Automotive Welding Process Comparison, Blog, Joining
Car body-in-white (BIW) structures, such as pillars and rails, are increasingly made of complex stack-ups of advanced high-strength steels (AHSS) for vehicle lightweighting to achieve improved fuel efficiency and crashworthiness. Complex stack-ups comprise more than two sheets with similar/dissimilar steels and non-equal sheet thicknesses.
Resistance spot welding (RSW) of complex stack-ups can be challenging, especially when a thin sheet of low-strength steel is attached to multiple thick AHSS sheets with a thickness ratio of five or higher (thickness ratio = total thickness of the stack-up/thickness of the thinnest sheet). In such a case, the heat loss is much faster on the thin sheet side than on the thick sheet side, and consequently, obtaining sufficient penetration into the thin sheet without expulsion on the thick sheet side can be challenging.
An example of two automotive applications involving complex AHSS steel stack-ups is shown below.
Examples of automotive applications involving complex AHSS steel stack-ups
For welding 2T steel stack-ups, the weld schedule may be relatively simple and utilize just one current pulse with a specific weld time. However, typical RSW machines and controllers can customize and precisely control each parameter indicated in Figure 1.
Figure 1: General Description of Resistance Spot Welding Schedule
For RSW 3T and 4T applications, more advanced schedules are needed to achieve good weld nugget penetration through all the interfaces in the stack-up. To achieve this objective, the use of multiple current pulses with short cool time in between the pulses showed to be most effective, and in some cases, the application of a secondary force showed to be beneficial.
Figure 2 describes a method for joining the 3T stack-up using two current pulses. The first one is a short-time pulse that does not allow enough time for the electrode cooling to dominate at the top sheet, so a weld can easily form between the top and middle sheet. Once that nugget has formed, the second pulse utilizes a lower current and longer time to form the second nugget, which then grows into the first nugget to form a single weld.
This approach can be also used with electrode force variation during the welding cycle to provide additional control of the contact resistances, but of course, it is limited to machines that are capable of varying force during the weld cycle.
Typical pulse times are 50 – 350 ms with cool times of 20 – 35 ms and current levels between 8 – 15 KA, depending on materials type and thickness.
Figure 2: Example of RSW Schedule for Joining 3T Stack-Up Using 2 Current Pulses
A 4T stack-up example is shown in Figure 3. In this case, a similar approach was used with three current pulses applied during the weld cycle to produce a weld through all interfaces.
The common theme in resistance spot welding all complex stack-ups is using a complex, multi-pulse weld cycle. These more complex schedules should be developed experimentally and potentially with computational modeling. Another consideration that may be beneficial in some cases is to vary the top and bottom electrode face diameter, such as that the smaller electrode face is on the thinner material side of the stack-up.
Figure 3: Example of an RSW Schedule for Joining 4T Stack-Up Using 3 Current Pulses
Thanks is given to Menachem Kimchi, Associate Professor-Practice, Dept of Materials Science, Ohio State University and Technical Editor – Joining, AHSS Application Guidelines, for this article.
Blog, homepage-featured-top, main-blog, Roll Forming
Roll Forming takes a flat sheet or strip and feeds it longitudinally through a mill containing several successive paired roller dies, each of which incrementally bend the strip into the desired final shape. The incremental approach can minimize strain localization and compensate for springback. Therefore, roll forming is well suited for generating many complex shapes from Advanced High-Strength Steels, especially from those grades with low total elongation such as martensitic steel. The following video, kindly provided by Shape Corp.S-104, highlights the process which can produce either open or closed (tubular) sections.
The number of pairs of rolls depends on the sheet metal grade, finished part complexity, and the design of the roll forming mill. A roll forming mill used for bumpers may have as many as 30 pairs of roller dies mounted on individually driven horizontal shafts.A-32
Roll forming is one of the few sheet metal forming processes requiring only one primary mode of deformation. Unlike most forming operations which have various combinations of forming modes, the roll forming process is nothing more than a carefully engineered series of bends. In roll forming, metal thickness does not change appreciably except for a slight thinning at the bend radii.
