When Ford redesigned its popular F-150 pickup featuring lightweight aluminum, not everyone believed in the new formula. However, the automaker is standing its ground on the issue and has partnered with Alcoa to implement even more of the material in its truck. One benefit is that it helps the manufacturer meet tougher fuel economy standards.
The Aluminum Way
Ford has teamed up with Alcoa Inc. to produce more formable and design-friendly aluminum alloys for automotive parts using Alcoa’s Micromill technology, which is set to debut on the new 2016 Ford F-150. The automaker intends on using the material on its new pickup soon, which translates to sometime between now and the end of the year.
The incorporation of this lighter aluminum feature helps reduce the truck’s weight overall, and when compared to its predecessor, which results in greater fuel efficiency. Another benefit is that it can help the automaker create a 2016 F-150 model that accelerates and stops faster — and tows and hauls more — than the 2015 version.
Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa chairman and chief executive officer, says, “This high-tech aluminum will give Ford a true material edge enabling greater design flexibility and better vehicle performance — making the concept cars of tomorrow a reality.”
According to the Ford, Micromill is 40 percent more formable than today’s automotive aluminum, and 30 percent stronger and lighter than high-strength steel. The material’s combined highlights — its strength, weight, formability and surface quality — was not something that was possible to have in the past.
The formability aspect, in particular, is important, as it makes it easier for Ford to shape the aluminum into more complicated forms like external fenders, or the inside panel of a car door. As for increased material strength, this quality permits Ford to use thinner aluminum sheets without having to worry about how it might affect dent resistance.
Why Use It?
Aside from the aforementioned points, Micromill is “the fastest, most productive aluminum casting and rolling system in the world.” How fast is it? According to Ford’s press release, Alcoa’s material will take as little as 20 minutes to turn molten metal into coil. Traditional rolling mills, on the other hand, take as long as 20 days to do the job.
Contact or visit Planet Ford dealerships in Houston, Texas for additional information regarding features and pricing of the new 2016 F-150 pickup.