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Products and solutions, 2005-09-12, 10:07 AM

ThyssenKrupp Umformtechnik makes increasing use of high-strength and ultrahigh-strength steels

Chassis components are a key factor in vehicle safety. They have to meet complex requirements in respect of safety, comfort, driving dynamics, durability and cost-efficiency. When it comes to reducing weight, the unsprung mass of the chassis takes on particular importance.

In addition to new designs aimed at lowering weight, new high-strength steel materials - adapted to the specific stresses in the part of the chassis they are used - offer major downweighting potential. The choice of design and material also places particular requirements on the engineering principles, manufacturing processes and joining techniques.

ThyssenKrupp Umformtechnik is making increasing use of high-strength and ultrahigh-strength steels for the development of chassis components. Dual-phase (DP), complex-phase (CP) and retained austenite/TRIP (RA/TRIP) steels combine extreme strength, good formability and high energy absorption capacity. They provide a low-cost alternative to competing lightweight materials such as aluminum and magnesium. The example shows that related to weight, the intelligent use of high-strength steels can deliver significant cost advantages over common lightweight materials - in this specific case a cost reduction of 40%.

ThyssenKrupp Umformtechnik is continuously developing and improving its production processes and forming dies, using extensive forming simulations and new joining techniques such as seaming and self-piercing riveting.

As the use of high-strength steels permits considerably lower sheet thicknesses than standard designs, particular attention must be paid to corrosion protection if high durability is to be achieved. In addition to improving the conventional electrocoating processes, ThyssenKrupp Umformtechnik has collaborated with the company Vista to advance a new zinc coating process (MICROZINQ D4) for production use.

ThyssenKrupp Umformtechnik believes that the materials and processes presented here offer significant further potential. High-strength and ultrahigh-strength steels, innovative joining and forming methods, improved corrosion protection and intelligent design methods will be the main tools used to tap this potential. The objective is to offer our customers products which are lighter, lower cost and safer.

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