Roll forming is appropriate for applications requiring high-volume production of long lengths of complex sections held to tight dimensional tolerances. The continuous process involves coil feeding, roll forming and cutting to length. Notching, slotting, punching, embossing, and curving combine with contour roll forming to produce finished parts off the exit end of the roll forming mill. In fact, companies directly roll form automotive door beam impact bars to the appropriate sweep and only need to weld on mounting brackets prior to shipment to the vehicle assembly line.A-32 Figure 1 shows example automotive applications that are ideal for the roll forming process.
Figure 1: Body components that are ideally suited for roll-forming.
Roll forming can produce AHSS parts with:
- Steels of all levels of mechanical properties and different microstructures.
- Small radii depending on the thickness and mechanical properties of the steel.
- Reduced number of forming stations compared with lower strength steel.
However, the high sheet-steel strength means that forces on the rollers and frames in the roll forming mill are higher. A rule of thumb says that the force is proportional to the strength and thickness squared. Therefore, structural strength ratings of the roll forming equipment must be checked to avoid bending of the shafts. The value of minimum internal radius of a roll formed component depends primarily on the thickness and the tensile strength of the steel (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Achievable minimum r/t values for bending and roll forming for different strength and types of steel.S-5
As seen in Figure 2, roll forming allows smaller radii than a bending process. Figure 3 compares CR1150/1400-MS formed with air-bending and roll forming. Bending requires a minimum 3T radius, but roll forming can produce 1T bends.S-30
Figure 3: CR1150/1400-MS (2 mm thick) has a minimum bend radius of 3T, but can be roll formed to a 1T radius.S-30
The main parameters having an influence on the springback are the radius of the component, the sheet thickness, and the strength of the steel. As expected, angular change increases for increased tensile strength and bend radius (Figure 4).
Figure 4: Angular change increases with increasing tensile strength and bend radii.A-4
Figure 5 shows a profile made with the same tool setup for three steels at the same thickness having tensile strength ranging from 1000 MPa to 1400 MPa. Even with the large difference in strength, the springback is almost the same.
Figure 5: Roll formed profile made with the same tool setup for three different steels. Bottom to Top: CR700/1000-DP, CR950/1200-MS, CR1150/1400-MS.S-5
Citation A-33 provides guidelines for roll forming High-Strength Steels:
- Select the appropriate number of roll stands for the material being formed. Remember the higher the steel strength, the greater the number of stands required on the roll former.
- Use the minimum allowable bend radius for the material in order to minimize springback.
- Position holes away from the bend radius to help achieve desired tolerances.
- Establish mechanical and dimensional tolerances for successful part production.
- Use appropriate lubrication.
- Use a suitable maintenance schedule for the roll forming line.
- Anticipate end flare (a form of springback). End flare is caused by stresses that build up during the roll forming process.
- Recognize that as a part is being swept (or reformed after roll forming), the compression of metal can cause sidewall buckling, which leads to fit-up problems.
- Do not roll form with worn tooling, as the use of worn tools increases the severity of buckling.
- Do not expect steels of similar yield strength from different steel sources to behave similarly.
- Do not over-specify tolerances.
Guidelines specifically for the highest strength steelsA-33:
- Depending on the grade, the minimum bend radius should be three to four times the thickness of the steel to avoid fracture.
- Springback magnitude can range from ten degrees for 120X steel (120 ksi or 830 MPa minimum yield strength, 860 MPa minimum tensile strength) to 30 degrees for M220HT (CR1200/1500-MS) steel, as compared to one to three degrees for mild steel. Springback should be accounted for when designing the roll forming process.
- Due to the higher springback, it is difficult to achieve reasonable tolerances on sections with large radii (radii greater than 20 times the thickness of the steel).
- Rolls should be designed with a constant radius and an evenly distributed overbend from pass to pass.
- About 50 percent more passes (compared to mild steel) are required when roll forming ultra high-strength steel. The number of passes required is affected by the number of profile bends, mechanical properties of the steel, section depth-to-steel thickness ratio, tolerance requirements, pre-punched holes and notches.
- Due to the higher number of passes and higher material strength, the horsepower requirement for forming is increased.
