Ford F-150

I just got back from an engineering conference in Detroit on "lightweighting" cars and trucks, which was an exceptionally good one,
but one mundane fact set me back in my chair. Ford has four stamping plants making body parts for the new aluminum F-150. At the biggest one, at the old Rouge plant, their stamping line fills an 11-ton-capacity truck with aluminum stamping scrap every 20 minutes. The trucks are lined up to haul it back to the mills.
That's a lot of aluminum. All of the US and European car makers have high-quantity aluminum vehicles in the works, and the world's aluminum producers have been building new plants just to deal with it.
Ford will make around 600,000 F-150s this year, so the scrap rate isn't three-shifts every day, but still...
--
Ed Huntress

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Did they tell you what the alloy is? -jsw
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On Thu, 16 Apr 2015 20:27:55 -0400, "Jim Wilkins"

Yes. It is a story I will write for the August or, more likely, the September issue of Fab Shop.
There are four of them. None is a standard Aluminum Association alloy designation. The way Ford handled it is brilliant. GM, Honda, Toyota and others rose to compliment the Ford matreials engineer to designed the system.
It's built "backwards" from the scrap stream and the real behaviors of aluminum alloys. Expect the other major automakers to adopt it.
--
Ed Huntress

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Ed Huntress wrote:

So what your saying is Ford starts as scrap and ends as scrap.... :-)
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Steve W.

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wrote:

I'm told it is "close to 6061" - a heat treatable weldable high strength alloy.
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On Thu, 16 Apr 2015 22:12:20 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

The four alloys are defined in ways that give them specific properties, rather than specific secondary alloy constituents. The primary constituents establish the performance parameters, and they are defined in a way that allows the secondary melters to "up-alloy" the scrap in the most efficient way, while staying within the performance catagories. They have four different scrap streams to make this happen.
The system makes sense when you see it in graphical form. It allows very tight control of the alloys while using 1/3 secondary (remelt) material. As the system is put into wider use, the percentage of secondary material will increase and still stay within the designed parameters. Without that, aluminum is going to be too expensive to get very far in car bodies and chassis.
There isn't a lot of welding on the aluminum body of the F-150. There is spot welding and some friction welding, but a lot of it is weld-bond: welding through adhesive. There also are continuous laser welds around the door frames.
Overall, it's much stiffer than earlier aluminum chassis/body structures and it outperforms them in other ways. The joining/assembly-fastening is very complex. On top of that, the body is designed with "break points" that allow easy disassembly for repairs.
There was a new Cadillac chassis on display at the conference. That thing has diecast and extruded aluminum structures all over the place. The diecastings used for the shock towers are amazing. I've never seen anything like them. The result is a huge consolidation of parts -- often 10 to 1, throughout these new structures.
--
Ed Huntress

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On 17/04/15 03:42, Ed Huntress wrote:

An interesting way to go with the alloys and use of recycled material. I guess they can get the properties they want that way for those parts. A mate that works in engine development mentioned all the main players using virgin aluminium for cylinder heads to guarantee the properties required which couldn't be done with recycled because of contamination.
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wrote:

Right, but the plot thckens as you dig deeper into it. Ford's recycling is "tolling," which means that the content of the scrap is known and it goes right back into the same stream. There is no other scrap in the stream aside from dropouts from those Ford plants.
The result is quit different than ordinary scrap.
--
Ed Huntress

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On Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:07:12 -0400, Ed Huntress

You should see theBPR Rotax engine plant. All of the machining is done dry so there is no coolant contamination in the feedstock of the "remelt" - their recycling of scrap is 100% - aluminum and steel are both done the same way (obviously separated completely)
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On Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:28:11 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Are they doing their own remelting as part of their casting operation? That would explain the need to eliminate coolant. On the scale Ford is producing scrap, it isn't an issue. They're recycling 100%, too, in four streams.
When their alloys are specified in AA grades, and using multiple suppliers, they need 11 streams. Why that is necessary is kind of complicated. I'll link to my story when it's published.
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On Fri, 17 Apr 2015 09:26:46 -0400, Ed Huntress

