WAYB loves aluminum. Ultralight, strong enough for spacecraft, and infinitely recyclable, there’s a lot to love. “It’s an underrated wonder material,” said our lead designer, Kurtis Sakai, in a recent WIRED article about WAYB. In this post, Kurtis walks us through WAYB’s Safetwin Pipe design and the aluminum process that makes our Pico frame so incredibly strong.
When we set out to create Pico™, we knew we wanted to reinvent heavy, bulky, car seats to make family travel way better. Our car seat had to be light, and compact while meeting and exceeding the same safety standards as the giant, plastic-and-foam car seats on the market.
The secret to our game-changing Pico is our aerospace-grade aluminum frame. It’s not just that aluminum is so durable and lightweight; the way we design and treat our aluminum gives it super-strength.
The Pico travel car seat is designed with a custom made, extruded, 6000-series Aluminum (AL) Safetwin pipe. This twin shape means we merge the strength of two individual pipes.
The soft curve bridging the twin pipe sections eliminates stress risers, allowing for even distribution of applied force and giving more surface area to house our lower anchor webbing or stow away the top tether. Double the protection, double the strength.
What’s 6000-series aluminum? It’s one of the more premium and versatile forms of AL in a series ranging from 1000-8000. It’s the Labradoodle of metal….smart, lovable, easy going (and doesn’t shed). Great for welding, extruding, forging, machining, and ultimately recyclable.
Pardon the Extrusion
You’ll hear the term “extrusion” from us a lot. It’s how we make our own in-house AL pipes. If you’ve ever played with PlayDoh, you’ve likely extruded a shaped piece with a hand press. Where ours differs is that our press is a giant industrial machine the size of a small motorhome and it applies force to the level of around 330 tons. It presses a solid piece of AL billet through a hardened steel die to its final, elongated shape which can be solid or hollow like our Safetwin pipe. And like PlayDoh or a fancy post-yoga juice, it’s cold-pressed. Similar to not wanting to cook off nutrients, the cold process allows the aluminum grain structure to align to create a much stronger part.
Speaking of strong…when we talk strength around here we think in terms of pressure. Megapascals (MPa) to be exact. Mega is a million and a Pascal is a Newton meter squared. While anything deemed Mega is surely a metric unit measurement of awesomeness it’s been a long time since sitting hopelessly in a physics class so I’ll try to make it more relatable: one MPa=145 Pound force per square inch (psi). A football inflated is about 13 psi (Patriots 2015 Superbowl notwithstanding). Car tires take about 30 psi. There’s up to 160 psi in a human bite while on the losing end of a sibling fight. A submarine hull can handle up to 700 psi. Normal plastic can handle around 4000 psi. WAYB’s Safetwin pipe is closer to 30,000 psi in tensile and shear strength, and much higher than that for ultimate breaking strength.
We can’t calculate the strength of one’s love for their little bundle of joy; a Mega unit doesn’t even come close. We just want to use every tool we can to protect your little ones, and ours. WAYB’s Safetwin pipe does the job beautifully while being light and compact. So compact, in fact, it’s great for your twins - or triplets! - when you need to get more than one car seat in the back row.