Growing automotive industry drives chassis and suspension sector
Overall development of the auto industry, change in the consumer preference led by innovation are the main factors of market growth.
Global automotive chassis systems market would reach $97 billion by 2022 from $71 billion in 2015 growing at a CAGR of 4.5% from 2016 to 2022. Chassis is the internal frame that supports all the body parts of the vehicle. It is expected to be light and sturdy. The systems integrate the functions of all the vehicles and have enhanced aerodynamic quality to improve fuel efficiency and design. Automatic fault detection, which notifies the driver about malfunction, is an additional feature available in the chassis systems. Rise in demand of the chassis systems with increase in sales of automobiles worldwide, rise in infrastructure facility, overall development of automobile industry, and change in the consumer preference led by product innovation are the main factors that drive the market. Researching for new technologies for chassis manufacturing capability improvement and no demand for standardisation of the system, which makes way for new entrants to enter the market without much R&D investment, are expected to provide opportunities for market growth. However, extensive expenditure by the companies on R&D of the new chassis system restrains growth.
The global automotive chassis systems market is segmented on the basis of components type, chassis systems type, vehicle type, and geography. The automobile manufacture preference has changed radically in the last couple of years owing to the increase in consumer concern related to the pollution and introduction of norms concerning fuel efficiency of the vehicles.
Moreover, the increased emphasis on environmental pollution prevention by the organisations of the government also influences the market dynamics. Hence, these factors affect the chassis systems that are modified to meet high standard and increased efficiency requirements. Development in technology and demand for automobiles drive the chassis industry. The technological advancements can be gained through extensive research and product differentiation. Companies have increased their research budget which is expected to fuel
Major market players
The major market players include Continental AG, Robert Bosch GmbH, American Axle & Manufacturing, Magna International Inc., Benteler International AG, ZF Friedrichafen, Aisin Seiki Co., Schaeffler AG, Hyundai Mobis, and Gestamp Automocion SA.
At present, growth strategies such as expansion, product launch, partnership, and acquisition are adopted by key market players to remain competitive in the market. Automotive chassis systems market is largely driven by expansion and product launch strategies. For instance, ZF Friedrichafen announced its expansion in Iraq in June 2016, following the ease of economic sanctions on Iraq at the beginning of this year. On May 2016, American Axle and Manufacturing announced opening of its new plant in Poland to expand its footprint in Eastern Europe.
Chassis & suspension system
The term “chassis” is used to designate the complete car minus the body. The chassis consists of the engine, powertransmission system, and suspension system all suitably attached to, or suspended from, a structurally independent frame. Although this construction is widely used, an almost equal number of automobile makers employ a design in which the frame and body are welded together to form an integral unit.
Usually of all-welded steel construction, the frame may consist of, box-girder side rails with reinforced center X; fulllength box-girder side rails with
boxgirder cross members (ladder type); or center X construction with no side rails, braced front and rear with box-girder cross members.
The chief design requirements of the automobile frame, whether it be structurally independent or an integral part of the body, are that it provides great strength with minimum weight. It must be rigid enough to absorb the road impacts and shocks transmitted by wheels and axles, and it must be able to withstand the torsional stresses encountered under operating conditions.
To save weight, side members are made deepest at the location of great bending moment, tapering off as the bending moment decreases. The frame is made narrower at the front to allow the front wheels to turn when steering; it also features a “kickup” at the rear to lower the center of gravity of the car and still allow sufficient room for effective rear-spring action. Chassis system made of composite components which would make the chassis lighter and stronger and aerodynamic are some of the key factors in driving the automotive chassis systems market. Light weight and aerodynamic chassis system also enhance the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.
Since safety is given utmost priority, the usage of better composite materials increasingly makes vehicles safer and lighter than before. Companies are constantly focusing on research and development to improve the design of the vehicle chassis so that it is better equipped to handle the impact at the time of the crash. Added protection is provided with the help of beams to the areas in chassis which are more prone to impact at the time of crash. Furthermore, manufacturers are focusing on innovating components with higher resistance to deformation. Constant improvement in safety of the passengers traveling in the vehicle is expected to be a key opportunity in driving the automotive chassis system market.
LCVs was the third largest segment of the automotive chassis system market, as these are the most preferred type of vehicles used for commercial purposes. Heavy commercial vehicles, also known as multi-axle vehicles, have overall payload capacity of above 16.2 tonne. These vehicles are the lifeline of commercial activities and form an integral part of the economy. Emerging economies such as India and China have been experiencing rapid infrastructure development over the past few years. This has increased the demand for HCVs to transport heavy construction equipment and materials. Demand for HCVs is high for the transportation of heavy goods across long distances in the manufacturing and construction sectors. These are the major factors driving the HCV segment.
The front wheels of most passenger cars are independently suspended from the frame. Independent suspension reduces the front-end vibration associated with the rigid front axle that formerly was used, and it also improves vehicle riding and handling qualities. The movement of each front wheel is, within the limitations discussed below, completely unaffected by the movements of the other.
The most common independent suspension system mounts a steering-knuckle-and-wheelspindle assembly between upper and lower pairs of nearly parallel control arms. The inner ends of the control arms pivot in
rubber-mounted steel bushings secured to the frame; the outer ends terminate in ball joints that support the steering knuckle and wheel spindle. Because the lower arms are longer than the upper, the relation of their up-and-down movements is such that, in turning maneuvers, the outside and more heavily loaded wheel remains more nearly vertical with respect to the road surface.
Front suspensions may incorporate either torsion bars or coil springs. Torsion bars, one on each side, run parallel to the front-to-back centerline of the vehicle. A torsion bar is a steel member, usually cylindrical, that absorbs frontwheel deflections by twisting about its own horizontal axis. One end of the torsion bar is fastened rigidly to the frame at some point toward the rear of the car; the other end is linked to the suspension system so that the shaft alternately twists and untwists in response to the vertical movements of the front wheel.
When coil springs are used, they are mounted under compression between the frame and the upper or lower control arms. In addition, a stabiliser bar is linked often to the lower control arms to balance tyre loading and to prevent excessive sway when the car is cornering. Whenever 1 spring deflects more than the other, the stabiliser equalises the deflection by transferring part of the load to the other tyre.
Although a few American cars feature independent, or swingaxle, rear-wheel suspension, the majority use a fixed rear axle suspended from either laminated (layered) leaf springs or a coil-springs-trailing controlarm arrangement. Whichever suspension system is used, it must be designed not only to absorb road shocks but also to provide a means for absorbing the torque reactions resulting from driving and braking.
When laminated leaf springs are used, one end of each spring is fastened to the frame of the car by a pivot joint. The other end is connected to the frame by a shackle, or swinging joint, that compensates for the changes in over-all length that occur when the spring flexes. Connection bushings are steel sleeves mounted in oil-resistant rubber. Leaf springs usually are clamped to the rearaxle housing with U-bolts at a point approximately midway between the ends of the spring.
In a coil-spring rear-suspension system the springs are mounted under compression between the frame and the axle housing. Because of the nature of coil springs, transverse (crosswise) radius rods are used to restrict sidewise movement of the axle housing relative to the frame. To absorb torque reactions, special torque bars are installed between the axle housing and some reinforced point on the frame just ahead of the axle housing.
The shock absorber is a hydraulic damping device that controls the oscillations of the springs and prevents their being excessively compressed or expanded. Most commonly used is the direct-acting type, involving a double-acting piston-andcylinder arrangement. Rear shock absorbers are installed between the axle housing and the frame; front shock absorbers usually are mounted inside the coil springs between the lower control arm and the frame. Optional-equipment rear shock absorbers are available that provide adjustable load-carrying capacity, an especially useful feature for station-wagon owners. In 1 design, the upper portion of a hydraulic shock absorber is surrounded by a metal-encased rubber boot that can be inflated with air from a connection inside the vehicle. By varying the air pressure within the boot from approximately 30 to 90 pounds per square inch, the driver can have a soft, comfortable ride when the vehicle is empty or a ride that is firm and controlled when the vehicle is heavily loaded.
The increase in infrastructure development has fueled the demand for heavy vehicles in India. Moreover, the rise of the business class in the region is driving the demand for luxury and premium segment cars. India enjoys a distinct competitive advantage in terms of quality and cost and this has prompted all the major players in the automotive industry market to setup their manufacturing facility in the region. This is expected to drive the automotive chassis and suspension system market further in Asia-Pacific especially in India.
Sub-assemblies being fitted to the main frame of a truck chassis
Rear suspension is being assembled in a passenger car
KLT Automotive manufactures wide range of chassis