weight products for the auto industry.
Q BY JONATHAN KATZ
carmaker in the country, so our steel
companies have had to modernize.”
The color-coded sections of this 2011 Chevy Volt structure on display at the Great Designs in Steel seminar in May show different grades of advanced high-strength steel used in the car. AHSS can reduce a vehicle’s structural weight by as much as 25%, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.
In the United States, demand for
AHSS has risen significantly and led to
new developments for many domestic-and foreign-based steelmakers. Char-lotte-based Nucor Corp. has seen its
production volumes of AHSS more than
double each year since the company
began producing the steel grades five
years ago, Nucor COO John Ferriola told
INDUSTRYWEEK. AHSS now represents
15% of Nucor’s supply to auto OEMs.
“Every new model launched by our
automotive customers increases the
percentage of AHSS from the previous
model,” Ferriola says. “Our automotive
customers are constantly looking for
ways to take weight out of their vehicles,
while at the same time increasing their
safety standards and crashworthiness.”
STEEL MARKET DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE
has seen the demand for AHSS in automotive applications increase from
nearly nothing seven to eight years
ago to a steady, predictable growth
rate, says Blake Zuidema, director of automotive product
applications for ArcelorMittal’s global research and development center in East Chicago, Ind. For instance, the company
expects by 2014 that 40% of total production at its hot-dip
galvanizing line in Cleveland will comprise AHSS. Currently
AHSS accounts for 5% of the product mix at the Cleveland
facility, says a company spokesperson.
Severstal North America, the U.S.-based arm of Russian
steelmaker OAO Severstal, began production Aug. 18 at a new
cold-rolling complex in Dearborn, Mich., where the company
plans to make AHSS for the auto industry. The company re-
ceived a $730 million conditional loan from the Department of
Energy to support the modernization activities.
“OUR AUTOMOTIVE CUSTOMERS ARE
CONSTANTLY LOOKING FOR WAYS TO TAKE
WEIGH T OU T OF THEIR VEHICLES WHILE AT THE SAME
TIME INCREASING THEIR SAFETY STANDARDS AND
—John Ferriola, COO, Nucor Corp.