Achieving Dent Resistance Improvements and Weight Reduction Through Stamping Process Optimization and Steel Substitution
Resistance to dents and dings, caused by plant handling and in-service use, is generally recognized as an important performance requirement for automotive outer body panels. This paper examines the dent resistance improvements that can be achieved by maximizing surface stretch, through adjustments to the press settings, and substitution of a higher strength steel grade. Initially, the stamping process was optimized using the steel supplied for production: a Ti/Nb-stabilized, ultra low carbon (ULC) grade. The stamping process was subsequently optimized with a Nb-stabilized, rephosphorized ULC steel, at various thicknesses. The formed panels were evaluated for percent surface stretch, percent thinning, in-panel yield strength after forming, and dent performance. The results showed that dent resistance can be significantly improved, even at a reduced steel thickness, thus demonstrating a potential for weight savings.