Tata Steel plans to significantly expand its range of 'full-finish' products for car body panels with the aim of helping car manufacturers make their vehicles more stylish and affordable.

The products in question will be produced at some or all of the company's automotive galvanising facilties in the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands and will, claims Tata, offer a superior, more attractive surface quality and will be easier to form into complex shapes.

Henrik Adam, chief commercial officer of Tata Steel's European operations, said that the company was committed to working in partnership with its customers 'to deliver the products they need'. He said that creating a great finish was an essential part of the vehicle production process and that the products offer manufacturers 'significant cost benefits'.

The products involved include Tata's new Serica, a premium hot-dip galvanised coating offering a superior surface finish, according to the company. Serica guarantees low waviness after forming and is claimed to enable 'a consistently excellent paint finish even when thinner or fewer layers are used'.

The second product is a new kind of highly formable hot-dip galvanised steel. DX57-GI Hyperform is described as 'a new kind of highly formable hot-dip galvanised steel' which offers 'excellent deep drawing and stretching properties', enabling automotive engineers to design more complex parts for vehicle exteriors and interiors and design vehicles that look more attractive to their customers and have better functionality.

Tata Steel has integrated its MagiZinc Auto zinc-magnesium coating technology into its widest hot-dip galvanising line, DVL3, at IJmuiden, which can coat sheet in widths of up to 2,020mm.

Tata Steel’s European marketing manager for automotive, Sander Heinhuis, said: “By using steels with the new Serica surface quality customers can achieve an excellent paint appearance on exposed body panels while at the same time using a sustainable hot-dip galvanised coating process. Through using the DX57-GI HyperForm product our customers can create the components needed for better looking cars, at lower cost than ever before. And the start of production of MagiZinc coated steels on the DVL3 line allows us to manufacture the widest advanced zinc coated steel sheets on the market worldwide, while ensuring high surface quality and short delivery times."