Arcelor and ThyssenKrupp Stahl agreed to combine research and development efforts to reach a technological breakthrough in the area of highly resistant and highly formable flat carbon steels for automotive applications. On February 3, two of the leading global suppliers of steel for the automotive industry signed a multi-year Research & Development agreement to cooperate in the area of high manganese (TWIP/ Twinning Induced Plasticity) steels.
The new steel grades are to be used in the structural parts of car bodies such as body in white or chassis. With their combination of extremely high strength and superior formability the new steels target at allowing a reduction of weight by more than 20 percent while at the same time offering new opportunities to vehicle designers. The use of such products will enable car manufacturers to reduce the fuel consumption and increase the crash safety of new vehicles.
The first new high manganese steel product is to be made available to car manufacturers as of 2006 and could be used in vehicle production as of the following year. Continued joint R&D efforts will aim at the development of further advanced TWIP steels in the following years.
The field of cooperation between the two companies encompasses joint research and development on the metallurgy, composition and processing of high manganese steels. The R&D work will be shared between teams at the laboratories of both companies. New intellectual property such as patents produced in the context of the program will be jointly owned by the two companies. The joint R&D program follows years of intensive research carried out separately by both partners in close cooperation with their respective automotive customers.
Production as well as sales and marketing of the new class of steels will be carried out separately by the two companies.
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