Reason for the recall

WHERE IS THE DEFECT?

The producer and filler of the steel cartridges used in ABS TwinBag systems has informed us that the steel cartridges that they supplied us with may have been contaminated with machining residues during the filling process. When one of these cartridges is activated, the coating residues are pushed into the filling system. This could hinder or even prevent subsequent activation. So far three instances of this problem, caused by the supplier, have been found, but had no consequences as they occurred during training activations.

WHAT IS THE EXPECTED SCOPE OF THE RECALL ACTION? HOW MANY ABS SYSTEMS ARE POTENTIALLY AFFECTED?

ABS TwinBags from earlier years may also be affected by contaminated steel cartridges with later dates due to refilling, and therefore we are recalling all ABS TwinBags produced since 1996.

WHY EXACTLY IS THE RECALL ACTION NECESSARY? (TECHNICAL EXPLANATION)

We cannot guarantee that the steel cartridges delivered have not been contaminated with debris during the filling and/or coating process. These particles might in some circumstances block the ABS system in the event of activation. However, the previous 15 occurrences of blockages to the ABS system have been without consequence, as they were activations for the purpose of training or inspection.

Am I affected?

WHAT PRODUCTION YEARS ARE AFFECTED?

We are recalling all ABS TwinBag systems that have been on the market since 1996, as well as all European steel cartridges with a filling date up to 2 December 2014. ABS mono airbags and carbon cartridges are not affected.

I HAVE AN ABS FROM BERGANS, DAKINE, DEUTER, HAGLÖFS, SALEWA, THE NORTH FACE, ORTOVOX OR VAUDE. IS THIS ALSO AFFECTED?

Yes. All backpacks with an integrated ABS TwinBag system could be affected. Backpacks from all inside partners (incl. steel cartridges) also need to be sent directly to us.

I HAVE BOUGHT AN ABS AVALANCHE AIRBAG, INCL. STEEL CARTRIDGE, BUT NEVER ACTIVATED IT. WHAT SHOULD I DO? AM I EVEN AFFECTED?

Technically you shouldn’t be affected. However, because we cannot say for sure whether your ABS TwinBag system was activated before you purchased it (e.g. by a retailer), we ask that you send us your ABS avalanche airbag, along with the steel cartridge, for checking to be on the safe side.

I HAVE AN ABS TWINBAG BUT HAVE ALWAYS HAD A CARBON CARTRIDGE. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

The carbon cartridge is not affected and doesn’t need to be sent to us. Your ABS TwinBag system shouldn’t be affected. However, because we cannot say for sure whether your avalanche airbag was activated before you purchased it, we ask that you send us your backpack for checking to be on the safe side.

I HAVE NOW ACTIVATED MY SYSTEM WITH A CARBON CARTRIDGE AND IT WORKS PERFECTLY. HOWEVER, I HAD A STEEL CARTRIDGE BEFORE. DO I STILL NEED TO SEND IN MY BACKPACK?

No, the system doesn’t need to be repaired as the activation with the carbon cartridge has proven its functionality.

Handling

HOW DO I SEND IN MY BACKPACK?

Please register on our website at: www.abs-airbag.com/recall. There you will get a reference number via email. Please send your backpack incl. steel activation unit sufficiently franked to our production in Gottfrieding, Germany and add your printed confirmation email. You will find precise instructions on the website.

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST TO SEND IT?

Please register at www.abs-airbag.com/recall .

There you will get a reference number and the information how to proceed via email. The package needs to be franked sufficiently - costs vary depending on the country. Of course, ABS pays the return shipment to you.

DO I NEED TO SEND IN THE HANDLE, OR JUST THE CARTRIDGE?

Please send us the steel cartridge together with the handle, as a whole unit.

WILL A REPLACEMENT BACKPACK BE PROVIDED IN THE MEANTIME?

We ask for your understanding in the fact that we cannot provide a replacement backpack in the meantime. We will make every effort to inspect your ABS TwinBag system backpack, and return it along with the new steel cartridge, without delay.

CAN I TEST / REPAIR IT MYSELF?

