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Where in the world?

by Danielle Connelly on 05. Jul, 2018

Here in Trenton, there’s an old saying, “Trenton Makes the World Takes”. Since 1920, that could not be truer for SWITLIK Survival Products. From Amelia Earhart using SWITLIK parachutes on her world record setting solo flights, to our military parachuting to safety in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, and the expansion of our military and commercial products, SWITLIK has punched its passport globally.

Life Vest Maintenance

by Danielle Connelly on 27. Jun, 2018

Now that you have your FAA approved life vest, you’ll need to properly maintain it for full use between re-certifications. You should familiarize yourself with your new life vest, reading any accompanying instructions to make sure you understand how it works in the event of an emergency.

Every time you put on your life vest, check the exterior for rips, tears, holes, loose threads or other signs of obvious wear. Check that all of the straps are firmly attached and that all connecting hardware functions correctly. 

When not in use, avoid leaving your life vest in direct sun which can cause deterioration and the fading of the fabric.

Servicing

FAA TSO life vests are required to be inspected every two years. Even if you are not required to carry an FAA TSO vest, each manufacturer has a recommended service interval, which you should stick to.  Generally, the longer you wait for servicing, the more expensive your service costs will be, or the vest may have degraded to a point where it is unserviceable.

When the vests come in, they’re given an initial inspection to see if things are missing or any obvious problems, and if needed, are cleaned first.  Crew vest jackets will be opened to examine the cells.  If there are no apparent issues, the cells can stay attached to the jacket during testing. 

The CO2 cylinders are removed and weighed.  If they meet the weight marked on the side of the cylinder, they can be reused, as long as they are not heavily corroded.  The inspectors will look for loose stitching, torn fabric, webbing; and check buckles, oral tubes, inflators.  On crew vests, the Velcro or zipper closure on the jacket must be checked as well as the integrity of the lacing that holds the flotation cells to the jacket.

Once the vests have been inspected, they can go on to testing.

Testing

If the vest is less than 5 years old, it will get a Leakage Test.  The vest is inflated to 2 psi for a specific period of time.  Only a certain amount of leakage is allowed for that period of time.  The vest light will also get tested.  We check the thickness of the battery.  If the battery gets wet, it starts to swell.  So, there’s a certain dimension that it has to meet, depending on the light manufacturer.  Then, we test the light to make sure it works, with a special tester that sends voltage to the light.

Once the vest hits 5 years of age, 2 more tests come into play.  There’s the Oral Tube Attachment Test which tests the integrity of the weld between the life vest cell and the oral tube.  We clamp the cell down in a fixture and apply a pulling load of 30 lbs to the oral tube for 3 seconds.  This test must be repeated every 5 years.  The other test that applies at 5 years is the Proof Test .  This is where the cell is inflated to 5 psi for 5 minutes.  Here, we’re looking to see if the seams will burst.  This test must be repeated every 5 years until the 10 th year, then at every subsequent service period. 

Now, if you have an airline life vest with a 10-year TBO, all of the tests above will be performed at every service.  As long as the vest passes these tests, it’s good to go back into service.  There is no set life limit to our life vests.

Can I get my life vest serviced anywhere?
No, you can only have your life vest serviced at facilities which have been authorized by SWITLIK.  All SWITLIK authorized service centers undergo extensive hands-on factory training with our team of engineers to demonstrate their proficiency. These centers also hold the most up to date version of our detailed manuals. One slight wrong fold, or even just the improper placement of an item within a packed vest can create catastrophic consequences during an emergency.

Servicing is very necessary for your life vest to properly perform when needed instead of giving you false peace of mind. The longer you wait for servicing, the more expensive your service costs will be, or the vest may have degraded to a point where it is unserviceable.

Related Posts

Behind the Scenes—Making a Life Vest
What do you need in an aviation life vest?
Servicing your life raft

Common questions people don't ask when buying a raft

by Danielle Connelly on 21. Jun, 2018

Purchasing a life raft? We sat down with Ryan Taffet, Marine Sales Manager, to find out the common questions people aren’t asking, but should, when they buy a life raft.

Four Tips To Keep Your Boat Looking Great All Season Long

by Ryan Taffet on 19. Jun, 2018

This is the time of year we’ve all been waiting for. The boat is in the water, fishing is beginning to heat up. Prime time canyon fishing is right around the corner. If you’re like me you probably started the season by putting a great deal of work into (or spending a great deal of money on) a complete detail for your boat. As we all know, boats take a great deal of abuse over the season and that detail won’t last forever. With that in mind, here are my top four tips to keep your boat looking great all season long.

The SWITLIK Difference--Quality

by Danielle Connelly on 13. Jun, 2018

Every day, people depend worldwide on our line of premium survival products in the most demanding conditions, from Mach speeds at 30,000 feet to the open seas during hurricanes. With others’ lives in our hands, we adhere to the strictest markers of quality, AS 9100D which satisfies DOD, NASA and FAA quality requirements. AS9100 is the quality management standard for the aviation, space, and defense industries; the highest level of quality control approvals. Adhering to this standard is mandatory for all of our military products. However, we take that quality standard one step further and voluntarily impose the same quality requirements on all of our products.

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