Ford is setting up new recycling system for aluminum F-150 production

Article by Andrew Christian, on April 7, 2014

Ford Motor Co. is setting up a more sophisticated recycling system that sorts aluminum by type and returns it to suppliers, allowing it to save $124 per pickup, according to analyst Emmanuel Rosner of CLSA Americas. According to a report from CLSA Americas, Ford is installing the recycling system in its F-150 plants in Dearborn, Mich., and Kansas City, Mo. that is seen to cut the material cost of switching from steel body to lighter but more costly aluminum to $750 per vehicle.

The report says the 2015 F-150 will use four different blends of aluminum alloy, each varying in thickness and in the amount of magnesium and other ingredients. Ford’s new recycling plan will involve a pneumatic scrap handling equipment separating the four types of aluminum alloy and placing them in separate containers.

Then the containers will be sent back to aluminum suppliers Alcoa and Novelis, according to Rosner. The scraps are those left over from the stamping process that builds fenders, hoods, door frames and other parts. The report says that the carmaker will have around 310 pounds of scrap aluminum per pickup, bringing in $1.20 per pound or $372.

If Ford doesn't separating the metal according to types, the scrap would bring just 80 cents per pound. This means that Ford could gain $80 million annually thanks to the new recycling process. The report added that if the recycling equipment costs $60 million, Ford would be able to recoup its investment in less than a year.

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