Livonia-based TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. (NYSE: TRW) said Tuesday that it is beginning to equip seat belt systems with Dynamic Locking Tongue technology.

The DLT is a lightweight and compact design consisting of a seat belt tongue (the plate which fastens into the buckle) with a rotating cam and a concealed spring. The DLT allows webbing to pass freely through the tongue when buckling and in normal seat belt use to ensure comfort and convenience for everyday use. However, in the event of hard braking or a crash resulting in greater than about 45 Newtons (10 foot-pounds) of force on the belt, the DLT clamps the webbing and works with other seat belt technologies helping to reduce loads on the occupant’s chest.

“The Dynamic Locking Tongue is a simple and effective way to help manage the energy of an occupant in a crash,” said Norbert Kagerer, vice president of engineering for TRW Occupant Safety Systems. “It works in concert with other seat belt technologies such as pretensioners and load limiters, and its ability to reduce chest compression loads is of benefit in complying with the more stringent test criteria now in place for the Euro NCAP and USNCAP ratings systems.”

TRW testing has shown that the DLT is very effective in preventing the webbing from slipping through the tongue when in the locked mode. By using the DLT to better couple the occupant to the seat in the pelvic region, improvements in chest deflection and load have been shown across a range of vehicle types and sizes.

The DLT has been launched into production in North America, and vehicle manufacturer interest is high in this technology globally.

With 2009 sales of $11.6 billion, TRW Automotive ranks among the world’s leading automotive suppliers. More at

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