STEEL VS AL: ArcelorMittal unveils latest lightweight auto steels

ArcelorMittal introduced a new range of lightweight high-strength steels for the automotive sector on Tuesday September 2.

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The Fortiform range, which improves safety while at the same time reducing weight, was developed at the steelmaker’s research and development (R&D) units in Maizières-lès-Metz, France, and at its East Chicago facility in the USA, and will initially be produced at its Belgian plants in Gent and Kessales.

One grade of the new steel range is available to the market following formability and weldability tests conducted by global carmakers, with the first mass-produced vehicles using the steel expected to hit the road in 2017.

Samples of two other grades will be made available for testing later this year with production set to start in 2015, while more products will appear in different regions based on available technology and demand, ArcelorMittal said.

“We work together with carmakers from the early stages of a vehicle’s life to integrate the most innovative steels in their design,” global R&D president Greg Ludkovsky said. “This enables [the car manufacturers] to hit targets for fuel efficiency without compromising on safety, style or affordability.”

Properties of the Fortiform range enable it to absorb more energy with less steel, making the steel suited for structural parts such as front and rear chassis members, and the A and B pillars.

Vehicle parts cold-stamped from steel in the new range could be up to 20% in lighter, compared with ArcelorMittal’s existing advanced high-strength steels, to better meet current car emissions reduction targets set by the EU for 2015 and 2021.

Find out which metal has the upper hand in our series of articles and videos exploring the issue of Steel vs aluminium.