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  • SERICA™: a new premium finish for automotive exposed panels

    23 Oct 2014 | Corporate News

    Tata Steel, Europe’s second-largest steel producer, is launching its new Serica™ product, a premium hot-dip galvanised surface finish, at EuroCarBody 2014 this week. With guaranteed low waviness after forming (see below), the new product offers customers the highest possible surface quality and paint appearance for exposed automotive panels, including hoods, doors, fenders and body sides.

    Serica enables a consistently excellent paint finish even when thinner or fewer paint layers are used. Combined with the cost-effective process of hot-dip coating, Serica allows Tata Steel to offer significant total cost of ownership benefits to its customers. In addition hot-dip galvanising offers a sustainable production process which uses a relatively low amount of energy.

    The first two steel grades in which Serica will be commercially available are the formable DX56 steel – largely used for body sides – and the high-strength steel BH180, commonly used for fenders and doors. Both of these options will be available from 23rd October. Other grades finished with the Serica surface quality will be available from next year.

    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.

    Sander Heinhuis, Tata Steel’s European Marketing Manager for Automotive, said: “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. By using steels with the new Serica 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.”

    Basjan Berkhout, Product Marketing Manager Body In White, said: “Tata Steel has worked closely with Europe’s leading OEMs to understand their need to offer customers more stylish, yet affordable cars. As a result, product specifications have been sharpened and technical capabilities have been developed allowing us to release this premium product for series production.”

    The name Serica was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to refer to the land of the Seres people, whose name means ‘silky’, or ‘someone from the land where silk comes from’. Seres is thought to derive from the Chinese word for silk, while Serica is also the Latin word for silk. Serica's main advantage – as a product that offers reduced surface waviness, allowing a paint finish with improved tone and lustre – fits well with the associations most people make with silk as a high-quality, light product with a beautiful shine.

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    For further information, contact:

    Basjan Berkhout, Product Marketing Manager, Automotive, Tata Steel on E: basjan.berkhout@tatasteel.com

    Caroline Holmes on T. +44 (0) 20 8952 1072 or E: cholmes@automotivepr.com

    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.