Turning to aluminum for some lightweighting, Ford has ushered a new technological era for the mass production of cars – and keeping the F-150 production lines busy includes having lots of the material at their disposal.
We all know – ok, maybe Trump doesn’t – that our resources are not infinite. And grabbing a hold of them is harder – and more expensive – than you think. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. A particular case is aluminum recycling – just search these words along with Brazil. Anyways, this time we’re turning our attention to Ford, who is also great at the job involving aluminum scrap and making it something useful again. By the way, some trivia – aluminum is a challenge for manufacturing, even though it’s the third most abundant element after oxygen and silicon. Most companies only recycle the silvery-white ductile metal, but Ford wants to take care of all the scrap through a specific closed-loop system.
Apparently, a man named Chip Conrad, a stamping engineer at Ford Motor Company, was the developer of the system. And already Ford has three factories – Dearborn Stamping, Kentucky Truck, and Buffalo Stamping – using it, with great savings. Stamping body panels makes scrap material, it gets shredded and then Conrad’s system takes over, with the system also able to tell apart the aluminum’s grade. “Our ability to recycle leads to improved fuel economy and capability for our truck customers,” explained Chip Conrad. “And it helps us build more affordable, high-performing, efficient trucks.” A total of 5 million pounds of high-strength military-grade aluminum comes back from scrap per week – and over a month it’s enough for 51 commercial jetliners or some 37,000 F-Series truck bodies.