Advanced grades and solutions are providing features that the automotive market demands from steel to create the lighter, safer and low-emission vehicles of the 21st century
ArcelorMittal boasts some of the most technologically advanced automotive operations in North America, incorporating a range of modern steelmaking technologies. In Canada, the US and Mexico, ArcelorMittal operates 26 facilities that are strategically located to serve the automotive market. Two state-of-the-art research and development centres, located in East Chicago, Indiana, and Hamilton, Ontario, are primarily devoted to research on flat products, including automotive, with global responsibility for process and product development.
ArcelorMittal’s R&D engineers collaborate with carmakers to develop automotive steels that are stronger yet lighter than existing materials. They also develop new, cost-effective coatings to improve corrosion resistance, paint appearance and application processes. ArcelorMittal’s commercially available advanced and ultra-high strength steels, coupled with emerging and longer-term breakthrough steels, are at the forefront of the automotive industry. Its automotive steel solutions cover all metallurgical ‘families’ of steels – distinguished by their different properties and compositions.
ArcelorMittal also operates specialised business units for tubular products and tailored blanks, or laser-welded blanks, using inventive engineering and manufacturing technologies that improve the performance of car parts in a vehicle. Custom-designed tailored blanks and tubular product solutions reduce weight and the number of welds in automotive applications, improving strength and enhancing crash performance.
In Mexico, ArcelorMittal operates tailored blanks facilities in San Luis Potosí and Silao; a tubular plant in Monterrey; and a steelmaking and processing facility in Lázaro Cárdenas. In total, ArcelorMittal employs more than 5,000 people in Mexico and is the top private employer in Michoacán state.
ArcelorMittal has two state-of-the-art R&D centres in North America
S-in motion®As regulatory and customer expectations for lighter weight vehicles are rising to meet new fuel economy requirements such as the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, ArcelorMittal is responding. The company’s advanced steel grades and solutions provide the lightness and strength car makers need to create sustainable mobility solutions that minimise emissions across the entire lifecycle of the vehicle and ensure the safety of vehicle users, all at a lower cost.
“We are proud to work with automakers to co-engineer steel solutions that find the optimal balance in weight reduction, safety and affordability while also having the lowest impact on the environment,” said Brad Davey, chief marketing officer, ArcelorMittal North America and global automotive.
Exemplifying this work is S-in motion, a set of commercially available steel solutions for car makers who wish to create lighter, safer and more environmentally-friendly vehicles for the 21st century. The project demonstrates ArcelorMittal’s ongoing commitment to the automotive sector with a catalogue of steel parts and solutions that can be used to help reduce vehicle weight while maintaining crash safety, all with no cost increase to customers.
S-in motion originally launched in 2010 with the introduction of 63 steel parts for a standard, C-segment vehicle. The innovation has since been refined to achieve savings of up to 73kg or 19% of a typical C-segment vehicle’s body-in-white and chassis weight. S-in motion expanded to meet the specific challenges facing the North American light truck market. In September 2014, ArcelorMittal announced the S-in motion steel pick-up, which offers two sets of steel solutions to reduce the average weight of pick-up trucks by up to 174kg or 23% of the current baseline.Leveraging the strong S-in motion brand and its reputation as a steel solutions provider, all of ArcelorMittal’s automotive solutions now fall under the S-in motion umbrella including battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles; the industry’s first laser-welded hot stamped door ring; and the ultra-lightweight steel door. In fact, 13 unique automotive steel solutions now exist under the S-in motion programme, providing car makers with the best value for ArcelorMittal’s materials – achieving weight reduction requirements at a lower cost and with lower environmental impact than competing materials, without compromising safety, style or performance. Furthermore, the solutions can be implemented without the OEM needing major capital investment or new manufacturing infrastructure.
The sustainability of steelThrough ArcelorMittal’s innovations, the steelmaker is proving that steel-intensive vehicles result in lower greenhouse gas emissions than vehicles using alternative materials. Dr Blake Zuidema, director of automotive product applications at ArcelorMittal, explains, “Our S-in motion solutions available today, combined with powertrain developments, help the automotive industry to achieve the required weight reductions needed to meet new fuel emission standards in all types of vehicles.
Steel is and always will be the complete package to help car makers achieve the fuel efficiency targets set before them. It’s the most affordable solution for our customers and the consumer, and it’s the best choice for the environment.”
This notion is further supported by steel’s infinite recyclability, mature recycling infrastructure and low emissions during manufacturing. Steel is at least five times less energy-intensive during the manufacturing phase than competing materials. An incredibly sustainable metal, steel can be recycled again and again without losing any of its properties.
Few materials have this level of recycling efficiency. In North America alone, more than 80m tons of steel are recycled or exported for recycling annually. This constitutes a recycling rate of 69% – more than paper, aluminium, plastic and glass combined.
Global steel recovery rates for recycling are estimated at 85% for automotive. ArcelorMittal works directly with its automotive partners to create steel products that are lighter, safer and long-lasting while ensuring that they are easy to reuse and recycle at the end of their useful life.
Transforming future bodies and componentsArcelorMittal is the recognised leader in automotive steel, for both the breadth and depth of its product portfolio and its ability to supply advanced steel grades throughout the world. Ranked among the world leaders in research and development for steel, ArcelorMittal delivers a large scale of products, solutions and services to help automakers produce lighter, safer and more fuel-efficient vehicles.
“Through continued investment, innovation, and network expansion, we have built both our geographical and technological leadership in the automotive market,” said Brian Aranha, executive vice president of global automotive, R&D, strategy, commercial coordination and technology at ArcelorMittal.
ArcelorMittal is proud to be recognised as the supplier of choice for auto manufacturers, a testament of their commitment to working collaboratively with customers to engineer advanced steel grades to meet their automotive needs. With their strong automotive presence and leadership in North America, ArcelorMittal will continue to drive advanced steel solutions in the region, transforming the future of automotive bodies and structural components.