High-strength steel holds the key to future success: SSAB

SSAB’s innovative high-performance Strenx steel delivers superior mechanical properties compared to aluminium, increased durability, better road handling, and overall design and production improvements for higher efficiency and lower operating costs.

The road freight transport industry is experiencing pressures like never before. It is not just transport business operators who are feeling the pressure, but truck and trailer OEMs, logistics providers and other market players are facing a heavy load of challenges due to operational and regulatory demands.

A study by global commercial vehicle industry consultancy Roland Berger found that trends like new logistics, electrification of commercial vehicles and alternative drives, autonomous trucks, and evolution of digital technologies will affect the market in the coming years. The 2018 report ‘Trends in the truck & trailer market’ states that technical capabilities and power to innovate are essential competitive factors that are gaining importance in the industry and will have the ability to make or break
a business.

Currently the market is experiencing many uncertainties and challenges including driver shortages, digitalisation, inefficient processes, high fleet operations costs, and stricter emission standards. As a result, capability improvements and technical innovations are becoming the norm for transport operators, truck and trailer OEMs, logistics providers and other market players. Innovation efforts are put into high-performing, high-strength steels that can make trucks and trailers stronger yet lighter. Strenx performance steel from SSAB is one such innovation. Strenx performance steel is used in trailers to address key challenges through the production of more competitive and cleaner running commercial vehicles.

Strenx performance steel provides opportunities to develop equipment in a way that is not possible using conventional steel. Strenx steel in trailers helps significantly reduce the overall weight of the trailer, which results in increased payload, fuel cost savings, lower life cycle carbon footprint, and an increase in the operator’s bottom line.

Trailer and tipper components made of Strenx in thinner dimensions compared to conventional steel are not just stronger but also lighter. This means they can take higher payloads, which reduces the number of trips required to move the same material. When the vehicle is unloaded, there is less overall weight, which reduces fuel consumption. Lower fuel consumption translates to environmental benefits and a lower life cycle carbon footprint.

SSAB’s performance steel grades have been successfully used in trailer flooring and siding, in rear underrun protection devices (RUPDs), kingpin assemblies, drawbar couplings, and timber trailer stakes, bunks, and main load carrying structure (cross members and longitudinal beams). The most common grades used for trailers are Strenx 100, Strenx 700, Strenx 900 and Strenx 960.

Strenx performance steel is workshop-friendly and guarantees optimum performance. It has extremely consistent properties, ensuring precision and efficiency in the workshop. It is delivered with a set of guarantees for tight thickness tolerances, tight flatness tolerances and bending guarantees. These guarantees act as a safeguard for trouble-free production with every batch of material.

Strenx steel can generally be processed by the same kind of machinery and technology used for conventional steel. Another benefit is that using thinner-gauged steel in the workshop can reduce the cost of cutting, bending and, in particular, welding because less weld consumables are needed, and weld speed can increase.

Apart from designing industry leading Strenx performance steel, customer support drives innovation in steel technology at SSAB. The team is passionately dedicated to the business success of each customer, which is why SSAB provides not only high-quality steel, but also a high-quality relationship built on trust. The team conducts local customer visits and offers seminars and development projects. It also collaborates with businesses to help develop products that are stronger, lighter and deliver
more value.

Choosing SSAB assures customers they will get the best support they can get. SSAB provides all customers complete design and development support. From material selection of specific products to collaborative design and innovation recommendations, production efficiency recommendations, specialist advice, and best-practice guidance. To ensure smooth production processes and help customers get more value from their vehicles, SSAB’s specialists also provide support and know-how. SSAB’s workshop fabrication support includes recommendations on welding and forming, tooling advice and the provision of trial material for testing or prototyping.

SSAB extends its high-performance, quality steel offering to customers through its My Inner Strenx brand program that allows certified members to market their equipment using the My Inner Strenx sign on equipment. The mark assures customers that their qualified products have been certified to meet the strictest quality control production techniques and highest published guarantees for high-performance steel. It has been proven that products in the My Inner Strenx® program also have a higher resale value.

Italian trailer manufacturer Mantella has designed an innovative trailer chassis using Strenx 960. The revolutionary chassis is 145 kg lighter than its aluminium predecessor, and has superior mechanical properties, durability, fatigue strength, and improved road handling. The design made Mantella a winner of the international Swedish Steel Prize in 2018.