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ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks goes the extra mile

 

When one of ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks’ European automotive customers introduced a new range of electric vehicles, the OEM faced capacity problems with their blanking line that impacted the production of existing internal combustion engine (ICE) models. When they turned to their suppliers, ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks (AMTB) was able to mobilize additional production capacity enabling the carmaker to meet customer demand. The ArcelorMittal team also suggested improvements to the OEM’s logistics process which increased productivity and safety when these were implemented.

 

“When our customer approached us about the capacity issue which affected their current ICE models, ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks immediately sprang into action,” says Ambre Margotin, business development manager. “Our solution was to create a new die at our plant in Liège, Belgium, that can reach unmatched production capacity.” The blanks are used to create the front rails for the OEM’s platform.

“Moving production of the blanks to ATMB Liège and doubling the output of the die resolved the OEM’s capacity issue,” says Regis Balbinot, also a business development manager for ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks. “And there was no impact on other customers served by ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks Liège.”

Following the introduction of the new blanks on the production line, the ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks team visited the OEM’s manufacturing facility. “We noticed that the stacks of blanks for the front rails were being transported by forklift from the blanking to the stamping line on wooden beams,” says Ambre Margotin. “At the start of the press line, the stack of blanks was lifted into position with a crane.”

In addition to the safety risk of moving the blanks with a crane, the handling process also limited the capacity of the line as Regis Balbinot explains: “Only two stacks could be accommodated at the entry table on the line. Every time the stack needed to be changed, the line had to be stopped.”

By keeping four stacks at the entrance to the stamping line, productivity of the line was doubled

By keeping four stacks at the entrance to the stamping line, productivity of the line was doubled

The AMTB team decided to propose some solutions to the OEM. “The first suggestion was to use steel pallets which are more suitable for this type of operation,” says Ambre Margotin. “And the pallets can accommodate two stacks – one for the left rail, and one for the right. In the future, the customer will put two complete pallets on the table. That will cut the number of press stoppages by half.”

Steel pallets can be stacked on top of each other (up to 4 pallets), reducing the need for storage space

Steel pallets can be stacked on top of each other (up to 4 pallets), reducing the need for storage space

This is not the first time ArcelorMittal's Tailored Blanks division has developed tailored pallets for a customer says Regis Balbinot. “Steel pallets have significant advantages in automotive. They are very strong, optimized for transport, and have a long life. In fact, they are guaranteed for seven years, matching the average production period for new models. And at the end of their useful life, the pallets can be fully recycled.”

“The solution we proposed was safer, and helped the OEM maximize the productivity of its line,” says Ambre Margotin. “The customer was very open to our suggestions, and very pleased with the outcome. It proves that ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks doesn’t just supply blanks, we are also able to help OEMs with ideas and service thanks to our experience in the automotive sector.”

If you are interested in tailored pallets, do not hesitate to get in touch with your regular ArcelorMittal (Tailored Blanks) contact person.

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