The remelt is done at their casting facility

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On Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:12:34 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:
<snip> >>>

Well, there's their tradeoff: a slight disadvantage in machining (possibly; but not necessarily, surface finish may be harder to achieve) for a savings in the complexity of re-melting the scrap. With a high value-added product like a Rotax engine, it sounds like the logical way to go.
Ford is using stamping lubricant and it's worth it to go through the scrap cleaning step.
--
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I hope they won't hit consumers with a disposal cost like CRTs when these need to have the aluminum cleanly separated.
-jsw
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On Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:38:00 -0400, "Jim Wilkins"

There are separate issues here. One is the tolling of their own production scrap. The other is the post-market scrapping of the trucks. The latter is becoming more complicated as aluminum's use in vehicles becomes more sophisticated, because they're using multiple alloys and separating them when trucks are scrapped, so far, does not have a solution.
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On Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:38:00 -0400, "Jim Wilkins"

I think my last post left some important things unsaid, so let me complicate it further. <g>
If Ford were to spec their sheet aluminum by AA grade, it would require 6 grades but 11 scrap streams. That's because, say, 6061 from Alcoa is not 6061 from Novalis. If they're required to toll the scrap back to the original AA designation, Alcoa won't accept Novalis scrap, and vice-versa. This has to do with the way each company handles the secondary ingredients in the alloys.
My alloy example may not be one that actually causes trouble; it may be other alloys. But that's the principle.
You probably have heard that high-volume auto-body stamping of aluminum is a real headache because of inconsistencies in the aluminum properties. The above situation is a major source of that problem.
So Ford set up their own system based on performance, with some allowance for secondary chemistry but with other tight controls, especially temper. This allows them to stamp one of their four grades with greater consistency -- which means, for the most part, consistent springback.
The root and source of most "transportation grade" aluminum alloys is the aerospace industry, as it always has been. They have different requirements than automotive applications. So the old system of AA grades does not work well for the car industry.
--
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In Chemistry we covered the job of the metallurgist in a steel mill, who has to analyze the melt as quickly as he can to minimize the fuel and throughput cost of keeping it molten. In the 60's they said it took about half an hour.
Today handheld X-Ray Fluorescence analyzers make the chemical analysis quick and easy. https://www.bruker.com/products/x-ray-diffraction-and-elemental-analysis/handheld-xrf.html Is that enough to adequately predict the final properties or do they have to make Charpy etc measurements of cooled samples?
-jsw
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On Fri, 17 Apr 2015 08:18:50 -0400, "Jim Wilkins"

As a practical matter, I don't know what testing they're doing. As the system is set up, none is necessary. The scrapping, like the production itself, is set up along "zero defects" principles.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

It will be interesting when they start getting body damage. 99% of the repairs will be full panel replacement, but the common bed rail dings and minor dents that can be taken out with paint less dent tools will be fun.
Adhesive bonded panels are not bad but I'm not sure what they will do with the welded seams. Some are laser welded at the factory. I'm thinking they may allow TIG like a few other aluminum repair certs do but I haven't looked into it very hard. I really don't plan on getting certified to repair them.... BTDT, wastes a LOT of money. Especially when the companies spec different equipment to do the same job... For a while Ford and GM had different specs on spot welds, The weld itself was the same in the end but they wanted you to use a specific brand of welder to make the weld. Ford liked the Miller units and GM wanted Lenco.
--
Steve W.

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11 ton truck toting how much ? maybe a ton or two. Maybe 5. How packed is it and how much of it is air.
Might be high in air just to get the stuff moving. I doubt it is chipped into billets.
Martin
On 4/16/2015 7:27 PM, Jim Wilkins wrote:

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On Thu, 16 Apr 2015 23:05:59 -0500, Martin Eastburn
11-ton capacity. It was stated as 11 tons of scrap every 20 minutes.

Nope.

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