Press hardening steels (PHS) for complex shapes

Press hardening steels have four major advantages: they can be formed into very complex shapes, their ultimate tensile strength ranges up to 2000 MPa (290 ksi), there is little or no springback, and, with tailored tempering, you can combine “full hard zones” and “soft zones” for multi-function crash performance within a single part.

    Press hardening steel basics

    Press hardening steel has several names that refer to how it is used, including hot stamped, hot press forming (HPF), and hot formed (HF). PHS also has names based on its chemical composition, including hot-stamped boron, carbon-manganese-boron, and 22MnB5 boron.

    The ultimate mechanical properties for PHS steels are set by the stamper, not the steel mill. Hot-stamped steels, “as delivered” by the steel mills, have a ferritic-pearlitic microstructure and when heated to 900°C by the fabricator, the steel converts to an austenitic microstructure. During the subsequent quenching process, the rate of cooling determines how much of the formed part is converted to the “full hard” (FH) martensitic microstructure.

    PHS steels’ very high strengths allow for thin wall designs (“downgauging”) and therefore significant lightweighting of automotive crash components. Press hardening also enables UHSS steel to be formed into complex shapes.

    Press hardened steel properties

    • The greatest potential for vehicle lightweighting via the strongest strengths: up to 1380 MPa yield strength (Rp0.2) and 2040 MPa tensile strength (Rm).
    • Maximize design flexibility and parts consolidation, with complex shapes readily formed at 900°C.
    • A single PHS part can have multi-strength performance (e.g., energy transfer and energy absorption) via processes such as tailored tempering, tailored welded blanks (TWBs), and tailored rolled blanks (TRB).
    • Excellent final shape accuracy, with little or no springback.

    Automotive applications for hot formed steels

    Docol PHS steel grades are appropriate for components which are too complex in shape to be cold formed.

    • EV battery protection
    • Cross members, including roof and dashboard panels
    • Sill (rocker) reinforcements
    • Front and rear bumper beams
    • A- and B-pillars
    • Door reinforcements
    • Windshield pillar reinforcements
    Body in white

    DOCOL® PHS 2000

    Reduces bumper weight by 17%

    Gestamp, a Tier 1 automotive component manufacturer, challenged SSAB to create a stronger hot-stamped steel so they could reduce the weight of a bumper system. Working closely with Gestamp, SSAB developed and refined Docol® PHS 2000, a hot stamped boron steel with significantly higher yield and tensile strength — but with the necessary crash ductility.

    Grades and mechanical properties for Docol PHS steels

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      Product Family Product name Coating Dimensions Standards Datasheet
      Docol PHS 1500 Docol PHS FH 1500 UC T: 0.70 - 3.00 mm
      W: Up to 1500 mm
      SSAB -
      Docol PHS 1500 Docol PHS CR 1500 UC T: 0.70 - 3.00 mm
      W: Up to 1500 mm
      SSAB -
      Docol PHS 1500 Docol PHS HR 1500 UC T: 2.00 - 12.00 mm
      W: Up to 1600 mm
      SSAB -
      Docol PHS 1500 Docol PHS HR 1500+A UC T: 2.00 - 12.00 mm
      W: Up to 1600 mm
      SSAB -
      Docol PHS 1800 Docol PHS FH 1800 UC T: 0.70 - 3.00 mm
      W: Up to 1500 mm
      SSAB -
      Docol PHS 1800 Docol PHS CR 1800 UC T: 0.70 - 3.00 mm
      W: Up to 1500 mm
      SSAB -
      Docol PHS 2000 Docol PHS FH 2000 UC T: 1.00 - 2.10 mm
      W: Up to 1515 mm
      SSAB

      Docol® PHS 2000

      Docol PHS 2000 Docol PHS CR 2000 UC T: 1.00 - 2.10 mm
      W: Up to 1515 mm
      SSAB

      Docol® PHS 2000

      Docol PHS 2000 Docol PHS HR 2000 UC T: 2.00 - 4.00 mm
      W: Up to 1600 mm
      SSAB

      Docol® PHS 2000

      Docol PHS 2000 Docol PHS HR 2000+A UC T: 2.00 - 4.00 mm
      W: Up to 1600 mm
      SSAB

      Docol® PHS 2000

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        Forming Docol hot-stamped steels

        • In direct hot stamping the steel blank is heated to 900°C, formed while hot and then rapidly quenched in the die to achieve its final strength.
        • For the indirect hot stamping process, the steel blank is formed, trimmed, and punched while cold, then later heated and quickly quenched to achieve its strength.
        • PHS steels’ very high strengths allow for thin wall designs and therefore significant lightweighting of automotive crash components. Press hardening also enables UHSS steel to be formed into complex shapes. Springback is minimal or eliminated, so final parts have excellent dimensional accuracy.
        • Docol® PHS steels have good weldability and can be joined to dissimilar materials; contact Docol technical support regarding joining considerations for our hot-stamped steels.
        B-pillar in Docol steel

        Additional benefits from Docol hot formed steel

        • Excellent fatigue properties.
        • Three high-strength grades: 1500 MPa, 1800 MPa and 2000 MPa.
        • Grades are available to meet OEM-specific standards and certifications.
        • Global support and availability.

        Are you looking for OEM-specific PHS grades?

        Docol® PHS steel grades are be supplied to VDA or OEM standards. The new VDA hot-stamped steel standard is CR1900T-MB-DS, which corresponds to Docol® PHS 2000. If you don’t see a specific grade listed here, please contact our technical support — we often develop innovative UHSS steels, customized for a specific automotive application.

        The benefits of Docol® PHS steel for each team member

        Safety engineers: Unmatched design flexibility in both stamped part complexity and multi-strength capabilities (e.g., energy transfer and energy absorption) in a single part.

        Lightweighting engineers: The strongest available automotive steels, PHS grades let you “downgage,” allowing for significant weight reductions.

        Production engineers: Pick from a wide variety of PHS production processes, including direct, indirect, hybrid, pre-cooled direct, multi-step, roll form PHS, form fixture hardening, and form blow hardening/hot gas metal forming.

        Buyers: Replace costly aluminum with compact, gigapascal strength PHS.

        Sustainability officers: Improve your life cycle assessment with our low-embedded-CO2 UHSS steels — equivalent to recycled steel today, and becoming fossil-free in 2026.

        Lower your embedded CO2

        Docol PHS steel is “future proofed.”

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        Get PHS samples — fast

        An industry exclusive: SSAB ships coils, sheets and custom lengths of any size, typically in 1 to 2 weeks. Get AHSS/UHSS samples for both our commercially available grades, as well as our newest steels still in development.

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