Steel the One
Last week the Great Designs in Steel (GDIS) conference was held in suburban Detroit. There some 1,200 people attended sessions including “Life Cycle GHG Consequences of Lightweighting with Aluminum over AHSS” (by Brandie Sebastian of AISI), “Formability and Fracture Characterization of 3rd Gen AHSS for Structure Components” (Cliff Butcher, University of Waterloo), “”Recent Advancements in Complex Hot Stamped Laser Welded Blanks” (Gagan Tandon, ArcelorMittal Tailored Blanks Americas), “Microstructural Optimization of AHSS and Press Hardened Steel” (Curt Horvath, General Motors), and many more.
As you can tell by the titles of those papers, this was an event for serious body engineers, materials scientists, and those who are more than causally involved in vehicle development and engineering.
GDIS, which has been held since 2003, was organized by the Steel Market Development Institute (SMDI), which has, of course, a particular interest in the proliferation of various steels—3rd generation and otherwise—throughout the auto industry.
Dr. Jody Hall is the vice president, Automotive Market, SMDI. Before joining the organization, she’d spent 30 years as a metallurgist at General Motors. (It is worth noting that her PhD thesis at the University of Michigan dealt with. . .aluminum.)
Not only is the frame of the 2019 Ram 1500 steel-intensive, so is the body of the NACTOY award-winning pickup.
All of which is to say that she knows her stuff when it comes to (1) materials and (2) the auto industry.
She also happens to be quite articulate.
So we have Dr. Hall on this edition of “Autoline After Hours,” when she explains, most understandably, what’s going on in terms of materials in the auto industry. (E.g., want to know how “hot stamping” is done? She explains.)
“Autoline’s” John McElroy and I are joined by Drew Winter, of WardsAuto.com (Drew recalls that he’d spent about 10 years covering materials for the publication when it was still a physical magazine, so he knows his stuff, too).
While you might think that a discussion about steel wouldn’t be the most interesting thing to watch, you will be surprised by this show.
In addition, John, Drew and I discuss a number of other subjects, including the massive financial losses at Nissan; the rise of electric vehicle start-ups, like Rimac (which Hyundai Motor Group invested €80-million in last week); and more.
And you can see it all here.
Once the playground of exotic car makers, the definition of a niche vehicle has expanded to include image vehicles for mainstream OEMs, and specialist models produced on high-volume platforms.
The high-end automotive CAD/CAM systems do a whole lot more than their name implies. In addition to design and manufacturing, they have the ability to support analysis, product data management, and more.
Although the term “continuous improvement” is generally associated with another company, Honda is certainly pursuing that approach, as is evidenced by the Accord, which is now in its ninth generation.