High Strength Steel Tools to Fuel the Drive Toward Lighter, Stronger Vehicles

New high strength tools are in demand as manufactures look to develop lighter, stronger vehicles.
Donna Fuscaldo
Automotive production line. Traimak_Ivan/iStock

Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles may compete against battery electric vehicles and fuel cell electric vehicles but they all have one thing in common: the need for lighter and stronger parts for their vehicles. 

As demand for these vehicles grows, the supply chain will be tasked with delivering those lighter parts so manufacturers can offer better fuel efficiency, lower emissions, longer ranges, and better crash safety. A popular way to meet that goal is to use advanced high-strength steel otherwise known as AHSS. Using this type of steel lowers the weight of the body's structure and at the same time increases the safety in the event of a crash. 


Interest in AHSS to spur more demand for easy to process tooling materials

The interest in using AHSS has and will continue to result in increased demand for tooling materials including cold work tool steels that are easy to process.  It also requires tools that can fulfill a wider property profile to prevent unplanned stops along the manufacturing line.

Uddeholms, the Vienna, Austria manufacturer of tool steel for industrial tools, thinks it has the answer. It recently announced three new cold work tool steels aimed at meeting the demand. They include Uddeholm Caldie®, Uddeholm Vanadis® 4 Extra SuperClean, and Uddeholm Vanadis® 8 SuperClean.

Uddeholm thinks it has the answer with new steel products

Uddeholm Caddie is an ESR re-melted material that is used in forming and trimming operations of AHSS sheets in combination with a PVD coating.  The dimensional stability is high with this steel and there are no worries about hardness drop following the PVD process. Uddeholm said it's useful for bigger tools that have to be welded because of design change. 

Uddeholm Vanadis 4 Extra SuperClean is metallurgical steel that thanks to small and even distributed primary carbides provide a balance between ductility and wear resistance, said Uddeholm in the press release. The steel is an upgrade from Uddeholm Caddie in that it offers better wear resistance without losing too much chip resistance. It's also possible to reach a higher compressive strength, the company said. 

Uddeholm Vanadis 8 SuperClean is an advanced high strength steel that is based on the same technology as Uddeholm Vandais 4 Extra SuperClean but is focused on offering the best wear resistance in combination with good ductility and machinability. Its made for reliable long-run production and typically used when the highest wear resistance is necessary.  "All three tool steel grades are especially developed for demanding cold work AHSS applications where the combination of chipping and wear resistance is critical - therefore the property profiles are more optimized for this," the company said in press release.