Swedish steelmaker SSAB is to expand its product offering with a third generation hot-dip galvanised steel products range.

Docol 600DH-GI is the product in question and is described by the steelmaker as the company’s first third generation metal coated steel product, which is now ready for customer trials.

Matti Säily, SSAB Europe’s product manager, metal coated products, said that the company was ‘taking a step towards third generation steels’ by launching the galvanized Docol DH steel family. “A product with a tensile strength of 600MPa is now ready for customer trials and will be joined later this year by products with a tensile strength of 800 and 1,000 MPa,”Säily said.

According to SSAB, one of the company’s strategic aims is to grow the share of premium steels annually in the automotive industry to 750kt by 2020. In 2016, shipments amounted to 442kt and last year grew to 537kt.

“Trends towards structural light weighting, tougher emissions limits, safety standards and electrification improve the growth outlook for the use of special high-strengh steels in the automotive industry,” said Arnaud Guerendel, global sales director, automotive segment, SSAB Europe. He said that the automotive sector also demand high formability for special components, which allow light weight. “Sustainability is also an increasingly important factor,” he added.

“First generation steels still play a major role, but extra good formability now creates an opening for third generation steels to compete with press-hardening steels and aluminum. Third generation steels combine strength and good formability at a new level, and they come into the picture when complex, challenging shape is required,” Matti Säily said.

SSAB claims that its approach to product development is to offer all its high-strength steel products to the automotive segment in compliance with major OEM standards and requirements. According to the company, ‘besides OEM standards, the new developments in third generation steels follow also VDA standards’. VDA is a German quality standard.

“First generation steels are suitable in many cases and will continue to play a big role in future car design, but they inevitably have limited formability. Second generation steels suffer from poor usability because of high alloying and high costs. Third generation steels can solve many problems and benefit the customer because they are just as strong as existing products and their enhanced formability means they can be used in various safety and structural items in BIW (Body-in-white),” SSAB explained.