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Value Engineering

More fun and safety in the snow

From 0 to 150 liters in 3 seconds: In an emergency, avalanche airbags have to inflate at lightning speed. At the same time, they need to be lightweight, reliable and safe. With Zuhlke's support, Mammut’s latest avalanche airbags are setting new standards.

Innovations are a must

Founded in 1862, the Mammut Sports Group AG has evolved over the years from a rope manufacturer to a leading supplier of mountaineering equipment and outdoor clothing with the motto "Absolute Alpine". Mammut has played a pioneering role in the area of ​​avalanche safety and is now the undisputed market leader.

In order to further extend their top position in this highly competitive market, innovative products geared for extreme conditions are an absolute must. A new robust airbag system for avalanche backpacks was to be developed. Zuhlke accompanied the project from the initial idea through to series production.

 

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Customer statement

Thanks to Zuhlke's clever ideas, our avalanche backpack perfectly meets the needs of our customers.

– Rolf Schmid, former CEO of Mammut Sports Group AG

Optimization all down the line

An avalanche airbag increases the chances of staying on the surface in an avalanche. After being activated, it inflates with gas and air within seconds, thus giving its wearer the necessary buoyancy. Mammut wanted to improve their existing avalanche airbag making it really user-friendly, light, safe and more cost-effective in production.

Zuhlke's proven experience and expertise in the industrialization of products made them the ideal partner for the project. With their established know-how and fresh ideas, Zuhlke optimized the inflation unit, the trigger mechanism, and the product's usability.

Light and easy to use

The project began with a feasibility study of all the eligible inflation technologies, and detailed analyses of the current airbag. In the early phases of the project already, Zuhlke conducted efficient function tests with the first prototypes and developed a new inflation mechanism. During production planning, the emphasis was on low manufacturing costs. Through value engineering, a new system architecture with targeted functional integration was designed. Zuhlke considered a variety of manufacturing processes and proceeded according to the design-to-cost method. This made it possible to fulfil the pre-defined cost limits.

Together with Mammut, Zuhlke established a new supplier chain. The project was concluded with the series launch at the new system supplier's.

The new inflation system is reliable and maintenance free. In addition, it can be easily removed and inserted into other Mammut models without tools. It is smaller and takes up less space in the backpack than the previous system. An adjustable activation handle ensures that all users, regardless of their height, can easily trigger the air bag.

Customer benefits at a glance

  • Attractive new product: Thanks to the weight reduction in the inflation unit and the backpack, the avalanche airbag became the new lightweight champion on the market. The adjustable activation handle of the TÜV-approved backpack can be placed optimally at breastbone height. This is the best way to ensure successful triggering in an emergency.
  • From pioneer to market leader: With these innovations, Mammut further extended their position as industry leader in the area of avalanche safety equipment and set new standards in industrial production.
  • Lower production costs: Mammut optimized the production costs of the avalanche backpack with airbag system thanks to a professionally structured supply chain.
  • Two peak performers join forces: Mammut not only benefits from Zuhlke's product-related expertise, but also gains know-how on cutting manufacturing costs and series production. Further cooperation in the field of product development is in the pipeline.
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Photo: Mr Justin Cowling

Justin Cowling

Managing Director Business Development