GLOBAL BUS SUSPENSION MARKET
The suspension system of an automotive vehicle is the collection of mechanical components such as springs, air bags, shock absorbers and linkages that connect the wheels of the vehicle to the main body or frame of the vehicle. The design of suspension systems have undergone huge changes to enhance the technology incorporated in order to improve the vehicle ride and the safety of passengers. Suspension in the front and rear end of the vehicle may differ according to the application of the vehicle and strength required in the tires.
A vehicle that assists in a four wheel drive needs a suspension system for both the rear and front wheels but the configuration may differ in a two-wheel drive. The basic functions carried out by suspension system are as follows:
- The tires of the vehicle must be configured to rise and fall relatively with the body of the vehicle which allows the shockers and springs to reduce the bumps and shocks experienced.
- The shockers and springs absorb the energy of uneven ride to enhance smooth ride and controlled movement of tires.
- The suspension system must be able to diminish the sudden movements caused by vehicle braking, acceleration and cornering.
- The springs must be able to carry the weight of the vehicle and keep the alignment of the tire correctly.
Automobile vehicles use shock absorbers and suspension systems to dampen the shocks from travelling on uneven roads. Suspension systems maximise the friction between the tires of the vehicle and the road which provides steering stability as well as good handling. Suspension systems can be classified on the basis of the following pointers:
- Front end suspension system
- Rear end suspension system
By Technology Used
- Electronically controlled
- Non-electronically controlled
By Operating Principle
- Leaf springs
- Coil springs
- Torsion spring
- Air suspension
- Rubber spring
According To The Type Of Bus
- Small and medium size bus
- Large size bus
By Geographical Region
- Suspension system used in Europe
- Suspension system used in USA
- Suspension system used in Asia Pacific
INDIA BUS SUSPENSION MARKET
Ashok Leyland has different suspension setup for different applications and are listed below.
- Parabolic Leaf with Dampers & Anti Roll bar in front and Parabolic leaf spring with Dampers in rear
- Parabolic in front and Semi-elliptical at rear
- Shackle ended leaf spring/Rubber ended leaf spring both in front and rear
- Semi Elliptical Multi leaf Spring both in front and rear
The Suspension setup provided for EICHER buses is Parabolic Leaf with anti-roll bar in front and Parabolic Leaf – 4 nos at rear.
The Suspension setup for BharatBenz bus is Parabolic Suspension both in front and rear and for This 16T chassis is provided with Air Suspension with 2 air bellows in front and Air
suspension with 4 air bellows at rear.
The suspensions used in India are moving towards air suspension as it has been mandated in some of the segments of the automotive industry. The company Tata motors uses different combinations of suspension systems in different models. For the Starbus series, the company uses semi-elliptical or parabolic leaf springs as the front and rear suspension systems. In the Tarmac coach series, the company uses pneumatic suspension and semi-elliptical leaf springs in front and rear suspensions.
The company Eicher uses parabolic leaf with anti roll bars and BharatBenz uses parabolic suspension and air suspension with 2 air bellows as the front and rear suspension systems.
CHINA BUS SUSPENSION MARKET
The number of Medium & Heavy buses sold in China from January to July for the year 2021 came out to be 45,121 units of large and medium sized buses which was an increase of 1.25% year on year. The companies that share the highest sales volume in the market are given in the chart below that describes the units sold by each company for the given duration.
The company Yutong uses the combination of the leaf spring bidirectional telescopic shock absorber and the air suspension type bidirectional telescopic shock absorber across the front as well as rear suspension system for most of its models.
The company Higer uses different types of suspension systems across several models as the front and rear suspensions which are given below:
- Leaf spring suspension system.
- Air suspension system with 7 air bellows/multi leaf spring suspension with front and rear stabilizer bar.
- Multi leaf spring front and rear stabilizer with front 2 rear 4 air suspension.
- Air suspension system with 6 air bellows, 2 in front and 4 in the rear.
- Front 6 and rear 9 multi leaf spring/6 air bellows suspension.
- Multi leaf suspension with shock absorber.
- Multi leaf suspension spring with front and rear stabilizer bar/ Komman air bellows WABCO ECAS system.
The company King Long uses air bag suspension systems and leaf spring suspension systems across all of the models produced by the company. However, in the model XMQ6140Y, the company uses a multi leaf spring with dual acting hydraulic drum type vibration damper with front stabilizer bar and ZF 6-bag air suspension system as the front and rear suspension.
