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ArcelorMittal’s patented ablation technology now used by numerous OEMs

ArcelorMittal’s patented partial ablation technology was developed to ensure that hot stamped laser welded blanks (LWBs), made from the latest press hardenable steels (PHS), are as safe as possible. Although it was first used industrially in 2007, the patented partial ablation process is proving more popular than ever with carmakers. It is now used by numerous carmakers and has led to dramatic improvements in lightweighting and safety. By 2020, ArcelorMittal expects the technology will have been used to produce more than 70 million PHS LWBs using ablation technology at locations around the world.

PHS are typically supplied with an aluminum-silicon (AlSi) coating which protects the underlying steel during thermal treatments and prevents corrosion. ArcelorMittal’s patented partial ablation process removes a thin strip of the AlSi coating on the edge of the blanks before they are laser-welded together. If the coating is not removed before laser welding, the aluminum it contains can weaken the weld and cause the part to fail. Around 99 percent of the PHS LWBs made today utilize AlSi coated steels.

Using ArcelorMittal’s patented ablation technology, a laser beam is used to remove the aluminum-silicon (AlSi) layer on the top of the press hardenable steel (PHS). The intermetallic layer is preserved during the operation to ensure corrosion resistance. After ablation, two or more blanks are welded together to form a single PHS laser welded blank (LWB). PHS LWBs are then hot stamped to form the part.

ArcelorMittal’s patented ablation technology removes the AlSi coating while preserving the intermetallic layers which sits between the coating and the underlying steel.

If the AlSi coating is not removed before welding, aluminum can pollute the weld and lead to part failure (left). Partial ablation ensures a strong and durable weld (right).

Demand for partially ablated LWBs has grown dramatically over the last five years. In 2018, ArcelorMittal produced over 10 times more ablated LWBs than in 2013.

The PHS LWBs using ablation technology are produced in America, Europe, and Asia. ArcelorMittal continues to make significant investments in its facilities to ensure we can keep up with demand from the world’s carmakers. 

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