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Economical steel solutions for mobile lightweight construction

Automotive lightweight steel construction

Whether cold-rolled dual-phase steels or hot stamping manganese-boron steels for the vehicle structure, coated sheet steel for car body panels, special chassis steels or highly ductile microalloyed steels for chassis or seat structures – thyssenkrupp Steel offers high-strength and ultrahigh-strength steels for modern lightweight automotive construction.

The automotive sector is forced to focus their R&D activities on multiple trends like and autonomous driving and e-mobiliy.This requires major investments on their part, all while they face pressure to keep prices down. As a long-standing material supplier of the automotive sector, we are familiar with the changing requirements in vehicle construction. Vehicles with conventional combustion engines as well as modern traction motors benefit from economically attractive lightweight steel solutions. We are contributing to the transition to e-mobility with our selectrify® initiative - steel solutions for e-vehicles.

When all its properties are considered, steel is superior to all other body materials and will therefore remain the first choice for sustainable and economical lightweight vehicle construction in the future.

Bernhard Osburg, Chief Executive Officer

Lightweight steel solutions for the vehicle structure

Dualphasen-Stahl für die Kaltumformung

Dual-phase steel for cold forming: tailored portfolio for modern lightweight construction

High strength, excellent formability and enhanced crash performance: The specific requirements for the different applications in automotive engineering can be enhanced with our tailored and needs-oriented portfolio of cold-rolled dual-phase steels. A coordinated range that is optimally tailored to the component function and customer application.

Further product details: Learn more about the 3rd generation AHSS steels with strength values of 1,000 and 1,200 MPa.

Mangan-Bor-Stahl für die Warmumformung

Manganese-boron steels and AS Pro coating for hot forming: Highest strength with good forming properties

For hot forming thyssenkrupp supplies hot-rolled, cold-rolled and coated MBW® manganese-boron steels. A newcomer to the range: AS Pro, the innovative coating for significantly improved component and process reliability in automotive engineering.

In the automotive industry MBW® manganese-boron steels are mainly used for safety-relevant structural parts. Our MBW® steels offer extremely high strengths after hot forming while retaining very good forming properties.

Product novelty: With AS Pro, thyssenkrupp Steel is the first steel manufacturer to launch a new, game-changing coating for hot forming ultra-high-strength MBW® steels worldwide – to ensure maximum automobile component reliability. The new coating ensures significantly lower process-related hydrogen absorption during the annealing process in hot forming, and also makes the manufacturing process more economical.

Not forming processes, but component weight is decisive for sustainability

For Thomas Flöth from the Application Technology department at thyssenkrupp Steel, both cold and hot forming are equally valid forming processes, including in terms of sustainability.
For Thomas Flöth from the Application Technology department at thyssenkrupp Steel, both cold and hot forming are equally valid forming processes, including in terms of sustainability.

thyssenkrupp Steel pursues a technology-open approach in the manufacture of lightweight steels: For both cold and hot forming, customers have access to comprehensive portfolios that support sustainable component production.

Public perception of industrial processes is not always unprejudiced. A current example of this is the discussion that has arisen about the hot forming process, since it requires heating materials to temperatures of 900 degrees Celsius and more. At first glance, this sounds like high energy consumption and high CO2 emissions – and thus not very sustainable. However, looking at the procedure in terms of the application often reveals a different situation. Hardly anyone knows this better than Thomas Flöth from the New Applications department at thyssenkrupp Steel. "There are good reasons to use both cold and hot forming, depending on the application," says the engineer, referring to the individual requirements in component production. "In the automotive sector, it's often a matter of getting as much as possible out of lightweight construction. Here, depending on the task, hot forming can also save quite a lot of material – and thus also CO2." Another aspect for saving material is the material utilization factor, where hot forming also tends to offer advantages over cold forming.

Lightweight steel: the less weight, the better

Particularly when it comes to the life cycle assessment of forming processes, internal studies at thyssenkrupp Steel have revealed that material reductions are decisive. Thomas Flöth: "The studies we've done show very clearly: It's not so much the manufacturing process that matters, but rather the weight and material utilization of the subsequent component: the lower the component weight and the better the material utilization, the more sustainable." He is convinced that the method associated with the forming process will exert an even more marginal influence in considerations of sustainability in the future, and all the more so when heating processes are decarbonized through the use of green electricity or hydrogen. Following the guiding principle "The most environmentally friendly material is the one that doesn't have to be produced in the first place" – after all, lightweight construction reduces the amount of material used in a component for the same performance, and less steel has to be produced – thyssenkrupp Steel pursues a technology-open strategy: in each individual case, we carefully examine which material and which process are optimally suited to the respective field of application.

High potential for both forming processes

As a product manager for multiphase steels, Dr. Patrick Kuhn knows what matters in a crash: the component must absorb a particularly large amount of energy. Cold-formed highest-strength AHSS materials are ideal for this.
As a product manager for multiphase steels, Dr. Patrick Kuhn knows what matters in a crash: the component must absorb a particularly large amount of energy. Cold-formed highest-strength AHSS materials are ideal for this.

