LONDON–Technavio’s latest market research report on the global automotive sway bars market provides an analysis on the most important trends expected to impact the market outlook from 2017-2021. Technavio defines an emerging trend as a factor that has the potential to significantly impact the market and contribute to its growth or decline.
The automotive industry is striving for optimization of cost, technology, and efficiency in all respects. Ride comfort and safety are being given immense importance and are experiencing constant advancements. Earlier, only high-performance or premium vehicles were equipped with sway bars. However, now sway bars are penetrating the standard vehicles segment as well. For instance, the Ford Focus is a premium hatchback that has OEM fitment of a sway bar at the rear suspension.
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The top three emerging market trends driving the global automotive sway bars market according to Technavio research analysts are:
- Proactive Chassis by McLaren
- Active suspension systems
- Polyurethane bushing for suspension links and chassis mounting of sway bars
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Proactive Chassis by McLaren
The Proactive Chassis system provides an option for manual adjustment of the roll stiffness via an intelligent computer system. The drawback with normal sway bars is that the stiffness is always present whether it is needed or not. It does this by supporting a stiffer setting with heavy cornering and decouples the suspension when traveling in a straight line, which helps optimum wheel function.
The Proactive Chassis system has an adaptive damping unit, which is coupled with each individual wheel location. It is a unique damper feature that contains hydraulically controlled twin chambers: a compression chamber and a rebound chamber. The suspension is controlled by an active dynamics panel, which controls various inbuilt drive modes. The system for each mode adjusts the roll control setting, adaptive damping, and electronic stability control (ESC). This ensures application targeted tuning between handling, ride and transmission for focused track activity, dynamic road driving, or comfortable cruising.
Active suspension systems
Active suspension is an intelligent system that can learn and adapt to road behaviors. The level of intelligence comes from the type of active suspension being employed like pure active suspension and adaptive/semi-active suspensions.
“An adaptive suspension system only alters the stiffness of the suspension shock absorber to endure the changing road surfaces and roughness coefficients. This technology was adopted initially by market leaders like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi. The active suspension system is also penetrating the performance and premium hatchback segment models like Ford Focus RS, Mercedes AMG A45, BMW M140i, etc., says Keerthi Balu, a lead analyst at Technavio for automotive components research.
Polyurethane bushing for suspension links and chassis mounting of sway bars
The bushing is one of the major contributors to the performance of sway bars. The bushing used in the chassis mounting clamps in a sway bar assembly should hold the sway bar in the correct orientation during function. Any slippage or movement in the horizontal direction will retard the anti-roll ability of the sway bars. The bushing plays a vital role in holding the sway bar in stiff position so that it can perform its anti-roll function via torsional force created by its design.
“Polyurethane is one of the best replacements for rubber as it is light and strong. It has a very high design capability as the raw material when fed into the mold expands about ten times to its pre-cured volume. It can attain design accuracy as low as 0.01mm,” says Balu.
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