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C450PLUS can achieve weight advantages for truck and trailer industry

Austube Mills C450PLUS structural steel tube range can be used in building lightweight trailers that can ultimately lead to a greater payload overall.

C450PLUS structural tube is a ‘dual grade’ section with the strength of Grade 450 and the elongation, formability and weldability advantages of Grade 350. “It makes sense for any type of application since it can give measurable weight advantages,” said Ross Williams, Austube Mills’ Senior Product Manager(pictured, right).

Superior Product: C450PLUS structural tube perfect solution for lightweight truck and trailer fabrication

According to Austube Mills, the strength-to-weight ratio of C450PLUS can improve efficiencies and reduce mass, saving time and money for the steel user. “These higher strength products, which retain a high ductility, are definitely amongst our most sourced product lines in this sector due to many transport operators wanting lighter weight material for their trailers, in order to maximise payload and lower fuel consumption and associated costs,” Williams said.

C450PLUS has been a major part of Austube Mills’ offering for many years. Introduced in the 1990s, at the former Palmer Tube Mills site in Queensland, C450PLUS originated from tubular sections manufactured to the higher strength Grade C450L0 as listed in the Australian Standards.

“The higher strength grades were limited to four gauges only, so in the early 2000s the 450PLUS range was extended across the product list to include larger sections, standardising our local supply offer,” said Williams. “This continuous improvement of the C450PLUS process and product offering has definitely helped Austube Mills in developing new markets and new opportunities across a multitude of industry segments, including trucks and trailers.”

While production of C450PLUS follows the same strict steel tube manufacturing process Austube Mills adheres to, which also includes putting the steel through a Charpy V-notch test, there are subtle differences in the process when compared to making standard 350-grade, according to Williams. “The C450PLUS structural tube sections are manufactured using technically advanced coil. Our cold forming process gradually forms the flat steel strip and it’s this process that enhances the strength of the finished products,” he said.

The C450PLUS range covers all the strength requirements of both C350L0 and C450L0, which Austube Mills says is completely substitutable when compared to all rectangular and square hollow sections. “The real advantage is the potential for mass reduction when specified as C450L0, and this can be critical in the commercial road transport market as it can increase payload,” Williams said, revealing that C450PLUS could reduce mass by up to 20 per cent than if specified as C350L0 grade.

Charpy V-notch test:

The Charpy V-notch impact test is a standardised high strain-rate test, which determines the amount of energy absorbed by a material during fracture or its impact performance. This absorbed energy is a measure of the materials toughness and acts as a tool to study temperature-dependent and/or dynamic loading ductile-brittle transition. It is widely applied in many steel industries globally and is a mandatory part of Austube Mills’ quality testing process.

Article featured in the May 2014 edition of Trailer Magazine.