Scrap Has a Second Life That Saves on Expenses

January 5th, 2015 by admin

There’s a scourge of stealing copper from power lines sweeping the nation and thieves are swiping catalytic converters to recycle them. In the midst of these below-the-board schemes, Ford Motor has come up with a completely legal way to recycle aluminum and improve its bottom line to complement its F-150 pickup truck launch.

Ford Chief Executive Mark Fields describes it as a “closed loop” that counteracts the high cost of using aluminum compared to steel, which is not as salvageable or valuable. Lightweight pickup trucks comprised largely of aluminum like F-150s cost $1,000 more to manufacture on average than their steel counterparts. Aluminum trucks help consumers with fuel economy and re-using the scrap aluminum is helping Ford’s economy.


Advantages are that each last scrap of aluminum can be recycled over and over without degrading. Ford is already converting manufacturing plants into recycling centers and plans to retrofit its F-150 plant in Claycomo, Missouri to handle aluminum this year. The eco-friendly approach offsets the vast energy needed to produce aluminum.

Bloomberg Industries estimates aluminum prices over the last five years have averaged about $2,200 per ton. Steel is far less of an initial investment, ranging from roughly $300 per ton for sheet metal to $500 per ton of shredded auto scrap. Ford has made calculations and is gambling its long-term approach will eventually pay off. The company will have to wait until the latter half of this year to learn the profit margins on their latest line of trucks.


Aluminum on a truck’s body is sectioned and the new body design is estimated to shave around 700 lbs. of weight. Lingering questions about safety issues, durability and inevitable repairs will eventually be answered. Ford’s F-Series trucks with accessories have been best-sellers in the U.S. for the past 37 years and they’re counting on this configuration to hit the sweet spot between utility, towing capacity, fuel efficiency and cost. It remains to be seen whether or not consumers will buy into the lighter-weight, aluminum F-150s.

David Beran is a Copywriter at 4 Wheel Parts


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