By - David Sedgwick
Faced with increasingly tough federal collision standards, automakers are turning to boron steel -- which is six times stronger than conventional steel -- to reinforce the body-in-white without adding pounds. Boron steel is increasingly used for door pillars, door beams, body sills, roof rails and bumpers -- components that must protect the passenger cabin during a collision. But as demand grows, suppliers are short of presses that can heat the steel to the proper temperature for stamping. In the 2015 model year, a typical vehicle will have about 24 pounds of boron steel, according to an estimate by Ducker International, a consulting firm based in suburban Detroit. That's up from 15 pounds in 2012.