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Steel Industry to Release Vehicle Program Results

Steel group to unveil new developments in lightweight vehicle design at May 18 seminar.

A consortium of international steel producers will share second-phase results of a light-weight vehicle design initiative during a seminar in Livonia, Mich., on May 18, the Steel Market Development Institute said March 24.

A group of international steel companies has been collaborating since 2007 on ways to design lightweight, advanced high-strength steel, or AHSS, body structures for alternative-fuel vehicles. The three-year program started by the World Steel Association is called Future Steel Vehicle. It focuses on improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions in vehicles, particularly in hybrid, electric and fuel-cell models.

On May 18, the participating companies will share new developments at the 10th annual Great Designs in Steel seminar. The goal is to bring the new technologies to the auto industry by 2025, said David Anderson, director, automotive market for the Steel Market Development Institute.

The push to develop more light-weight steel for auto bodies has increased with new emissions and gas-mileage regulations, Anderson said. The industry has been producing ultralight steel for more than a decade, but increased advanced manufacturing technologies have enabled the production of more light-weight, high-strength steel grades, Anderson said.

Weight reduction will be needed to reduce battery and motor sizes with new powertrain options, said Ronald Krupitzer, vice president, automotive market for the Steel Market Development Institute.

"Despite the rapid growth, we are just scratching the surface on steel lightweighting," said Krupitzer. "And while automakers increase their use of today's suite of AHSS materials, we are working on the next generation."

Nearly 20 steel producers from around the world have invested in the program, including AK Steel Corp., Nucor Corp., ArcelorMittal and ThyssenKrupp Steel USA LLC.

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