Tata Steel is now free to bring ZnX, a new zinc-coated boron steel product, to the market, which is enabled by a patent ruling by the Board of Appeal of the European Patent Office.
On August 18, 2011, the European Patent Office had withdrawn a patent that is associated with hot forming of boron steel. ZnX is a press-hardened steel sheet that is ideal for hot forming.
Automakers look for ultra high strength steels to create lightweight designs and produce safe and green vehicles. Hence, there is an upward trend in the usage of press-hardened steels in the automotive industry. The direct hot forming is a process of heating a sheet of steel and consequently quenched and pressed to produce ultra strong parts.
Currently, aluminized and uncoated sheet steel materials are used for direct hot forming. Tata Steel is developing an innovative hot forming product, which provides ultra high strength advantages and additional corrosion protection benefit.
Automotive Sales & Marketing Director of Tata Steel, Jaap Piso stated that the patent ruling frees automotive clients to work with the company for using the ZnX press-hardened steel sheet. Thus, the development of ZnX signifies a forward step in achieving Tata Steel’s goal to offer advanced materials for car body engineering.