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ArcelorMittal co-engineering approach supports automotive customers every step of the way

When automotive manufacturers begin to design a new vehicle, they can count on ArcelorMittal to provide the widest range of automotive steel products, and our strong co-engineering support

Car designers and manufacturers know that sharing know-how and insight with leading material suppliers is a must. ArcelorMittal's steels and steel solutions, combined with their co-engineering support, allow original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to develop light, up-to-date, and affordable mobility solutions with excellent consumer appeal.

ArcelorMittal’s co-engineering support begins at the initial design phase – up to seven years or more before the new model will appear in showrooms. In the first of three phases in our co-engineering methodology, ArcelorMittal’s automotive Global R&D teams sit with the OEM’s design team to identify steel solutions which have the potential to save mass while maintaining or improving crash performance.

Phase 1 identifies lightest steel options

In the first phase, ArcelorMittal and the OEM select steels based on the properties required in each part of the car. This enables the manufacturer to choose from the latest, and lightest, steel solutions available. The grades selected take into account factors such as the OEM’s preferred manufacturing process, whether they prefer hot or cold stamping, and local safety regulations.

ArcelorMittal’s proposals are based on our in-house engineered solutions called S-in motion®. In continuous evolution since 2010, our S-in motion® projects have identified catalogues of steel solutions for a wide range of parts and for various types of vehicles including smaller cars, pickup trucks, light commercial and electricpowered vehicles. All offer significant weight savings and take into account European and North American crash requirements. All S-in motion® solutions are fully validated and can be implemented with steel grades that are available today.

At the end of the first co-engineering phase, the ArcelorMittal automotive team uses our in-house database to calculate the preliminary weight saving potential of the solutions selected.

Refining material selection with CAE

The second phase in the methodology aims to refine the possible weight savings using computer-aided engineering (CAE) models. New design solutions are integrated into the CAE model to optimise the vehicle’s performance in crash and stiffness load cases at the same level as the baseline model. The customer can also benefit from ArcelorMittal’s modelling datasets.

ArcelorMittal’s Global R&D team has developed the computational capability and competencies to run more than ten full virtual car crash simulations in less than 24 hours. Each simulation covers around four million elements.

Crash tests, stiffness assessments and other load cases are modelled to test material selection and forming options. Materials and other options can be changed to test the effect of different steel grades and technologies such as laser welded blanks (LWB). At the end of this phase, the OEM has a clear idea of the final weight of the vehicle’s body-in-white and hang-on parts.

Practical issues addressed in final phase

In the final stage of ArcelorMittal’s co-engineering methodology, the assembly and formability of the vehicle’s parts is assessed. The feasibility of using technologies such as laser welded blanks (LWB) and hot stamping are also assessed and optimised.

The detailed assembly analysis uses a three-step strategy to validate the assembly risks for each stack-up. For the most risky stack-ups numerical simulations can be performed using ArcelorMittal’s own data for each grade. This enables the OEM to improve their process parameters. Experimental validation may also be carried out on more complex assembly configurations depending on the OEM’s requirements.

In the forming assessment phase, the forming feasibility of all new solutions is evaluated through simulations, with different levels of detail depending on the part’s complexity. We can examine both hot and cold stamping options depending on the OEM’s preferred strategy. In our dedicated automotive applications research centre in Montataire (France), stamping trials are carried out for new grades. From these trials we can propose forming best practices to our customers. We can also carry out trials using the customer’s own designs.

Our support doesn’t end once the final phase of the methodology is complete. For major manufacturers, ArcelorMittal’s team of resident engineers are on standby to provide additional support whenever it is needed. Our automotive Global R&D teams can also provide technical advice during vehicle industrialisation and serial production, up to the point where the vehicle leaves the assembly line.

Our extensive offer of automotive steel grades and our worldwide footprint are already compelling reasons why OEMs contact us for support when developing their new vehicles. Coupled with our proven co-engineering approach, unparalleled in-house expertise and service, these advantages make ArcelorMittal the go-to steel solution supplier for the global automotive industry.

More info

Register here to view the recorded version of the co-engineering webinar of 12 March 2015, hosted by AMS

This webinar is presented by Olivier Moriau. Olivier leads the Automotive steel solutions design department at ArcelorMittal Global R&D Montataire, dedicated to automotive applications. He has 17 years' experience of customer technical support in the field of steel product applications.