7th November 2013
Tata Steel, Europe’s second largest steel producer, is to launch a new type of service for its automotive customers at this year’s Blechexpo: the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) Scan.
Previously Tata Steel has supported vehicle manufacturers and automotive suppliers with TCO Concept Studies – virtual studies which evaluate how using certain product solutions can offer an optimum balance between performance, light weighting and cost. The new TCO Scans take this process a step further by assessing how a particular Tata Steel advanced steel product will function in the customer’s own production process by using study methods tailored to the specific steel characteristics.
TCO Scan MagiZinc® is the first new service to be launched, and targets press-shop efficiency by carrying out live trials on the customer’s production lines to calculate the processing benefits of MagiZinc coating compared to a conventional zinc (GI) coating. MagiZinc is Tata Steel’s innovative alloyed-zinc coating, which can be used in thinner layers due to its improved corrosion-protection properties, offering light weighting benefits. It also causes less zinc abrasion, reducing tool pollution and maintenance downtime. The TCO Scan MagiZinc calculates how much more efficient the customer’s pressing process could be by using this product.
Dr. Dominik Schwarz, Director Sales Automotive at Tata Steel, said: “With our new TCO Scans we offer our customers the opportunity to really measure the individual benefits of our advanced products in order to balance costs, performance and light weighting for their specific application and processes. In future we will introduce more TCO Scans for our advanced products, including our DP800 HyperForm® with improved formability characteristics. The TCO Scan HyperForm will be introduced shortly, as work we’ve done so far demonstrates the great potential for vehicle manufacturers and component suppliers to increase competitiveness by meeting their light weighting challenge and to reduce their processing costs at the same time.”
Tata Steel has already worked with a number of body-in-white customers to demonstrate how TCO Scan MagiZinc can quantify improvements in the efficiency of their manufacturing processes. The press-shop performance of zinc-coated sheets is influenced by a number of factors, including die temperatures and tool pollution. Since MagiZinc offers more robust processing, the coating can improve part-production yield and increase press up-time. How significant this effect is depends on various customer-specific conditions such as the type of die, stamping process settings, part geometry and lubrication.
Tata Steel’s coating and lubricant experts have accurately measured the effect of MagiZinc compared to traditional galvanized steel directly in their customers’ production lines by using the new TCO Scan. Firstly the surface roughness is measured in order to indicate galling – the quantity of scraped-off metallic particles which cling to the tool following the pressing of sheet metal. After this a thermal camera identifies critical tool positions by spotting areas with high friction and thereby high tool pollution. Tool pollution is measured at these points by assessing the quantity and size of metallic fragments present, with the levels and composition compared for galvanized steel and MagiZinc. For a complex component like a tailgate, the TCO Scan has identified a 25 per cent reduction in tool pollution when MagiZinc is used, leading to a significant increase in up-time and therefore reduced total costs of ownership.
Sander Heinhuis, Marketing Manager Automotive at Tata Steel, said: “Every application and production equipment set-up has individual characteristics, and it’s impossible to generalize about the benefits a material might show in any one application. That is why we constantly adapt our product as well as service offering to meet the current demand of our customers.
“We have a company-wide service approach to working closely together with our customers to understand their specific needs. By partnering with the customer’s engineering and press or forging shop teams right from the start of a design process up to the stage of processing, our customers can benefit from Tata Steel’s technical and material expertise. This way we can jointly fulfil the desired balance for reduced costs, light weight and enhanced performance for body, chassis, seating and power train applications.”