Ford’s Aluminum Recycling Plan Saves Nearly $125 on Every 2015 F-150

Ford's Clever Recycling Plan Saves It Nearly $125 on Every F-150 It Builds
When Ford announced earlier this year that its new F-150 would employ aluminum for the majority of it’s construction, speculation that insurance, repair, and manufacturing costs would increase began to circulate almost immediately.

We investigated the first two concerns at the time, finding them largely to be non-issues, and, judging by the majority of comments from our Backfires members, the enthusiast community agrees with us. Now, according to an article in Automotive News, Ford has found a way to improve efficiency on the manufacturing side via innovative recycling methods, saving the maker $124 per pickup truck as compared to traditional recycling methods, and cutting the per-truck cost of switching to aluminum to $750.

The news comes from a stock analyst at CLSA Americas, who reports that pneumatic scrap recycling equipment, which is slated to be installed at Ford F-150 plants in Dearborn, Michigan, and Kansas City, Missouri, will significantly offset the additional costs by optimizing the recycling process. Incorporating four different grades and thicknesses of aluminum, each F-150 leaves behind about 310 pounds of scrap metal in the stamping processes that produce fenders, doors, hoods, beds, and more.

By pre-sorting the scraps into containers of like materials, the analyst predicts Ford will earn $1.20 per pound or $372 per pickup for the recycled goods; if the company didn’t separate the four grades of aluminum, it would earn only $.80 per pound. The analyst’s report goes on to estimate a return of $80 million per year for the company, more than enough to offset the alleged $60 million price tag put on the recycling equipment.

Ford's Aluminum Recycling Plan Saves Nearly $125 on Every 2015 F-150

Ford may not be the only company to reap financial rewards from the the switch to aluminum. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, aluminum supplier Alcoa, who will receive the leftover metal along with fellow supplier Novelis, has invested $575 million to expand production at facilities in Iowa and Tennessee to help meet the newly created demand. Although Alcoa lost more than $2.3 billion in 2013, its stock value has surged over 5o percent in the last 12 months. The report contends that part of this optimism is based on the fact that the Ford F-150 is bestselling vehicle in America, and should raise the demand for aluminum commensurately. Executives say this is the most positive thing to happen to the aluminum industry since brewers switched to aluminum cans from steel some 40 years ago.

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