Driven by the rise in heavy commercial vehicle production, technological advancements, safety concerns, and government regulations, the air brake system market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 2.2% between 2023 and 2028.
According to a recent report by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to grow from $3.1 billion in 2023 to $ 3.4 billion by 2028.
The growth in air brake systems is primarily driven due to several factors; for instance, FMVSS 121 (US) or CMVSS 121 (Canada) monitors performance and equipment requirements for braking systems on vehicles equipped with air brake systems. Similarly, air brake regulations are observed under Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) in Australia. Air brakes are preferred in commercial vehicles over hydraulic brakes for their safety features and fail-safe measures.
Heavy-duty Truck To Lead The Pack
Heavy-duty trucks include Class-7 and Class-8 trucks, in which the former weighs 12 to 14 tonne, and the latter weighs 15 to 36 tonne. According to OICA and MarketsandMarkets analysis, the production of heavy-duty trucks accounted for the maximum of the total truck production for all the regions, including North America, Asia Pacific, Rest of the World, and Europe in 2022 and is expected to dominate during the forecast period.
According to the report, Asia Pacific is the largest market for heavy-duty trucks, contributing around 59% of total heavy-duty production globally. Further, at the global level, production of heavy-duty trucks is around 40% of total commercial vehicle production. Most heavy trucks have air brake systems due to their high load-carrying capacity. The main distinction between the air brake systems for rigid trucks and heavy-duty trucks lies in their load-carrying capacity and number of components. Fleet operators favour heavy-duty trucks for their strong weight-bearing capacity and engine power. The increasing development of economies in Asia and other regions is expected to drive the demand for heavy-duty trucks in the future. As a result, the heavy-duty truck segment is projected to be the largest air brake systems industry in terms of vehicle type.
MarketsandMarkets noted that brake chambers hold the largest market share in global air brake systems for on-highway vehicles. Air brake chambers are metallic containers situated at each wheel, which, when forced by compressed air, convert into mechanical force to stop the commercial vehicle. There are two kinds of air brake chambers, namely, service and spring brake chambers. A service brake chamber contains a flexible rubber disc called a diaphragm, a pushrod metal rod, and a return spring. When the brake pedal is pressed, compressed air fills the service brake chamber causing the brakes to apply.
As the brake chamber is placed at the end of the wheel, the number of axles decides the number of brake chambers in each commercial vehicle. Each axle has two brake chambers in a vehicle. Hence, the number of brake chambers increases with the GVWR of the commercial vehicle. The number of brake chambers in each vehicle may vary with each region, as the average number of axles in each region is different for heavy-duty vehicles and buses. North America and Europe have more multi-axle heavy trucks than Asia Oceania. Hence, the average number of brake chambers in buses in India is four, while in European countries, it is six. Asia Pacific holds the largest market share in the brake chamber market. The demand for brake chambers is related to the number of multi-axle commercial vehicles, as each axle requires two brake chambers. Further, growing commercial vehicle production will also drive the demand for the brake chamber market.
Europe is estimated to be the second-largest market for air brake systems after Asia Pacific. Countries such as France, Germany, UK, and Spain have a higher production of commercial vehicles. The growth of air brake systems in Europe can be attributed to factors such as the growing production of heavy-duty trucks and stringent government regulations related to active safety. As per ACEB, road freight transport is a crucial way of trade and commerce in the European region. Trucks are responsible for over 70% of freight transportation over the land in this region. As maximum transportation is conducted through these heavy trucks, it leads to fatal accidents in this region, the report said.
According to European Union, out of total road fatalities in the EU in 2019, 14% and 2% died due to heavy good vehicle and bus crashes, respectively. Thus, the European Commission has implemented various braking system regulations for heavy commercial vehicles to avoid fatalities from heavy commercial vehicle crashes. For instance, the European Union mandates to install rollover stability control system in heavy trucks weighing above 3.5 tonne.
Further, the inclusion of additional safety-related components to withstand the Government braking-related mandates makes the price of the air brake system comparatively higher in Europe than in Asia-Oceania and North America. Additionally, Europe's disc brake installation rate is the highest due to the shortest stopping braking distance for commercial vehicles. The above factors imply European commercial vehicles' importance and safety standards. Thus, rising commercial vehicle production and adopting advanced technologies related to air brake systems by OEMs is anticipated to drive the growth of air brake systems in Europe during the forecast period, the report stated.
Courtesy: MarketsandMarkets. NB: Photo is representational; courtesy: ZF.