- Due to the higher material strength, the forming pressure is also higher. Larger shaft diameters should be considered. Thin, slender rolls should be avoided.
- During roll forming, avoid undue permanent elongation of portions of the cross section that will be compressed during the sweeping process.
Roll forming is applicable to shapes other than long, narrow parts. For example, an automaker roll forms their pickup truck beds allowing them to minimize thinning and improve durability (Figure 6). Reduced press forces are another factor that can influence whether a company roll forms rather than stamps truck beds.
Figure 6: Roll Forming can replace stamping in certain applications.G-9
Traditional two-dimensional roll forming uses sequential roll stands to incrementally change flat sheets into the targeted shape having a consistent profile down the length. Advanced dynamic roll forming incorporates computer-controlled roll stands with multiple degrees of freedom that allow the finished profile to vary along its length, creating a three-dimensional profile. The same set of tools create different profiles by changing the position and movements of individual roll stands. In-line 3D profiling expands the number of applications where roll forming is a viable parts production option.
One such example are the 3D roll formed tubes made from 1700 MPa martensitic steel for A-pillar / roof rail applications in the 2020 Ford Explorer and 2020 Ford Escape (Figure 7). Using this approach instead of hydroforming created smaller profiles resulting in improved driver visibility, more interior space, and better packaging of airbags. The strength-to-weight ratio improved by more than 50 percent, which led to an overall mass reduction of 2.8 to 4.5 kg per vehicle.S-104
Figure 7: 3D Roll Formed Profiles in 2020 Ford Vehicles using 1700 MPa martensitic steel.S-104
In summary, roll forming can produce AHSS parts with steels of all levels of mechanical properties and different microstructures with a reduced R/T ratio versus conventional bending. All deformation occurs at a radius, so there is no sidewall curl risk and overbending works to control angular springback.
Traditional roll forming creates products with essentially uniform cross sections. A newer technique called Roll Stamping enhances the ability to create shapes and features which are not in the rolling axis.
Using a patented processA-48, R-9, forming rolls with the part shape along the circumferential direction create the desired form, as shown in Figure 8.
Figure 8: Roll Stamping creates additional shapes and features beyond capabilities of traditional roll forming. A-48
This approach can be applied to a conventional roll forming line. In the example of an automotive door impact beam, the W-shaped profile in the central section and the flat section which attaches to the door inner panel are formed at the same time, without the need for brackets or internal spot welds (Figure 9). Sharp corner curvatures are possible due to the incremental bending deformation inherent in the process.
Figure 9: A roll stamped door part formed on a conventional roll forming line eliminates the need for welding brackets at the edges.R-9
A global automaker used this method to replace a three-piece door impact beam made with a 2.0 mm PHS-CR1500T-MB press hardened steel tube requiring 2 end brackets formed from 1.4 mm CR-500Y780T-DP to attach it to the door frame. The new approach, with a one-piece roll stamped 1.0 mm CR900Y1180T-CP complex phase steel impact beam, resulted in a 10% weight savings and 20% cost savings.K-58 This technique started in mass production on a Korean sedan in 2017, a Korean SUV in 2020, and a European SUV in 2021.K-58
Figure 10: Some Roll Stamping Automotive Applications.K-58
Blog, homepage-featured-top, main-blog, Testing and Characterization
Dynamic tensile testing of sheet steels is becoming more important due to the need for more optimized vehicle crashworthiness analysis in the automotive industry. Positive strain rate sensitivity (strength increases with strain rate) as an example, offers a potential for improved energy absorption during a crash event. New systems have been developed in recent years to meet the increasing demand for dynamic testing.
Three important points collectively highlight the need for high-speed testing:
- Tensile properties and fracture behavior change with strain rate.
- Conventional tensile tests using standard dogbone shapes take on the order of 1 to 2 minutes depending on the grade.
- An entire automotive crash takes on the order of 100 milliseconds, with deformation rates 10,000 to 100,000 faster than conventional testing speeds.
Characterizing the response during high-speed testing provides critical information used in crash simulations, but these tests often require upgraded equipment and procedures. Conventional tensile testing equipment may lack the ability to reach the required speeds (on the order of 20 m/s). Sensors for load and displacement must acquire accurate data during tests which take just a few milliseconds.
