A new steel for the automotive industry is being produced by ArcelorMittal Ostrava in the Czech Republic.

Flat bars are being produced on the plant’s medium section rolling mill and will be used to make leaf springs, which are used in a vehicle’s suspension system.

Leaf springs are commonly used as parts of service vehicles, such as vans, lorries, pick-ups and trucks. They are also found on SUVs, railway carriages and agricultural vehicles.

ArcelorMittal Ostrava, a 2Mt/yr operation, is the ArcelorMittal group’s first European plant to produce flat bar steel for leaf springs. Up until now, the company has relied upon plants in Brazil and Canada.

Leaf springs are highly stressed machinery parts and, as such, need steel that offers outstanding elastic formability, hardenability and resilence, all qualities ArcelorMittal attributes to its high quality, low-alloy chromium vanadium steel, which is now being produced at the Ostrava plant.

An investment of EUR7.7 million was necessary to modify the Ostrava rolling mill and now the plant is on a special list of suppliers capable of producing bars for the production of leaf springs, a pre-requisite for any new product to be used in the automotive industry.

Vijay Mahadevan, CEO of ArcelorMittal Ostrava, said that the production of bars for the automotive industry represented another step in the company’s efforts towards extending its portfolio of high added value products. He said that the latest new product highlighted Ostrava’s commitment to research and development.