Mazda Begins Using Cold-Stamped Higher-Strength Steel Parts
Mazda recently began a joint working relationship with Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation and JFE Steel Corporation to create the world’s first cold-stamped, 1,310 MPa-class high-strength steel car parts.
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In the past, cold-stamped car parts were only possible using steel rated at 1,180 MPa or lower because the material didn’t form accurately into the desired shape and mold. In an industry where individual parts need to fit together perfectly for structural integrity and the smooth flow of moving pieces, the loss of accuracy made it almost impossible.
Mazda’s join venture with the steel companies has found a blend of conditions that make cold-stamping higher-strength steel possible.
The desire for higher-strength steel is a universal one, as it produces the same amount of durability with less material, so a car can still reach a high standard of safety while being lighter and thinner. Mazda plans to use the 1,310 MPa steel its new generation of Skyactiv-Vehicle Architecture, which will be implemented starting with the new Mazda3.
The new cold-stamped steel will be used in the Mazda3’s inner roof rail, front pillar, hinge pillar reinforcement, and other reinforcements. In total, the switch to this new material will save over 6 pounds, which doesn’t sound like much but could have a noticeable impact on fuel efficiency.
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Mazda has always been a weight-conscious manufacturer, and the MX-5 Miata is one of the only cars on the market that’s maintained its weight for several years, while the weight of other cars goes up.