Tool steel is the major choice of automobile makers worldwide due to its desired standards of strength and safety. It is the strongest and most affordable material that can be engineered in a lot of different ways to meet the automobile needs and performance of the vehicle. It was estimated that there is an increasing consumption of steel in the automotive sector on a global scale. However, the share of tool steel in automobile manufacturing is likely to drop over the next few years because majority of the automakers need to comply with stringent regulations governing automobile emissions and fuel efficiency. To tackle environmental concerns, European government has set specific targets for fuel efficiency and emissions reduction. Europe targets to reduce average vehicular carbon dioxide emissions in the next few years.
According to the study “Europe Automotive Tool Steel Industry Situation and Prospects Research report”, in order to standardise tool steel’s position as the material of choice in the automotive industry, majority of the manufacturers are investing heavily to produce advanced high-strength steels. European steel manufacturing companies are collaborating with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in order to develop steel solutions that cater to the automobile manufacturers’ requirements in terms of weight reduction as well as safety. Automobile manufacturing involves a lot of theories such as front end crash requirements, manufacturing material should be able to absorb crash energy, and vehicle body material should be able to deflect energy to avoid crumple. Steel possesses all these flexibilities and qualities affordably.
Newer steels, such as Advanced High-Strength Steels (AHSS) possess these requirements with less steel at a lighter weight. Steel can be infinitely recyclable back into the same product because it does not degrade in quality as it is recycled. Steel is magnetic and can be easily draw out during the recycling process compared to other materials that are not magnetic. Advanced High-Strength Steels can be manufactured at very thin gauges and maintain the strength of a mild steel. They are different than the conventional steel and are effectively used in the automotive industry. Currently, Advanced High-Strength Steels are the fastest growing materials used in European automotive manufacturing.
European automotive industry is heavily dependent on the tool steel, therefore, there is an increasing demand for the products. The tool steel industry directly affects the growth in the forging industry. Majority of the forged metals are used in automotive, factory automation, aerospace, defence and others manufacturing industries. The growth of tool steel market in Europe is due to the increasing growth in the automotive industry, forging industry and tool steel manufacturers. The fluctuation in steel prices has a great impact on the tool steel market in Europe. The automotive tool steel industry is segmented between Commercial and Passenger Vehicles. This segmentation is based on the type of steel utilized for the production of the automotives. The tool steel segmentation is categorized between Carbon Tool Steel, Alloy Tool Steel and High Speed Tool Steel. Geographically, automotive tool steel in Europe market is spread across Germany, Russia, UK, France, and Italy. The leading players are Voestalpine, Schmolz + Bickenbach, Sandvik, Fushun Special Steel, BaoSteel, TG, Nachi-Fujikoshi, Qilu Special Steel, Hitachi, Eramet, Universal Stainless and Hudson Tool Steel.
Automotive tool steel includes all the categories of steel materials used for the production of an automotive vehicle. Advanced technology in automobile manufacturing has led to growing implementation of high technology tools that are easier to use and are more user friendly. The tools manufactured are used for jacking, tire change, re-screwing and other automotive operations. There is an increasing demand for automatic tools and a need for advanced better quality steel used for tools manufacturing. The growth in European automotive sector has resulted in demand for sophisticated tools and demand for automotive tool steel. The automotive tool steel market in Europe is expected to grow steadily over the next few years.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications