TECH: Ford Can Make 30,000 F-150s Per Month Just From Its Own Aluminum Scraps

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The toughest, smartest, most capable and safest F-150 ever is also the greenest F-150 – thanks to advanced materials like high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy and EcoBoost® engine technology. Ford recycles as much as 20 million pounds of aluminum stamping scrap per month using the closed-loop system at Dearborn Truck Plant, which builds F-150. That is the equivalent of more than 30,000 F-150 bodies in the largest configuration – a SuperCrew body including doors, plus hood, tailgate and 6.5-foot cargo box.

Recycling is all the rage and Ford takes it to a whole new level.  Making trucks from…trucks.

When Ford secretly decided to begin making its legendary (and top-selling) Ford F-150 from aluminum, one way that astute industry watchers discovered the move was by seeing changes to the global aluminum supply chain.  Like Tesla Motors’ massive use of lithium ion batteries, Ford’s shift to aluminum as a body material disrupted the world’s supply of the raw material it needed in massive quantities.

F-150 animated gif

Aluminum is very energy-intensive to manufacture.  There is no such thing as an “aluminum mine.”  The metal is an element, but not found as aluminum in nature.  Rather, it is formed under extreme heat from the mineral bauxite.

The reason that recycled aluminum is so valuable is that the reclaimed metal saves 95% of the greenhouse gasses created when raw aluminum is made from bauxite.  It is also dramatically less expensive to produce and just as strong and durable.

If you have any doubt how strong Ford’s F-150s made from recycled aluminum are, note that only the Ford F-150 scored “Good” on a round of pickup truck crash tests conducted by IIHS.

ford factory recycle al

During normal manufacturing between 30 and 40% of the raw aluminum Ford uses gets turned into scrap in stamping and other processes.  Ford then collects all of that scrap and re-uses it after it is reformed.  As a result, Ford’s pickups are considered leaders in their segment regarding lifetime carbon footprint.

Search for an aluminum-bodied 2016 F-150 on BestRide – just add your location to find ones near you.

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John Goreham

John Goreham