Tata Steel has launched a prime lubrication treatment (PLT) targetting the automotive sector following close co-operation with a leading chemicals supplier.

Tata Steel has launched a prime lubrication treatment (PLT) following close co-operation with a leading chemicals supplier.

PLT is described as a ‘booster lubricant’, which consists of a thin coating that is applied on the galvanising line prior to applying a conventional oil layer. According to Tata Steel, the combination of PLT and oil provides a superior lubrication system that improves processing of hot-dip galvanised GI steels for exposed automotive panels. “It induces a lower and more stable friction during pressing and is particularly suitable to support manufacturing of panels such as fenders, doors and body sides to a high surface quality. Thereby the new advanced lubricant extends Tata Steel’s Serica and Full Finish premium offering for outer panels,” the company said.

The PLT formulation is unique, according to the company, and was developed in conjunction with Netherlands-based Coil Coating Technologies (CCT), part of the AD International group.

Tata says that PLT offers an improved press performance of GI steels when compared to those treated with standard conventional oil and it enables manufacturers to move away from electro-galvanised (EG) steels towards a more cost-effective GI-coating. “When compared to the common process, PLT enables a smoother pressing operation with reduced maintenance costs and, therefore, a higher production yield,” claims the company. The PLT has been designed not to disturb subsequent manufacturing processes like resistance spot welding (RSW) and adhesive bonding.

PLT’s wafer thin organic layer induces a lower friction co-efficient that remains more stable over subsequent press cycles when compared with GI material treated with standard oil. It is completely removed in the cleaning bath towards the end of the process and leaves no residue behind. In fact, Tata claims that it is a ‘harmless, environmentally friendly substance’, and it is entirely sustainable. It will initially be available for products from 0.6mm – 1.0mm thick and from 900mm – 1830mm wide, with plans in place to extend the width to 2020mm.

According to Basjan Berkhout, marketing manager – Body in White at Tata Steel, one of the main values of using PLT is its induced friction co-efficient, which is consistently low to reduce tool and wear and pollution to acceptable levels for efficient manufacturing processes. “This brings the long-cherished wish of going to 100% hot-dip galvanised material for the exposed car body panels a decisive step closer,” he said.