Higher speed tensile and fracture characterization also aids in predicting the properties of stamped parts, as deformation rates in stamping are 100 to 1,000 times higher than most testing rates.
Steel alloys possess positive strain rate sensitivity, or m-value, meaning that strength increases with strain rate. This has benefits related to improved crash energy absorption.
Characterizing this response requires use of robust testing equipment and practices appropriate for the targeted strain rate. Some techniques involve a tensile or compressive Split Hopkinson (Kolsky) Bar, a drop tower or impact system, or a high-speed servo-hydraulic system. Historically, no guidelines were available as to the testing method, specimen dimensions, measurement devices, and other important issues which are critical to the quality of testing results. As a result, data from different laboratories were often not comparable. A WorldAutoSteel committee evaluated various procedures, conducted several round-robins, and developed a recommended procedure, which evolved into what are now both parts of ISO 26203, linked below.
Published standards addressing tensile testing at high strain rates include:
The specific response as a function of strain rate is grade dependent. Some grades get stronger and more ductile as the strain rate increases (left image in Figure 1), while other grades see primarily a strength increase (right image in Figure 1). Increases are not linear or consistent with strain rate, so simply scaling the response from conventional quasi-static testing does not work well. Strain hardening (n-value) also changes with speed in some grades, as suggested by the different slopes in the right image of Figure 1. Accurate crash models must also consider how strain rate sensitivity impacts bake hardenability and the magnitude of the TRIP effect, both of which are further complicated by the strain levels in the part from stamping.
Figure 1: Two steels with different strength/ductility response to increasing strain rate.A-7
Blog, homepage-featured-top, main-blog
Key materials characteristics for formed parts include strength, thickness, and corrosion protection. Tailored products provide opportunities to place these attributes where they are most needed for part function, and remove weight that does not contribute to part performance.
Figure 1 highlights some of the areas within the body structure where companies have considered transitioning to welded tailored blanks. Other tailored products may be suitable in other areas.
Figure 1: Applications suited for welded tailored blanks.A-31
Tailored products offer numerous advantages over the conventional approach involving the stamping and assembly of individual monolithic blanks which have a single grade, thickness, and coating, including:
Improved materials utilization
- Certain parts, like door rings, window frames, and door inner panels, have large cutout areas contributing to engineered scrap. Converting these to welded tailored blanks allows for optimized nesting of the individual components. Figure 2 presents an example of optimized nesting associated with body side aperture designs using a tailor welded blank. Reduced blank width requirements may allow for additional suppliers or use of master coils yielding slit mults. In the other extreme, blank dimensions larger than rolling mill capabilities are now feasible.
Elimination of reinforcement parts and reduced manufacturing infrastructure requirements
- In areas needing additional thickness for stiffness or crash performance, conventional approaches require stamping both the primary part and an additional smaller reinforcement and then spot welding the two parts together. The tailored product directly incorporates the required strength and thickness. Compared with a tailored product, the conventional approach requires twice the stamping time and dunnage, creates inventory, and adds the spot welding operation. Tolerance and fit-up issues appear when joining two formed parts, since their individual springback characteristics must be accommodated.
- Similar to the benefits of eliminating reinforcements, tailored products may combine the function of what would otherwise be multiple distinct parts which would need to be joined.
- Conventional approaches to body-in-white construction requires individual parts to have flat weld flanges to facilitate spot welding. Combining multiple parts into a tailored product removes the need for weld flanges, and their associated weight.
Improved NVH, safety, and build quality
- Joining formed parts is more challenging than joining flat blanks first and then stamping. Tailored products have better dimensional integrity. Elimination of spot welds leads to a reduction in Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH). A continuous weld line in tailored products means a more efficient load path.
Enhanced engineering flexibility
- Using tailored products provides the ability to add sectional strength in precise locations to optimize body structure performance.
Easily integrated with advanced manufacturing technologies for additional savings
- Tailored products incorporated into hot stamping or hydroforming applications magnify the advantages described here, and open up additional benefits.
Figure 2: Nesting optimization dramatically reduces engineered scrap.A-31
To learn more about the different types of Tailored products, read the full article here.
