW (NYSE: TRW) announced today it has purchased an exclusive, worldwide license for a new helium gas air bag inflator technology from AirBelt Systems, LLC of Bel Air, Calif. with more tailorable deployment capability than most existing inflators. Terms were not disclosed.

The new "cold gas inflator" technology uses a pressure vessel filled with helium gas and regulated by a proprietary, gas flow control device. The helium requires no ignition and remains clean and cool, providing low post- deployment surface temperatures. Plans are for the new inflator to be available for launch in model year 2000-2001.

"This proprietary technology represents TRW's commitment to technology leadership in the automotive occupant restraint systems business," said James F. Smith, vice president and general manager of TRW's Inflatable Restraint Systems business. "This new technology is clean, cool and offers the potential for 'passive tailorability'."

Smith explained that the passenger inflator can be tailored to specific vehicle requirements for tailored output and softer deployment, which help in protecting out-of-position occupants. The inflator can also be modulated to provide the variable output required of future "smart" restraint systems.

"This new technology enhances TRW's ability to offer tailorable restraints to our global customers," Smith said. "The technology offers a simple design and the potential for cost-effective manufacturing." He added that TRW has been working with the Bel Air firm since last year under a development agreement for the proprietary system. During this period, the technology was tested by TRW and government agencies.

"Given TRW's enlightened commitment to offering their global customers the most innovative, next-generation safety technologies, we found them to be the most knowledgeable and best company in the world to bring our cold gas inflation system to market," said Lawrence M. Shultz, AirBelt Systems chief executive officer.

Initial tests utilizing the new inflator have produced positive results. AirBelt Systems will work with TRW in a consulting capacity during the next two years as the new technology is expected to be rolled out.

Cleveland-based TRW is the world's largest supplier of occupant restraint systems. The company provides advanced technology products and services to the automotive and space and defense markets. Its 1996 sales were about $10 billion.

 -0- 09/09/97

/CONTACT: Gary Klasen of TRW, 810-781-7217/


CO: TRW; AirBelt Systems, LLC ST: Michigan, California IN: AUT SU:

JC -- DETU010 -- 5376 09/09/97 10:11 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 9, 1997
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