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Products and solutions, 2006-09-19, 11:11 AM

System partnership: Doors for the new Sprinter

The Auto division of ThyssenKrupp Steel AG designed the doors of the new Mercedes Sprinter during the pre-development phase of the van. The project included engineering, virtual structural design and validation of production feasibility. ThyssenKrupp Steel is presenting the results at booth B05 in hall 17.

Launched in May 2006, the new Sprinter was designed to provide "even greater space, safety and comfort". With the predecessor model having enjoyed sales of some 1.3 million during its 11-year lifetime, DaimlerChrysler invested around 1.8 billion euros to set new standards in the 3.5 tons gross vehicle weight category.

In its panel van version, for example, the new Sprinter offers a much larger cargo space than its predecessor: previously, the biggest Sprinter had a capacity of 13.4 cubic meters, while the new extra-long model with super-high roof offers 17 cubic meters of cargo space. Among other things, a longer wheelbase allows wider sliding doors - wide enough to take a Euro pallet lengthways. The cockpit is also roomier with greater comfort, and the safety-relevant crash zones at the front end of the vehicle have likewise been enlarged.

DaimlerChrysler managed to add this space with virtually no increase in weight. They were supported in this by ThyssenKrupp Steel AG. The Auto division of Germany's biggest steel producer was entrusted with project management for the door design during the pre-development phase. The doors needed to be redesigned because the higher volume of the van also called for bigger doors. The sliding door is around 40 percent larger than on the predecessor model, while the rear doors and the driver and passenger doors have been enlarged by around 17 to 19 percent.

Alongside the choice of suitable steel materials, the project also involved CAD design as well as strength, stiffness and fatigue analyses.

ThyssenKrupp Steel also validated the production feasibility of the door design through forming simulations and production advice. The company possesses a wide range of development capabilities and manufacturing expertise for the body system and is increasingly in demand as a development partner to auto manufacturers. ThyssenKrupp Steel supports its customers in body design, body engineering and production planning.

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