Posco leads the way with innovative steel

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Posco leads the way with innovative steel

Posco is strengthening its competitiveness in the global steel market by expanding sales of its high-profit “World Premium” (WP) products.

Posco’s WP products encompass the company’s “World First” (WF), “World Best” (WB) and “World Most” (WM) products. WF refers to products Posco has developed and commercialized for the first time. WB refers to products with global competitiveness in their technology and value. WM refers to products with high consumer preference and sales.

Posco is expanding sales of its WP products to maximize profits, as their returns are 10 percent higher compared to those of general products. Posco’s main WP product is automotive steel.

Posco is currently operating automotive steel manufacturing factories in China, India, Mexico and Thailand, for which construction finished last August. The company also has 26 automotive steel processing centers in 12 countries.

One type of high-quality automotive steel that only Posco has succeeded in mass-producing is twinning-induced plasticity steel, also known as TWIP steel. The product has garnered praise for being a “dream steel” with enhanced strength and workability.

TWIP steel can carry a load of 100 kilograms (220 pounds) per square millimeter, but it is also five times more malleable than other steel products with the same strength, meaning it can be processed into different types of products.

Thanks to the steel’s superior shock absorption, it can be used for bumpers on both the front and back of cars to significantly enhance safety. Rival steel manufacturers have been developing a similar type of steel but have not yet succeeded in mass production.

Another WP product that Posco has developed is hot press formed steel, or HPF. HPF is the result of overcoming difficulties in processing and reshaping strong steel that can hold 150 kilograms per square millimeter.

HPF is mainly used as car pillars, the vertical support on the window that protects passengers from external shock when there is a broadside collision or rollover accident.

Currently, Posco is the only steelmaker in the world that has succeeded in producing the strongest HPF, with an endurance of 200 kilograms per square millimeter.

The product received positive feedback at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, where it was first featured in Renault Samsung Motors’ Eolab, an automobile that can travel 100 kilometers per liter (235 miles per gallon) but only produce 22 grams of carbon dioxide.

Posco’s representative WP product is the automotive steel sheet. Since 1973, Posco has been selling hot rolled coil to domestic car companies like Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors. During the mid-1990s, Posco signed a long-term supply contract with car companies in the United States and Japan, and in 2000, the company started manufacturing and supplying automotive steel plates.

The company now supplies automotive steel plates to all of the world’s top 15 car companies.

Posco sold approximately 8.7 million tons of automotive steel sheets in 2015, utilizing its domestic and overseas production and sales network to provide steel sheets to car companies in China and the United States.

Aside from selling innovative products, Posco also practices what it calls “active solution marketing” by seeking technological cooperation and joint marketing with client companies.

This year, Posco offered the yard of the Posco Center in southern Seoul for cars that use steel plates manufactured by the company, such as the Tivoli Air, SM6 and Malibu, to hold their promotional events. Kwon Oh-joon, the president of Posco Group, visited the marketing site himself for a test drive.

In March, SsangYong Motor’s Tivoli Air and Renault Samsung Motors’ SM6 were exhibited in the Posco Center, and in May, GM Korea’s Malibu was marketed there for three days.

Posco will further enhance its partnerships with global car companies and expand sales of WP products to achieve sales exceeding 9 million tons this year and 10 million tons in 2018.

BY YANG SE-YOUNG [yang.seyoung@joongang.co.kr]
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