Costly heat treatments are on the way out for the automotive fastener industry, a product development expert from steelmaker Corus claimed at the annual technical conference of the Confederation of British Metalformers today.

Corus product technology manager Andy Trowsdale claimed fastener makers could gain “significant” cost advantages using Corus' new Dupla steel.

Metallurgists have been working on new wire rod products that will eliminate costly heat treatments from the cold-heading process, which is used to manufacture screws, bolts and rivets for the automotive and construction industries.

"We want to develop products that simplify our customers' processes, improve their logistics and significantly reduce costs," said Trowsdale.

An enhanced chemical composition and improved process controls mean the newly-developed Dupla steel can be formed into high-strength bolts and rivets without the need for quenching and tempering.

With previous grades of steel, such processing was necessary to give the steel the required strength properties once it had been formed into a bolt.

Eliminating the need for quenching and tempering takes significant cost and time out of the production of high-strength bolts, benefiting subsequent processes further downstream, Trowsdale claimed.

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