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  • VAMA Customer Event 2015

VAMA welcomes 200 visitors at Customer Day in Loudi, China

On 28 May 2015, VAMA (Valin ArcelorMittal Automotive Steel Co., Ltd VAMA) hosted a Customer Day at its automotive steel plant in Loudi, China. More than 200 customer representatives from OEMs and tier-one suppliers attended the event which focused on the leading automotive steel products and solutions that VAMA offers to help make further progress in lightweight automotive design and production.

This event also demonstrated the steady progress VAMA accomplished during the past year as well as showcased its readiness in terms of facilities, products, services and people and its preparedness for more partnerships and growth opportunities in the Chinese market.  

Mr. Yan Jianxin, chairman of VAMA said: “As China’s automotive industry, particular in Hunan province continues to grow rapidly, the demand for automotive steel is also rising both in terms of volume and quality. The automotive industry is one of the most important economic pillars in Hunan province. It is reported that the income of the industry there is expected to reach 200 billion yuan in 2015. With locally available steel products of the highest quality, as well as an excellent service system, VAMA is able to meet the increasingly needs for new materials in this rapidly growing automobile market. Additionally, it is able to help local OEMs produce high quality cars, and thereby promote the integral level of automobile industry in Hunan.”

A steady year of progress with stable production of advanced automotive steel products

With full support from both Joint Venture partners ArcelorMittal and Hunan Valin Steel, VAMA has achieved stable production of advanced high-strength automotive steel within the first year of production. Now VAMA’s product portfolio includes Advanced and Ultra High Strength Steel (AHSS and UHSS) grades with strength levels of up to 1200 MPa and Usibor®1500.

VAMA has also set up a combination of facilities, services and teams, which have helped win recognition from potential customers. As of today, the homologation process of both international and domestic OEMs has started with five audits, all of which have been confirmed as passed. VAMA has also set up satellite offices in major automotive hubs like Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Changchun and Changsha to serve nearby customers as quickly as possible.

Early Vendor Involvement

Early Vendor Involvement (EVI) is one of the advanced services of VAMA. By working closely with clients through involvement in the early stages of automotive design and by leveraging the worldwide R&D resources from ArcelorMittal, VAMA helps OEMs in China shorten the R&D phase to achieve BIW weight lightening, cost reduction and performance enhancement, and thus increase the competitiveness in the market.

“The past year was a good start for VAMA’s development in the world’s most dynamic automotive market,” said Mr. Sanjay Sharma, CEO of VAMA, “We know the requirements and challenges that manufacturers are facing in the Chinese market. And we have the world’s leading technologies and solutions to meet these needs while at the same time ensuring the quality our investor ArcelorMittal maintains in other regions around the world.”

Advanced products, solutions and services locally available to meet the ‘lightweight trend’

In 2014, China recorded a 7.3% increase in car production, which according to the statistics from China Association of Automobile Manufacturers accounted for 23.72 million units. China continues to be the most promising automotive market in the world, but this also puts China under increasing pressure to address potential energy shortages and environmental challenges. 

Going ‘lightweight’ is believed to be one of the most effective measures to help automobiles reduce fuel consumption and emissions without compromising safety. Statistics show that a 10% weight reduction leads to a 6 to 8 percent increase in fuel efficiency and consequently to reduces emissions. 

Advanced high strength steel (AHSS) can contribute significantly to the safety and efficiency of lightweight automobiles. Compared with materials like aluminum alloy or plastic, high strength steel has a lower price, higher elastic modulus, better rigidity, better impact resistance, and higher fatigue strength. Approximately 45% of Chinese vehicles use high strength steels and global adoption is above 70%. There are clearly huge growth potentials in the Chinese market. 

Greener and more affordable

“Producing vehicles that are lighter, greener and more affordable without compromising safety performance is the mainstream trend in the market,” said Mr. Jurgen Cobbaut, CTO of VAMA. “VAMA is a leading and reliable provider of advanced lightweight automotive steel products and solutions for OEMs.” 

As a leading market player, VAMA offers locally customized solutions and products to respond to market needs. In March 2014, VAMA introduced S-in motion® to China’s auto manufacturing market. S-in motion® integrates a catalogue of steel solutions using advanced high strength steels, hot stamping, laser welded blanks, tubular products and long products. The first generation of S-in motion® enables a savings of up to 73 kg or 19% of a typical C-segment vehicle’s body-in-white and chassis weight, which results in a 13.5% reduction in CO2 equivalent emissions during the vehicle’s use.

The latest S-in motion® can be used on Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles to achieve a weight reduction of 30kg (11%) in body-in-white through extensive use of advanced high strength steel (AHSS) and hot stamping steel. It enables manufacturers to achieve these savings at neutral cost and without compromising the safety of the vehicle. Today S-in motion® solutions have already been made available with VAMA’s products and technologies and been implemented in many production vehicles. 

VAMA can also produce Bake-Hardening Steels and Dual Phase Steels for cold stamping and Usibor® 1500 for hot stamping. TheUsibor®1500 production line in VAMA is China’s first hot stamping steel production line and has produced 3,000 tonnes of products, supplied locally. The use of Usibor®1500 is already a mainstream among global OEMs. Production lines in VAMA now are able to satisfy the needs required by third generation high strength and can keep in step with ArcelorMittal’s development in the field of high strength and ultra high strength steel.

To provide end-to-end steel solutions and unique services to the Chinese market, VAMA along with Gonvarri Steel Services, an independent and world-leading company in metal processing services, plan to build four Advanced Technologies & Solutions (ATS) centers in Shenyang, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Loudi. Each of the ATS centers will be equipped with advanced equipment dedicated to automotive steels. The four ATS centers will focus on solutions like

  • shape blanking of exposed panels and non-visible AHSS parts
  • weight reduction with Laser Welded Blanks for aluminum-silicon coated hot stamping steel for added structural safety, crash management and costs reduction
  • classical steel processing services through high performance slitting and cut-to-length (rectangular cutting) lines at strategic SSC partners
  • advanced storage and logistics services – JIT, coil management, quality control, with full IT-enabled traceability

Contributing to the sustainability of China’s environment and steel industry

Realizing its own advantages in high-end products, VAMA absorbs the excess high-quality hot coil produced locally and further processes and transforms it into the high-end steel products that the market needs. This gives VAMA ready access to supplies of raw materials and helps to promote the sustainability of the local steel industry.

Commitment to the environment

VAMA holds to its commitment to the environment and to an emissions-neutral enterprise. VAMA strives to create a safer, healthier, and greener living and working environment, and to do business in harmony with the environment by minimizing its environmental impact. According to the data monitored by Environmental Protection Department of Hunan, the volume of SO2 and particles emitted from the heat treatment and acid regeneration processes in VAMA’s plant is 15mg/m3 and 16.8mg/m3 respectively, significantly lower than the national standard of 150mg/m3 and 30mg/m3.All data monitored in VAMA plant is in full compliance with the new "Environmental Law" implemented on January 1, 2015.

In addition to the steel industry and environment, VAMA also cares about the local community and its employees. On May 30 2015, VAMA will organize a family day inviting the families of all employees to tour the plant and the S-in motion® exhibition.

High-end high-strength automotive steel for lighter vehicles available from VAMA  

  • VAMA showcased its mass produced, high-end automotive steel products passing several customers’ homologation and decided its downstream network with partner
  • VAMA’s advanced products and solutions now available to help OEMs meet the current light-weight trend in China and produces lighter, safer, greener and more affordable vehicles
  • VAMA contributes to steel China’s industry: upgrades and stays committed to environment and community