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Innovation partnership develops lightweight structural hollows in Amstrong® Ultra

Structural hollows are lightweight steel tubes which are used to reinforce mobile structures such as trailers, rail wagons, and vehicles. ArcelorMittal Europe – Flat Products recently worked with Condesa Fabril, a leading Spanish producer of tubes and pipes, to create lightweight structural hollows from ArcelorMittal’s Amstrong® Ultra 960MCL high strength steel. The structural hollows provide rigidity, but at a much lower weight than the reinforcing bars which are usually utilised in these applications. Weight savings of up to 30 percent are possible, allowing manufacturers of industrial applications to reduce the carbon footprint of their products while increasing payload, and cutting production costs.

Structural hollows can be used to reinforce mobile structures such as trailers and rail wagons 

One of the major challenges with producing structural hollows from steels in the Amstrong® Ultra range is their high strength. “One of our first steps was to check that we had the capabilities in house to form this material into tubular products,” says Gustavo Antoñana, Managing Director of Condesa Fabril. “To help us, ArcelorMittal R&D offered us the chance to perform tube production trials with the Amstrong® Ultra 960MCL.”

A coil of Amstrong® Ultra 960MCL in 3 mm thickness was shipped from ArcelorMittal Bremen (Germany) to the Condesa Fabril plant in Spain. “While there was an initial learning curve, we mastered the techniques needed to slit the coils and produce structural hollows with good quality welds,” says Gustavo Antoñana.

Working with these ultra high strength steels is a challenge – a challenge Condesa Fabril has mastered 

High strength leads to significant weight savings

Weight savings are possible as the Amstrong® Ultra steel can be utilised in lower thicknesses than the commodity grades currently used to produce hollow sections. “A leading truck manufacturer uses a commodity grade (S350) to create a C-beam solution for the chassis of their vehicles,” notes Dr Juan David Puerta Velasquez, ultra-high-strength steels product development manager at ArcelorMittal Global R&D. “The steel needs to be eight millimetres thick to provide the rigidity required, making this a heavy part. Replacing the commodity grade with a Amstrong® Ultra 960MCL structural hollow could reduce the weight of the transverse elements on the truck by 30 percent.”

Amstrong® Ultra 960MCL from ArcelorMittal allows Condesa Fabril to create lightweight solutions 

Wide range of applications for structural hollows

The structural hollows produced by Condesa Fabril are already finding applications in a range of industries notes Gustavo Antoñana: “Ultra high strength structural hollows are interesting for any customer who wants to reduce the weight – and energy use – of their application. The structural hollows we have made with Amstrong® Ultra 960MCL will be used to create rigid frameworks in cranes, trucks, and coach structures. But they may also find applications in construction where they are used to lightweight structures, particularly in industrial premises and elevators.”

“The Amstrong® Ultra 960MCL structural hollows have undergone thorough testing at ArcelorMittal’s OCAS R&D Centre in Gent (Belgium),” notes Gustavo Antoñana. “The test results were positive.”

Gustavo Antoñana is Managing Director of Condesa Fabril 

About Amstrong® Ultra

Amstrong® Ultra is ArcelorMittal’s superior range of ultra high strength steels. The grades combine excellent formability with toughness at low temperature and fatigue resistance. ArcelorMittal offers the widest dimensional feasibility and minimum yield strengths ranging from 650 to 1100 MPa. Amstrong® Ultra enables OEMs to achieve significant weight reductions on structural steel parts, or to create structures which are thinner, higher, and/or wider.

The high strength of ArcelorMittal’s Amstrong® Ultra grades allows them to be used in thin gauges 

Amstrong® Ultra 960MCL from ArcelorMittal allows Condesa Fabril to create lightweight solutions 

Related links

Visit our Amstrong® Ultra page
Amstrong® Ultra in our Product Document Centre


Copyright images: Condesa Fabril