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Automotive weight reduction

Automotive weight reduction: Ultrahigh-strength steels and composites

How CO2 emissions can be reduced with steel

The automotive industry faces a number of major challenges, the greatest of which is to cut CO2 emissions. Automotive weight reduction with steel makes an important contribution to this, especially because it can be achieved ecologically and economically. This makes it a practicable solution even for small and mid-size vehicles where cost pressure is high – i.e. the majority of all cars. Our developers make optimum use of the possibilities offered by this material.

First of all, that means developing ultrahigh-strength steels that enable automotive engineers to design thinner and thus lighter parts to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. But as well as being very strong, these steels must also be readily formable. For example there are steels that only achieve their final high strength during forming at the OEM’s plant. Other steels are initially readily formable and then achieve high strength through the high temperatures of the painting process.

Strong growth potential – hot forming steels

Strong growth potential – hot forming steels

Hot forming steels are a new variant that can save weight in particular on safety-relevant parts. They are first heated and then cooled rapidly in special forming dies. Hot forming steels are currently the fastest growing materials group in the auto industry. The InCar plus project showed that these steels can reduce part weight by 20 to 30 percent.

Steel composites are another current development. For example, we have developed a steel/polymer sandwich material that reduces the weight of outer panels by up to 33 percent.

The new trend – sandwich steels

The new trend – sandwich steels

TriBond is also a sandwich material. It comprises steels with different properties, for example a core layer of ductile steel between face layers of high-strength steel. This is another way of resolving the conflict between formability and strength – for example for crash-relevant parts.


  • Hot forming steels offer weight savings of 20 to 30 percent
  • Hybrid materials reduce weight by more than 30 percent
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