Dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies drive au­to­mo­tive seat­ing sys­tems

Auto components India - - COVER STORY - ACI Bureau

Seat­ing sys­tem, the plat­form de­signed and de­vel­oped to ac­com­mo­date peo­ple driv­ing or trav­el­ling in a ve­hi­cle, is un­der­go­ing revo­lu­tion­ary changes. Seat­ing has evolved through sim­ple sys­tems to com­plex mas­ter­pieces to meet the ex­pec­ta­tions of both the orig­i­nal equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers (OEM) and the cus­tomers. Au­to­mo­tive seat­ing in­dus­try is mov­ing on dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est mar­ket study, ‘Global Au­to­mo­tive Seats Mar­ket 2017-2021’, re­leased by Tech­navio, the global au­to­mo­tive seats mar­ket is ex­pected to reach USD 414.40 mil­lion by 2021, grow­ing at a CAGR of al­most 5%. There is an in­creas­ing use of light­weight ma­te­ri­als in au­to­mo­tive seat sys­tems as OEMs are try­ing to in­crease fuel ef­fi­ciency and meet the in­creas­ing de­mand for safety and func­tional fea­tures in cars. The light­weight mea­sures will help re­duce CO emis­sions and pro­vide bet­ter fuel econ­omy. The grow­ing de­mand for bet­ter in­te­rior seat­ing in com­pact and sub­com­pact cars has prompted OEMs to pro­mote more re­search on au­to­mo­tive seats and in­te­grate them with the ve­hi­cles.

The au­to­mo­tive seat­ing mar­ket is a highly con­sol­i­dated and dom­i­nated by ma­jor multi­na­tional com­pa­nies. Ve­hi­cle seats are de­signed, in­no­vated, man­u­fac­tured and mar­keted by ded­i­cated com­pa­nies. like Adi­ent plc, Lear Cor­po­ra­tion, Fau­re­cia and Grupo An­tolin. Th­ese com­pa­nies to­gether hold more than two-thirds of the mar­ket share across the globe. Th­ese groups have ag­gres­sively ac­quired many com­pa­nies in the last few decades to achieve ver­ti­cal in­te­gra­tion which also en­abled th­ese com­pa­nies to stream­line their sup­ply chains and cap­ture ma­jor mar­ket shares. The mar­ket is char­ac­ter­ized by tight com­pe­ti­tion among the tier-1 com­pa­nies. The top com­pa­nies have tight­ened their mar­ket grip by un­der­go­ing strate­gic changes like John­son Con­trols which has spun off its au­to­mo­tive ex­pe­ri­ence di­vi­sion that in­cluded seat­ing and named the newly formed en­tity as Adi­ent plc.

Though the con­ven­tional de­signs are still in use in the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try, multi­na­tional and na­tional com­pa­nies have started to de­sign new lay­outs that have sub­stan­tially mod­i­fied and al­tered the seat­ing sys­tems. More lux­ury mod­i­fi­ca­tions have been in­tro­duced into seat­ing sys­tems to en­sure com­fort, safety and re­lax­ing ex­pe­ri­ences of the cus­tomers while driv­ing or trav­el­ling.

The au­to­mo­tive seat mar­ket is be­ing driven by the growth in the pro­duc­tion and sales of cross over mod­els and sport util­ity ve­hi­cles

(SUV) as th­ese type of ve­hi­cles have more seat­ing con­tent than other types of pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles such as Sedans and hatch­backs. In­creas­ing ve­hi­cle mod­els, seg­ments and their pro­duc­tion, and the I ac­cent on safety fea­tures drive the seat­ing com­pa­nies. Chang­ing reg­u­la­tions, con­sumer needs and pref­er­ences also af­fect the mar­ket dy­nam­ics. The high growth in the sales of SUVs and the on­go­ing trend of ve­hi­cle light weight­ing is driv­ing the au­to­mo­tive seats mar­ket.

In In­dia, along with the growth of the au­to­mo­tive in­dus­try mainly through for­eign di­rect in­vest­ments, the seat­ing in­dus­try has made sig­nif­i­cant head­way. In the Cover Story of the cur­rent is­sue we have high­lighted some of those com­pa­nies.

