New regulations accelerate automotive lightweighting
Dec 31, 2012 | 07:00 PM
| Nathan Laliberte
The automotive sector is changing more rapidly than it has at any time during the past two decades. New regulations, coupled with renewed consumer demand for ultra-fuel-efficient vehicles, have given rise to a diverse set of challenges for automakers. In turn, suppliers of steel and aluminum have been asked to provide lighter-weight materials that also offer greater ductility, elongation and tensile strength.
In response to such demands, a number of metal producers--particularly those in the aluminum sector--are projecting unprecedented growth in 2013, while others point to a decline in certain steel products.
(Last year) was a good year for the automotive industry, said Dave Anderson, senior director on the automotive technical panel at the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI). In addition, we see 2013 shaping up as a good year for production in North America in the automotive sectorÑand that includes the steel that goes into cars and trucks. We are estimating that steel will (account for) 58 to 68 percent of the average vehicle, so with increased production we anticipate increased demand for steel.
However, the sentiment for outmoded steels--namely, mild steel--is less optimistic. Because of growing demand for ultra-light, super-strong metals and composites, many automakers are planning to trim their use of heavier, less-technologically advanced components.
Most of the mild steel applications--hood, fender, body panels--can be readily lightweighted using other types of metals, said Jay Baron, president and chief executive officer of the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. Thats where mild steels are generally foundÑin high-formability and low-structural-roll components. Those panels are very conducive to aluminum.....
To access AMM's full content, please log in below. If you do not have an AMM account, we invite you to take a free trial or subscribe below.
Already a registered amm.com user?
Access to amm.com editorial content is granted only to paid subscribers and trialists. If you do not have an active account in your own name, please either subscribe or take a trial and you will have instant access to amm.com content. Sharing your login credentials with individuals who are not subscribers represents a violation of AMM copyright.
Every morning, every minute no matter how often you follow the markets, there's an AMM subscription to fit your needs.
Not sure if you are ready to invest in a subscription right now? Take a free, no-obligation trial. Start your free trial today.