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Automotive Product Finder Magazine | Regulatory norms propel demand for safer auto body parts
Regulatory norms propel demand for safer auto body parts
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Indian roads are known as dangerous as 23 out if every 100, 000 people lose their lives in road accidents. Considering this, Government of India is keen on reducing the deaths on road with enhanced regulations. Thus, automakers are imparting building safer body components in line with the regulations and policies. This article takes a close look at the recent regulations and significant changes in body parts recently.
Indian roads are known to be one of the most dangerous in the world. In 2017, road accidents took 147,913 lives and left 470,975 people severely injured. However, as per the World Health Organization (WHO), official figures capture only half of the total road fatalities. For example, in 2016, while India reported 150,785 road fatalities, WHO estimates 299,091 people lost their lives in road accidents. WHO’s figures translate to 23 out of every 100,000 people losing their lives in road accidents.
The Indian auto-components industry has experienced healthy growth for few years till 2018. The auto-component industry of India has expanded by 18.3 per cent to reach at a level of US$ 51.2 billion in FY 2017-18.
Som Kapoor, Partner, EY, states, “Since 2013, various norms have impacted the design and asked for changes almost every year, till today. Automakers have dealt these norms very creatively and have paved way for building safe and pedestrian- friendly components.”
“Automakers in India have successfully developed various components based on requirements and considering regulations to explore new avenues and components based on the strength, durability and impact,” adds Kapoor.
Exterior body components carry dual functions to impart look and feel of the product. Simultaneously, in recent years, lot of work has been done on these parts. For example, the hood design has been altered by automakers to reduce the injuries to the pedestrians, in an event of pedestrian vehicle collision. The front portion of the vehicle gets damaged including bonnet, when met with an accident. So there was need to make sure that the design of bonnet and the material does not harm. Bonnet is the hinged cover over the engine of motor vehicles to allows access to the engine compartment for maintenance and repair. It usually do not directly open onto the passenger cell, which greatly reduces the importance of certain functional requirements, normally associated with closures such as air tightness, passenger safety, low cycle fatigue strength etc.
Apart from enhancing look and feel of the automotive, the objective of the exterior components is also to reduce the number of road accident fatalities and the severity of injuries sustained by pedestrians involved in a collision with a vehicle in the urban traffic. Impact frequency and seriousness of injury has been studied for many years by the automakers, resulting in rating systems and improved design. Moreover, automakers have themselves incorporated their own safety parameters to ensure design is safe, making components safe. The bonnet system is an access panel to the engine compartment to enable maintenance of power train, drive belts, battery, fluid levels and lamp units. It is fundamentally a reinforced skin panel with many safety and quality requirements.
Many studies have being conducted, to impart more safety and to produce more safe bonnets and exterior body parts. The behaviour of three identical bonnets made of steel, aluminium and composite have been investigated and studied by professionals and auto manufacturers for long.
In 2018, The Ministry of Highways and Road Transport had issued a notification to ban all crash guards or commonly known as bull-bars on cars and SUVs. The ministry has also issued a strict warning for action over violations on crash guard or bull bars on motor vehicles under the Section 52 of the Motor Vehicles Act. Also, penalties will be imposed under Section 190 and 191 of the Motor Vehicles Act. Such a change was altered due to the risk involved with the external fitment. The car crash guard or bull bars are mounted directly to the frame or chassis of the vehicle, and in case of an accident, vehicle can suffer severe damages, and even the occupants may sustain injuries.
As per the latest regulations, from April 2019, all new two-wheelers with an engine displacement over 125cc, are to be equipped with anti-lock braking systems (ABS), a feature that prevents wheels from locking up, even with hard braking. Smaller displacement models, with engines <=125cc, will be compulsorily fitted with a combi-braking system (CBS), enabling both brakes with a single lever. While the mandate was already applicable for all new two-wheelers introduced after April 1, 2018, it now extends to all existing models too in the market. In readiness to comply with these norms, most Indian two-wheeler manufacturers had already begun upgrading existing bikes with either single or dual-channel ABS. Bosch, Continental, and Endurance are key players in this race. Similarly, for all new cars launched from April 2018, fitment of ABS was compulsory. The latest mandate is now applicable for all cars on sale, including existing models, from April 2019. From July 2019, all new cars sold in India, must feature a driver-side airbag, a speed warning alarm, seatbelt reminder alarms for both driver and co-driver, and rear parking sensors as standard fitment.
Crash test norms compliance
More stringent requirements for full and offset frontal and lateral/side collision impacts have been in force on all cars launched after October 1, 2017. The latest requirements further expand the scope to all models on sale in India from October 1, 2019. As per these new crash-test standards, vehicles will undergo tests for full-frontal impact at 48kph, offset-frontal impact with a fixed deformable barrier at 56kph, and side impact with a mobile deformable barrier at 50kph. As a result, most OEMs in India have to re-engineer or phase out older models to comply with the new standards. With these new crash test compliance requirements, 2019 will be the end of the road for many older models.
“These regulations are part of building safe automobiles to avert pedestrians’ death. These regulations will impact pressure over automakers but will help reduce death toll,” believes Prof. Ashish Chopade, Research Assistant-Automotive Engineering Division, IIT Roorkee.
Chopade adds, “Automakers have started deploying smart technology in order to reach its goals and meet regulations. Many automakers have started making cars based on European and American guidelines which have more safety features. They mostly are offered in the premium segment.” He also held that amid slowdown, some may feel these norms will add more pressure but if dealt creatively, they can be easy to embed.
These regulations are part of building safe automobiles to avert pedestrians’ death. These regulations will impact pressure over automakers but will help reduce death toll.
Prof. Ashish Chopade, Research Assistant-Automotive Engineering Division, IIT Roorkee.
World Health Organization
Anti Lock Braking Systems
Combi Braking System
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