Automotive designs propose ever more light car bodies to reduce the consumption of fuel, and thus, environmental emissions.
When you purchase a car, you look mostly for protection against crashes, low energy consumption, and an attractive-looking model. You want to be safe from any accident and, at the same time, to take care of the environment; steel has the perfect soul for that.
The security offered by cars to their occupants is a high-priority matter for all automobile manufacturers, but this goes also hand in hand with environmental issues. Automotive designs propose even more light car bodies to reduce the consumption of fuel, and thus, environmental emissions.
With the passing of time, steel prevails in automobile production, providing among 70 and 80 percent of their components. We explain why steel is the savior of the industry when we talk about car manufacture.
Steel prevails in automobile production, providing between 70 and 80 per cent of its parts.
Advantages of steel which make it the safest and most environmentally-friendly option
Currently, material selection is becoming more and more consideration for automobile purchasers and constructors equally, but, which is better: aluminum or steel?
Despite aluminum being characterized by its lightness, resistance to steel traction is up to four times stronger than aluminum alloys, which are among the strongest currently available ones.
Steel excels in its durability, speed of assembly, availability of sections and sizes, the fact that it's recyclable and biodegradable, the possibility of pre-manufacturing structures, and the ease offered by it to join different parts through welding connections, rivets, or screws.
Recent modifications to steel alloys have made it possible for pieces used for car bodies to be manufactured with ever-smaller thicknesses, which translates into a smaller weight without losing resistance. Besides, the different steel alloys make the process of manufacturing different components more flexible, which may resist static and dynamic efforts in case of a crash.
This difference in resistance to traction means that aluminum pieces need to increase their thickness to comply with security standards.
Besides, automobile manufacturers report that the cost of aluminum materials is two to three times more expensive per kilogram than steel.
Yet, Ternium steel has the advantage of being infinitely recyclable. Its recycling process is simpler too: Its ferrous properties allow for easy classification of junk and all steel alloys may be smelted and mixed to produce any steel alloy. Aluminum, on the other hand, is costlier to recycle, requiring different degrees to be decanted before smelting so as to be preserved.
In the manufacturing process of an automobile, a great variety of steel is used, depending on their elasticity, mechanical values, and even elongation, such as hot lamination, cold lamination, galvanized coating, galvanneal, wire rod, die-cuttable and advanced, high-resistance steel.
Steel-made pieces in ultra-high resistance, characterized by their high rigidity, high energy absorption, high capacity for non-deformation.
At Ternium, we produced a high variety of steels for the automobile industry, which comply with the quality and highest demands of the market. Our steel complies with all the certifications validating the quality of processes and products, like IATF normativity 16949 and ISO 90001.
Likewise, high specification steel provides the following benefits:
- Lighter, more resistance
- High surface quality
X-Ray of an automobile
According to data by the International Organization of Automobile Constructors (OICA), a motorized vehicle may use an average of up to 900 kilograms of steel.
Both in the car body and the chassis, steel must provide its properties of resistance and durability to guarantee the vehicle's useful life. This is the importance of steel in the automotive industry.
High resistance steel is especially useful by not increasing excessively a vehicle’s weight, and having a great resistance and energy absorption
The components of an automobile's soul
Bodywork: Around 34% of the steel is used in the structure of the automobile’s body. This includes panels, doors, and the back trunk.
Transmission: The transmission train uses up 23% of the total amount of steel. Due to direct contact with high temperatures in the engine, we need a type of steel with high resistance to corrosion and heat.
Suspension: Over 12% is in the suspension. This component is greatly important for the balance and stability of an automobile, the reason for which laminated steel bands that offer adequate hardness are required, combined with a good elongation index.
Other components: An important percentage of the remaining 31% is distributed among different components, such as the wheels, the fuel tank, and the direction and brake systems. In all these elements, the demands towards the material change, the reason for which, usually, different kinds of steel are complemented in its manufacture.
As you can see, steel has a soul of its own, it can be molded in alloys to make a car lighter, stronger and more resistant.