Japanese multinational automotive manufacturer, Mazda Motor Corporation, has developed the world’s first cold-stamped steel vehicle parts. Mazda worked alongside Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation to manufacture the vehicle parts from 1310 MPa-class high-strength steel.

Previously, cold-stamping for vehicle components and body parts was only possible with 180 MPa-class steel or lower. These softer steels were more malleable but it was very difficult to ensure dimensional accuracy in the stamping process. The high-strength 1310 MPa-class steel allows for greater accuracy during the manufacture of cold-stamped parts.

These cold-stamped steel components will be used for Mazda’s latest generation vehicles, such as the popular Mazda 3. The high strength of the steel actually allows the vehicle manufacturer to use thinner sheets of metal in the production process, while maintaining the required strength. This results in a lighter vehicle with improved handling and fuel economy.

The new Mazda 3 will use the high-strength steel for the front pillar inner, the roof rail inner, the hinge pillar reinforcement, the roof rail reinforcement, the number two cross-member and the side sill inner reinforcement. In total, using high-strength steel will save about three kilograms as compared to the previous models.

The strength of the steel is essential to ensure maximum protection in the case of an accident. A strong chassis, frame and panels prevent the car from crumpling under the immense forces of an impact. This improves passenger safety and the Euro NCAP rating of the vehicle. 

Formex Industries is a metal forming and assembly company that supplies a variety of complex products to the local automotive industry and export market. The company is based in the Nelson Mandela Bay metropole, South Africa’s foremost region for automotive manufacturing and export.

Formex specialises in producing components for the catalytic converter industry, as well as metal components and assemblies for the various vehicles. Formex aims to become one of the foremost suppliers for the South African automotive industry by 2035, aligning itself with the South African Automotive Masterplan (SAAM) which takes effect in 2020.

Formex is a Level 2 B-BBEE supplier with over 80% black ownership, of which more than 40% are black women. The company is owned by Deneb Investments Limited – a subsidiary of Hosken Consolidated Investments Limited (HCI) – one of South Africa’s biggest true B-BBEE companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

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