The worldwide automobile industry is currently focusing on developing a new generation of vehicles with more safety, less CO2 emission and alternative energy. The key to success is the lightweight technology. As a perfect example of lightweight technology, press hardening is presented in 3 major aspects: material, design and manufacturing. The press hardening technology resolves the conflicting issues for application of ultra-high strength steels and makes it possible for carmakers to increase the strength level up to 1500 MPa or more for the safety-critical components and to achieve a weight reduction of about 20% without compromising safety or increasing cost. The good formability at high temperature gives carmakers much more flexibility to design and to form the components in a very precise way. During the cooling process in the die it is possible to control the microstructure transformation locally by changing the local temperature of the die accordingly so that different microstructures and mechanical properties can be realized in a single component. The ongoing developments are focused on the improvement of the toughness and the resistance to delayed fracture of press hardening steels. Finally the author would like to introduce an innovative alloying concept for press hardening steel, which can meet the challenges of automotive application at the present time. (AU) Copyright © 2014 Companhia Brasileira de Metalurgia e Mineração (CBMM) All rights reserved.
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