– Save money and the environment with steel

– The advantages of Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS) in automotive manufacturing.When facing tomorrow’s challenges within automotive manufacturing, Advanced high strength steel is one material that can deliver the best of both worlds – lower costs as well as sustainability. On the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) scale, advanced high strength steel lets OEMs have their cake and eat it to. A deeper look shows why.

 

When facing tomorrow’s challenges within automotive manufacturing, Advanced high strength steel is one material that can deliver the best of both worlds – lower costs as well as sustainability. On the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) scale, advanced high strength steel lets OEMs have their cake and eat it to. A deeper look shows why.

The sustainable edge

By comparing the lightweight materials of steel, aluminum, carbon fiber reinforced plastics and magnesium, it can be seen that steel has an extraordinarily lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emission in the production phase. Advanced high strength steels from the cleanest production facilities show even better numbers.

In addition to the advantage of low CO2 emissions in production, steel is also a 100% recyclable material. This is an important attribute as some regions of the world are beginning to demand that 95 % of the materials used in a car should be possible to recycle .

 

“While other materials are considered 100 percent recyclable, steel provides the possibility to make a wide range of grades from recycled material,” explains Arnaud Guerendel, Global Sales Director, SSAB. “Other lightweight materials can only be repurposed for basic use after recycling. In this respect, steel is best-in-class once more. With the use of advanced high strength steel, the challenges that come with complex multi-material solutions can be eased.”

Cutting costs

However, AHSS is not only the most sustainable choice for automotive manufacturers, it is also the most cost-effective. For example, when used for beams and reinforcements in cars, advanced high strength steel makes it possible to obtain the same weight reduction as with aluminum, but at a much lower price.

One prominent automotive OEM made a cost per kilogram comparison of lightweight materials and found that the cost to reduce the weight of the car body by 1 kg was dramatically lower with steel compared with that of aluminum, magnesium and CFRP.

 

In addition, consistent properties that reduce scrap, downtime and issues in production, also contribute greatly to the cost savings and are a big part of the value in using steel.

“Many grades of advanced high strength steel allow for cold forming. This may require less energy than with other materials and allows for more productivity that can translate directly to cost savings,” explains Guerendel.

Guerendel goes further and explains that there is a big advantage for steel in this comparison. However, that there are also differences between steel itself.

“SSAB has one of the cleanest steel manufacturing processes in the world. And by using advanced or ultra high strength steel you can further reduce the emissions as you will be using less steel.”

The overall picture

As governments set higher requirements on CO2 emissions, fuel economy and production, OEMs must find a way to manufacture their products in a cost effective way. Smart designs with AHSS presents an easier path ahead.

For more information about advanced high strength steel and the benefits for automotive manufacturers visit: www.ssab.com

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