A locomotive is a rail transport vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. A locomotive usually does not have a payload capacity of its own, and its sole purpose is to transport the train along the tracks. Some trains have a self-propelled payload-carrying vehicle. These are not considered as locomotives; they are referred to as railcars, multiple units, or motor coaches. A locomotive suspension consists of a system of springs, suspension, as well as linkages that unite a vehicle to its wheels. These essentially serve two purposes – improving the vehicle handling process as well as braking, keeping the passengers aboard free from vibrations, road bumps, and noise.
The rising demand for electric locomotive engines is likely to drive the global locomotive engine suspension market during the forecast period. Factors such as growing quantity of railway freight traffic as well as rise in stringent emission norms have led to the introduction of electric engine locomotives, encouraging the rail industry to opt for electric engines. Moreover, as electric engine locomotives are economical, non-polluting, able to travel at high speeds, and allows transportation of higher quantity of freight (when compared to diesel locomotive engines), the market is likely to observe substantial adoption of electric engine locomotives, thereby increasing the growth of the global locomotive engine suspension market in the coming years.
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The introduction of conical springs is also likely to drive the growth of the global locomotive engine suspension market from 2017-2025. There are several advantages of conical springs including lesser structure-borne noise transmission, better suspension kinematics at higher speeds, spontaneous variable progressive load, lesser installation costs, abridged design complexity, and easy procurement of suspension components that will fuel demand during the forecast period.
The global locomotive engine suspension market can be segmented by application and geography. In terms of application, the market can be segregated into coil springs and dampers. The coil springs segment held the dominant market share in 2016 and is likely to grow at a substantial rate during the forecast period. Suspension systems including coil springs or helical springs, bump-stops, constraints, and dampers are used to control the vibrations primarily caused by track abnormalities. There are various types of coil springs including helical coil springs, rubber metal springs, air springs and leaf springs. As coil springs such as rubber metal springs decrease the high-frequency vibrations, lowers the maintenance cost, and lessens wearing friction due to track irregularities, the adoption of these components is likely to increase considerably in the near future.
In terms of geography, the global locomotive engine suspension market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. The Asia Pacific region accounted for the maximum share of the global locomotive engine suspension market in 2016. Rising inclination for the transport of freight as well as passengers in China and India are likely to fuel the market for locomotive engines, which will result in increased demand for engine shock absorbers in this region, thereby propelling the global locomotive engine suspension market during the forecast period.
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The global locomotive engine suspension market is a maturing market and is highly competitive in nature. A number of key players are gradually focusing on increasing their customer base as well as enhancing their investments in research and development. A variety of established companies are offering end users with an extensive range of suspension components including coil springs, yaw dampers, electrically switchable yaw dampers, chevrons, conical springs, and dampers, which will further strengthen the global market’s competitive environment.
Some of the key players operating in the locomotive engine suspension market are AL-KO, Knorr-Bremse, Growag, ZF, Suomen Vaimennin, and Koni-Enidine Rail.