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News

Weight of light truck reduced

SSAB Tunnpl : 14 June, 2006  (Company News)
Changing over the body to high strength steel, a new technically advanced design, and switching to a more advanced welding method, these three measures have cut the weight of the body used for light trucks by almost 30 percent. The light weight means that the trucks can carry more payload. In addition, the body design is more durable, has a more attractive finish and needs less maintenance. The body design developed by the company V.N.
Changing over the body to high strength steel, a new technically advanced design, and switching to a more advanced welding method, these three measures have cut the weight of the body used for light trucks by almost 30 percent.

The light weight means that the trucks can carry more payload. In addition, the body design is more durable, has a more attractive finish and needs less maintenance. The body design developed by the company V.N.

The development work on the new body began just over a year ago and was instigated to meet the customer's demands for a lighter body, as the existing body weighed more than 600 kilos, which limited the payload capacity. A further requirement was that the body should be easier to maintain.

'Our original body was made of ordinary steel and the floor alone weighed 268 kilos,' recalls Antonio Valente, Project Leader for the development project at V.N. Automoveis. 'We were faced with the task of reducing the weight, but without impairing the load-carrying capacity and durability. In addition, we had to develop a more efficient production method, as the demand for light weight trucks is steadily growing.'

Focus soon fell on high strength steels as a solution to the weight reduction problem. High strength steels also offered other important advantages , including uniform quality and a smooth surface.

'In parallel with weight reduction, another requirement was that the body should have the same surface finish as the truck cab,' continues Antonio Valente. 'This demanded a new solution that comprised both new steels and a new production method.'

The solution was to use three different high strength steels to produce the new body. A hot-rolled high strength steel with a minimum yield strength of 600 N/mm2 and a thickness of 2 mm was used for the frame. The floor of the new body is made of 2 mm thick cold-rolled abrasion-resistant advanced high strength steel. The minimum tensile strength of this steel is 1400 N/mm2. The frame and floor were joined together by MIG welding.

A high surface finish was specified for the sides of the body, which are made of 1 mm thick cold-rolled high strength steel with a minimum tensile strength of 500 N/mm2.
'By this method, we have achieved not only a very flat surface, but also protection against damage, since the high strength steel is hard, which is very important for such products,' declares Antonio Valente.

By changing over to high strength steel, V.N. Automoveis has reduced the body weight by 124 kilos, which enables the trucks to carry about 12 percent more load. Thus operating economy will be better and the useful life will be longer.
'Every kilo saved on a light truck means much more than it does on a heavy truck,' explains Antonio Valente. 'High strength steels have enabled us to achieve this weight reduction and to optimise the various parts of the body.'

There is a huge demand in Europe for light trucks, which are used everywhere in a wide variety of industries and operations. The modifications to the body design have enabled V.N. Automoveis to develop a product with greater customer benefits, and at the same time strengthen the company's position. The honourable mention for the Swedish Steel Prize is a confirmation of the high international class of the company's work.
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