Let’s Talk Airbags!

There have been many changes to the Maxiforce Paratech Airbags during the last year or more.  So, let’s talk about how and when it is a good time to upgrade, change or replace old or existing airbags.

Airbags have a life span associated with them, generally 10-15.  Similar to a truck or car tire, these tools for lifting loads also have to be replaced when the rubber is worn out. We have been asked several times and/or advised by many departments, “I never used my bags” or “we have only used these bags in training” or “so do I still have to trade or upgrade…I just purchased these bags a ‘few’ years ago (now a 20 year old bag)”.  THESE BAGS FALL INTO THE MUST GO CATEGORY!

How can we tell when an airbag is ready for retirement? Serial numbers assist us with this discussion. Each airbag has or should have some serial number attached to it. In Paratech’s Maxiforce bags there are distinct serial numbers. These serial numbers have taken on different sequences over the years:

1) 1025
    201989
The top number (1025) represents that this bag was the 1025th bag manufactured in
that year. The second row of numbers (201989) represents that the bag was made in
the 20th week of 1989.

2) 991245   The first two digits represent the year the bag was manufactured. In this case the bag was made in 1999. The last four digits (1245) represent that the bag was the 1245th bag manufactured that year. Other examples: 910245, 932428, etc.

3) 84321   The serial numbers that are only 5 digits were produced in the 1980s (well beyond the bag’s life span). The first digit of the number represents the last digit of the year it was made. The number in this example begins with 8 which means that it was manufactured in 1988. The last four digits (4321) represent the number bag manufactured that year. In this case the bag was the 4321st bag manufactured in 1988.

4) MMYYxxxxx  This series of numbers are the current way Paratech places serial numbers on their Maxiforce bags. Month, Year and a serial number: could be bags made in a series, bags made in that numbering category. Much easier to read and understand when an airbag is due to retire.

Maxiforce Airbags have also gone through a substantial upgrade in that they are now able to hold up to 150psi versus the older 118psi bags. Some confusion did occur when Paratech also changed the design of bags and controller equipment at the same time thus causing some real headaches. To clarify, the GEN2 series or G2 was really a change to the “DESIGN” of some of the systems – i.e. Single, Dual Deadman and Air Regulators, and then with the re-design of the airbags many of us thought it was just the bags. So we still had or have some regulators that are G2 but only perform in the 118psi range. Hence the confusion.  When ordering or upgrading the system we must also include a
“-150” to the part number in order to make certain we get the correct equipment to run with the newer bags.

If uncertain about what equipment you have or what new equipment can work well with your current system, please give us a call.

Did you know that Paratech is one of the only manufacturers of bags and equipment that when an air hose fails in the field such as at an accident scene, the hose can be “field repaired” and put right back in the mix of lifting and moving equipment? This is a great strength in their product line that many end users might not know.

Please remember that ALL L.N. Curtis & sons rescue team members are a phone call, text or even an email away to help answer any questions you may have.  For in-person educational opportunities on airbags, please reach out to us — our Rescue Team loves training and teaching about rescue equipment!

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