Serica FLO®: a premium surface finish for a market-leading paint appearance.
Tata Steel has unveiled three new products for car manufacturers to help make their vehicles more stylish while also reducing production costs.
The company is significantly expanding its range of ‘full-finish’ products for car body panels – products that have superior, more attractive surface quality as well as being easier to form into complex shapes1 which will also reduce costs of manufacture
The new products were developed by Tata Steel’s research and development teams in Europe. They will be produced at all or some of the company’s automotive galvanising facilities at Llanwern, Newport, in South Wales, Segal, near Liège in Belgium and IJmuiden in the Netherlands.
Henrik Adam, Chief Commercial Officer of Tata Steel’s European operations, said: “We are committed to working in partnership with our customers to deliver the products they need. Creating a great finish on automotive parts, particularly the exposed panels which are responsible for the look of a new car, is naturally an essential part of the vehicle production process. Because these new products are all made using the sustainable, low-cost hot-dip galvanising process they also offer manufacturers significant cost benefits2.”
The new Serica FLO® product is a premium hot-dip galvanised coating offering a superior surface finish. Serica FLO guarantees low waviness after forming3, providing customers with the highest possible surface quality and paint appearance for exposed automotive panels. It also enables a consistently excellent paint finish even when thinner or fewer paint layers are used.
The second product is a new kind of highly formable hot-dip galvanised steel. DX57-GI Hyperform steel has excellent deep drawing and stretching properties, enabling automotive engineers to design more complex parts for vehicle exteriors and interiors. As a result, they will be able to design vehicles that look more attractive to their customers as well as having better functionality4.
In a third enhancement of its full-finish automotive range, Tata Steel has integrated its innovative MagiZinc Auto zinc-magnesium coating technology into its widest hot-dip galvanising line, DVL3, at IJmuiden. DVL3 can now coat sheet in widths of up to 2,020 millimetres using the MagiZinc Auto coating that the company launched in 20115.
This expansion of the MagiZinc Auto size range will better serve the needs of customers, who will be able to use the wider specification now available for large inner vehicle panels and in 2015 for outer panels as well. The extra wide material will have all the advantages of MagiZinc Auto’s excellent corrosion resistance and improved ease of processing by manufacturers.
Sander Heinhuis, Tata Steel’s European Marketing Manager for Automotive, said: “By using steels with the new Serica FLO surface quality customers can achieve an excellent paint appearance on exposed body panels while at the same time using a sustainable hot-dip galvanised coating process. Through using the DX57-GI HyperForm product our customers can create the components needed for better looking cars, at lower cost than ever before. And the start of production of MagiZinc coated steels on the DVL3 line allows us to manufacture the widest advanced zinc coated steel sheets on the market worldwide, while ensuring high surface quality and short delivery times.'
Notes to Editors
1 Formability: the ability of metal to undergo plastic deformation without being damaged.
2 In the automotive industry the challenge is to balance weight performance and cost. Total Cost of Ownership includes all costs over the value chain. Understanding the true costs, direct and indirect, their relative importance and how they can be contained is critically important.
3 To achieve the desired look of a finished part, the roughness of the steel’s surface is very important, particularly the surface waviness – i.e. the long-wave roughness of the surface, visible to the human eye. To produce steel with guaranteed low waviness and ensure stable operational performance, Tata Steel has developed and implemented various process adaptations throughout the steels’ multi-step production process. These adaptations result in low surface waviness that is very predictable and enable Tata Steel to guarantee the maximum waviness of a deep drawn part.
4 Typical applications include particularly complex exposed automotive parts such as bodysides and trunk lids. In addition DX57-GI HyperForm can be processed through customers’ existing lines and guarantees a low reject rate, ensuring improved press shop efficiency.
5 Tata Steel developed MagiZinc Auto to address the existing challenges of corrosion resistance and press shop processing. This innovative zinc-magnesium coating significantly reduces and slows corrosion where paint damage occurs, due to the level of magnesium in the alloy. As a result the coating offers the same corrosion protection with a much thinner coating. Due to its microstructure, MagiZinc Auto transfers far fewer zinc particles to manufacturers’ tools compared to other coatings during processing. This reduction in tool pollution in turn lowers the total cost of ownership.
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About Tata Steel’s European operations
Tata Steel is Europe's second largest steel producer, with steelmaking in the UK and Netherlands, and manufacturing plants across Europe. The company supplies products and services to the most demanding markets, including construction, automotive, packaging, rail, lifting & excavating, energy & power and aerospace. The combined Tata Steel group is one of the world’s largest steel producers, with a steel capacity of 29 million tonnes and 80,000 employees across four continents.