Rubber moulded components are widely used in the automotive industry. Raw rubber – in most forms – is readily available and the final product is durable.Functional products can be shaped from rubber materials though a basic process. These products are made using a mould cavity; the choice cavity can be made into complex shapes as needed. Rubber muolded components are used in brakes, transmissions, steering, engines, clutch assemblies, air conditioning systems, batteries, electric motors, and solenoid valves in the automotive industry.
The increasing demand of rubber moulded components is driven by general preference to economical and lightweight products. There is also a need for better fuel efficiency. The growth of such components is therefore dependant on automotive production and its consequent replacement market.
The automotive rubber moulded components market is expected to change in time with:
- increased vehicle production
- increased use of lightweight materials in automobiles and
- increased safety regulations, emissions, and fuel economy norms
Such changes happen in a dynamic cycle; stringent regulations regarding automotive emissions force vehicle manufacturers to produce fuel efficient vehicles, thus increasing the use of the lightweight materials in their production, particularly of rubber moulded components. Companies are now using rubber components in place of conventional metal and plastic structures to reduce the weight of the vehicle significantly to again increase fuel efficiency.
The demand for rubber moulded components within the auto-ancillary sector has been derived from original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and the replacement market. The profit margins of the replacement market are higher than that of the OEM market, as production volume for passenger and LCVs in the Asia Pacific region is very high in comparison to other regions.
North America is expected to be another prominent market during the forecast period, owing to the large customer base of vehicles in this region. This has resulted in increased production activities by local automotive OEMs. Germany is the major producer in Europe – inclusive of production of automotive components by small and medium-sized companies.
A constant challenge faced by auto parts manufacturers is the complying yet varied environment regulations and policies on regional front; foreign exchange currency rates frequently change with respect to import and export duties on respective components.This can affect the global goods trade volume as well.
Rubber moulded components can be divided into sections based on the materials used, the component to be produced and the vehicle type. Further breakdowns include:
- material type – ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM), styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR),nitrile rubber, and polychloropene
- vehicle component type – seals, gaskets, hoses, etc.
- vehicle type – passenger car, light/heavy commercial vehicle (LCV/HCV)
Key market participants that facilitate growth of the global rubber moulding market for automotive components are: Continental AG, Hutchinson Sa Toyoda Gosei Co., Ltd., and AB SKF, among several other notable companies.