Learn all about WAYB’s favorite material
by WAYB Lead Designer Kurtis Sakai
Chances are you have already met AL. No, not that guy, the AL who anonymously enhances your everyday life. AL is just short talk for Aluminum, more specially, the periodic table abbreviation.
Where to begin….space, air, sea, land, or maybe your desktop? That premium, coveted, shiny laptop in front of you is likely made from extruded and machined AL. Lightweight, super strong, absorbs shock well, mechanically stable, inert, resists corrosion, can take some serious knocks, and aluminum is incredibly beautiful. This is the go-to material for planes and even the space shuttle (see why aluminum is tops for spacecraft here). Even if you aren’t an astronaut, you’re likely using aluminum daily: in a plane, in a car or building, cracking open a can of beer, or wrapping up leftover dinner.
Space shuttles including Endeavour (above) and NASA's latest spacecraft, Orion, feature light, strong aluminum.
For our family gear company, WAYB, aluminum is how we can make a car seat that's smaller and lighter than the typical plastic bucket, without compromising on strength and safety. Our Pico travel car seat is under eight pounds, thanks to an aluminum frame. And our 7000-series aluminum tubing on our headrest and seat absorb energy in a crash, meaning Pico passes U.S. safety tests without bulky foams that can be bad for kids and the environment.
The WAYB Pico features an aluminum frame and specialized 7000-series aluminum tubing in its headrest and seat.
Aluminum is a heck of a lot better for the earth than a lot of common materials in baby gear (looking at you, plastic and foam). For starters, it’s very abundant (we’re talking third most abundant element behind oxygen and silicon) and easily adaptable. It’s famous for its recyclability. Some estimates reckon that 70-75% of all AL ever produced is still in use!
Aluminum is the most recyclable metal, taking minimal energy and keeping it's strength and quality from use to use. The Pico you buy today could eventually be recycled to hold your kid's first beer. Whoa.
WAYB’s manufacturing partner has a long-standing relationship with AL. They’ve made their name creating light and strong emergency medical transport equipment, adventure-grade backpacks, kayak frames, and safe climbing equipment. While a lot of factories either have metal or sewing expertise, our partner does both so we can trust the quality of every component and step in the process. Many premium brands entrust their highest-performance gear to our manufacturer and their dedication to AL. Strong, light, non-toxic, and eco-friendly? It makes perfect sense AL would be WAYB’s BFF too.
Kurtis Sakai (WAYB Lead Designer), Jeff Lockie (Head of Product), and Y.U. An (Materials Manager) review Pico prototypes and their aluminum frames.
In future blog posts we’ll deep dive into the features that make our Pico travel car seat so special. Up next…get ready to meet the twins.