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Lighter steel components with composite

Gestamp HardTech supplies a number of hot stamped ultra-high strength steel (UHSS) components to the automotive industry. Increasing demands on weight reduction have made carbon fibre composites interesting in the reinforcement of certain automotive components.

Gestamp HardTech in Luleå is a major manufacturer of automotive body components made of boron steel, a steel grade with very high strength. Examples of components are rocker panels, A and B pillars.

Up to 20 % lower weight

In the production of B pillars today, extra steel reinforcements, known as “patches”, are applied to selected positions to meet the high demands for collision safety. Patches can, in the future, be made of carbon fibre composite to save weight. The weight reduction is estimated at 15-20 per cent for A and B pillars, which is a significant reduction.

Together with Gestamp HardTech, RISE has developed process concepts for patches and a number of prototypes
have been produced.

Development from A to Z

The following elements have been a part of the development work:

  • Calculation simulation
  • Testing
  • Composite training
  • Process development

“With RISE we have a strategic partner for developing our steel components. Our hope is also to get a test facility up and running in Piteå for demonstrations of high volume production, an initiative pushed by the cluster SWE-CIC,” says Martin Jonsson, research and development manager at Gestamp HardTech.