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ArcelorMittal investing €13M in Saint Chély d’Apcher plant to boost electrical steels capability for automotive

ArcelorMittal is investing €13 million in its Saint Chély d’Apcher plant in France, which specializes in iCARe electrical steels for the automotive sector. The investment means the plant will be able to produce cutting-edge non grain-oriented (NO) iCARe electrical steel grades, through production upgrades and new production capabilities, to meet the requirements of the booming electromobility market.

Since 2013, with the construction of a new continuous annealing line, ArcelorMittal Saint Chély d’Apcher has been undergoing a series of transformations to become a leading supplier for the electromobility market, with its iCARe range of electrical steels for automotive e-traction motors.

With this new investment, ArcelorMittal will be at the forefront of developing new generations of electrical steel solutions for full electric and hybrid vehicles. ArcelorMittal’s existing NO electrical steels customers, such as the power generation sector, will also benefit from this upgrade.

Electrical steels are found throughout a modern vehicle—from the small motors which drive mirrors and seats to the larger machines that are used in the propulsion systems of hybrid or full EVs. Traction motors and generators in those alternative drive trains are particularly dependent on highly efficient electrical steels.

ArcelorMittal launched iCARe, its first electrical steel product range designed specifically to meet the requirements of the electric vehicle, at CWIEME in June 2012. In June 2017, the steelmaker launched the second generation of iCARe electrical steels, Compared to the first generation, the second-generation features (within the Save range of iCARe) lower magnetic losses and (within the Torque range) both lower magnetic losses and higher strength.

The second generation of iCARe steels made improved power density possible, compared with the first generation. This is reflected in less weight for the same motor performance, which in turn results in increased driving range.

This also applies to the many small motors on board the car, because an improved energy balance saves electricity and thereby extends the range.

There are currently four steel types included in ArcelorMittal’s iCARe offering: Save, 420 Save, Torque and Speed. Each has been specifically designed for a typical electric automotive application.

  • Save. A steel with very low losses, Save is ideal for the efficiency of the electrical machine. Its key role is to optimize the use of current coming from the battery.

  • 420 Save. These enhanced Save grades combine low losses with higher yield strength, compared to the standard Save grades. 420 MPa is the minimum guaranteed yield strength for the 420 Save grades. Such improved and guaranteed yield strength of the 420 Save products allows rotor design improvements, which increase the overall performance of the electrical machine.

  • Torque. Torque is a range of steels with high permeability which can achieve the highest levels of mechanical power output for a motor or current supply for a generator. Guaranteed polarization levels are higher than those from Save.

  • Speed. Speed is a group of specific high strength electrical steels for high speed rotors which maintain high levels of magnetic performance. These grades allow the machine to be more compact and have a higher power density. The grades come with guaranteed yield strengths, and guaranteed magnetic properties.

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