NEW YORK Steels footrace against aluminum to maintain market share in the all-important automotive market rounded an important corner May 23 when ArcelorMittal SA introduced its first entry in a new series of advanced high-strength steels (AHSS) slated for launch this year.
Dubbed HF1050, the third-generation AHSS for cold stamping is a direct outgrowth of research conducted at the Luxembourg-based steelmakers pace-setting research and development (R&D) campus in Maizieres-les-Metz, France. The R&D center, ArcelerMittals largest, is said to have an average of some 60 new products under development at any given time. Ten of the current crop are earmarked for service in the auto industry and targeted for launch in 2014, ArcelorMittal said.
"Using HF1050 will result in additional weight reductions in a vehicles structural components of up to 10 percent," the company said. "Third-generation AHSS combine excellent strength properties with formability, allowing a reduction of 10 to 20 percent in the weight of automotive components compared with existing grades."
ArcelorMittal, which invested $270 million in R&D last year, described its new steel grades as ideal for body-in-white structural parts, such as B-pillars and windshield pillars, due to their ability to absorb more energy.
Automakers have already conducted formability and weldability tests on the new product, and HF1050which was developed for the European auto marketis now ready for use, ArcelorMittal said. The steelmaker expects the first mass-produced vehicles featuring HF1050 to begin rolling off production lines in 2016.