Protective lubrication

Tata Steel has launched Prime Lubrication Treatment (PLT) which, when applied in a thin coating along with the conventional oil layer, is said to provide a superior lubrication system that improves processing of hot-dip galvanised GI steels for exposed automotive panels.

It induces a lower and more stable friction during pressing and is particularly suitable for the manufacturing of panels such as bumpers, doors and body sides to a high surface quality.

Using PLT Tata claims that manufacturers can move away from electro-galvanised (EG) steels towards the more cost-effective GI-coating. When compared to the common process, PLT enables a smoother pressing operation with reduced maintenance costs and therefore a higher production yield, and has been designed not to disturb subsequent manufacturing processes like resistance spot welding and adhesive bonding.

Consisting of a thin, organic layer, PLT induces a lower friction coefficient that stays more stable over subsequent press cycles in comparison to GI material treated with a standard oil. PLT is removed in the cleaning bath towards the end of the process, and leaves no residue. It is said to be harmless, environmentally friendly, and sustainable. It will initially be available for products from 0.6 to 1.0mm thick and from 900 to 1830mm wide, with plans to extend the width to 2020mm.

Basjan Berkhout, marketing manager – Body in White at Tata Steel, says: “One of the main values of using PLT is its induced friction coefficient, which is consistently low to reduce tool wear and pollution to acceptable low levels for efficient manufacturing processes. This brings the long-cherished wish of going to 100% hot-dip galvanised material for the exposed car body panels a decisive step closer.”

Tom Austin-Morgan

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