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Luxembourg, Switzerland -- November 9, 2016 -- A "new generation" of advanced high strength steels is making its way to OEMs, according to an announcement from steel producer ArcelorMittall.

The new steels include two new press hardenable steels Ductibor 1000 and Usibor 2000 and martensitic steels MartINsite M1700 and M2000. Both Ductibor 1000 and Usibor 2000 are already available for OEM qualification testing in Europe.

The company is also preparing to expand its family of third generation advanced high strength steel (3G AHSS), which currently includes Fortiform 1050 in Europe, starting in 2017.

This is, of course, all about helping automakers reduce body-in-white weight as they try to improve fuel economy without compromising vehicle safety or performance.

“The launch of these steels aligns with our Action 2020 program, a strategic roadmap that aims to achieve targeted financial improvements for the company by 2020,” said Brian Aranha, Executive Vice President, Global Automotive for ArcelorMittal. “Action 2020 efforts include cost optimization and steel shipment volume increases, as well as an improved portfolio of high added value products. These products ensure ArcelorMittal is best positioned to meet customer requirements via a strong technical and product portfolio.”

Samples of Ductibor 1000 are now available to OEMs for qualification testing in North America. According to ArcelorMitall, typical applications for Ductibor 1000 include energy absorption parts such as front and rear rails and lower B-pillars.

Usibor 2000 is an aluminum-silicon coated press hardened steel. A statement from ArcelorMittal says Usibor 2000 will enable automakers to fabricate parts with complicated geometry at a very high strength without formability or springback challenges. Typical applications include strength-critical passenger compartment parts such as rockers, pillars, roof rails and cross members. It will be  available in North America in early 2017 with commercial production expected in late summer 2017.

“Usibor is our key product in hot stamping and has been a major commercial and technical success in the global automotive industry,” said Aranha. “Looking ahead, the scope of hot stamping products in vehicles will continue to increase with the release of more advanced products like Usibor 2000, which offers 10 to 15 percent weight savings when compared to existing hot stamping solutions.”

On the repair side, the introduction of these new steels reinforce the critical necessity of checking OEM repair guidelines before beginning the repair. Experience is not a useful guide in these situations, as steels are visually indistinguishable. The same repair techniques that worked on mild steel should not be used on advanced high-strength steels.

Blake Zuidema, ArcelorMittal's Automotive Product Applications Director, outlined some of the reasons for this during a presentation at the 2015 SEMA Show, according to a report on Repairer Driven News:

"Right now, heat from repairers is the enemy of higher-strength steels, according to Zuidema. These steels often mean no welding or sectioning can occur in strength-critical areas, or else the vehicle’s crash energy load path could be disrupted and passengers put at risk, he said.

That’s why other joining methods can be demanded, OEMs design sectionable joints away from ultra-high-strength-steel components, and consequently why such UHSS components must often be replaced instead of repaired," according to the report on Repairer Driven News.

ArcelorMittal is also expanding its MartINsite family of products to include MartINsite M1700 and M2000, joining currently available MartINsite M900, M1100, M1300 and M1500.

“MartINsite is a very strong family of steels which are perfect for anti-intrusion parts such as bumper and door beams,” said Aranha.

ArcelorMittal will have MartINsite M1700 and M2000 available for OEM qualifications by mid-2017. The grades will be available for commercial production in early 2018.

 

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