ArcelorMittal is at the forefront of the steel for packaging industry. Driven by an ambition to lead and a thirst for innovation, we aim to add value for all our customers.
ArcelorMittal Flat Carbon Europe (FCE), the leading steelmaker in the European steel for packaging market, recognises that technical collaboration is the key to innovation. Our FCE team has developed numerous cutting-edge research and development (R&D) initiatives – such as the recent packaging thickness reduction programme.
The programme set out to further increase steel’s competitive edge in the packaging industry, by reducing its overall thickness. By making steel packaging thinner, significant cost savings can be made – reducing the cost to the customer.
Collaborating with R&D, the FCE team created new steel grades that combine high strength and excellent formability, to reduce the thickness of packaging.
Examples of this process include the Maleis™ system for easy-open ends, or a tab to open the can that combines double cold-reduced material yield and tensile strengths with the formability of standard rolled cold-reduced material.
Most importantly, as a result of this programme, new trials with a steel thickness of 0.10mm are already available. And simulations for 0.09mm thickness are on track.
Our research also focuses on increasing the formability of steel, to make appealingly shaped cans, and ensuring that products are compliant with increasingly stringent environmental and food safety regulations.
Lighter, safer, greener: a new era for steel and cars
With car manufacturers looking for ever-more environmentally friendly models, ArcelorMittal’s research and development (R&D) team has worked to design S-in motion, a way of using steel for lighter and safer vehicles.
Over two years, our R&D team developed 60 different steel solutions for 43 parts of the basic C-segment vehicle, known as the compact car in North America or the small family car in Europe.
Our steel that is used in the automotive industry is made from press-hardened steel (PHS) and advanced high-strength steel (AHSS), stainless steel and long products; PHS and AHSS are stronger steel grades. Thanks to their advanced resistance properties, we are able to make lighter vehicles by using more of these two steel grades in the car structure. In the basic C-segment vehicle, around 36% of the car’s metal structure, known as ‘body-in-white’, is made of PHS and AHSS products. In the S-in motion car, PHS and AHSS account for 54% of the body-in-white, reducing its weight by almost a fifth (19%).
The lighter structure of vehicles does not, however, compromise on safety. The S-in motion car performed above industry standards in a series of virtual safety tests, with most results reaching or exceeding the highest ratings of the Allianz Center for Technology (ATZ), the Berlin-based damage research institute, and European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), the European car safety scheme.
Our optimised S-in motion car has significantly reduced carbon dioxide (CO²) emissions, from production to end-of-life phases. The superior environmental properties of our PHS and AHSS products cut emissions by 15% during production. On the road, the S-in motion car will have 13% less emissions than the basic C-segment vehicle. These reductions minimise emissions to 6.2 grams of CO2 per kilometre over the life of a vehicle.
S-in motion will enable our automotive partners to meet future regulatory and customer expectations for vehicles that are lighter and greener. The recyclable nature of steel also makes it a more sustainable material for automotive applications.