The automotive industry has fueled many advances in high strength steel materials as we know them today. Vehicle body panels and structural components have benefited significantly from decades of development targeted at improving vehicle occupant safety and reducing overall vehicle weight for enhanced fuel economy. At the same time, ferrous and non-ferrous tubing options for hydraulic system design have changed little. While this has served to simplify and standardize design practices, the trend toward higher hydraulic system pressures and improved system efficiency has created difficulties for the designer in material selection. Hydraulic system engineers seeking ferrous or non-ferrous tubing options capable of meeting the demands of today’s higher pressure systems are often faced with limited choices and very real cost constraints.
This writing will present a brief history of high strength steel development, explore current high-strength tubing options and their impact on system design, and investigate new developments in high strength hydraulic tubing that give the designer more cost-effective alternatives to meet overall system design objectives.