SOURCE: Lectra

March 02, 2007 12:40 ET

LECTRA Launches Revolutionary New Airbag Cutting Solution

PARIS -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 2, 2007 -- Lectra, the world leader in production solutions for automobile and automotive equipment manufacturers specializing in the development and manufacture of airbags, automotive seats and interiors, announced the launch of its new FocusAirbag OPW solution, for the production of One Piece Woven airbags, a multi-layer weaving technique that allows the pieces to be woven at the same time as the fabric and represents the airbag's market future..

"Lectra holds 80% of the world market for cutting solutions dedicated to airbags, with the most prestigious customers in the sector," said Daniel Harari, CEO of Lectra. "The new FocusAirbag range of laser cutters is the result of Lectra's unwavering innovation efforts, in partnership with these companies, over several years. Today, Lectra is the only company on the market with the capability to meet the requirements of major airbag manufacturers and guarantee their productivity, quality and process reliability."

A Leading-Edge Solution for a Rapidly Expanding Sector

The airbag market is booming. On average, vehicles were equipped with a little more than one airbag in 1999, whereas today there are more than three airbags per vehicle. The latest U.S. regulations will require side airbags in all vehicles produced from 2008 onwards, ensuring strong growth in this market in the coming years. This expansion provides a new challenge for producers to increase productivity and reduce the time and cost of production, while continuing to guarantee top quality.

In this environment, the industry's leading players have adopted OPW technology, which offers a considerably more efficient way to produce side airbags, accelerating time-to-market by bypassing the assembly phase and guaranteeing increased safety through better sealing.

A More Intelligent Solution to Meet New Challenges

This evolution, which makes the cutting process more complex, is only possible for companies choosing to innovate. Lectra supports these companies by offering them the most forward-looking solution on the market. The new vision system integrated in Focus Airbag takes account of the shape of pieces. The fabric and the pieces comprising it are thus automatically scanned and analyzed during the cutting phase. The geometry of the components, the position of the airbag and any possible distortions are taken into account. Each defective piece is identified to facilitate quality control, but without interrupting the cutting process.

The FocusAirbag OPW guarantees increased productivity and substantial material savings through an optimized and smoother process. Its new operating software offers a more effective tool path. The traceability of the airbags produced is ensured throughout the cutting operation via detailed activity reports which enable it to be analyzed and improved.

An Entirely Secure Process

The FocusAirbag OPW can be directly connected to Lectra's Call Center and thus be linked to the best experts who will ensure successful operation of the solution. The operating software offers secure access based on user profiles. The basic features can be opened to less experienced operators, with access to the different system parameters being restricted to trained persons only. All stages of production are computer-managed through the transmission of data by barcode, reducing human intervention to the minimum to avoid any risk of error.

"The integrated intelligence meets the reliability requirements of producers, who need production solutions that are available at all times, in a context where delays are heavily penalized," said Roy Shurling, Director of Lectra's worldwide automotive and transportation markets.

In parallel with the release of the FocusAirbag OPW solution, Lectra is launching a new VectorAuto automated cutting range that is specially designed for the production of automotive interiors and seats.

About Lectra

Lectra is the world leader in software, CAD/CAM equipment and related services dedicated to large-scale users of textiles, leather and industrial fabrics. Lectra addresses a broad array of major global markets, including fashion (apparel, accessories, footwear), automotive, aeronautical and furniture. With EUR 216 million in 2006 revenues, Lectra employs 1,500 persons worldwide. Lectra (ISIN Code FR0000065484) is listed on the Eurolist (compartment B) of Euronext Paris.

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