Evolving Safety Trends Drive Need for Stronger, Safer Vehicle Bumpers

June 25, 2020

SOUTHFIELD, MI – June 25, 2020 – New forms of automotive technology including battery electric vehicles (BEV) and autonomous vehicles, in conjunction with increasing high-speed crash requirements have created challenges for OEM engineers and designers. The American Iron and Steel Institute has updated its industry manual to reflect these challenges.

Bumper engineers at OEM and Tier One suppliers need to design economical and lightweight bumper systems that are compatible with evolving safety requirements, styling trends and to offset the weight challenges brought by evolving technology such as batteries and sensors. These new requirements and solutions to meet the evolving standards were integrated into the newly released, Steel Bumper Systems for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks – 7th Edition, a free resource published by the automotive program AISI.

“High-speed crash events are becoming a big driver in bumper system design and are driving the need for stronger, tougher impact bars,” said Stu Brown, former system architect, bumper systems at General Motors, who collaborated with the AISI team on the new manual. “Steel is the clear material of choice since it is up to six times stronger than aluminum and a better solution to enable protection for passengers and critical components in a high-speed crash while remaining more cost effective.”

Advanced steel grades and manufacturing processes assist automotive manufacturers in meeting current and future safety requirements. BEVs overall have higher mass than their internal combustion engine counterparts, which create additional performance requirements for the bumper beams in high-speed crash events.

“Nearly 70 percent of impact bars today are steel and changing requirements will cause steel intensive systems to become even more preferred,” said Hesham Ezzat, PhD, co-author and senior technical consultant, automotive program, AISI. “Design engineers can leverage ultra high-strength steel, enabling development of stronger bumper beams at competitive mass and lower cost.”

The design manual – Steel Bumper Systems for Passenger Cars and Light Trucks – 7th Edition has been substantially updated to be more clear, concise and user friendly. Focusing on lightweight steel exposed and unexposed bumper systems for light duty passenger vehicles, this manual includes material properties, manufacturing and product design. It has been significantly expanded to include a global outlook and the most recent global regulatory requirements. The manual can be downloaded here.

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Contact: Tracey Rettig
248.945.4769 / trettig@steel.org

Contact: Ann Marie Fortunate
586.214.1731 / fortunate@franco.com

AISI serves as the voice of the North American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice. AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology. AISI’s membership is comprised of integrated and electric furnace steelmakers, and associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI's website at www.steel.org. Follow AISI on Facebook or Twitter (@AISISteel).