Advances in lightweight steel technology: Ultra-high-strength steel, tailor blanks, and hydroforming
New technologies from Mubea and ThyssenKrupp
As advancements in reducing weight through utilization of CFRP and aluminum continue, weight reduction technologies that use steel materials are also steadily progressing. Based on the content of displays and workshops at the JSAE Exposition 2016 Yokohama, this report will introduce the latest trends for steel material weight reduction technologies, including hot formed steel, ultra-high-strength steel sheets, tailor rolled blanks, and hydroforming.
Automakers are increasingly using hot-formed steel and ultra-high-strength steel sheets for the framework around the cabin. Since body side panels in particular are thick because of the need for high strength to restrain deformation during side collisions, there is a significant effect from the latest weight saving technologies in those areas. Toyota uses tailored ultra-high-strength steel blanks with reduced thickness in the lower sections for the A-pillar of the Toyota Prius to reduce overall weight.
Mubea's tailor rolled blanks allow fine changes in sheet thickness by area when the material is created during roll forming. The blanks are utilized for the B-pillars of the VW Golf and Ford Focus among other uses.
Moreover, ThyssenKrupp has developed steel sheets with high tensile strength and ductility as the sheets of the future. These enable energy absorption in areas around the cabin that restrain deformation. They also allow the use of deformation preventing steel sheets in areas like the engine compartment that primarily absorb energy. Additionally, this technology is expected to increase development freedom for autobody frames, contribute to improved safety performance in collisions, and reduce the overall weight of vehicles.
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