Why is steel used in the automotive industry?
Steel is a metal that is heavily used across the engineering landscape. There are a number of different alloys that can be produced for multiple applications across industries. The automotive industry is one example of a landscape that has many uses for steel alloys, like mild steel in various components within vehicles. In this guide, we’ll be answering why steel is such a key part of the automotive industry and the benefits of it within this area.
Why steel is used in the automotive industry?
Mild steel fabrication and the automotive industry go hand in hand as mild steel is the least expensive and most broadly used of all metals in this sector. This means it’s always a go-to for automotive projects that require a large amount of metal.
As well as suiting a car maker’s desire for lightweight vehicles (a must for making cars as fuel efficient as possible), but it is also very affordable and with the right steel fabrication work, can be engineered in many different ways to meet requirements for crash safety and performance.
The unique flexibility of steel doesn’t take away from its strength or deflect energy if a collision does happen, and as you probably already know, the importance of impact resistance in car manufacturing cannot be understated.
Another reason mild steel is used so extensively in the automotive industry is it exhibits what’s known as ‘ferromagnetism’. This essentially is the basic mechanism by which specific materials can be turned into permanent magnets. When at room temperature, the atoms in mild steel are organised to create a structure that is mostly ferrite (which is magnetic). Car parts are often made from mild steel because of their attractive potential.
What is steel used for in the automotive industry?
In the case of a large number of vehicles, the composition of it is more than 50% made of steel. The majority of this steel is located in the skeletal body of the car, often referred to as the ‘body in white’ which is the foundation for the rest of the vehicle to be created.
High-quality steel fabrication companies like our team at FEM, can shape and develop steel products for automotives in a range of ways to ensure it adheres to safety regulations and any other requirements the manufacturer needs.
Benefits of steel in automotives
Steel has been the metal of choice for pretty much all vehicles since the days of horses and carriages and there are many benefits that explain why.
Fabricators and manufacturers are very familiar with the features and characteristics of steel when used in cars. There is a deeper understanding of the metal and how it will respond in nearly any automotive application. As a result, there is certainty and predictability with steel that guarantees all vehicles that are produced will be of the highest possible standard.
It can easily be reshaped and restored
In the event that a steel vehicle takes collision damage, it can be effectively reshaped back into its original form thanks to its inherent “memory”. The physical structure can be restored without more advanced technologies being required. Also, steel can be easily welded, cut, and joined with standard welding equipment and fabrication.
No special joints are needed when crafted into a vehicle
Manufacturing vehicles requires professional bespoke fabrication to ensure everything looks and performs how it should and problems like galvanic corrosion are avoided. Whilst good in some cases and industries, if galvanic corrosion happens in a vehicle it will lead to the eventual disintegration of elements as electrons move. When automotive structural parts are made of steel, the manufacturer doesn’t need to worry about preventing possible corrosion by using special, insulated joints.
As you can see, steel is very beneficial to the automotive industry, so it is no surprise as to why it is one of the most favoured metals. At FEM, we specialise in various types of bespoke metal fabrication including mild and stainless steel fabrication to name a few examples. If you’re looking for metal fabrication services get in touch with us today to discuss the requirements of your project.