PSA Peugeot Citroën award recognises the value ArcelorMittal adds to the partnership. Both companies work together to create the vehicles of the future with the next generation of steel solutions.
Louis David is a master expert in materials and processes for the vehicle perimeter at PSA Peugeot Citroën. He spoke with ArcelorMittal about the recent supplier award PSA presented to ArcelorMittal, the cooperation between the two companies, and the role of steel in the vehicles of today and the future.
ArcelorMittal: During the 11th PSA Peugeot Citroën Suppliers Awards, ArcelorMittal was named best supplier in the Value Creation category. While we are very proud to have received this recognition, can you tell us why ArcelorMittal as selected for this specific award?
Louis David: This particular PSA award recognises suppliers who offer groundbreaking technical solutions or new services. Something which enables us to add value to our vehicles. ArcelorMittal received this award as they invited PSA to work collaboratively during the development of Fortiform® 1050, a steel for cold stamping with excellent mechanical characteristics. It seemed appropriate to recognise the work we do together throughout the year to develop new steel solutions, particularly for weight reduction.
How is ArcelorMittal creating value for PSA?
With ArcelorMittal and its steels we can achieve weight reductions in our vehicles at zero or almost no additional cost. This is one of the hallmarks of working with steel. Most other weight reduction solutions are fairly expensive and cost us several euros per kilogram gained. The theme of the work we do with ArcelorMittal is related to steel weight reduction at a constant manufacturing cost.
Is Fortiform® on the drawing board for your upcoming models which are still in design?
Fortiform® is part of a panel of steel weight reduction solutions we have developed with ArcelorMittal to lighten our cars. It is not the only solution as we also use steels for hot stamping such as Usibor® 1500. We are also working with ArcelorMittal to further the development of Usibor® 2000.
However, using these steels requires a hot stamping process which PSA does not have in-house. An alternative is to use a steel like Fortiform® which does not require hot stamping.
We are now validating Fortiform® through industrial tests and calculations to produce the first part on one of our upcoming models. As Fortiform® is typically used in areas of the car which may be involved in crash scenarios, the first part we will validate is a roof arch reinforcement. This process will help us to acquire data which we will use to estimate the costs of integrating it into our processes according to our technical standards. This will enable us to determine if we can apply this solution to other future vehicles. After it is successfully validated, other Fortiform® parts would be developed for use on our vehicles.
Which materials will you replace with Fortiform® solutions in the future?
We are replacing high strength or advanced high strength steels with Fortiform® as it offers even higher mechanical properties with the same level of formability. We will use these characteristics of Fortiform® to reduce the thickness of the part and thus gain mass. We are following this lead throughout the entire body-in-white (BIW) area which deals with crashes. Reducing the thickness of the steel reduces the weight so the partthat is being validated will help reduce the mass of the BIW. We are replacing steels obviously, but with a steel that offers higher characteristics.
Is Fortiform® economically interesting for PSA?
Yes, PSA can use Fortiform® in our lines because we have not built hot stamping into our industrial processes.
We hope that ArcelorMittal will soon develop Fortiform® 1500 in addition to Fortiform® 1050 which is available now. This would close the gap with the current hot stamping steels that acquire a tensile strength of 1500 MPa after hot stamping.
If we look a little further into the future, what is PSA’s strategy in terms of materials?
By 2020 we expect that we will need to lose another hundred kilos over the entire car. Around 35 to 40 kilograms will come off the BIW including closures. Based on the steel solutions which are in the works, we should be able to reach this target at a reduced cost.Beyond 2020 we need to look for another 50 to 100 kg weight reduction, with a reduction of around 30 to 40 kg on the car’s body and closures.
We believe that with ArcelorMittal, we have an effi cient R&D programme which will continue to improve Usibor® steels for hot stamping as well as Fortiform® steels for cold stamping. In the longer term, we hope that ArcelorMittal’s R&D efforts will push back the limits of steel even further so it can continue to compete with aluminium on its own ground. For example, it might be possible to create rather large thin panels from steel, such as those used for the hoods and fenders. By ensuring they are thinner we don’t need to increase the mass of visible parts made with steel.
That’s what we hope for and are working towards together. If we don’t do that we will need to increase the amount of aluminium and composites in our cars and this will increase manufacturing costs. There is still some space for steel solutions to reduce mass at a lower manufacturing cost than with aluminium and composites.
We will inevitably hit a limit one day, but this limit is pushed back every year thanks to our collaboration. We still hope to lose another 10 to 20 kg from our cars beyond 2020 thanks to steel solutions.
Many specialists believe that the car of the future, in the 2025 to 2030 timeframe, will have a BIW that is more multi-material than today. That is to say, it will be lighter thanks to steel, but there will be more aluminium than today. There will also be larger composite solutions such as polymers, including plastics.
It will be a slightly different balance than today. Volume manufacturers are still producing BIWs which are up to 90% steel, over 95% in some cases. This means that the car of 2030 may contain a little less steel but it will be a more refined and efficient steel. It will have better characteristics, along with the appearance of today’s aluminium and composite parts.
This means there are plenty of challenges ahead for PSA and ArcelorMittal…
Absolutely. Because of the new engines available, and new regulations to reduce emissions, we’re really at a turning point. We must call into question a number of technical choices on our vehicles.
But what we now think is that the BIW with closures must try to shed 35 kg by 2020, as I explained earlier. PSA has already started to do that on our newest platforms. Beyond 2020 we will need to shed an extra 40 kg, and half of that will probably come from steel solutions. So that’s the order of magnitude.
Thanks to our cooperation, ArcelorMittal’s steel solutions are progressing well. This is probably because we share our R&D very early in the development chain. That allows us to measure the suitability of the different solutions you offer us and choose the right ones. It is win-win for ArcelorMittal, for PSA, our vehicles and our customers. This is the right way to do collaborative work, and fi ts well with our design offi ces and your people.
Looking beyond 2020, what is the future of emissions regulations in Europe?
Regulations are global. Today they are particularly important in Europe. The next European regulations we know about come into operation in 2020 when CO2emissions have to be 95 grams on average for manufacturers. The date or target for the regulation after 2020 is not yet known, but this will be discussed between now and 2018.
What is remarkable is that China’s CO2 reduction objectives for 2020 are rapidly converging on European values. So is the United States. These regulations are worldwide regulations, hence PSA’s interest in working with you to find solutions which can be deployed by ArcelorMittal worldwide. We must find solutions which can be applied equally in Asia, Europe and eventually in South America.
It is impractical to create a different vehicle design for each geographical area. As a manufacturer, we must be able to develop, design and build vehicles globally to the same level. It is important for us and we know that ArcelorMittal is working in this direction. And PSA knows that wherever we produce vehicles in the world, we are using solutions which have been developed very early on with ArcelorMittal. That way we can ensure our response to these regulations converges globally.