The companies Golden Dragon, Changan and Zhontong use a combination of air suspension systems with leaf spring systems in the front and rear suspensions.
EUROPE BUS SUSPENSION MARKET
In Europe Mercedes Benz Buses suspension integrated as ZF independent wheel suspension units.
In India, TATA MOTORS has different suspension setup for different applications and are listed below.
- Parabolic Suspension in front and rear
- Semi-elliptical Suspension in Front and rear
- Parabolic suspension in front and Semi-elliptical leaf springs at rear
Europe is projected to lead the market of air suspension in the coming years due to higher adoption of air suspension systems across all vehicles as compared to other regions of the world. Certain OEMs such as Porsche, BMW, Audi as well as other luxury brands are incorporating air suspensions to enhance the benefits and provide height and raising options. Some of the technology suppliers such as the Continental, SAF-Holland, ThyssenKrupp are also making efforts towards the adoption of this technology for light and heavy duty commercial vehicles.
The different models of the Citaro Mercedes Benz use the ZF – independent wheel suspension as the front suspension system. The company Volvo uses the electronically controlled air suspension independently as well as with the kneeling function as the front suspension system as well as for the rear suspension system in all of the models.
The company Scania uses the front suspension as 2 air bellows and shock absorbers and the rear suspension with 4 air bellows and shock absorbers in the ADL E300S and ADL E400S. It uses the fully electronic ferry lift with kneeling to front total raising as the front suspension as well as with the rear suspension in the IRIZAR series. After which the company started using the Scania AM700D independent front suspension in the latest models.
The number of new buses sold in different part of Europe during the year 2020 is given below:
COVID-19 IMPACT ON BUS SUSPENSION MARKET
The COVID-19 pandemic hampered the growth of the automotive industry amid the lockdown as the manufacturing and transportation industries plummeted worldwide. Since, the development of the automotive industry is in proportion to the growth of electric vehicles, new pandemic waves based on the emergence of mutant strains may hinder the recovery in some countries.
With the development of electric vehicles and growing demand for alternative sources of energy, the automotive industry is recovering. The market has introduced electric buses, vans as well as coaches as per the growing demand of the market. As the automotive industry develops, the suspension systems will also grow owing to the huge manufacturing demands from the OEMs. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many sectors in the industry to experience a decline in the manufacturing as well as sales activities; however, some sectors such as medical have flourished. The automotive sector has experienced a steady growth for some of the companies and sectors, the EV market has grown consistently with growing demand for such vehicles which is set to facilitate the suspension systems.
RECENT MARKET TREND
- The company KW Suspensions has started to upgrade all Mercedes A class sedans with the AMG Black series.
- KW suspensions has also started to upgrade all BMW 4 series coupes with the KW variant 1, 2 and 3 coilovers.
- In February 2021, the company Hendrickson announced the partnership with Navistar to offer the HAULMAAX EX which will be part of the chassis enhancements in the International HX.
- In March 2019, the company Continental introduced a smart air spring system to provide enhanced efficiency in commercial vehicles. The technology comes with an integral sensor technology which provides operational status continuously in real time.
The company LiquidSpring has partnered with the IC Bus company to provide them with the company’s CLASS suspension system as an available upgrade option for their school buses as well as commercial vehicles. It adds an additional level of safety with the smart suspension system. The company is now offering the suspension system to be incorporated on all the four corners of a vehicle which was initially offered only as a rear suspension. The company REV Group which manufactures speciality vehicles has announced partnership with LiquidSpring to provide their smart suspension systems as an upgrade option on selected buses and RVs.
The company Hendrickson in August 2020, acquired the Motor Wheel Brake Drum & Crewson slack adjuster business segments from STEMCO and the parent company EnPro Industries. The business divisions will operate as the division of the company’s truck and commercial vehicles systems. The company released the annual financial report for the fiscal year 2020-2021 which recorded an annual revenue of approximately $552 million.
The company KW Suspensions has partnered with Novitec for the supply of suspension systems for the Ferrari F8 Tributo. The company has also acquired the AL-KO Damping technology group which is the leading damper manufacturer.
The company Wheels India recently released their fiscal report for the first quarter of the year 2021-2022 with total revenue being $115.02 million which was a whopping increase from the same quarter of the previous year with total revenue as $28.5 million.