Tata Steel has introduced a new suite of hot-rolled sheet steel products aimed at helping car makers reduce the weight of undercarriages and, therefore, increase fuel efficiency.

Developed by Tata Steel's research and development team at IJmuiden in the Netherlands, the new steels, known collectively as XPF steels (Extra Processing Formability) will be commercially available early next year and will also be produced at the steelmaker's IJmuiden facility.

According to Tata Steel, XPF will offer vehicle manufacturers the opportunity to make chassis components that are 10% lighter than more conventional products and reduce component manufacturing costs by up to 50%. The company claims that its new range of steels address the known challenges of current high-strength steels in terms of forming and manufacturing by combining the mechanical strength and fatigue resistance required by chassis designers with a formability that provides 'even greater freedom to reduce both parts count and cost as well as vehicle weight'.

Henrik Adam, chief commercial officer of Tata Steel’s European operations, said the new XPF range was a further demonstration of Tata Steel’s focus on providing advanced products for all vehicle applications.

“These new steels will enable designers to be even more innovative in creating the next generation of vehicles and we believe they promise a major breakthrough in automotive structural materials technology," Adam said.

Tata's European sales director for automotive, Ashley Wilkinson, said the new range was a strong example of the company's range of advanced products 'that enable automotive manufacturers to find their preferred balance between performance, weight and cost'. He said that Tata Steel has the expertise to offer the lowest total cost of ownership in the chassis.

Tata claims it will be the first company in Europe to supply chassis manufacturers with steels offering the superior manufacturing characteristics needed to significantly reduce chassis weight. Furthermore, the company claimed that its XPF products offer superior forming and joining capabilities, property homogeneity, fatigue resistance and processing consistency.

Tata estimates that chassis makers using XPF steels will be able to reduce component weight by 10% compared with using the equivalent in advanced steels without sacrificing safety or performance.