TEASER!: A future post will highlight how these tailored products are applied to press hardening steels to create a single component having strength levels tuned to the needs of each segment of the body structure. Stay tuned!
Blog, homepage-featured-top, main-blog, News
WorldAutoSteel has a 30-year legacy of steel demonstration all the way back to the Ultra-Light Steel Auto Body (ULSAB), whose engineering report is still being downloaded from our worldautosteel.org site today. The one you may remember best is the FutureSteelVehicle (FSV), results of which we launched in 2011. FSV demonstrated steel innovation for not only Battery Electric vehicles (BEV) but also Fuel Cell vehicles (FCV). Steel E-Motive is the sixth of our global steel industry programs.
So Why Mobility as a Service?
The Automotive sector is undergoing the most rapid change in 40 years. This transformation shifts our thinking – from the movement of vehicles to the efficient movement of people and goods. Over the past eight years, we have conducted extensive research into global trends such as urbanization, transport emissions reduction, as well as the waning interest in vehicle ownership among the young and old. This is especially prevalent in megacities characterized by pollution, congestion, limited parking and enormous ownership costs. Our research concluded that mobility as a service (MaaS) will grow exponentially in high population areas and would place a significant challenge on vehicle design and manufacturing. Therefore, we needed to make sure we as an industry were active and visible in providing STEEL solutions in this new market place.
Steel E-Motive will demonstrate the benefits of steel, linking the properties of the material to the required architectures and attributes for MaaS vehicles.
This program will demonstrate the benefits of steel, linking the properties of the material to the required architectures and attributes for MaaS vehicles. It connects us with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and future mobility providers (FMPs), reinforcing steel’s advantages in strength, durability, sustainability and affordability.
An autonomous BEV structure aligns perfectly with steel’s best attributes, however most new concepts trial alternative materials. The global steel industry is investing significantly in product and fabrication development to continually prepare for the next challenge. High Strength and Advanced High-Strength Steel (AHSS) portfolios have grown from the 11 highlighted in the ULSAB program, to more than 60 grades available for use in designing and optimizing Steel E-Motive’s autonomous BEV architecture. Third Generation AHSS (3rd Gen AHSS) will have a prominent role in Steel E-Motive’s body-in-white, taking strength levels ever higher while improving manufacturability. And our industry continues to evolve Press Hardened Steels (PHS) with strength levels upwards of 2000 MPa.
Finally, efficient fabrication processes such as roll stamping, press hardening, and hydroforming use less steel and therefore contribute lower vehicle production emissions. These are the details being highlighted in Steel E-Motive, where we hope to demonstrate that only Steel can make it Real.
Steel E-Motive: A game changing, world first?
Many OEM’s and mobility service providers follow the typical vehicle development process where they adapt an existing vehicle structure to the new vehicle requirements. We don’t have that in Steel E-Motive We believe Steel E-Motive is one of the world’s firsts.
- The first for a Level 5 autonomous vehicle that is compliant with global high-speed crash requirements.
- The first autonomous vehicle to be a conventional high-volume stamped steel body construction, creating an affordable platform for the mobility service provider.
- First to offer a competitive, robust, and sustainable MaaS solution.
For engineers, being first is very exciting but a little nerve wracking – there are no benchmarks out there. There is less to “hang on to.” We’re on our own. Target setting is more challenging; we are the benchmark. Time will tell if we make it to the automotive hall of fame.
We are producing concepts for two BEVs based on a single modular platform. SEM1 (Figure 1) is a front-wheel drive short wheelbase urban version for inter-city travel for four passengers. It has a compact design and vehicle footprint, comparable in footprint to a European B/C segment size. SEM2 (Figure 2) is an all-wheel drive, long wheelbase extra urban version designed to carry up to six passengers. It has an adaptable interior volume that can result in additional luggage capacity compared to SEM1.
