Tokyo – JFE Steel Corporation announced today that it has signed an agreement with thyssenkrupp Steel Europe AG (tkSE), Germany's largest steelmaker, to cross-license advanced forming technologies for automobile steel sheets, including high tensile steel. The two steelmakers will mutually license each other's technologies, including JFE's CP-F™ closed-profile forming technology and tkSE's T3 profiling technology, to automakers and auto component suppliers worldwide. T3 stands for thyssenkrupp Tailored Tubes technology.
Most framework components for automobiles are manufactured by spot welding the flanges of two steel plates that have been press-formed (Figure 1). The new technologies make it possible to form a single sheet of steel into a framework component without flanges (Figure 2). By eliminating flanges, which account for more than 10% of component weight, the method reduces vehicle weight while maintaining body elasticity and collision safety. Such products will help automakers to meet demands to lower vehicle weight for reduced CO2 emissions and energy consumption, but still ensure body elasticity and collision safety.
Figure 1. Conventional Process
Figure 2. New Process to Weld Flangeless Part
JFE Steel and tkSE had been separately developing technology to form flangeless components. In 2010, JFE developed its CP-F technology to enable general-purpose pressing machines to form closed-profile components. That technology, however, couldn't ensure stable dimension accuracy when forming components that are bent in a longitudinal direction. Meanwhile, tkSE developed its T3 technology, which uses a special metal mold, called a flexible mandrel, to ensure dimensional accuracy when forming components bent in a longitudinal direction.
Under the new cross-licensing contract, the two steelmakers now will offer customers a combination of technologies that enable general-purpose press machines to stably mass-produce light, highly accurate flangeless components that can be bent longitudinally, such as automobile front pillars.
JFE and tkSE, following an early agreement for comprehensive cooperation signed in 2002, have conducted joint research and development of auto steel sheets and related technologies. Going forward, the two firms will continue to pursue technological exchanges and joint R&D activities for auto steel sheets.
JFE Steel Vice President Takafumi Nishiuma and thyssenkrupp Steel Europe Dr. Heribert R. Fischer
Source: JFE News Release