Ford, Alcoa Collaborate On New Aluminum Alloy
New “Micromill” Aluminum More Formable, Design-Friendly
Ford rocked the automotive world by bringing the 2015 F-150 truck to market with a nearly all-aluminum body. It was by far the largest-volume application of aluminum in the automotive world to date, but Dearborn wasn’t content to rest on its laurels with the 2015 Pickup Truck of the Year. The company is continuing its collaboration with Alcoa in a next-generation aluminum alloy, called “Micromill,” designed to be more malleable and formable, making it better suited to automotive applications, which frequently require more complex stampings and formations.
The new alloy was first announced in December 2014, and Ford will be the first automaker to deploy the material in regular series production. The Micromill material is thinner than conventional aluminum sheet, yet retains equivalent strength, allowing it to retain the dent-resistance of the thicker material. An added advantage of Micromill is that its throughput from molten metal to aluminum sheet coil is cut from 20 days to 20 minutes.
The material will be deployed in 2016 F-150 production starting in the fourth quarter of 2015, with increased use on the F-150 through the 2016 calendar year and increased use throughout the Ford lineup in 2016 and 2017. The process and finished product using Micromill aluminum has been validated by Ford engineers to meet the company’s quality and durability standards.
Source: Ford, Alcoa