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Corus Neotec fuel tank material to help Proton meet environmental challenges

Corus Automotive : 03 August, 2005  (Company News)
Corus has won a contract to supply Proton with advanced Neotec steel. This will be used in the manufacture of fuel tanks for one of the carmaker's latest additions to its popular GEN-2 range, the 1.6 GSX.
Corus, one of the world's leading steel producers, has announced that it has won a contract to supply Proton with advanced Neotec steel. This will be used in the manufacture of fuel tanks for one of the carmaker's latest additions to its popular GEN-2 range, the 1.6 GSX.

Launched to the automotive market in 2003, Corus' Neotec lead-free metallic-coated steel has been designed specifically to help vehicle manufacturers develop emission-free fuel tanks that meet not only future environmental legislation but also recycling targets for vehicles at the end of their life. Ford, one of the world's largest carmakers, has already recognised the benefits of using Neotec and has adopted the new material for its Ka and Street Ka models.

One of the major drivers behind the carmaker's decision to use Neotec has been the European End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV) directive, which requires vehicle manufactures to remove heavy metals such as lead and mercury from vehicle components. The directive also dictates ELV material recovery or re-use rates of over 85 per cent of the whole vehicle from 2006 and over 95 per cent from 2015. Neotec, which is 100 per cent recyclable, will help vehicle manufacturers meet these stringent recycling requirements.

Another major driver that has implications for all carmakers is legislation such as the Californian Partial Zero Emission Vehicle legislation (PZEV) requiring vehicles to have zero fuel evaporative emissions. Despite lobbying from carmakers, Corus anticipates that other American states and automotive markets, including Europe, will begin to adopt similar stringent legislation putting vehicle manufacturers under increasing pressure to develop an alternative to the plastic fuel tank.

Even adapted plastic fuel tanks designed to reduce fuel evaporation will struggle to meet PZEV legislation and moreover will significantly increase manufacturing costs.

Commenting on the decision to switch to Neotec, Miss Chin Swee Ming, Head of Vehicle Program B from Proton said: 'As a vehicle manufacturer with a reputation for delivering value for money yet class-leading cars, we recognised that Neotec offered a cost-effective solution to help us to meet ELV targets and future environmental legislation whilst maintaining the same high safety and quality standards our customers have come to expect. In addition, we knew from our engineering colleagues at Lotus, who are using Neotec to manufacture fuel tanks for the Elise, that this innovative material would perform well and would be able to meet our specific design requirements.'
Commenting on the positive response from the automotive industry following the launch of Neotec, Andrew Milner, product manager, Corus Strip Products UK said: 'We are delighted to have won the contract although we are not surprised by the demand for environmentally-friendly fuel tanks. Proton is another example of a vehicle manufacture, which has recognised the manufacturing and environmental benefits that Neotec has to offer.'

Mr Milner continued: 'Neotec properties allow it to be formed into complex shapes using conventional stamping and welding processes. Additional design flexibility can be achieved using the latest hydroforming techniques, making Neotec suitable for niche to high volume production models.'

Neotec is a hot-dip tin-zinc alloy coated steel available in both coil and sheet.
It has undergone an extensive and rigorous test programme to make sure that the material is durable when exposed to road conditions such as salt spray and water. Neotec is compatible with all types of European fuels including petrol, diesel and Biodiesel.
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