Figure 1: SEM1 Vehicle Specifications (© WorldAutoSteel 2022)
Figure 2: SEM2 Vehicle Specifications (© WorldAutoSteel 2022)
Body in White Steel Usage
Steel E-Motive benefits from a broad portfolio of steel grades and fabrication process, as identified by our member steel experts. The design is nearly finalized, and material selections are being evaluated against various performance targets with the representative structure shown in Figure 3 with high PHS usage at this stage in the design (as of May 2022). This is mainly driven by the safety requirements. Steel E-Motive BIW steel and steel technologies include:
- Right steel grade in the right place
- Significant proportion of >1500MPa grades, primarily for occupant and battery intrusion zones
- Mixture of stamped, roll formed, roll stamped, press hardened steel and hydroformed parts
- Spotweld, laser weld and structural adhesive
Figure 3: Steel E-Motive’s Body-in-White Steel usage as of May 2022. (© WorldAutoSteel 2022)
At the Core of the Steel E-Motive Concept Is an Innovative Battery Design
Figure 4 shows Steel E-Motive’s battery frame design’s construction:
- Battery modules and cooling plates are mounted to an AHSS carrier frame (off-line).
- The carrier frame is mounted to the body structure (in general assembly).
- The BIW floor acts as the top cover and provides sealing.
- The AHSS bottom cover plate provides impact protection.
This design provides significant cost and weight savings, as well as improved NVH. This extremely efficient package does not compromise safety and enables a flat floor with a lower step-in height.
Figure 4: Steel E-Motive Battery package assembly. (© WorldAutoSteel 2022)
Competitive Body Stiffness with an Open B-Pillarless Body Structure
With clean sheet design, and generally less package constraints in a Level 5 vehicle, our design teams have had more freedom to engineer and optimize the crash and stiffness structural loadpaths. We used topology, optimization, and Virtual Reality tools to determine the most efficient structural loadpaths (Figure 5). The results informed the joint designs and enabled optimization of the joining and structural adhesives. These steps and the advantage of steel’s high modulus resulted in impressive performance.
Figure 5: Topology Load Path Optimization. (© WorldAutoSteel 2022)
The approach for achieving body stiffness was as follows. Results are shown in Figure 6 following.
- Topology load path optimization
- Appropriate section size, profiles, part integration and flange / joint design
- Strut towers integrated with key body members, such as A-pillars, vertical dash brace
- Contribution from structural battery frame and battery cover closing, roof structure trusses
- Rigidly connected front and rear subframes
- Optimized joining and use of structural adhesives
- Capitalizing on the Inherent high modulus of steel
Figure 6: SEM Torsional Rigidity animation. (© WorldAutoSteel 2022)
Static torsional stiffness 38,000Nm/deg
Global trimmed BIW modes >28Hz
Local attachment static stiffness ten times bushing stiffness
Front Crash Structure Engineered to Balance the Requirements of 56kph USNCAP FFB, IIHS ODB, IIHS SORB and EuroNCAP MPDB Load cases
One of the most challenging aspects of the Steel E-Motive program has been achieving the front crash performance that minimizes occupant injury. The challenge has been compounded by the overall compact size of the vehicle and the short front overhang dimensions, meaning less space to manage and balance the required crush energy with intrusion resistance.
For the IIHS 25% Small Overlap test, we worked from the outset to achieve a barrier “glance off.” The goal is to deflect the vehicle off the barrier by the time the barrier reaches the hinge pillar. This results in a reduced amount of vehicle kinetic energy converted to crush energy. The vehicle continues after the impact with some onward velocity and kinetic energy. This strategy results in reduced intrusion to the passenger compartment and a much lower vehicle pulse (below 20g), which translates into lower occupant injury. We are very excited by this outcome, as in our benchmarking we have not seen many (if any) vehicles of this size managing to achieve a glance off for this test. Figures 7 and the bullets following provide a look at the results.
Figure 7: IIHS 25% Small Overlap test. (© WorldAutoSteel 2022)
- IIHS “good” rating achieved (based on predicted intrusions).
- Our strategy for IIHS Small Overlap test was to achieve a “glance off” the barrier, which is a significant challenge given the vehicle’s short front overhang.
- Front suspension engineered to detach on impact. This is important for achieving glance off.
- Glance off results in some continued onward vehicle velocity after the impact.
