ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products

Online client newsletter | December 2019

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Nesting optimisation

New study shows advanced nesting can lead to lower waste and costs

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Laser welded blanks (LWBs) are an ideal solution for carmakers who wish to lightweight their vehicles. But many manufacturers are using more steel than they need to obtain the parts required. A new study from ArcelorMittal’s Tailored Blanks division has demonstrated that much higher yields can be obtained from a single coil. By optimising the number of blanks used to form a part, and designing a better layout of the blanks on a sheet of automotive steel, wastage can be reduced dramatically. Using advanced nesting in this way, OEMs can create a more sustainable and cost-efficient production process for vehicle parts.

Optimising steel usage with advanced nesting opens the door to significant cost reductions for OEMs without affecting the part’s mechanical properties. And it significantly reduces scrap which increases sustainability.

Nesting is commonly used to produce blanks. However, there is room to make this process more efficient and more sustainable for some specific parts. ArcelorMittal has completed a study into an A-pillar to showcase the potential benefits of combining laser welded blank technology and nesting optimisation.

Baseline requires
10.6 kg of steel

A common nesting configuration has been observed at OEMs who produce A-pillar blanks. The configuration places the monolithic blanks face-to-face on the line. The net weight of each monolithic blank is 5.6 kilograms. But due to wastage, 10.6 kg of steel is required to produce each part. Effectively, 48 percent of the steel in the coil is scrapped and recycled. This considerable volume of scrap must be handled and transported for recycling.

Advanced nesting optimisation requires only 7.3 kg of steel

Advanced nesting optimisation ensures a smarter way to produce blanks. Using this technique, OEMs can create two sub-blanks instead of a single monolithic blank. That enables the position of the blanks to be optimised on the sheet and reduces the amount of steel required: just 23 percent of the steel needs to be scrapped instead of 48 percent for the baseline.

Standard nesting of monolithic A-pillar blanks: 48% material lost

The advanced nesting process requires 7.3 kg of instead of 10.6 kg – reducing the scrap rate to just 23 percent

After blanking, the sub blanks are laser welded together to form one part. The position of the weld can be varied, depending on the part’s design.

The mechanical properties of the part remain unchanged compared to those of a monolithic blank. The net final weight of the part also remains unchanged.

Joining both sub-blanks using laser welding to form
the A-pillar blank

The advanced nesting optimisation process provides a range of benefits. For the A-pillar alone, material usage is reduced by almost 30 percent. Cost is also reduced by around €1.00 per car due to the material savings.

And if the volume of steel utilised can be reduced by 30%, the nested LWB solution provides a corresponding 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions. That emissions reduction is accessible immediately.

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