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Celebrating the grand opening of ArcelorMittal's Tailored Blanks operation in Detroit

ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks Detroit strategically positioned to serve as key supplier of “tailor made” high-strength steel laser-welded blanks to the automotive industry

26 February 2018

$83 million operation in Detroit employs more than 80 and prepared for future expansion to meet demand from automakers

Detroit, Michigan – ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks, a subsidiary of ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steel and mining company, selected the city of Detroit as the company’s first wholly-owned manufacturing operation in the state due to its proximity to leading automakers, access to talent and support from local and state governments. 

ArcelorMittal leadership, including ArcelorMittal Mittal Tailored Blanks Americas President Todd Baker, joined Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Michigan Economic Development Council’s Chief Business Development Officer Josh Hundt and Detroit Economic Growth Corporation’s Director of Real Estate and Financial Services Kenyetta Hairston-Bridges - along with more than 100 other business and community leaders - to celebrate the grand opening of the $83 million operation located at 8650 Mount Elliot Street in Detroit’s I-94 Industrial Park.


The single-piece hot stamped LWB door ring can be tailored for different levels of complexity to achieve different weight savings, while improving safety in many different crash scenarios.

“ArcelorMittal’s decision to locate at the I-94 Industrial Park is another example of major manufacturers choosing to bring jobs to Detroit, largely because of our business-friendly environment and access to talent.  It joins a growing list of manufacturers that are creating new opportunities for Detroit residents and greater momentum for our city, and we are very pleased to welcome them,” said Mayor Mike Duggan.

ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks Detroit produces steel laser-welded blanks that are stamped and assembled into a variety of parts and solutions for the automotive market, including structural rails, door rings, door pillars, door inners and cowl sides. The creation of the state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Detroit was a strategic business decision for ArcelorMittal and integral to its growth.

“The ability to expand our footprint into Michigan and better serve our automotive customers was made possible by support from the city of Detroit and state of Michigan,” said Todd Baker, president, ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks Americas. “Both the city and state governments were instrumental in moving our growth strategy forward while bringing new jobs to - and investing in – the Detroit community.”

The city of Detroit approved a tax incentive package to support the operation. The state of Michigan also approved a $2 million performance-based grant, which is based on achieving milestones related to job creation. 

“ArcelorMittal’s first facility in Michigan is a significant investment that demonstrates the ongoing growth of the state’s economy and the strategic advantage for the world’s preeminent steel producer to locate in the automotive global capital,” said Jeff Mason, CEO, Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
“Their welding technology is in the vanguard in attaining increased fuel efficiency, and a valuable addition to the state’s manufacturing assets. The newly created jobs offer opportunities for skilled-trades technicians, and provide a symbolic presence of promising growth in Detroit’s Industrial Park.” 

The new operation speaks to the level of demand for steel laser-welded products from automakers. The ultimate result of a hot-stamped laser-welded blank is a lighter, stronger solution that improves vehicle crash performance while reducing weight, fuel consumption and emissions. 

“ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks serves as an important bridge between the advanced steels our parent company produces and the solutions our customers demand,” said Todd Baker. “Ten years ago, we had 2 tailored blank operations in the Americas; today we have 9 facilities producing over 15 million welded blanks per year. Our growth confirms the value our technology brings to our customers, delivering the optimal balance of cost, weight and performance in structural car parts.”

During its first year of operation, ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks Detroit will have substantial open floor space, providing a sustainable location that can accommodate the anticipated market growth expected over the next five years. The facility employs more than 80 today and will expand to approximately 120 by 2023.
A transformational moment for ArcelorMittal and the growth of its laser-welded blank offerings took place in 2014, through a partnership with Honda R&D Americas, Inc. Together, ArcelorMittal and Honda co-engineered the industry’s first hot-stamped, laser-welded door ring found in the 2014 Acura MDX. The door ring – a key part of the body structure which gives the vehicle its strength and stiffness – replaced conventional multi-piece, spot-weld designs. 

The technology is being implemented in additional Honda and Acura vehicles. In fact, at the Feb. 26 event, Honda announced its co-engineering efforts with ArcelorMittal on the industry’s first inner and outer door ring system found on the all-new 2019 Acura RDX, made with ArcelorMittal steel using ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks’ laser-welding technology. 

“The 15-year collaboration between Honda and ArcelorMittal is all about the companies’ commitment to safety and the advancement of technology across the industry. The world’s first hot-stamped inner and outer door ring system we are launching with the all-new 2019 Acura RDX is just the latest result of our valuable partnership,” said Shawn Tarr, principal engineer, Honda R&D Americas, Inc.

The “tailor made” process begins with ArcelorMittal’s patented press hardenable steels, Usibor® and Ductibor®, which are aluminum-coated high-strength steels used in hot stamping. Combining Usibor® and Ductibor® into laser-welded blanks offers several significant advantages to automakers including weight savings, improved crash behavior and cost savings through material and manufacturing optimization. 

The Usibor® and Ductibor® steel is blanked at one of several local blanking companies then shipped to ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks Detroit where the enabling technology, called laser ablation, takes place. Once ablated, the steels are welded together, with multiple quality control processes being to ensure precision. The blanks are then sent to a hot-stamper to be stamped into the final part required by the automaker.

Press hardenable steels for hot stamping

For OEMs who utilise hot stamping, ArcelorMittal offers a range of press hardenable steels (PHS) including the Usibor® and Ductibor® brands. The latest, Usibor® 2000 and Ductibor® 1000 offer some of the best weight saving opportunities. Compared to the earlier Usibor® 1500 and Ductibor® 500 steels, the new PHS grades offer the potential to reduce weight by another 10 to 15 percent, while maintaining or improving existing crash performance.

Usibor® and Ductibor® were developed with LWBs in mind. Ductibor® enhances the energy absorption of an LWB part while Usibor® enhances its strength. The new Ductibor® 1000 absorbs an additional 15 to 20 percent of energy compared to Ductibor® 500, while Usibor® 2000 achieves an additional 10 percent weight reduction compared to Usibor® 1500. The new grades have been designed to use the same welding processes OEMs use today, ensuring that there are no additional processing costs.

For LWBs, PHS grades offer two significant advantages: increased strength and improved formability. The additional strength in the new grades enhances lightweighting opportunities while improved formability through elongation allows engineers to design more complex parts than ever before. The thickness of parts can be significantly downgauged while still maintaining safety and performance.

Over the past 15 years, demand for PHS grades has grown exponentially. ArcelorMittal has significantly increased the number of production lines for these steels to meet demand and they are now produced in Europe, North and South America, and in Asia.

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