A blog by George Coates – Technical Director,
Steel E-Motive and WorldAutoSteel
Twenty-five years ago, the first steel industry collaboration, the UltraLight Steel Auto Body Consortium, launched a global effort to demonstrate what was then the most advanced steels ever produced, High-Strength Steels (HSS). At the time, with just 11 HSS grades available, ULSAB reduced mass by 25% over benchmarks and featured cutting edge technology such as a tailor-welded body side outer that reduced part count from 3 or 4 pieces to one efficient structure (Figure 1). Tailor welding enables the joining of different material grades and thicknesses into one blank for stamping a part, thereby placing higher strength levels exactly and only where they are needed. A one-piece body side outer and tailor welding is commonplace today because of the efficiency it lends to vehicle design and manufacturing.
The four programs that followed ULSAB produced steel innovations that influenced vehicle design and manufacture for the past decades. Steel E-Motive follows this long history of global steel industry collaboration to demonstrate steel technologies that are expected to be commercially available in 2030 and beyond. With the portfolio of steel product and manufacturing processes already available and the addition of those forecasted for future commercial availability, we are expecting innovations that will be a roadmap for future mobility vehicle manufacturers.
What is the significance of AHSS Strength vs Elongation?
Steel and Manufacturing Technologies
To further assist in the design and manufacture of efficient vehicle structures, new processes such as roll forming and hot forming help fabricate these stronger materials effectively, while often doubling material use efficiency. This means less material is produced for each component, resulting in a significant reduction in manufacturing emissions and, ultimately, an improved vehicle environmental footprint.
These are just two of many processes that will be a part of the materials and processes portfolio for manufacturing Steel E-Motive vehicle components. (See Figure 3 for more examples.)
Steel E-Motive Example steel and steel technologies portfolio
- Complex Phase
- Dual Phase, High Formability
- Quench & Partition
- Laser Welded Blanks
- Tailor Welded Blanks
- Tailor Rolled Blanks (quenched steel)
- Laser Welded Coil
- Laser Welded Hydroformed Tubes
- Sheet Hydroforming
- Tube Hydroforming
- Roll Forming
- Roll Stamping
- Press Hardening
- Laser Welded Tube Profiled Sections
- Multi-Walled Hydroformed Tubes
- Multi-Walled Tubes
As engineering progresses, we’ll be revealing the Steel E-Motive innovations that will result from the unique and efficient designs that advanced steels and steel technologies enable. Be sure to subscribe to receive updates.
Steel’s characteristics of strength, manufacturability, durability, and recyclability align dynamically with the needs of next generation vehicles: the ability to meet or exceed vehicle weight, safety, environmental challenges and multiple use cases, while supporting optimal total cost of ownership