Steel Industry is Key Participant in DoD Impact Program

Program Will Contribute to Advancing Steel’s Lightweighting Technologies for Trucks

DETROIT, MI, November 22, 1999 –American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) will contribute nearly $2.6 million in cash, in-kind services and materials to IMPACT (Improved Materials & Powertrain Architectures for 21st Century Trucks), a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)-sponsored program to develop strategies for reducing weight, enhancing performance, improving mobility and increasing fuel economy of tactical trucks for the U.S. Army.

IMPACT is part of the DoD’s Dual Use Science and Technology (DUST) program in which industry such as Ford Motor Co. and AISI, government and academia leverage resources and gain understanding from the development and optimization of technologies that have potential applications in both military and commercial vehicles.

Under AISI auspices, member steel company engineers will work with Ford engineers and representatives of the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive & Armaments Command’s National Automotive Center. Other partners include Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Mississippi State University and the University of Louisville.

"We are looking forward to contributing to the success of IMPACT," said Darryl C. Martin, senior director, Automotive Applications, AISI. "We already have shown how steel can significantly reduce weight and improve performance without increasing cost through our various UltraLight Steel Auto Body (ULSAB) initiatives. IMPACT gives us the chance to show what we can do with trucks."

Basic to the DoD DUST program is technology transfer, which has become an increasingly cost-effective tool in the development of emerging technologies that are critical to modernizing and supporting military vehicles. IMPACT reflects the Army’s recognition of the strength of partnering with commercial industry leaders, such as AISI and Ford, in efforts to increase vehicle fuel efficiency, performance and affordability.

Fuel economy and emissions compliance are the major driving forces behind weight reduction efforts in military and commercial vehicles. Corrosion resistance also is a key factor in the maintenance of these vehicles.

A current generation Ford F-150 truck is the IMPACT benchmark vehicle and will serve as a "technology demonstrator" for the project. Ford stands to gain from its involvement by increasing its understanding of how to build lightweight, fuel-efficient vehicles and having access to technological innovations stemming from the project.

The major enabling technologies that IMPACT will integrate into the "technology demonstrator" F-150 include lightweight steel structures and advanced processes, optimized design architecture, advanced engines and corrosion protection strategies.

As it has in its ULSAB series, the steel industry will contribute cutting edge materials, such as high and ultra high-strength steels, and advanced process technologies such as tailor welded blanks, laser welding and hydroforming.

The Automotive Applications Committee (AAC) is a subcommittee of the Market Development Committee of AISI and focuses on advancing the use of steel in the highly competitive automotive market. With offices and staff located in Detroit, cooperation between the automobile and steel industries has been significant to its success. This industry cooperation resulted in the formation of the Auto/Steel Partnership, a consortium of DaimlerChrysler, Ford and General Motors and the member companies of the AAC.

American Iron and Steel Institute/
Automotive Applications Committee:
AK Steel Corporation
Acme Steel Company
Bethlehem Steel Corporation
Dofasco Inc.
Ispat Inland Inc.
National Steel Corporation
Rouge Steel Company
Stelco Inc.
United States Steel Corporation
WCI Steel, Inc.
Weirton Steel Corporation