Unfortunately this is not possible, and would be at your own risk, which we cannot be liable for.
ABS therefore strongly discourages carrying out your own tests, as only specialist staff can judge whether the ABS system has been affected.

CAN I COME TO GRÄFELFING / GOTTFRIEDING MYSELF AND HAND IN MY AVALANCHE AIRBAG / STEEL CARTRIDGE?

Unfortunately this is not possible. Please register on our website at: www.abs-airbag.com/recall. There you will receive a reference number and the exact information where to send your backpack for handling. Please add the printed confirmation email to your package and frank it sufficiently.

Can I continue to use the backpack without having it checked?

We strongly discourage this, as it is possible that you will be unable to activate your ABS avalanche airbag in an emergency. This would be at your own risk, which we cannot be liable for.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE FOR ME TO GET MY BACKPACK BACK?

We will make every effort to check your ABS TwinBag system backpack, and repair it and replace the steel cartridge if necessary, as quickly as possible. We ask for your understanding in the fact that, due to the large demand, we cannot make any definitive statements regarding duration.

Other questions

CAN I UPGRADE TO A CARBON CARTRIDGE? IF SO, HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?

Yes, upon request. The upgrade for a steel activation unit is € 100,00 incl.VAT. Please write a note on your registration email that you would like to upgrade and put it in the package together with your backpack and / or activation unit. We will send you an invoice once you receive your products back.

For Swiss customers, upgrades are only available through an official ABS retailer.

THE PROBLEM SEEMS TO HAVE EXISTED FOR YEARS. HOW CAN IT BE THAT WE ARE ONLY FINDING OUT NOW, AND THAT THE RECALL IS ONLY HAPPENING NOW?

We were first made aware of this issue in mid-December 2014. Since our supplier has not been able to pinpoint the date of the contamination, it is necessary to recall for inspection every steel cartridge that has been delivered.

DOES THIS MEAN THAT MY ABS AVALANCHE AIRBAG HASN’T BEEN WORKING RELIABLY THE WHOLE TIME?

This is extremely unlikely, but not impossible. To find out and be able to give you an answer in your specific case, we ask that you send us your backpack for checking.

WHICH SUPPLIER IS IT?

Our supplier for steel cartridges is the company voestalpine Rotec GmbH & Co. KG

HOW CAN THIS EVEN HAPPEN IN A SAFETY PRODUCT?

Our safety and quality standards are extremely high. Our business is TÜV-tested and certified in accordance with ISO 9001/08. All parts of our products, which are manufactured in Germany, come from the EU. Before avalanche airbags leave our factory, each one is activated using an original activation unit. Voest-Rotec’s steel capsules were sent to us already filled and sealed. We can only check that they have been filled completely – which takes place during ourincoming goods inspection. The manufacturing and filling of steel cartridges is set out in detailed instructions. The manufacturer is obligated to comply with these, and provides us with proof thereof.

HOW, AS A LAYPERSON, CAN I IDENTIFY THAT MY CARTRIDGE IS A STEEL CARTRIDGE?

The steel cartridge is smooth and black and weighs between 480g and 515g. The manufacturer, voestalpine Rotec GmbH & Co. KG, is printed on the label.
The carbon cartridge has a carbon structure and weighs approx. 280 g.

WHAT IS THE EXPECTED SCOPE OF THE RECALL ACTION? HOW MANY ABS SYSTEMS ARE POTENTIALLY AFFECTED?

ABS TwinBags from earlier years may also be affected by contaminated steel cartridges with later dates due to refilling, and therefore we are recalling all ABS TwinBags produced since 1996.

ARE THERE ANY KNOWN CASES OF AN ABS SYSTEM NOT ACTIVATING AND AN ACCIDENT HAPPENING?

So far we know of three cases where the system has not worked due to these residues. All of these cases were training activations.

WHAT EXACTLY WILL BE CHECKED WHEN I SEND IN MY ABS AVALANCHE AIRBAG? (TECHNICAL EXPLANATION)

The piercing unit and filling system will be checked. This means that 100% functionality can be ensured.

