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Hot Off the Press


Tailored-Blank Usage
Continues to Climb in North America

Thursday, March 6, 2003
A recent report claims that 55 million tailored blanks were consumed in NAFTA markets for automotive applications in 2002, and their use will grow at an average annual rate of nearly 13 percent over the next five years. The report, from Global Trade Consulting Co., Indianapolis, IN, describes the tailored-blanks market as undergoing recent upheavals due to manufacturing-sector weakness and a troubled steel industry, “but the newly structured industry is poised for a strong rebound and NAFTA demand will soon surge,” says Kenneth O. Eldib, GTC president. According to the report, new applications are being planned and introduced in the NAFTA market for tailored blanks, with much attention focused on exterior body panels and heavy structural parts such as underbody rails and door rings. Other developments are said to include development of more right-angle welded and nonlinear tailored blanks. Typically, tailored blanks consist of two or more steel or aluminum sheets of dissimilar thickness or grade joined by laser welding prior to forming. For more information on trends in this sector, visit

Fabricator SFI Retains ISO Registration

Thursday, March 6, 2003
SFI of Tennessee, LLC, Memphis, TN, has retained ISO 9001:1994 registration after passing an audit by Perry Johnson Registrars, Inc. SFI, a fabricator of metal parts for the truck/trailer, appliance ground-support-equipment and transportation industries, operates a 600,000-sq.-ft. facility with 250 employees.

Ford Exploring Al Frames for SUVs

Wednesday, March 5, 2003
Ford Motor Co., according to reports, has conducted feasibility reports showing that using aluminum frames, as opposed to steel, will dramatically reduce sport-utility-vehicle weight and improve fuel economy. The studies show that such frames can cut weight by 40 percent without sacrificing ride and handling. Despite the weight loss, such frames can still hold up in crashes, claim the studies.


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