Lightweight bus body -Stalatube lowers emissions from the transportation sector
- In the world, there are around 300,000 buses and coaches which cover around 200,000 kilometres a year. If all these vehicles became 500 kilograms lighter, that would mean a 15.6 thousand tonne cut in carbon dioxide emissions every year, calculates Jori Määttänen, SBA Manager for Stalatube’s fastest-growing sector, transportation equipment manufacturing.
The calculation is, of course, theoretical, but it illustrates how little things can make a big difference.
- You could use Switzerland as a point of reference. The country's annual carbon dioxide emissions amount to 36.6 thousand tonnes, Määttänen continues.
Small but powerful actions have also contributed to the growth of Stalatube’s transportation equipment sector.
- We started from zero eight years ago. We have grown at a rate of 10 % a year, and now we hold over 50 % of the global market share.
Taking over the market has required rapid product development and an ear for what is happening in the field.
- The environmental and safety standards of the industry have been continuously raised. We were thinking about how we could meet these standards, and started to develop our products and production methods according to them.
Today, Stalatube, formerly known as a supplier of austenitic standard hollow sections, tailor an increasing proportion of its products to meet the needs and demands of individual customers in the bus and coach industry.
- We are currently the only manufacturer in the world who has the raw materials, the manufacturing technology and the know-how needed to deliver a finished product directly to the end user, Määttänen states.
Our product range includes stainless specialty steel components for bus chassis and body structures, such as tubes, plates and ready-made parts made up of such smaller components. For our products, we use both traditional ferritic stainless steel and a material known as Lean Duplex, which is significantly stronger than regular stainless steel and carbon steel.
In combination with Stalatube’s exceptional manufacturing techniques, Lean Duplex makes it possible to manufacture the lightest buses and coaches on the market.
- In comparison with carbon steel or aluminium, Stalatube’s Lean Duplex is superior in terms of life cycle costs, strength (and consequently lightness) and corrosion resistance as well as eco-friendliness. The lightness of the material helps reduce fuel costs, increase passenger capacity and reduce the environmental footprint, Määttänen explains.
Currently, Stalatube therefore focuses on advocating the benefits of Lean Duplex. Replacing just a few parts with lighter materials already has a significant impact on the weight and properties of the vehicle, but in the future, it is likely that the entire chassis and body structure of buses will be optimized more efficiently than today.
- This translates as hundreds of kilograms of weight savings per vehicle. Even if, for instance, Lean Duplex is slightly more expensive as a raw material, the total cost is still very moderate thanks to the reduced amounts of material, and the investment pays back in just a few months, Määttänen says.
It is therefore no wonder that many bus and coach manufacturers have woken up to the benefits of the new materials and products. This, in its turn, translates as even quicker growth for Stalatube.
- Stalatube’s focus has long been to develop according to the customers’ requirements and tailor the perfect solutions for them. In the transportation sector, there is an obvious demand for special materials and solutions tailored to the customers’ needs. We therefore decided to focus on that. This has proven to be the right solution for both parties.
Read more: Transport industry