THE BACKPACKS ARE ACTIVATED IN PRODUCTION. COULD THAT BE HOW THE CONTAMINATION HAS GOTTEN INTO THE SYSTEM?

All systems / backpacks are checked during production, and the function of the plunger is double-checked after the test activation. The piercing unit is always checked, and the defect would be noticeable. For this reason, we can guarantee 100% safety in all backpacks that leave our production or service premises.

WHY IS IT ONLY STEEL CARTRIDGES THAT ARE AFFECTED BY THE RECALL?

Steel cartridges are coated - as far as we know, this is the source of the debris. Carbon cartridges are not coated.

I SENT IN MY BACKPACK FOR SERVICING AND HAVEN’T ACTIVATED IT SINCE. WILL MY BACKPACK STILL BE AFFECTED?

All systems / backpacks are checked during service, and the function of the plunger is double-checked after the test activation. The piercing unit is always checked, and the defect would be noticeable. For this reason, we can guarantee 100% safety in all backpacks that leave our production or service premises.

WHY DID YOU NOT THINK ABOUT QUALITY WHEN SELECTING YOUR SUPPLIER?

Our supplier is a renowned company. It is also active in the automotive industry and therefore provides a high level of quality management. On our part, there are clear and transparent regulations for our suppliers in terms of quality checks on cartridges. We cannot carry out any quality checks on the cartridges ourselves as they are delivered to us filled and sealed. One immediate measure is a 1:1 check of all cartridges to be filled by means of endoscopy. Quality requirements with the supplier have now been expanded to include a 200% internal check of the cartridges with high quality endoscopes.

I AM HAVING PROBLEMS ENTERING THE SERIAL NUMBER I CAN'T FIND THE SERIAL NUMBER, THE SERIAL NUMBER IS ILLEGIBLE, OR I DON’T KNOW THE SERIAL NUMBER:

The serial number is usually located in the airbag compartment on the cable next to the fill and outlet unit. On older ABS models you can find the serial number directly written by hand on the airbag itself.

A plausibility check is carried out when you enter the serial number. If you do not have a serial number, please enter “Unknown” in the field. You must enter 5-13 characters - the permitted characters are: A-Z, a-z, SPACE, /, HYPHEN, and 0-9. Spaces at the end and beginning are automatically removed.

I AM CURRENTLY IN CANADA / THE USA AND HAVE MY BACKPACK WITH A BLACK EUROPEAN CARTRIDGE WITH ME. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Please send us an e-mail to service@abs-airbag.com We will contact you and organise checking of your backpack and replacement of the cartridge.

HANDLING / RETURN FOR CUSTOMERS FROM NORWAY, FINLAND AND SWEDEN:

Please activate your ABS backpack with steel cartridge and return it, together with the empty steel cartridge, using the DHL label. The empty cartridge is not considered a dangerous good and can therefore be forwarded by DHL. If only your steel cartridge is affected by the recall, and not your ABS system, please contact our customer service at: info@abs-airbag.com.

MY BACKPACK HAS NEVER BEEN ACTIVATED AND I’M ONLY SENDING BACK THE STEEL CARTRIDGE. WILL ABS WAIT UNTIL IT HAS RECEIVED THE STEEL CARTRIDGE BEFORE SENDING THE NEW STEEL CARTRIDGE?

Yes, we can only dispatch your new steel cartridge once we have received and recorded your old steel cartridge. We will make every effort to handle the matter quickly.

I BOUGHT MY BACKPACK QUITE A WHILE AGO. IT WAS IN ORIGINAL PACKAGING AT THE TIME AND HAS NOT BEEN ACTIVATED SINCE. DO I STILL NEED TO SEND IT IN?

If in its original packaging, the system has left our factory in perfect condition. Please check the date of manufacture of the steel cartridge using the specifications on our recall page.

DO I NEED TO DO A TEST ACTIVATION AFTER I HAVE GOTTEN THE BACKPACK BACK FROM ABS?

You do not need to carry out a special test activation after getting your backpack back.