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Acclaim for lightweight structures

SSAB Tunnpl : 26 November, 2003  (New Product)
Lightweight structures are more durable, perform better and offer distinct environmental benefits. There is a clear trend towards a greater proportion of high strength steels being used for various structures around the world. The use of high strength steels is growing as is the number of products and structures for which the material is used.
The trend is by far the most pronounced in the automotive and transport industries. This is particularly clear now that the 2003 Swedish Steel Prize is about to be awarded, with four products nominated for the Prize. The common feature of the four finalists is that they are all in the automotive and transport sectors. Their designs demonstrate a new way of thinking in established fields in which products have been developed in a novel way by using high strength steels. Designers regard high strength steels as an important material for tomorrow's products.

Trailord Pty Ltd of South Africa is one of the four companies that stands a good chance of winning the Swedish Steel Prize when the winner is declared in a few weeks at a ceremony in Stockholm. The company has succeeded in what has been merely a dream to many others, to rejuvenate a well-established product in a mature market and thus capture market share. Trailord uses high strength steels for the interlink trailers the company produces for the South African market. The interlink trailer is a rig in which two trailers are connected using a traditional kingpin hitch. On narrow country roads, the road holding and cornering properties of this articulated rig are better than those of traditional trailer rigs.

Focus has now fallen on Trailord for the strong but lightweight chassis members for which the company has used high strength steels when developing its interlink trailers. The chassis members have raised the load-carrying capacity of the trailers, which is of major importance to the haulage and transport companies that invest in these trailers. The highest possible payload within the permissible gross vehicle weight leads to optimum transport economy.

The chassis members are of an entirely new, curved design that eliminates the number of joints and sharp corners. The design of the members is effective in absorbing fatigue forces, so much thinner sheet steel can be employed by putting to use the properties of the ultra-high strength steel. This has resulted in a much lighter chassis.
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