Video: Ford Aluminum Recycling Saves Enough to Make 37,000 Trucks a Month
Industrial Vacuums Sort Scrap for Recycling at Three Plants
When most of us think about aluminum recycling, it’s about taking our beer and soda cans down to the recycling center for a few bucks or putting it in the blue or brown bin curbside. When an industrial behemoth like Ford Motor Company thinks about it, it’s not measured in ounces or even pounds but tons. And with the country’s best-selling vehicle now made largely of aluminum, Ford is processing and recycling more of the material than ever before. First implemented at the Dearborn Truck plant, Ford’s aluminum recycling system is now in use at Kentucky Truck, where the Super Duty is built, as well as its Buffalo stamping plant, where body panels are made for its trucks. Ford recycles enough scrap aluminum a month to build 51 commercial jet airliners or a staggering 37,000 F-Series trucks.
The design of the closed-loop recycling system was led by Chip Conrad, a Ford stamping engineer. The scrap pieces are first cut down to dollar-bill–sized pieces that are then collected by an industrial-scale vacuum system that sorts and delivers the scrap to piles that are then loaded into trucks for reprocessing. An additional benefit of using scrap aluminum is the lower energy needed for producing new aluminum from recycled stock rather than from bauxite ore. You can watch the short informational video clip below highlighting the process.