Rolls-Royce Motor Cars’ innovative passenger airbag concept has won the Society of Plastics Engineers’ (SPE) Grand Innovation Award.
The engineers working on the Rolls-Royce Project were also presented with the SPE’s Automotive Division Grand Award. This award is granted annually in recognition of innovative developments in the processing and use of plastics in the automobile category. The Grand Innovation award is the most prestigious of all the SPE’s awards with the winners of each specific category going forward for an overall ‘top’ award.
The Engineers impressed the judges with the pioneering design of passenger airbag, which deploys without the need for the leather trim to tear or the surrounding parts to separate, setting new standards in technological design.
The Phantom’s airbag specification demanding that there was no separate cover, no weakening of the leather trim and no egress through leather stitching was a major challenge for the development engineers and interior specialists.
The airbag is folded in such a way that allows it to follow a defined route through a gap between the leather covered dashboard top and the adjacent magnesium alloy instrument panel support. In its initial milliseconds of expansion the airbag pushes the dashboard top upwards, creating a gap through which the airbag can deploy.
Through the innovative use of plastic materials the engineers were able to solve this problem while still retaining the highest standards of quality and design expected of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars.Published 15 December 2004