Sapa says it has developed a new aluminium alloy for automotive applications, which require high-strength aluminium solutions.

The supplier notes the alloy could serve as a cost-competitive alternative against traditional 7xxx-series aluminium variants starting from 2017.

Sapa has worked to develop the new 6xxx-series alloy to meet the need for ultra high-strength alloys in the automotive market. Automotive suppliers currently specify high-strength alloys for structural applications, which have elevated strength requirements, such as bumper systems, crash boxes and side sills.

Such applications typically utilise 7xxx-series alloys, which are relatively expensive and more difficult to extrude on a production level than those in the 6xxx family.

The new alloy that Sapa is developing can achieve similar yield strengths, maintains the manufacturer, but with better extrudability than the 7xxx variants.

Standard 6xxx alloys on the market today typically do not exceed tensile yield strengths above 320-330 MPa. The new alloy has been outperforming these standards with yield strength above 350 MPa and 10% elongation.

"We still have a fair bit of work to ensure manufacturing and commercial success," said Sapa director of metallurgy, David Lukasak.

"And we are confident the industry is going to recognise this as a positive step forward."