In collaboration with Sumitomo Metal Industries and Aisin Takaoka, Mazda has become the first automaker to successfully develop vehicle components with 1800 MPa ultra-high tensile steel. The super-strength steel will first be used in the all new Mazda CX-5 crossover SUV, launching early 2012.
Mazda will use the 1800 MPa ultra-high tensile steel for bumper beams which are fitted inside the front and rear bumpers. The bumper bars will be 20 per cent stronger than previous versions, whilst weighing in at 4.8kg less, making them a key part of Mazda's next generation, lightweight and highly rigid vehicles architecture. The new body architecture has been developed as part of Mazda's SKYACTIV TECHNOLOGY programme incorporating a new energy absorbing structure and the use of high-tensile steel in order to reduce weight.
High tensile steel has the benefit of offering the same degree of high strength whiles being thinner, leading to large weight savings. By reducing the bumper beams is particularly important, as they are incorporated into the body structure at the farthest point from the vehicle's centre of gravity meaning their weight has a significant impact on performance and responsiveness of the vehicle. Due to their role in collision protection, they must also be strong. Mass production of parts with stronger steel has been highly sought after for these reasons.
Stronger materials are also less pliant, meaning they absorb less energy during an impact. In order to overcome this issue, extensive research was conducted by Mazda, focusing on how bumper beams deform in a crash. Mazda created a new design that will absorb energy more efficiently. To ensure the bumpers offer the most strength for the Mazda CX-5, Mazda collaborated with Guta Kogyo to optimise welding techniques and establish a reliable manufacturing process.
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