Tool steel is the first choice of automobile makers globally due to its desired standards of strength and safety. It is the strongest and most affordable material that can be engineered in many ways to meet the increasing automobile needs and performance of a vehicle. The increasing consumption of steel coupled with automotive industry is driving the global tool steel sector. Automobile manufacturers comply with stringent regulations governing automobile emissions and fuel efficiency. To tackle the major environmental concerns, specific targets for fuel efficiency and emissions reduction are established to reduce vehicular carbon dioxide emissions.
A wide range of carbon steels and alloy steels are used in the manufacture of tools used in the automobile industry. These steels are known for their hardness, deformation and resistance to abrasions which are the key driving forces in the global tool steel market. Tool steel is used in the manufacture of various cutting tools, such as tool bits, drills, taps, gear cutters, saw blades, planers, jointer blades, milling cutters, router bits, punches, and dies. Tool steel posses high resistance to wear or tear good thermal conductivity, hardness, cost-effective machine-ability, excellent polishing properties and acid-treatment properties. These properties are suitable for use of tool steel in various industries such as automotive industry, mechanical and plant engineering, power-generation, aviation, food and packaging industries, structural and civil engineering and mining.
According to the study “Global Automotive Tool Steel Industry Situation and Prospects Research report”, majority of the global tool steel manufacturers are investing heavily to produce advanced high-strength steels of light weight and safe to use. 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 possessing such flexibilities and qualities affordably are in huge demand.
Geographically, global automotive tool steel market is spread across North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Japan, Middle East and Africa. Asia Pacific dominates the global tool steel market, followed by Europe and North America. China, Japan, India and U.S.A are the major markets for tool steel with huge revenue generation in the global market. The major players in global tool steel market are Nachi-Fujikoshi Corp (Japan), Voestalpine AG (Austria), Sandvik (Sweden), Baosteel Group (China), Samuel, Son & Co (Canada), Hitachi Metal (Japan), Eramet SA (France), Schmiedewerke Gröditz (Germany), Universal Stainless (US), QiLu Special Steel Co,.Ltd (China), Hudson Tool Steel Corporation (US), GERDAU S.A (Brazil) and Pennsylvania Steel Company (US). Global automotive tool steel industry is segmented into commercial and passenger vehicles. This segmentation is based on the type of steel utilized for the production of the automobiles. The tool steel segmentation is categorized between carbon tool steel, alloy tool steel and high speed tool steel.
Advanced High-Strength Steels (AHSS) are lighter in weight and uses less steel in manufacturing process. Tool steel is infinitely recyclable due to its non-degradability and can easily be withdrawn out during the recycling process compared to other materials that are not magnetic. Advanced High-Strength Steels are manufactured at very thin gauges while maintaining the strength of mild steels and are effectively used in the automotive industry.
Global tool steel industry growth is driven by global forging industry with its various applications in automotives, factory automation, aerospace, defence and others sectors. Advanced technology in automobile manufacturing has led to growing implementation of high technological tools that are lightweight and more users friendly. The tools manufactured are used for jacking, tire change, re-screwing and other automotive operations. The increasing use of tool steels in the shipbuilding and energy sectors are many creating opportunities in the market. The major market challenge in next few years in the tool steel market is the economic slowdown in the emerging countries worldwide within the industrial sector. The growth in global automotive sector has resulted in demand for more sophisticated tools and automotive tool steel. Global automotive tool steel market is expected to grow steadily over the next few years due to the continuing growth in the automotive industry, forging industry and tool steel manufacturers.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications