Steel Took Center Stage at the 2018 Lightweighting World Expo

The inaugural Lightweighting World Expo took place Oct. 9-10 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Mich. The event was sponsored by Lightweighting World magazine, a resource for the latest technical breakthroughs, applications, trends and initiatives for lightweight vehicle development.

Dr. Jody N. Hall, vice president, automotive market for SMDI, was invited to give the keynote address on the second day of the expo. In her presentation, titled “The Strength of Steel in the Automotive Market,” Dr. Hall discussed steel’s evolution in the automotive industry, collaboration between steel companies and automakers, steel’s role in future mobility and more.


Dr. Hall started off by “taking a drive down memory lane,” illustrating how the materials used in vehicles have evolved over time. In 1930, car companies began replacing wood body structures with all-steel bodies. She shared an excerpt from CARS magazine published in 1953:

“The day of the passenger car made primarily of iron and steel is on the wane! Some sources predict that by 1960 a Cadillac will weigh less than a 1953 Chevrolet and a Chevy will probably weigh about as much as a motorcycle.”


She went on to talk about the tremendous innovation in steel as a result of the collaboration within the automotive industry, giving way to more than 200 grades of steel today.

Diving further into the benefits of collaboration, Dr. Hal specifically highlighted World Auto Steel and the AISI/SMDI Auto/Steel Partnership as leading excellent examples how  steel companies and automakers to achieve a mutually beneficial goal and provide outstanding research and innovation. The projects they have completed have revolutionized the industry, such as the FutureSteelVehicle (FSV) project completed by an alliance of steel companies from around the world. The findings and results were implemented by many automakers just three years after completion of the project – the short timeline is proof collaboration leads to success.


Dr. Hall wrapped up by addressing the many benefits steel will have in future autonomous and electric vehicles. Its inherent properties, excellent performance and high value will allow it to continue to deliver the following to future vehicles:

  • Safety
  • Design
  • Fuel Efficiency/Battery Range
  • Strength
  • Durability
  • Environmental Performance
  • Value

Dr. Hall’s complete presentation can be downloaded here.

Were you in attendance at the Lightweighting World Expo? Comment below on your favorite part of the inaugural event!

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