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  • Great Designs in Steel 2015

ArcelorMittal at the Great Designs in Steel 2015 seminar in Detroit

Carmakers showcase innovative AHSS lightweight solutions for their new vehicles at GDIS

Nearly 1,300 leaders from the automotive and steel industries gathered at the 14th annual Great Designs in Steel (GDIS) seminar in Livonia, outside of Detroit (USA), last month to discuss the latest trends in steel usage for vehicles. Hosted by the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), the day-long event was kicked off by a welcome speech from ArcelorMittal’s Brad Davey, Chief Marketing Officer of ArcelorMittal North America Flat Rolled.

Brad Davey highlighted the well-known challenges in automotive design and how steel is addressing those challenges with advanced high-strength steels: “One of those key takeaways should be the value derived from unique innovations using advanced high-strength steel (AHSS). When an automaker chooses steel, they choose the material with the highest value and the lowest greenhouse gas emissions, meaning consumers get the most affordable vehicle that is also the best for our environment.” 

Lightweighting with AHSS remains the core of steel innovation: “New materials – coupled with new techniques in joining and manufacturing processes – have improved mass reduction, to the point where future fuel economy targets can be met – in almost every vehicle – without the need for more expensive alternative materials.”
Life cycling thinking is gaining traction in the automotive industry. “Primary production of steel, including AHSS, produces one-fifth to one-twentieth the emissions of other – more expensive – materials. Steel’s light-weighting capability can get the fleet to its future fuel economy goals, eliminating any use phase advantages other materials may have.”
Lightweighting with AHSS remains the core of steel innovation: “New materials – coupled with new techniques in joining and manufacturing processes – have improved mass reduction, to the point where future fuel economy targets can be met – in almost every vehicle – without the need for more expensive alternative materials.”
Life cycling thinking is gaining traction in the automotive industry. “Primary production of steel, including AHSS, produces one-fifth to one-twentieth the emissions of other – more expensive – materials. Steel’s light-weighting capability can get the fleet to its future fuel economy goals, eliminating any use phase advantages other materials may have.” 

What carmakers said

After the opening speeches and the inspirational speech by Ralph V. Gilles, head of design at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the huge packed ballroom was split into three areas. Now, the attendees had the opportunity to participate in more than 25 presentations and panels covering a multifaceted array of topics concerning the steel and automotive industries, including weight reduction, safety, repairability and manufacturing technologies.


Here are just a few of the many highlights from the presentations that carmakers made:

  • Nissan: to make the Nissan Murano more fuel efficient, Nissan shaved 120 pounds off of the redesigned model, mostly by using AHSS 
  • The all-new Nissan Maxima’s redesigned platform extensively uses high-strength steel – including the first use of 1.2 giga pascal high-strength steel in a Nissan sedan – to cut 82 pounds while increasing torsional rigidity by 25 percent over previous models
  • Honda’s Acura TLX uses six grades of AHSS, over 52 percent of its body structure, providing rigidity without adding weight. The hot stamped laser welded door ring has been implemented too, following the success of the Acura MDX 
  • The Chrysler 200 is 60 percent AHSS, contributing to robust crashworthiness 
  • The all-new Ford Edge uses AHSS in its chassis and BIW for improved stiffness.

SMDI President, Larry Kavanagh, presented Nissan Motor Co. with the Automotive Excellence Award for their innovative use of AHSS to reduce mass in body-in-white structures while reducing manufacturing cost.

What analysts predict

Many people were interested to hear the views from Ducker Worldwide, who gave insight in the metallic material trends in North American light vehicles. According to Ducker’s Abey Abraham, Steel is still the most used material for cars. The growth for AHSS is bigger than anticipated two years ago. “The 2014 average AHSS use in North American produced light vehicles is 254 pounds and expected to nearly double to 483 pounds by 2025.”

What ArcelorMittal presented

In addition to Brad Davey’s welcome speech, there were two other ArcelorMittal presentations: 

  • Richard Clausius presented ArcelorMittal’s Zagnelis (ZnMgAl) coating providing less wear, good weldability and best-in-class corrosion performance compared to GI and GA coatings for automotive. 
  • Gagan Tandon and Shawn Devaraj from ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks Americas presented how lightweight, hot-stamped, Laser Welded Blanks side structures contribute to excellent Narrow Offset Crash Test results. Our Tailored Blanks division also had its own stand at the GDIS exhibition, showcasing the Laser Welded Blank Door Ring solution.

More than 25 technical sessions were offered to automotive engineers, designers, suppliers and academia in attendance, exploring the trends and topics that are driving the auto industry’s evolution. During the breaks, people could visit the exhibition areas, where carmakers presented the innovative use of AHSS.


About Great Designs in Steel

Great Designs in Steel is hosted by the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), a division of American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), and supported by automotive investing companies, including ArcelorMittal. This seminar is meant to assist engineers in utilizing the latest steel technologies to design and build safe, affordable, fuel efficient and environmentally sustainable vehicles.

All presentations made during GIDS 2015 presentations are available for download, click here of visit www.autosteel.org