The automotive industry is presently moving into the age of renewable powered automobiles from historic steam powered automobiles due to increasing technological advancements. Automobiles are generally four-wheeled vehicles that are utilized either for passenger transportation or for movement of goods, primarily propelled by a gasoline- or diesel-powered internal combustion engine. Currently, an automobile has become a complex and complicated technical system, which employs several sub-systems of specific designs and functions. Some of these automobiles contain numerous components, which have evolved through significant breakthroughs in existing technology or are new technologies such as high strength plastics, newer alloys of steel and other metals, computer assistance, and global positioning systems (GPS). Some of these sub-systems have been incorporated in automobiles either for safety or environmental purposes. One such sub-system is body in white (BIW), which forms the body structure of any automobile.
Body in white refers to the phase in automotive manufacturing in which the sheet metal body components of an automobile have been welded together. In other words, body in white is the frame structure of the automobile before painting and assembly of engine, chassis, glass, seat, doors, hood, and other such sub-assemblies.
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Based on material type, the body in white market can be segmented into aluminum, steel, magnesium, and composites. The common metallic materials of body in white structural components are getting replaced by lightweight materials such as fiber reinforced plastics, light weight steels, and magnesium and aluminum alloys for all categories of vehicles, ranging from passenger cars to commercial trucks. The primary driving force behind this development is the rising demand for fuel economy along with emission regulations, crashworthiness, and safety legislations.
Based on manufacturing process, the body in white market can be classified into hot stamping, cold stamping, and hydroforming process. Hot stamping is a combination of conventional hot forging and cold stamping technology. In hot stamping process, the stamping of steel happens under high temperature, along with the forming and quenching process in die. The hot stamping process segment is expected to gain market share in the global body in white market during the forecast period.
Based on structure type, the body in white market can be segregated into monocoque and body-on-frame. In monocoque, all the body members are load carrying and are integrated with each other. In this type of structure, the chassis is in-built with the body in white and does not exist separately. Here, wheels are mounted directly on the body in white with the support from the suspension system. This type of structure is majorly utilized in all types of passenger cars and in some utility vehicles. While body-on-frame structure is generally employed for utility vehicles, buses, and trucks. In this type of structure, the body is mounted on a chassis or frame, which, unlike in monocoque, is not in-built with the body in white, and the wheels are also mounted on the chassis instead of body.
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Key players operating in the global body in white market include ArcelorMittal, Roland Berger, ThyssenKrupp System Engineering GmbH, Gestamp, Norsk Hydro ASA, Magna International Inc., and AISIN SEIKI Co., Ltd.