Celebrating 15 Years of Great Designs in Steel

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Steel Market Development Institute’s Great Designs in Steel (GDIS) seminar.


As we look to the future, it’s important to look back on where we’ve been. The SMDI Automotive Applications Council had a vision of a seminar to bring automotive engineers together to look at the latest designs using the latest steel grades.  In 2002 the first GDIS seminar was held to roll-out the Ultralight Steel Auto Body (ULSAB-AVC) program.  At that time advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) was new and engineers were just starting to use it in design.

Over the years there have been a total of 500 presentations representing 350 companies. These presentations represent 45 great designs of body-in-whites. In addition to all of the great presentations, the program has always included a great exhibit hall featuring body-in-white vehicles featured in the presentations and color coded to illustrate the steel grades making up the great designs.

Not to be outdone by the product engineers, the program has also always included manufacturing presentations to support implementation of these great designs into production. There have been presentations on topics from stamping to welding to modeling to tooling to new processes.

The manufacturing process is so important that the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association became a partner in 2012 year with mini-workshops focusing specifically on laser technology in the auto industry.

And of course we couldn’t do any of this without our partners. Attendance at the events quickly grew to the capacity of the building starting at 545 registrants in 2002 to 1,700+ registrants in 2016.

GDIS Attendance

GDIS is now the longest running automotive materials focused seminar in the world.

Jody Hall, Vice President, Automotive Market, kicked off this year’s seminar with a fun video to highlight the past 15 years of GDIS:

Our President, Lawrence Kavanagh presented this year’s Automotive Excellence Award to Honda R & D Americas, Inc. and Gestamp for their work in implementing AHSS innovations in a hot stamped rear frame.

Automotive Excellence Award

From left: Roger Newport, AK Steel, Jody Hall, SMDI, Kou Khang, Gestamp, Shawn Crichley, Honda, Lawrence Kavanagh, SMDI

Following the award, we gathered some thoughts from our partners throughout the years:

What was your favorite part of GDIS?

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