TRW is presenting at the IAA its latest passenger and curtain airbag modules - designed to reduce weight by up to 50% compared with previous generations.

The firm says the weight saving has been achieved by using advanced materials and production processes in addition to optimising the design of the module.

Alexander Heilig, director Occupant Safety Systems Engineering, said: "As the industry continues to place increasing focus on the environment, the importance of reducing vehicle weight is paramount. Our vehicle manufacturer customers are using weight reduction as a key strategy in developing more fuel efficient vehicles.

"As a leader in the airbag field, TRW has been able to satisfy stringent customer and industry regulatory requirements, while halving the weight of its airbag modules in recent years - now among the lightest on the market - in addition to minimizing product size and packaging. The integration of the inflator into the cushion, combined with new inflation technologies and new bag and housing concepts and materials, have led to significant weight reduction potential over the previous few years."

TRW's latest generation DI-10 airbag inflator is a disc-type inflator which utilises a new and more efficient propellant formulation. It uses high-grade materials for the housing and weld joint technology to reduce package size.

TRW's new SHI2 curtain airbag inflator offers flexible packaging, which allows it to be tailored to individual customer and market requirements. It uses an innovative design with a quick vessel opening technology, which is highly tailorable for both airbag cushion size and airbag fill time. A new smaller housing, high tech materials and simplified design have enabled a lighter weight product.

Dirk Schultz, global engineering director Inflatable Restraint Systems, added: "Our new generation of lightweight airbag inflators and modules brings a number of key advantages. Firstly, with our scaleable Airbag Control Unit we are able to offer a flexible airbag module solution, which allows cost driven manufacturers to equip their vehicles with safety electronics, while maintaining their competitiveness. This flexibility is essential for original equipment manufacturers looking for a single solution to satisfy both the emerging and export markets.

"Secondly, further improved manufacturing processes, increased product standardization, and improved vertical integration have led to enhanced product quality and robustness in combination with a noticeable cost reduction. In addition, we are able to support our customers in delivering greater fuel economy - a key part of TRW's strategy is to add value and develop more affordable solutions."

Schultz added: "TRW is well positioned to further develop and enhance its airbag technology. We are already working on our next generation of airbag modules, which should realise further weight reductions of around 30 to 50%."