If a component has to be able to absorb a particularly large amount of energy in a crash, as is the case with a front longitudinal member, for example, cold-formed highest-strength AHSS materials such as jetQ® 980 and jetQ® 1180 are ideal thanks to their outstanding ductility. These latest-generation modern multiphase steels are ready for series production now, and they are currently undergoing the approval process at various OEMs. "The initial feedback from our customers on processing is very positive," reports Dr. Patrick Kuhn, product manager for multiphase steels at thyssenkrupp Steel.

Georg Parma, product manager for hot forming, focuses on the ductility of his steel grades and lowers the strength accordingly: A prominent application example is the all-electric VW ID Buzz.
Georg Parma, product manager for hot forming, focuses on the ductility of his steel grades and lowers the strength accordingly: A prominent application example is the all-electric VW ID Buzz.

jetQ® grades also perform well in terms of resistance to deformation, while highest-strength hot-forming steels such as MBW® 1500 or MBW® 1900 show even better performance here: for example, when used in safety-relevant body components such as B-pillars, which must neither deform significantly in an accident nor, in the worst case, fail. However, ductility is now also a major issue in hot forming – with MBW® 1200, the strength is moderately reduced in favor of increased ductility. "These properties also impressed Volkswagen so much that the material is being used alongside other hot forming grades to build the new all-electric VW ID Buzz," explains Georg Parma, thyssenkrupp Steel's product manager for hot forming.

Material selection depends on many factors

The automotive industry will continue to require a balanced mix of cold- and hot-formed steels in the future, and in terms of competition with lightweight body materials, steel is therefore hardly likely to surrender its dominant position in the coming years. "The question of balancing the respective proportions of cold and hot forming depends not least on the carmaker's highly individual material concept. In essence, however, the respective component requirements determine the use of technology," says Thomas Flöth, summarizing the situation for OEMs. Until now, lightweight construction has primarily been an issue of reducing fuel consumption and emissions in vehicles running on conventional fossil fuels. However, against the backdrop of locally emission-free electric mobility, the sustainability focus is shifting from the use phase to the production phase. Lightweight construction therefore remains an important issue – the requirements for crash safety (for example the protection of the battery) are even increasing in the case of electric cars. For this reason, thyssenkrupp Steel will continue to invest in developing new lightweight steels with improved material properties – both for cold and hot forming.

When should which material and which process be used?

With regard to sustainability, thyssenkrupp Steel not only looks at the material but also takes the upstream chains, processes and the subsequent use phase of the products into account as part of the life cycle assessment (LCA). The company is happy to make the expertise of its technical experts available to its customers and partners when it comes to the early-stage analysis of which material and which manufacturing concept are suitable for a specific application. We look forward to hearing from you about this.

Hot-rolled lightweight steels with optimum processability for the chassis

Warmgewalzte Leichtbaustähle mit bester Verarbeitbarkeit für das Fahrwerk

Whether microalloyed steels for suspension and axle applications, high-strength multi-phase steels for single-skin control arms, or application-optimized manganese-boron steels for precision steel tubular applications such as stabilizers, thyssenkrupp Steel offers an extensive hot-rolled portfolio for the cost-effective lightweighting of high-strength chassis components.

Our hot-rolled chassis materials are available as uncoated and coated hot wide strip and slit strip and as uncoated precision strip, on request also as slit coil.

Portfolio expansion:

The new ultra-high-strength hot-rolled multiphase steel CH-W® 700Y950T promises maximum weight-saving potential and maximum service life in the chassis. The chassis grade with a strength of almost 1,000 megapascals and optimized hole expansion offers not only a significant weight reduction but also high fatigue strength for complex chassis parts. In addition, the new steel grade offers highly convincing crash behavior, because high yield strength values combined with reserves in elongation after fracture ensure high resistance to deformation and thus high crash energy absorption.

We have also expanded the portfolio of hot-rolled microalloyed steels to include high-ductility (HD) grades. Compared with the VDA 239-100 and DIN EN 10149-2 standards, the microalloyed HD steels are characterized by a significantly narrower range of mechanical properties and increased elongation at break.

Vehicle interior: Lightweight steels for seat structures

Maßgeschneidertes Portfolio für wirtschaftliche Leichtbau-Sitzstrukturen aus Stahl

Front and rear seats must meet the highest demands in terms of cost-effectiveness, installation space, lightweight design, safety, and comfort.

thyssenkrupp Steel offers a tailored portfolio for cost-effective lightweight steel seat structures: From highly ductile hot-rolled strip and precision strip with tight tolerances to microalloyed cold-forming steels and cold-rolled high-strength multi-phase steels – with best forming and joining properties.

Click here for details of lightweight steels for seat structures

Service: Benefit from our materials and application expertise


Research and development of new steel materials and technologies

Our Application Technology Center has been helping customers with innovative solutions to get the most out of their steel for 50 years.

The name says it all: as thyssenkrupp Steel’s innovation lab,the Application Technology Center aims to do more than simply research, develop, and manufacture new steel materials and technologies – it also strives to ensure that the company’s customers get the most out of these developments.

Further information: Read more about the services of our Application Technology.

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