April 8, 2014 – ArcelorMittal, Honda and Magna’s Cosma International announced that a joint nomination for the 2014 Automotive News PACE Awards was selected as the winner in the ‘Manufacturing Process and Capital Equipment’ category for the industry’s first laser-welded, hot-stamped door ring in the 2014 Acura MDX.
Winners were announced at the 20th annual Automotive News PACE Awards ceremony on April 7, 2014, at The Max M. Fisher Music Center in Detroit. The PACE Awards celebrate automotive suppliers' innovations in products, manufacturing processes and information technology, according to Automotive News.
Awarded for Innovation Partnership too
Additionally, Honda, in partnership with ArcelorMittal and Magna’s Cosma International, was awarded the 2014 Innovation Partnership Award. This award comes from the collective vote of the independent panel of PACE Award judges after considering all 34 finalists for 2014 on the scope of collaboration and innovation as seen in their respective evaluations and personal site visits. According to J. Ferron, director of judging for the PACE Awards, the judges select the OEMs who have collaborated in very unique ways to commercialize innovations.
Lighter, faster stronger
“We are honored to receive such significant industry recognition from Automotive News for our partnership with ArcelorMittal and Magna’s Cosma International to develop the world’s first ultra-high strength steel, one piece front door stiffner ring. This partnership was integral to achieving our vision of ‘lighter, stronger, faster’ for the MDX,” said James A. Keller, vice president, auto development strategy, Honda R&D Americas, Inc.
“The door ring enhances the safety performance of the MDX to meet today’s stringent roof crush and side impact standards, as well as the rigorous new IIHS small overlap front crash test. Ultimately, the cost effective, strong yet lightweight door ring helps deliver on Honda’s core values of safety and environmental responsibility by providing better fuel economy and improved overall performance to our customers,” said Keller.
3 years of development
Working from Honda’s design, the innovation encompassed three-years of technology development and collaboration among the partners. The award-winning door ring – a key part of the body structure that gives automobiles their strength and shape - sets a new standard in comparison to conventional multi-piece, spot-weld designs.
The supply chain
The door ring starts at the largest integrated steelmaking operation in North America, ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor in East Chicago, Ind., with the production of patented Usibor® 1500, an aluminum silicon coated advanced high strength steel. The Usibor® 1500 steel is prepped at an ArcelorMittal joint venture in Dearborn, Mich., then shipped to ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks in Pioneer, Ohio, where the enabling technology for the door ring, called laser ablation, takes place. After the laser ablation, a quality control process is done via a high-tech process to ensure precision.
Once the finished laser-welded blanks successfully pass inspection, they are shipped to Magna’s Cosma International operating unit in Eagle Bend, Tenn., where they are hot stamped into the finished door ring before heading to Honda’s production facility in Lincoln, Ala., to become part of the Acura MDX. The ultimate result after hot-stamping is a lighter, stronger body structure that translates to better fuel economy and safety ratings for consumers.
Honoured and proud about this recognition
“Both PACE awards offer significant recognition of Honda’s innovative spirit and the collaboration that existed between all three partners to commercialize an industry-first technology that translates to important benefits for Honda, its suppliers and consumers,” said Greg Ludkovsky, vice president, global research & development, ArcelorMittal. “We’re proud to be the leader in providing innovative steel solutions to help automakers achieve demanding fuel efficiency requirements at a lower cost, and with lower total lifecycle CO2 emissions, than competing materials.”
John Farrell, president, Cosma International, said: “It’s an honor to receive this recognition. Through collaboration with our customer Honda and leading steel company ArcelorMittal, we are able to provide a smart, well-engineered solution that helps meet emissions, fuel economy and safety challenges.”
The combination of Honda’s design, ArcelorMittal’s steel and laser-welded blank technology, and Cosma’s hot-stamping manufacturing process resulted in a weight reduction of 8.6 pounds on the Acura MDX. Overall, the door ring innovation helps the 2014 Acura MDX (V6, AWD) achieve fuel economy of 18/27 MPG city/highway, an improvement of two MPG city and six MPG highway over the 2013 model.