Shape Corp. Announces World’s First Roll Formed Martensitic Steel Bumper Made with SSAB’s Fossil-Free Steel

25 May 2023

Shape Corp., a global tier-1 supplier and leader in engineering and manufacturing, has announced the world’s first roll formed, production intent martensitic steel bumper made with SSAB’s groundbreaking fossil-free steel material utilizing HYBRIT technology. Shape is the first automotive company to collaborate with SSAB in utilizing this cutting-edge, sustainable material in the development of this type of automotive component.

SSAB´s fossil-free steel is based on the HYBRIT technology, which replaces coal with hydrogen in the reduction process, powered by fossil-free electricity. The resulting product is virtually fossil-free. SSAB aims to produce the steel at a commercial scale in 2026. Shape has conducted rigorous testing, including bendability, fracture characterization, material toughness, delayed fracture testing, and welding evaluations that have shown the fossil-free steel does not compromise material properties or performance.

The roll forming process is also considerably more sustainable when compared to other forming processes, such as hot and cold stamping, due to the significant increase in material utilization. This process not only enables the usage of the highest strength materials, but also promotes efficient section design to optimize the usage of the material. The use of fossil-free steel with high material utilization and efficient use of high strength material creates an exceptionally sustainable manufacturing solution. This process combined with the company’s committed drive towards the use of renewable energy and reducing energy consumption, fortifies Shape’s commitment to cultivating a circular life cycle while reducing its environmental impact.

“We are thrilled to take this significant step toward applying this steel on vehicles, marking a new era in sustainable manufacturing,” said Brian Oxley, Project Manager at Shape Corp. “Our material characterization activity ensures that the performance of this fossil-free steel matches that of the incumbent steelmaking process. Considering the full scope of emissions in the steel making and part production processes we calculate a savings of over 10.74 kg CO2 (85.7%) for each bumper beam produced with this steel compared to a part made from conventional steel. Those savings can be closer to 20 kg per part when compared to a stamped bumper of similar performance. Those savings will continue to increase as emissions from both processes are reduced further”

With these groundbreaking strides, Shape continues to lead the industry towards sustainable manufacturing and engineering. Their innovative practices are setting a robust example for the rest of the automotive industry, demonstrating that environmental responsibility and high-quality manufacturing can coexist.

“We are excited to see these results of our partnership with Shape, and look forward to taking it even further,” says Thomas Hörnfeldt, Head of Sustainable Business at SSAB. “Demand for fossil-free steel is increasing, and it´s gratifying that we can join forces with our customers to decrease the carbon footprint in the value chain and help mitigate climate change.”

Shape is setting a clear example of corporate responsibility and commitment to sustainability in pursuit of these current developments, with bold targets and concrete actions that promise significant reductions in carbon emissions. The company has outlined an ambitious timeline for its sustainability journey: by 2025, Shape aims to reduce energy usage by 30% in all its plants around the globe. This step will be followed by achieving carbon-neutral operations worldwide by 2030, powered by 100% renewable energy.

These measures emphasize Shape’s dedication to resource efficiency and carbon footprint reduction. The company has taken its commitment a step further pledging to become a completely carbon-neutral company by 2035. This overarching goal will not only encompass operations but extend to the life cycle of Shape’s products. By 2039, Shape aims to have 100% carbon-neutral products-from sourcing and production to disposal.

Shape’s outlined strategic initiatives showcase the company’s dedication to act responsibly, not only in their operations, but across the entire product lifecycle, setting a benchmark for the entire industry.