Honda Motor Co Ltd employed a 1.5GPa-class high-tensile steel tube for the front pillar of the new "NSX" sports car (with specifications for the Japanese market).
The company started to accept preorders for the vehicle Aug 25, 2016.
The pillar is made by forming an angular steel tube with a closed cross-section into a single-piece front pillar. It enables to narrow the width of the pillar, making it possible to improve the visibility of a front view while ensuring strength for protecting passengers from rollover and collision.
For the front pillar of the new NSX, Honda realized a tensile strength of 1.5GPa by using the Three-dimensional Hot Bending and Direct Quench (3DQ) method. First, a multi-axis robot is used for bending while an angular steel tube is being partially heated. Then, its strength is improved by spaying water and cooling it (quenching).
As a result, the width of the new NSX's front pillar is 25mm narrower than that of the previous NSX's aluminum alloy front pillar, improving the visibility of a front view.
The front pillar was co-developed by H-One Co Ltd (a pressed parts manufacturer affiliated with Honda), Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp (NSSMC) and Nippon Steel & Sumikin Pipe Co Ltd (NSPC). H-One developed the volume production technology for the pillar while NSSMC and NSPC were responsible for the development of materials suited for the 3DQ method.