- This results in reduced crush energy, lower vehicle pulse and intrusions = enhanced occupant protection
Figure 8 points out features of the front crash structure. Most of the crush energy in FFB and ODB is absorbed by conventional longitudinal mid-rails, which are made of cold stamped, tailor welded blank Dual Phase steels. The plan view angle of the longitudinals has been optimized to provide load reaction early in the SORB event while remaining largely inside of the SORB barrier.
Figure 8: Front crash structure engineered to balance the requirements of 56kph USNCAP FFB, IIHS ODB, IIHS SORB and EuroNCAP MPDB load cases. (© WorldAutoSteel 2022)
Following in Figures 9 and 10 are animations of the FFB results:
MaaS vehicles will need to accommodate quick ingress and egress as well as provide comfort and safety for the occupants. Consequently, we have flipped the front occupant around to a rear facing configuration and provided a B-Pillarless wide door aperture to enable comfortable and quick access for passengers. This changes the approach required for occupant protection in a front crash. Effectively we are dealing with a high-speed rear impact situation for the occupant. Current rear impact tests cover lower speed rear end shunts. Figure 11 notes the key points and challenges that Steel E-Motive is designed to meet.
Figure 11: Different approach and considerations are required for the protection of rear facing front occupants. We are effectively addressing a high-speed rear impact event. (© WorldAutoSteel 2022)
Side Crash Structure Consists of Absorption and Intrusion Prevention Zones, Compensating for Large Body Aperture
The side structure includes roll-stamped martensitic door waist rail beams and a one-piece Tailor Welded Blank, Press Hardened Steel door ring outer. A- and C-pillars in line with occupants provide good side impact protection. (You can learn more about the door design in our May blog).
In the section AA schematic in Figure 12 the TRIP690 hydroformed tube interlocking door B-pillar is shown (wrapped over the rocker and cantrail). The load travels through the side impact crush “hex” beam, which is a two-piece roll formed DP590 component.
Figure 12: Side crash structure consists of absorption and intrusion prevention zones, compensating for large body aperture. (© WorldAutoSteel 2022)
Steel E-Motive Design Demonstrates Good Side Crashworthiness and Good Levels of Occupant and Battery Protection
In addition to occupant protection tests, additional side impact load cases have been simulated to ensure optimal battery protection. The design maintains a less than 30 mm clearance to the battery.
In reviewing the design according to IIHS standards and based on the predicted intrusions, we are confident this vehicle would achieve an IIHS “good” rating. See Figures 13 and 14 following:
Figure 13: USNCAP 32kph side pole (battery protection). (© WorldAutoSteel 2022)
In addition to occupant protection test, additional side pole load cases to ensure battery protection
>30mm clearance to battery maintained
Figure 14: IIHS 60kph side barrier II (occupant protection). (© WorldAutoSteel 2022)
IIHS “good” rating (based on predicted intrusions).
Total Cost of Ownership: Vehicle and Body Is Designed for Conventional Fabrication and Assembly Processes
The Steel E-Motive body has been designed with low cost in mind to provide the foundation for a lower total cost of ownership for fleet owners. The steel body design is optimized to maximize material utilization and minimize scrap rate. Steel E-Motive is suitable for >250,000 units/year production and is compatible with existing global automotive manufacturing facilities using conventional press and fabrication tools. We are also using Life Cycle Assessment as an integral part of the engineering process to ensure that Steel E-Motive is responsible for the lowest possible emissions throughout its entire life cycle. We will report on environmental performance and sustainability as a part of our final results.
Steel E-Motive Key Outcomes
The Steel E-Motive program is delivering an exciting futuristic vehicle, optimized from the ground up for autonomous MaaS application. We are addressing key challenges through careful design, application of simulation tools and efficient use of the latest Advanced High-Strength Steels and fabrication processes. Steel’s inherent characteristics of low production emissions, lightweighting capabilities for mass efficiency, infinite recyclability and product durability underscores its suitability as an integral part of stakeholder strategies to offer sustainable mobility solutions, today and in the future.
Be sure to follow us on our journey as we enter our final months of design, engineering and reporting by subscribing at the Steel E-Motive website. We welcome your questions about this program using the Comment box below.
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