ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steel and mining company, has unveiled a new family of cold stamping steels for the automotive industry which offer significant weight savings while improving safety.
The new FortiformTM range of advanced high strength steels (AHSS) can lead to weight savings of between 10 and 20 per cent in vehicle parts compared to conventional AHSS. This is a crucial advantage as carmakers come under pressure to further reduce the weight, and therefore the emissions, of their vehicles.
Because of its superior properties, the FortiformTM range can absorb more energy in a crash even though less steel is used. This makes it suitable for use in many structural parts of the vehicle that may be affected during an impact including the front and rear members, B-pillars and windscreen pillars.
The FortiformTM range includes three steel grades: FortiformTM 980, FortiformTM 1050 and FortiformTM 1180.
The grade number indicates the tensile strength of each steel (in MPa) in the range. All are available with an electro-galvanised (ZE) or bare surface.
Meeting the regulations
The challenge for automotive manufacturers is that they must reduce the weight of their vehicles in order to meet future regulations on tailpipe emissions. Regulations in force in the EU are being steadily strengthened, with ambitious targets for 2015 and 2021, and even tougher standards are being considered for 2025 in both the EU and the USA. In the EU, the target is to reduce the average emissions for manufacturers’ fleets of vehicles to 130g of CO2 per kilometre by 2015, and to 95g of CO2 per kilometre by 2021. Reducing the weight of the vehicle by around 12kg saves one gram of CO2 equivalent emissions per kilometre (1.6g/mile), meaning FortiformTM will help car makers meet these strict quotas.
Speaking about the launch of FortiformTM, Brian Aranha, vice president Automotive Worldwide, said: “ArcelorMittal is supporting automotive manufacturers as they respond to the challenge of meeting new regulations on emissions and fuel economy. FortiformTM steel grades combine excellent strength and formability and could lead to weight savings of between 10 and 20 per cent in vehicle parts, compared with conventional solutions.”
FortiformTM was developed by ArcelorMittal’s research and development teams in Maizières-lès-Metz (France) and East Chicago (USA). Initially it will be produced at two mills in Belgium: ArcelorMittal Gent and ArcelorMittal Kessales (Liège). Global deliveries of FortiformTM will be supplied by these mills.
The most affordable way to save a car's weight
“We work together with carmakers from the early stages of a vehicle’s life to integrate the most innovative steels in their designs. This enables them to hit targets for fuel efficiency without compromising on safety, style or affordability” explained Greg Ludkovsky, vice president global R&D at ArcelorMittal.
FortiformTM is the latest innovative steel solution to come from ArcelorMittal’s global R&D teams. It offers further proof that steel is by far the most sustainable, the most versatile and the most affordable material carmakers can use to produce safer, lighter vehicles. FortiformTM was specifically developed to complement ArcelorMittal’s existing AHSS steels for hot stamping which includes both the Usibor® and Ductibor® ranges.
Steel remains the most cost-effective material for vehicle applications, as well as the most commonly used metal in vehicles. While carbon fibre and aluminium are often proposed as alternatives to steel, these materials cost significantly more than the latest advanced steels and have a much greater impact on the environment over their entire lifetime.