In early 1994, a consortium of 35 sheet steel producers from 18 countries set out to demonstrate a lightweight steel auto body structure that would meet a wide range of safety and performance targets. The Consortium contracted with Porsche Engineering Services, Inc. (PES) to provide engineering and manufacturing management for the ULSAB project.
In September 1995, the Consortium announced the results of the concept phase: a design of a typical mid-size sedan showing a weight savings of up to 36 percent in a steel vehicle structure, and substantially improved performance when compared to benchmarked averages in the same class - at a cost less than that required to produce a typical vehicle structure of that time.
In 1998, the Consortium presented to the world automotive industry, a complete ULSAB body-in-white, which dramatically validated the design concepts. That BIW remains as a focal point of a traveling exhibit that shows how to use high-strength steels to reduce mass in a vehicle structure that is Safe, Affordable, Fuel Efficient and Environmentally responsible (SAFE).
The ULSAB concept confirms steel's main attributes, and it explains why high-strength steel is the fastest growing light weighting material in automotive structures. Steel is inexpensive and strong. It is easy to form into complex shapes and structures, and it is highly suited for mass production of vehicles. Its proven ability to absorb energy in a crash is well known.
10/1/1998 - An Overview Report that covers concept, design, manufacturing, cost, materials and a structural analysis of the ULSAB project.
9/1/1998 - The complete engineering report detailing steel's capability to reduce the weight of a vehicle's body structure and, at the same time, ensure safety with improved comfort and ...
2/15/2000 - The steel industry is about to bring solid proof to its customers and to the nation that a steel automobile body can be made lighter and stronger, yet cost less than today’s auto ...
2/15/2000 - In the nearly two years since the global steel industry unveiled its UltraLight Steel Auto Body (ULSAB), the world’s automakers steadily have been increasing their uses of the ...
The next generation of steels offer the best solution to automakers for lightweighting vehicles - one that does not sacrifice safety or affordability in helping meet the more stringent fuel economy standards.