An automotive leaf spring is a form of spring that is commonly used for suspension purposes in wheeled vehicles. Leaf springs were called a carriage or laminated spring, and sometimes it was referred to as a cart spring or semi-elliptical spring. Leaf spring system is one of the archaic forms of springing, which dates back to the medieval times. A leaf spring takes the form of an arc-shaped length of a spring steel of the rectangular cross-section of the vehicle. In most common configurations, the center of the arc formed offers location for the axle, whereas the loops formed at either end of the arc is used for attaching the spring to the chassis of the vehicle. For a very heavy vehicle, a leaf spring may be prepared from several leaves aligned on top of each other forming several layers, with progressively shorter leaves. Leaf springs can serve many purposes including locating, damping, and springing functions. Even though the friction among the leaves offers a damping action, sometimes, it is not well controlled and can result in stiction (static friction) in suspension.
The overall market for automotive leaf spring suspension is likely to grow steadily during the forecast period. Rising demand for medium and heavy commercial vehicles for freight transportation is one of the key drivers for this market. Additionally, there is a rise in the usage of light-, medium -, and heavy-duty vehicles in developing countries due to the increasing preference for road transportation. Road transport is preferred owing to factors such as limited freight rail services as well as transporting containers because of poor last-mile connectivity, lack of freight trains and high railway freight in countries such as India and China for transportation of cargo. This in turn is expected to encourage the market growth of automotive leaf spring suspension systems.
Another trend that is projected to gain momentum in the global automotive leaf spring suspension market is the use of leaf springs (composite) in order to reduce the weight of suspension systems. Leaf springs absorb the perpendicular vibrations caused by the barriers on roads. Owing to their improved fatigue resistance and extraordinary strength to weight ratio, these composites are perfectly suited for various applications including leaf-springs. Moreover, since these composite materials have interior damping, they aid in the absorption of vibration energy into the material, thereby reducing the noise of transmission, which makes them the best choice for the manufacturing of automotive leaf springs.
The global automotive leaf spring suspension market can be segmented by application and by region. In terms of application, the market can be segregated into LCVs, M&HCV trucks, M&HCV buses, and others. In 2016, the M&HCV trucks segment held the maximum market share and the segment is likely to dominate the global leaf spring suspension market during the forecast period. This growth is mainly due to the extensive use of leaf spring suspension systems in these vehicles by OEMs. Other factors include absorption of the upright vibrations, thereby reducing the vibration noise of transmission. This is expected to boost the development of this segment during the forecast period.
In terms of geography, the global leaf spring suspension market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Asia Pacific is likely to dominate the global market due to progress in economic conditions, increasing vehicle production, and rising investments by leading industry players in the region. Growing adoption of road transport for cargo services is likely to boost the overall leaf spring suspension market significantly in this region.
Key players operating in the global leaf spring suspension market include EMCO, Hendrickson, Rassini, Jamna Auto Industries, FAW Group, Dongfeng Motor, Olgun Celik, and Sogefi.
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