Increased safety using AHSS truck bumpers and underrun protection
Truck designers are noting that car OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers are starting to design and deploy ultra-high strength steels for bumper systems. UHSS grades such as press-hardening steels Docol® PHS 1500 and PHS 2000 help create weight-saving, cost-effective bumpers with high crash protection performance.
Lightweighting compressed air tanks for truck brakes
Aluminum tanks can be up to 14 kg lighter than conventional mild steel tanks. But advanced high strength steels could match aluminum’s weight at significantly lower costs.
Combining truck air tanks with cross members
Volvo has built a proof of concept truck that combined an aluminum air tank integrated as a cross member. A similar idea could use Docol® AHSS steel, which is not only more economical than aluminum — it also has the embedded CO2 equivalence of recycled steel, even though it’s made largely from virgin iron ore.
Reducing forming costs for tractor roof fairings
Roof fairings help tractor-trailer be more aerodynamic and, in turn, more fuel efficient. But material conversions, to either aluminum or injection molded plastics, can simply be financially out of reach for the relatively low-volume Class 8 truck market.
NACFE reports, “A large injection mold tool for making those roof fairings can cost over US$1 million, and an aluminum body panel-stamping tool can be US$1.5 million.” More economical AHSS steel, formed by equipment the OEM probably already has, may be a better lightweighting approach for roof fairings.
Increasing 5th wheel durability with AHSS
Tractor fifth wheels traditionally are a heavy-duty component, designed for frequent hooking and unhooking of trailers. NACFE notes that aluminum may not be the best choice for 5th wheels when “… it’s common for the kingpin to hit off-center, causing damage to the (aluminum) throat or the ramps…They are (also) so expensive compared to stamped and cast steel models, (that) the overall take rate (acceptance rate) is very low.”
Potential AHSS steels for stamped tractor 5th wheels include Docol® martensitic grades.
Cost-effective, lightweight truck wheels
Both steel and aluminum wheel producers have successfully reduced the weight of their products in recent years. By further increasing strength levels with steel grades that are readily cold-formed into stretched flange edges and have high hole expansion ratios, steel wheel manufacturers could achieve additional lightweighting at eye-catching prices.
Potential hot-rolled Docol® AHSS grades for wheels include HR800CP, HR800HER, or HR600FB.
Instrument panel structures
Aluminum has replaced some panel structures, but obviously at higher costs. “Replacing the replacement” with AHSS steel, such as cold-rolled Docol® CR600DP sheets and precision tubes, could deliver a price competitive, lightweighting edge to truck OEMs.
Offering lightweight truck components at attractive prices
In addition to their strength/lightweighting potential and attractive pricing compared to aluminum and CFRPs, AHSS and UHSS steels can frequently be made with cold-forming equipment that truck OEMs already use — with relatively minor upgrades to tooling. And Docol® AHSS/UHSS steels are also extremely CO2 efficient, as already noted.
Ready to leverage the auto industry’s AHSS/UHSS lightweighting knowledge? Then please contact your local Docol® representative. Your freight-efficient customers will thank you.