American Metal Market Talks Innovation, Sheet and NanoSteel with AK’s Newport

  • November 18, 2016

  • We can. We will. by Jo Isenberg- O'Laughlin 

    And they are. Just shy of a year since Roger Newport took the reins of AK Steel, the Ohio steelmaker notched its highest level of quarterly income since the third quarter of 2008. 

    Tasked with developing and arming AK Steel with new-generation products to meet that goal, roughly 100 members of an expanded innovation team of researchers, scientists and engineering were poised in late October to relocate to a newly constructed, $36 Million, 135,000 square foot Research and Innovation Center located in the Cincinnati-Dayton growth corridor.

    And the team will continue to drive new ideas and products and push forward. ‘We have a lot of products in the pipeline,’ Newport says, citing recent new and/or emerging entries in the carbon, electrical, and stainless steel arenas.

    One of these is an advanced automotive steel – called NanoSteel – that AK is developing in collaboration with the NanoSteel Co. Inc., Providence, R.I. The material is said to overcome the traditional tradeoff between strength and formability and is described as both easy to produce – using conventional alloying elements with standard slab casting equipment – and easy to use. It can be stamped and formed at room temperature.

    In late April of this year, NanoSteel announced it had delivered its first AHSS to General Motors Co. for initial testing. Since then, some 10 individual parties have received samples with ‘many others finalizing contracts and test procedures to receive material,’ a NanoSteel spokeswoman told AMM.

    'I’d call it a leap change. We are not aware of anyone else who has been able to produce a material that gives you the equivalent strength and formability,’ Newport commented on the unique appeal of NanoSteel. ‘We’ve worked with the for a couple of years, he added. ‘Through many trials and errors, we put together a process stream and a way to make this product.’

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