Harita Fehrer Lim­ited, a joint ven­ture be­tween Harita Seat­ing Sys­tems Lim­ited, and F S Fehrer Au­to­mo­tive GmbH, Ger­many, pro­vides com­plete seat­ing so­lu­tions for au­to­mo­tive ap­pli­ca­tions with new tech­nolo­gies like Foam in Place (FIP) and spray skin. Harita Fehrer man­u­fac­tures two-wheeler seats, mi­cro­cel­lu­lar ure­thanes, polyurethane com­pos­ites, and foam­ing for pas­sen­ger car seats. “The cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tions have in­creased over the years and Harita Fehrer has es­tab­lished it­self as a com­plete so­lu­tion provider in meet­ing this de­mand,“A G Girid­ha­ran, Pres­i­dent, Harita Fehrer Lim­ited, said.

Pin­na­cle In­dus­tries Lim­ited, the bus seat­ing and in­te­rior com­pany, with the sup­port of its new di­vi­sion, Pin­na­cle Spe­cial­ity Ve­hi­cles, of­fers cos­metic changes to com­plete trans­for­ma­tions for com­mer­cial and per­sonal ve­hi­cles. “Com­fort will al­ways re­main as a trend in the In­dian mar­ket. It will be mostly in the bus seg­ment, where peo­ple travel for a longer dis­tance. With the elec­tric ve­hi­cles com­ing in, light weight­ing is be­com­ing more im­por­tant now. This is be­cause the weight will be­come a ma­jor cri­te­rion now. With this, the seats are get­ting lighter. An­other ma­jor trend is that, many are fo­cussed on the safety pa­ram­e­ters. For the up­com­ing trends, we have made light-weight seats. We have planned to use more alu­minium in seats, to make them much lighter,” says Sud­hir Mehta, Chair­man and Manag­ing Di­rec­tor, Pin­na­cle In­dus­tries.

Niemla Au­to­mo­tive, man­u­fac­turer and sup­plier of au­to­mo­bile seat cover, has de­vel­oped light-weighted flat jacquard fab­ric which claims to im­prove the fuel ef­fi­ciency of a bus. Niemla sup­plies fab­ric for both the seat­ing of pas­sen­ger ve­hi­cles and in­te­ri­ors of buses, Ar­maan Mehra, CEO, Niemla Au­to­mo­tive, said.

The Ger­many-based seat­ing sys­tem man­u­fac­turer Franz Kiel GmbH (fkt) is plan­ning to set up a new pro­duc­tion fa­cil­ity near Ben­galuru. “By look­ing at the po­ten­tial in the In­dian mar­ket, we have de­cided to set up a man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity here. We may start the SOP by next year and are look­ing at ev­ery pos­si­bil­ity that in­cludes work­ing alone or with a part­ner. Our aim is to in­crease safety and com­fort for pas­sen­gers with first-class prod­ucts and meet the re­spon­si­bil­ity to the en­vi­ron­ment through in­no­va­tive de­vel­op­ments and ef­fi­cient man­u­fac­tur­ing pro­cesses,” Omer Cavu­soglu, In­ter­na­tional Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Con­sul­tant, fkt, said.

Fasching Salzburg GmbH, the Aus­tria-based safety belt man­u­fac­turer, eyes the grow­ing In­dian bus and truck mar­ket. Fasching de­vel­ops and pro­duces safety belts mainly for buses, coaches, LCVs, trucks and wheelchair ap­pli­ca­tions. It of­fers a wide range of safety-belts and spe­cialises in two-point, three­p­oint and spe­cial belts in dif­fer­ent ver­sions and tech­nolo­gies like static, ALR, ELR and buck­les. “We are plan­ning to in­vest around 10 mil­lion euro for a new fa­cil­ity. Set­ting up a man­u­fac­tur­ing base in In­dia will open new av­enues for us,” Har­ald Pessl, Di­rec­tor, Fasching Salzburg GmbH, said.

Dhama Seat­ing Tech­nolo­gies, a sub­sidiary of Dhama In­no­va­tions, is sup­ply­ing tem­per­a­ture-con­trolled smart seat­ing, Cli­maCon, to com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles. Cli­maCon is a patented tech­nol­ogy of Dhama which runs on power and al­lows reg­u­lat­ing seat tem­per­a­tures from 32° F to 140° F.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.