From blast furnace to Golf: Discovery Channel visits Volkswagen in Wolfsburg

The Discovery Channel is currently filming at various ArcelorMittal sites in Europe for its “How do they do it?” series. The subject is automotive steel and not just any automotive steel, but innovative top-class steel: advanced high strength steel for hot stamping. The programme focuses on our Usibor® steel which, among other applications, is used for producing lightweight B-pillars in cars. Usibor® steel has excellent crash-resistant properties and is particularly suitable for use in safety-critical zones.

The Golf VII on the production line: the dark steel parts highlight the advanced high strength steels used in the car’s body-in-white

From France via Belgium to Germany

After stopping off in the ArcelorMittal automotive research centre in Montataire near Paris and our plant in Gent (Belgium), the Discovery Channel’s camera team finally arrived at the main Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg.

At Volkswagen, the cameras followed the steel’s route right through to car production. The steel parts which are cut to size from coils are processed at the car manufacturer’s largest production site which employs a workforce of 50,000.

The centrepiece of production is hot stamping which takes place in the press plant in Wolfsburg. A total of 25 different parts are hot stamped and brought to the correct shape before moving to the assembly line. A Volkswagen expert at the press plant explains: “After hot stamping, the steel is up to three times stronger and more resistant than before.” The steel has already been treated at ArcelorMittal’s galvanising lines to provide other properties such as the most durable corrosion resistance.

State-of-the-art steel makes the Golf VII lighter

In addition to the Touran and Tiguan, the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg mainly produces the new Golf VII, which is up to 100 kilos lighter in weight than its predecessor model – the Golf VI, thanks among other things to innovative hot stamping steels such as our Usibor® 1500. As Armin Plath, Volkswagen’s Head of Materials Research and Manufacturing, mentioned in a press article following the launch of the Golf VII in January 2013: “Volkswagen is using high strength steels in increasing amounts. It is a very cost effective way of reducing weight. Using new innovations in steel engineering… it is possible to reduce weight without the use for more costly materials such as aluminium and carbon fibre.”

On your television in spring 2014

The Discovery Channel will broadcast the programme showing the steel’s journey in spring 2014: starting with research, and from the blast furnace via hot rolling, coating and cutting at ArcelorMittal all the way to hot stamping and assembly onto the Golf VII at Volkswagen. If you would like to see what else the Discovery Channel has to offer in its “How do they do it?” series, just visit: http://science.discovery.com/tv/how-do-they-do-it/

Discovery Channel at work: advanced high strength steels car parts after hot stamping

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