Automotive Seat Belt Pretensioners: Added Safety Feature for Frontal Impact
The integration of advanced safety systems has been, and will continue to grow in importance in the automotive industry. Continuous evolutions in regulatory climate have spawned constant developments in the safety features and components of automobiles.
The developments influencing automotive safety landscape in general, and the automotive seat belt pretensioners market in particular, warrant a thorough understanding and unbiased analysis. Transparency Market Research (TMR), in its latest offering, brings to fore credible insights and analysis that can arm stakeholders in this market with the necessary information to take critical decisions with confidence and clarity.
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Seat Belts and Pretensioners: The Journey to Near-Ubiquity
Automotive seat belt pretensioners, now nearing ubiquity, have come a long way since being initially proposed for military aircrafts in the 1950s. Global sales totaled US$ 4 billion in 2018, and the number of players vying for a pie of this lucrative market continues to increase with each passing year. As seatbelts have now become a standard, the focus has shifted to developing sturdy materials and broader integration with other components. Pretensioner manufacturers’ capabilities have been put to test, as engine size and horsepower continues to increase. As automobile safety regulations gain prominence, especially in countries where implementation has been lax, component manufacturers should be looking at a period of sustained demand.
Impact of Undercurrents on Market Trends
OEMs are focusing on increasing the integration of automotive seat belt pretensioners in light commercial vehicles, as this category has witnessed steady sales in recent years. In addition, product development and innovation strategies are highly influenced by the need for automotive seat belt pretensioners to enhance the belt effectiveness in vehicles and prevent injuries that can be caused by frontal impacts.
With governments across the globe implementing laws on seat belt use that align with the best practices, and expanding these laws to back seat occupants as well, product penetration–as far as rear seats are concerned—is likely to grow. TMR’s study finds that implementation of effective measures to safeguard vehicle occupants from injury in the event of a crash, and increasing support towards seat-belt programs and policies will create potential business opportunities for the manufacturers of automotive seat belt pretensioners.
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Retractor: The Technology of Choice
Seat belt pretensioners used in combination with retractors account for higher demand as compared to buckles and anchors. Usually mounted on the B pillar of the vehicle, retractor seat belt pretensioners have witnessed higher investment and innovation. As nearly 7 in 10 automotive seat belt pretensioners sold in the market are based on retractor technology, manufacturers have specifically focused on this category.
Considering the broader evolutions in the automotive sector, seal belt pretensioner manufacturers have also been forced to innovate. The focus has mainly shifted to providing customized solutions, as the sheer range and variation in model types, has made it challenging to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach.
Innovation has also been forthcoming for combining the active and passive safety in vehicles. As retractor technology continues to be pervasive, manufacturers are wary of spending on R&D in other technologies. These factors played a significant role in ZF Friedrichshafen’s decision to commence with volume production of its next-gen Active Control Retractor – the ACR8 in 2018. Considering the centralization of technology in new automobiles, ZF Friedrichshafen offered a greater degree of flexibility in its offering. The ACR8 can work in conjunction with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and evasive steering assist (ESA). This strategic move by the company is likely to set the ball rolling, as other stakeholders are likely to full suit and invest in refractor technology.