Ford Awarded for Advanced High-Strength Steel Innovation at 19th Annual Great Designs in Steel Seminar

SOUTHFIELD, MI. – The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) awarded the Automotive Excellence Award to Ford Motor Company for their advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) innovations in the 2020 Ford Escape and Kuga. The award was presented today by John Catterall, vice president of AISI’s automotive program at the 19th annual Great Designs in Steel (GDIS) virtual symposium in Southfield, Michigan.

Michael Kozak, global body structure manager at Ford, received the award for his GDIS 2019 presentation, titled, The All New 2020 Ford Escape and Kuga.

Ford leveraged an efficient, scalable platform to deliver a global nameplate optimized for each markets needs. The application of High Strength and Ultra High Strength steels allowed for optimal strength-to-weight that delivers National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 5-Star Safety Ratings with an exciting driving dynamic. Optimized engineering sections and joints maximized occupant space for improved accommodation and usage, ensuring people and their gear are comfortable. Regional tailoring of critical structural members avoided any scar mass or cost not necessary for unique market requirements. Overall, the 2020 Escape/Kuga is a lighter vehicle performing to a higher customer standard, while maintaining small SUV affordability.

Automotive Excellence Award winners use advanced high-strength steel in applications to provide the best value for consumers while also improving vehicle performance and sustainability, said John Catterall, vice president of the automotive program at AISI. Steel is driving innovation and Michael and the Ford team are a great example of the capability of these next generation steel grades.

The AISI Automotive Excellence Award is presented each year at GDIS. Individuals or teams from automakers, suppliers or the academic community who embrace innovation and make significant contributions to the advancement of steel in the automotive market are awarded for their innovation. Award winners are chosen from presenters at the previous year’s GDIS seminar. Candidates are rated in several categories, including: challenges and benefits associated with cost, mass reduction and performance; overall contribution to the advancement of steel; and implementation in production.

GDIS debuted in 2002 with 545 registrants and has grown in attendance and scope. In 2019, more than 1,500 North American vehicle manufacturers, Tier 1 suppliers, equipment suppliers, university representatives, steel company personnel and technical reporters attended the event. 2021 marks the symposium’s19th year and first virtual event with more than 1,200 registrants. Automotive Program Investors include: ArcelorMittalCleveland CliffsNucor Corporation. This year’s event featured keynote speeches from John McElroy of Autoline and Greg Ludkovsky of ArcelorMittal along with four OEM vehicle presentations and 23 technical presentations covering forming/joining/manufacturing and materials. Helping to support this year’s event are Gold Sponsors: Shape Corp. and Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Ltd.; Silver Sponsors: CBMM|Niobium and HyCAL Corp.; Bronze Sponsors: AutoFormDreistern USATWB CompanyWheeling-Nippon Steel; and Media Partners MetalFormingMagazine and Fabricators and Manufacturers Association International.





AISI serves as the voice of the American steel industry in the public policy arena and advances the case for steel in the marketplace as the preferred material of choice. AISI also plays a lead role in the development and application of new steels and steelmaking technology. AISI’s membership is comprised of integrated and electric arc furnace steelmakers, and associate members who are suppliers to or customers of the steel industry. For more news about steel and its applications, view AISI‘s website at Follow AISI on Facebook or Twitter (@AISISteel).