EAST CHICAGO │ ArcelorMittal’s Global Research and Development Center was honored Thursday for its design and creation of steel for cars that will meet future higher fuel standards.
The R&D Center is the co-recipient of the Chanute Prize for Team Innovation, which was installed Thursday at the facility. Presented by the Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center and the Society of Innovators of Northwest Indiana, the Chanute Prize this year also went to Purdue University’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation.
John Davies, managing director for the Society of Innovators, said ArcelorMittal’s “S-in motion” model is pioneering in automotive design and will keep steel strong and robust in the automobile industry while keeping the steel industry vital in Northwest Indiana..
“In the selection of the Global R&D Center, our judges believed that the change in approach of actually designing a car utilizing lighter, stronger steels rather than following past practice is creative and innovative,” Davies said. “And in launching this initiative we believe that ArcelorMittal is breaking new ground for the steel industry and delivering new value for your global customers.”
Blake Zuidema, director of the automotive product applications division for the R&D Center, said the steel industry is facing probably the greatest challenge of its history.
“The automotive regulations are forcing automakers to take fuel economy up to 54 1/2 miles per gallon by 2025, and many are saying the only way you are going to do that is to make vehicles lighter and the only way to make vehicles lighter is to make them out of aluminum,” he said. “We sold about 5 million tons of steel into the automotive market last year. That’s Indiana Harbor. If we lose the automotive market we shut down a steel mill.”
Zuidema said he recently presented “S-in motion” to automotive design engineers from throughout the world and how it proves conclusively that steel can provide enough weight reduction to get fleets to 54 1/2 miles per gallon by 2025.
“It does so at a lower cost and it does so with a lower life-cycle carbon footprint,” he said “Steel is going to be a viable material for a long time.”