Ford Is the Boss of Recycling Aluminum - It Gets Enough for 30,000 F-150s

Ford F-150 body 1 photo
Photo: Ford
Ford took advantage of Earth Day to remind everyone that it builds an aluminum-bodied full-size truck in a very efficient way.
As it turns out, Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant in Michigan recycles up to 20 million pounds of aluminum (nine million kilograms) stamping scrap every month.

According to Ford, the amount of recycled material is enough to build more than 30,000 bodies of the F-150 in the largest configuration sold. We are talking about the SuperCrew version, including doors, hood, tailgate, and a 6.5-foot (1.98-meter) cargo box.

There is a reason why Ford praises its construction techniques on Earth Day, and not just for bragging rights. Using aluminum instead of steel is considered the best solution to reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions according to the Oak Ridge National Lab.

Furthermore, using recycled aluminum avoids 95% of the usual emissions of greenhouse gas usually generated by primary aluminum production.

Naturally, Ford still needs aluminum for its trucks, as the amount it recycles has to come from somewhere. Since the factory has a closed-loop system, Ford is reutilizing every little bit of aluminum that falls out of the stamps. Considering aluminum does not react to magnets, the collection process is slightly more complicated.

Ford states that it recycles between 30 to 40 percent of a typical industrial aluminum coil. The percentage expressed above is transformed into chips during the stamping process, and is then recycled through the closed-loop system.

Other factories in the world operate on this principle, as it is an easy way to improve the efficiency of the unit and reducing scrap from production. Aluminum used to be an expensive material, and the automotive industry avoided it for many years because of the costs it would bring to production vehicles.

These costs were not the only issues with aluminum, as repairs had to be performed in special workshops, which further complicated matters. However, economies of scale and enhancements in the production process and recycling have reduced the costs of using the element, and carmakers have started using more aluminum in their products.

Customers can even buy a pick-up truck with an all-aluminum body, and Ford is the first automaker to provide such a vehicle.

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About the author: Sebastian Toma
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Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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