Viscount724
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Why So Few Seatbelt Manufacturers?

Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:57 pm

It seems that virtually every aircraft I've flown on for years has seatbelts made by Amsafe, that look much like those in the link below.
http://www.amsafe.com/products/detail.php?id=3&type=categories

Seatbelts don't seem to be an exceptionally hgh-tech product, with only a few parts. What is it that seems to give Amsafe a virtual monopoly?

I recall AF once used a different type of seatbelt (probably made in France) but even they now use the Amsafe belts.

[Edited 2011-01-10 16:00:58]

[Edited 2011-01-10 16:34:26]
 
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1337Delta764
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RE: Why So Few Seatbelt Manufacturers?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:02 am

The Contour Solar Business Class Suites use a proprietary seatbelt that release with a button rather than a lever.
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EMBQA
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RE: Why So Few Seatbelt Manufacturers?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:13 am

Nitch market.. and I'm sure very high liability insurance.
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Charlienoble
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RE: Why So Few Seatbelt Manufacturers?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:31 am

I don't know why they are the only ones...but it is a brilliant design.

Rugged and even the biggest idiot on earth can operate them.
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AA737-823
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RE: Why So Few Seatbelt Manufacturers?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:29 am

How many manufacturers of seatbelts do we need in this industry? I mean, it's a seatbelt.
If there are design requirement changes, then AMSAFE is in the best position to implement them and continue forward, rather than some new startup giving it a shot and failing. Oh wait, I have an idea:
LET'S LET KOITO DO IT!!!!!
 
 
Markhkg
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RE: Why So Few Seatbelt Manufacturers?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:31 am

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 1):
Contour Solar Business Class Suites use a proprietary seatbelt that release with a button rather than a lever.

These push-button seat belts are actually manufactured by Amsafe: they are the new airbag seat belts. (Herringbone seats typically require airbags or a shoulder belt to meet the 16 G survival rule during dynamic testing). Amsafe is one of only two companies with airbag seat belts (the other being Goodrich, but I haven't seen many carriers use their airbags).

Quoting Viscount724 (Thread starter):
years has seatbelts made by Amsafe

There are a few smaller companies out there. Aircraft Belts Inc and Davis Aircraft Products (makes all the restraints for Southwest Airlines aircrafts...not a small number!) are two that come to mind. Southwest Airlines seat belts always felt unusual to me with the short, compact metal tongue...but ultimately it is TSO certified.
Release your seat-belts and get out! Leave everything!
 
Northwest727
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RE: Why So Few Seatbelt Manufacturers?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 2:30 pm

Quoting EMBQA (Reply 2):
I'm sure very high liability insurance.

That was the first thing that came to my mind.
 
lax888
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RE: Why So Few Seatbelt Manufacturers?

Tue Jan 11, 2011 10:32 pm

a bit off topic but why do the CX seat belts have an air bag installed? it makes the seat belt so much more uncomfortable. especially when you want to rest.
 
AA737-823
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RE: Why So Few Seatbelt Manufacturers?

Wed Jan 12, 2011 10:08 am

Quoting LAX888 (Reply 7):
a bit off topic but why do the CX seat belts have an air bag installed? it makes the seat belt so much more uncomfortable. especially when you want to rest.

There are new regs in effect which say something along the lines of the passenger has to be able to withstand a 16G load, and there must be a cushion between the passenger and any hard objects.... or something like that. So, on certain bulkhead rows, the belts have bags. And, in many herringbone J classes, the belts must have bags, since "forward" motion means hitting your cranium on the SIDE of the seat in "front" of you.... everything gets so confusing when the seat is angled at 30 degrees...

I hope that helps.
 
lax888
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RE: Why So Few Seatbelt Manufacturers?

Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:15 pm

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 8):

Ok thanks a lot AA737-823! So what triggers the air bag? In a car it usually is a sensor which triggers the air bag when a certain amount of force hits the car if I am not mistaken. Also doesn't the airbag insure the pax since you usually fasten your seat belt low and tight? In a car the air bag is a few inches away from your body and they say you should not adjust your seat so you are to near the air bag.
 
Markhkg
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RE: Why So Few Seatbelt Manufacturers?

Wed Jan 12, 2011 5:51 pm

Quoting LAX888 (Reply 9):
So what triggers the air bag?

A sensor box is mounted typically under the seat, which detects the impact. The sensor box can be linked to one seat (like herringbone seats), or a set of three seats (like those in Economy class style seats).

Quoting LAX888 (Reply 9):
few inches away from your body and they say you should not adjust your seat so you are to near the air bag.

This airbag is different to a car airbag because it deploys AWAY from the person, rather than towards (which is what is found in a car's steering wheel or passenger side airbag). This way, the airbag is never "too near" you. The only real limitation with the system is that (i) The belt cannot be twisted and (ii) you cannot put a child safety seat in these seats. Sometimes aircraft that have these airbag seatbelts can be disabled with a special deactivation strap for use with the child safety seat, but some airlines simply forbid child safety seats on these seats with installed airbags (eg Cathay Pacific, Air Canada)
Release your seat-belts and get out! Leave everything!
 
eoinnz
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RE: Why So Few Seatbelt Manufacturers?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:03 am

Quoting CharlieNoble (Reply 3):
Rugged and even the biggest idiot on earth can operate them.

In day to day normal operation yes, but when in an emergency it has proven more difficult. It was shown to me in some research that in an emergency people initially responded by trying to release the seatbelt like a car seatbelt instead of lifting a lever. That is why the Qantas A380 has push button seat belts in all seats and classes.
 
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Faro
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RE: Why So Few Seatbelt Manufacturers?

Fri Jan 14, 2011 12:02 pm

Quoting Viscount724 (Thread starter):
Seatbelts don't seem to be an exceptionally hgh-tech product, with only a few parts. What is it that seems to give Amsafe a virtual monopoly?
Quoting EMBQA (Reply 2):
Nitch market.. and I'm sure very high liability insuranc

Viscount724's question has to my mind not been satisfactorily answered. How many seatbelt-related court cases are there out there? How many have ever made the news? IMO, I doubt that product liability is a significant obstacle to manufacturers seeking to enter the market for such a very low-tech product.

But then we don't have market share info at hand: what brand of seatbelt do LCC's other than WN install, and what about charter and third-world carriers? I would not be surprised if it were another make than Amsafe. Perhaps Amsafe hold critical safety patents, perhaps like Microsoft in the early days they employ aggressive 'market rentention' tactics. It would also be interesting to know since when Amsafe has been dominating the seatbelt market and who were the main manufacturers before then.

Perhaps it's a question of airlines practicing an extreme example of if-it-ain't-broke-don't-fix-it policy. Seatbelts are not only very low-tech but also low-price and very low-maintenance items (how many times are they replaced over the life of an airliner?). Maybe the fact that maintenance cost is not an issue makes it easier for airlines to stick to one brand since the investment decision is simplified.

I for one would not be surprised if some Asian firm one day decided to make the necessary capital investment to enter the seatbelt market big time. We would then have a new Airbus to Amsafe's entrenched Boeing...

Faro

[Edited 2011-01-14 04:10:28]
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