Recycling For Better Vehicle Design

The Ford Motor Company is consistently working to reduce its carbon footprint and plastic waste. It goes beyond just Ford’s own plastic use; Ford is now making strides in utilizing plastic water bottles that are recycled everywhere. Those bottles contribute to some of the most powerful vehicles on the road: Ford SUVs and F-Series trucks.

In order to reduce weight and improve aerodynamics, Ford utilizes recycled plastics to help build the underbody shields for vehicles. “The underbody shield is a large part, and for a part that big, if we use solid plastic, it would likely weigh three times as much,” said Thomas Sweder, a design engineer at Ford Motor Company. “We look for the most durable and highest performing materials to work with to make our parts, and in this case, we are also creating many environmental benefits.”

With close to 250 recycled bottles per vehicle, Ford has used nearly 1.2 billion bottles per year. When bottles are recycled, they’re shredded down and processed into a fiber which are then woven together. They are then further processed further to make sheets that can then be used to create automotive parts.

The most recent innovation that these materials are being used for is the 2020 Ford Escape. In particular, they are integral in creating the engine under shield and front and rear wheel arch liners that create a quieter internal environment as well as improved aerodynamics.

“Ford is among the leaders when it comes to using recycled materials such as this, and we do it because it makes sense technically and economically as much as it makes sense for the environment,” Sweder said. “This material meets all of our robust specifications for durability and performance.”

Categories: Technology
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