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News

1.8 kg steel against side-on collisions

SSAB Tunnpl : 05 April, 2001  (New Product)
Low weight, fully symmetric design, much cheaper to manufacture and easier to assemble. These are just some of the advantages Italian Frigostamp S.p.A. point out regarding their new side-collision beam. The beams are made of ultra high strength steel from SSAB Swedish Steel. Total symmetry in design means the same beam version fits both left and right-hand doors, facilitating both production and stock-keeping.
Low weight, fully symmetric design, much cheaper to manufacture and easier to assemble. These are just some of the advantages Italian Frigostamp S.p.A. point out regarding their new side-collision beam. The beams are made of ultra high strength steel from SSAB Swedish Steel. Total symmetry in design means the same beam version fits both left and right-hand doors, facilitating both production and stock-keeping.

Frigostamp's basic demands on a new side-on collision beam were a weight reduction of 15 per cent, price reduction of 15 per cent, fully symmetric design and that it should contribute to lower production costs in the manufacture of car doors. Research was carried out in collaboration with the companies Nuova Siderurgica Modenese and Altair S.r.l.

- The search for cheaper and safer components never stops. What we wanted was a completely new concept in collision beams based on ultra high strength steel, says Mauro Raftacco at Frigostamp S.p.A. We realised great improvements could be made with the help of stronger steel.

An important task was finding the right cross-section profile for the beam, so as to pass stringent safety requirements. The cross-section must remain intact during deformation.

- Any change in beam profile during deformation means less ability to absorb the force of impact and an increased risk of injury, explains Paolo Cavallo at Altair Engineering. Our new patent profile keeps its form throughout the course of any collision, giving excellent protection.

Material used in the beam is the cold-rolled ultra high strength steel Docol 1000 DP, with a minimum tensile strength of 1000 N/mm2.

- Results from construction work and material characteristics were beyond our expectations and what we now have is a beam which is 17 per cent lighter and 20 per cent cheaper to manufacture compared to similar beams on the market, says Mauro Raftacco.

The 1.8 kg beam consists of a longitudinal middle-section which absorbs the main impact after a side-on collision. Beside the middle section are two longitudinal and somewhat lower side sections which fold upwards during course of deformation, becoming level with the middle-section and thus providing a greater surface for absorbing impact forces.

Thanks to the beam's fully controlled course of deformation, constructors know exactly the forces which can be absorbed. It is a patented product of 'open' type, making it relatively simple to manufacture.

- It's the ultra high strength steel that makes such a lightweight beam possible, comments Mauro Raftacco. Despite minimal mass it gives excellent protection in side-on collisions, and it's as light as a feather to lift. Showing that vital safety components can be made small and light, and that greater individual safety can be combined with lower production costs. Cars will become ever safer in the future as the new ultra high strength steel breaks through into production lines.

Frigostamp's side-on collision beam recently gained runner-up position in the Swedish Steel Prize international industrial award.

- Frigostamp's achievement is a good example of innovative thinking in the use of high-tensile steel, says Cecilia Dalén, project leader for Swedish Steel Prize at SSAB Swedish Steel. The prize is open to all companies using high-tensile steel in construction, irrespective of supplier. We established the prize to draw attention to innovative thinking worldwide.
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