ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks is investing €7 million in installing a new high-technology welding line at its Lorraine facility in Uckange, France.
The application of the technology is the first of its kind to combine welding and partial ablation in the production of laser welded blanks (LWB) simultaneously. The line will ramp up the plant capacity by 50% and will come online by September 2019. The LWB technology enhances crash and safety performance while improving the fuel economy of the vehicle.
Commodity Inside View:
Steelmakers are trying to be innovative to cope with the growing pressure from automakers. There is an intense pressure on automakers to reduce weight and improve crash and safety performance. Aluminium and steel are competing to gain market share on the ground of stringent environmental and safety regulations.
Welding has been a major challenge when it is come to combine different grades or types of metals. Both steel and aluminium are trying to be innovative and trying to introduce different methods.
We have seen a number of developments around the body-in-white recently. ThyssenKrupp registered few patents this year regarding tailored blanks. Early this year, ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks opened an $83 million manufacturing plant in Detroit to make parts for the automotive industry in the US. With the new plant, ArcelorMittal will be operating nine tailored blanks facilities in North America, of which six are in the US, and two each in Mexico and Canada.
Aluminium is also in the race to gain share in the tailored blanking sector. Wisco Tailored Blanks GmbH registered a patent for laser welding method for producing a semi-finished sheet metal product from hardenable steel comprising of aluminium or aluminium silicon-based coating.
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