Next Generation Vehicle
This document compiles information about the Next Generation Vehicle (NGV) project “Stainless steel for lightweight automotive applications”, which was pursued by a consortium of European stainless steel producers, automotive manufacturers and other industrial partners specializing in tooling, coatings and numerical modeling. Stainless steel – specifically work-hardened material in the tensile strength levels C800 and C1000 – are considered for applications in B-pillars, bumper beams, rollover bars, crash boxes, suspensions, wheel housings and subframes. Testing included grades: the manganese austenitic stainless steel 1.4376, the chromium-nickel austenitic stainless steel 1.4318 – a classic in rail applications – and the lean duplex stainless steel 1.4162. In respect of tooling, punch and blank holder forces were identified. Further objects of the investigation included the interaction of the workpiece with the tools – usually coated with TiAlN, AlCrN and TiC -, as well as the influence of lubricants. Research into the welding properties led to the conclusion that a combination of spot-welding and bonding performed particularly well. Also mixed-material tailored blanks were investigated. The B-pillar of a Volvo S40 was test-produced using stainless steels in deep-drawn and hydroformed variants. The component was then crash-tested and the results compared with those of simulations.