Tata Steel is supplying UK car makers with a British-made, dent-resistant steel designed to reduce weight by 7% and thereby improve fuel efficiency.

The new product – known as Bake Hardening 260 (BH260) – is manufactured in South Wales using a special strengthening technique that enables vehicles to withstand everyday knocks in the car park.

The product, which is already manufactured in mainland Europe, will initially be produced at Tata’s Port Talbot works and then finished at the company’s Zodiac line in nearby Llanwern, Newport, where an anti-corrosive zinc coating is applied.

BH260 steel enables lighter exterior panels to be made for car bodies while retaining the dent-resistant properties of thicker steel, claims Tata Steel.

“When vehicle components made with BH260 are painted and baked at around 170 deg C, the result is increased yield strength and, therefore, improved dent resistance. Due to the grade’s low alloy content, it can be readily welded and maintains good formability,” Tata claims.

Also new from Tata is DP800GI a sheet steel product that the company claims is ‘ideal for forming the crash structure of vehicles.’

According to Tata, the strength of DP800GI means that thinner, lighter components can be used, enabling car makers to meet vehicle emission targets and improve fuel efficiency while maintaining necessary safety levels.

Tata claims it is upgrading its supply capability ‘company-wide’ and that ‘localising supply’ is just one way that Tata is supporting its automotive customers.
“We are achieving greater flexibility of supply by increasing the number of locations from which new products are available and by bringing to market products with enhanced properties and for multiple applications,” said Tata’s chief commercial officer, Henrik Adam.

Earlier this year, Tata started supplying DP1000CR, a high-strength, cold-rolled product that is claimed to be ideal for use in vehicle seat structures and within car bodies where strength is at premium and where corrosion resistance is less critical.